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Israel blasts UN for not distributing humanitarian aid to Gaza amid claims of famine

Palestinians wait for a hot meal prepared by volunteers, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, February 20, 2024. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israel's Office of Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) blasted the United Nations on Sunday for failing to properly distribute humanitarian aid to Gaza amid unverified claims that the civilian population is on the verge of famine.

COGAT posted an image on social media depicting a build-up of aid inside Gaza, adjacent to the Israeli Keren Shalom border crossing.

The COGAT coordinator criticized the UN in general and the controversial UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA in particular.

“Again, the content of 400 trucks worth is waiting to be picked up and distributed from the Gazan side of KS post Israeli inspection. @UNWRA and @UN aid agencies lack the logistic capacity for performing their jobs. They must enhance its logistics capacity and admit its failures,” COGAT wrote on 𝕏.

Israel's statement comes after the UN previously accused the Jewish state of preventing the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, especially into the northern part, which has been declared a closed military zone. In March, Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an organization monitoring food insecurity worldwide, claimed in a UN-backed report that approximately half of Gaza’s more than two million residents were facing “catastrophic food insecurity.” The report warned about “famine” in northern Gaza.

“Famine is imminent in the northern governorates and projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May 2024,” the report claimed.

However, Israel has criticized what is described as several “inaccuracies” in the IPC report concerning the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

COGAT noted that the report was, to a large degree, based on statistics provided by local organizations such as the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, “which has a strategic interest in presenting fundamentally misleading information.” 

Israel also rejected the claim of water scarcity in Gaza.

“Based on our assessment, the amount of water produced in the Gaza Strip through two local water desalination plants, an Emirati water desalination plant located in Egypt, water lines from Israel, and the entry of diesel fuel to refuel the local water pumping system – the daily average quantity of water [stands at] over 20 liters (over 5 gallons) of drinking and cooking water per person per day,” COGAT assessed.

COGAT also criticized the report for ignoring the existence of markets selling food across the Gaza Strip.

Israel previously published evidence of Hamas terrorists stealing international humanitarian aid that enters the Gaza Strip. In addition to aid through land routes, the United States and its allies have established an alternative maritime route to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza. A second convoy containing 400 tons of food was dispatched to the Gaza Strip from Cyprus on Saturday to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the coastal enclave.

Claims of inability or unwillingness to effectively distribute humanitarian aid in Gaza is not the UNRWA's only shortcoming. In January, the U.S. government and several other countries suspended their financial aid to the controversial UN agency after Israel released compelling evidence that several UNRWA workers had participated in the Hamas October invasion and massacres of innocent Israeli civilians on Oct. 7. Israeli intelligence estimates that at least 12% of UNRWA’s staff members are affiliated with Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the Palestinian refugee assistance agency as complicit in war crimes committed by Hamas terrorists.

“UNRWA is totally infiltrated with Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “It has been in the service of Hamas and its schools, and in many other things.”

“We need to get other UN agencies and other aid agencies replacing UNRWA if we're going to solve the problem of Gaza as we intend to do,” Netanyahu added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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