Middle East

Significant part of Palestinian population in Gaza being 'wiped off': UN official

Starvation, cutting essential resources to besieged population is 'war crime,' says UN's special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Rabia Ali  | 12.10.2023 - Update : 13.10.2023
Significant part of Palestinian population in Gaza being 'wiped off': UN official

  • Starvation, cutting essential resources to besieged population is 'war crime,' says UN's special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • No one is actively negotiating the humanitarian corridor
  • Israel must stop bombing civilian population


A significant part of Gaza's population is being "wiped off," the UN rapporteur for Palestinian territories said Thursday, as the blockaded city continues to face intense Israeli strikes and shelling.

"What's happening is that a significant part of the Palestinian population in Gaza is being wiped off. Not differently from what has happened before in ... but with increased ferocity," Francesca Albanese, the UN's special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, told Anadolu in a video interview.

Albanese also commented on a decision by Israel earlier this week to cut off Gaza's supply of water, electricity, food, and other basic facilities, underlining that starving a besieged population and depriving them of essentials was a war crime.

"If it's intentional and, in the context of a widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population, it also constitutes a crime against humanity," she added.

Albanese stressed that civilian Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza also must be released and that their continued captivity was "absolutely unjustified."

"And I also want to say that by carpet bombing the Gaza Strip, Israel is also endangering its own civilian population which is held captive by Hamas in Gaza," she said.

Need for humanitarian corridor

On demands for a humanitarian corridor into Gaza, she said that there was "no such discussion" among countries on establishing such a route.

"No one is ... actively negotiating it, as far as I know.

"Egypt so far has not agreed ... The West has a huge responsibility because of its unconditional support for Israel," said Albanese.

Underscoring the need for open humanitarian corridors immediately for the wounded and those in critical condition in Gaza, she asserted that at the same time, Israel must stop bombing the civilian population.

A cease-fire is also essential to halt the hostilities and providing aid is a priority, as are the release of hostages and establishment of a protective presence in the occupied Palestinian territories, said the UN official.

"The fact that Israel has said multiple times that the Palestinians from Gaza need to be moved to Egypt or that Gaza needs to be annexed by Egypt doesn't improve the situation, because everyone thinks that this is a second or third instance of Israel foreseeably displacing Palestinians from the land."

Humanitarian situation in Gaza

Albanese highlighted the overwhelmed state of hospitals in Gaza still functioning under the Israeli bombardment, saying that they had reached maximum capacity.

"There are patients sharing the same bed, patients laying on the ground and there are no medicines," she said.

At the moment, there is "no possibility of anything entering Gaza," according to Albanese, who said the enclave is "under total siege."

Describing the situation as catastrophic, she said there were people on the ground in the city, running with dead or wounded in their arms, trying to find shelter of which there is none in the city.

Throughout the fighting, now in its fifth day, Albanese said, "every rule of international humanitarian law had been broken."

In a dramatic escalation of Mideast tensions, Israeli forces have launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip, a response to a military offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israeli territories.

The conflict began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air, which Hamas said was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.

In response to Hamas' actions, the Israeli military launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.

Over 1,200 Palestinians and 1,300 Israelis have been killed since the start of the Israel-Palestine conflict on Saturday.

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