UN official urges Israel to allow fuel into Gaza
UN says at least 60,000 litres of emergency fuel should be delivered immediately to Gaza
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Palestinian territories Jamie McGoldrick on Wednesday called on Israel to immediately allow the entry of UN-purchased emergency fuel into the blockaded Gaza Strip.
“Restricting the entry of emergency fuel to Gaza is a dangerous practice, with grave consequences on the rights of people in Gaza,” McGoldrick said in a statement.
“The well-being of two million people, half of whom are children, is at stake,” he warned. “It is unacceptable that Palestinians in Gaza are repeatedly deprived of the most basic elements of a dignified life.”
Israel has recently shut the Kerem Shalom crossing, Gaza’s sole commercial access point, as a punitive measure over the launch of incendiary balloons by Palestinian activists from the seaside enclave into Israel, banning all deliveries except food and medicine.
The UN coordinator said Gaza “desperately needs long-term solutions so we can move past this cycle of repeated or worsening crises, including that Palestinian authorities prioritize provision of fuel for essential services”.
Until that happens, he said, “Israel must reverse the recent restrictions, including on the entry of emergency fuel.”
McGoldrick went on to call on donors to fund emergency fuel for Gaza “in order to avoid a disease outbreak or other major public health concern”.
According the United Nations, at least 60,000 litres of emergency fuel should be delivered immediately to some 46 critical facilities across Gaza in order to ensure the basic functioning of main hospitals and essential water and sanitation services for the coming four days.
The UN has warned that fuel stocks in Gaza are currently enough for only 1-2 days and that some 1.2 million Palestinians are at imminent risk of possible sewage overflow around the 41 main sewage pumping stations in the Palestinian territory.
The Gaza Strip, home to nearly two million Palestinians, has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.