Life-saving aid for Palestinians piles up at border as Israel-Hamas war rages on

Human rights advocates have repeatedly voiced the urgent need to open borders

by

Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

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KT Photos: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​
KT Photos: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​

Published: Sat 6 Jan 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 3:09 PM

Tonnes of life-saving aid are being sent to Gaza but are not getting to the intended recipients.

Khaleej Times recently spotted thousands of humanitarian relief trucks – with the Pakistani, Indonesian and Egyptian flags – from Al Arish up to the Rafah border. Trucks from UNICEF, Red Cross and World Health Organisation are stranded at the border.

Rafah remains the sole crossing point to Palestine. Speaking to Khaleej Times, MKR, an Egyptian resident in Rafah City, said: “The UAE’s warehouse, alongside UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), are the only ones in Rafah. They are the only ones that get through the border. We are sad to see trucks from other nations and organisations waiting months to enter.”

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Food is available but not accessible. UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini earlier said he has “never seen the Palestinian people experiencing hunger of this kind since the start of the Israeli siege.”

“I saw it with my eyes that people in Rafah have started to decide to help themselves directly from the truck out of total despair and eat what they have taken out of the truck on the spot,” he added.

Humanitarian aid refers to the immediate response during political, medical, or military crises. As per international law, providing humanitarian assistance in war-torn areas is non-negotiable. The Geneva Convention and global humanitarian law mandate that states allow swift and unhindered delivery of humanitarian relief. But this is not happening in Gaza.

Wissam, one of the Palestinian evacuees in the UAE, told Khaleej Times: “It is saddening to see numerous trucks and planes stuck in the border crossing. If all this aid would get in, our medical and hunger problems in Gaza will be alleviated."

Human rights advocates have repeatedly voiced the urgent need to open borders. Members of the UN Security Council, including the UAE, have been calling Israel to abide by the UN charter and international law. UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously underscored the opening of all humanitarian relief corridors and the immediate, safe, sustainable, and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid.

Now, the war in Gaza continues, and the death toll has gone past 22,000 people.

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