Palestinians in trucks take part in a protest calling for better living conditions in the northern Gaza Strip. - Reuters
New York - The situation in Gaza has been worsened by the US suspension of millions of dollars in funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
The United Nations' Mideast envoy briefed the Security Council behind closed doors on Wednesday at the request of Kuwait and Bolivia on what Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour called the "catastrophic" humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Llorentty Soliz said Nikolay Mladenov, the special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the council that drinking water is short, hospitals have been closed and "doctors stopped doing surgeries". Mladenov also cited Gaza's 47 per cent unemployment rate, rising to 60 per cent for young people, he said.
Llorentty Soliz said he highlighted that the situation in Gaza has been worsened by the US suspension of millions of dollars in funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, known as UNRWA, was notified on January 16 that the US was withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million installment. The US demanded a "fundamental re-examination" of the agency in addition to changes to its programmes, which have been heavily criticised by Israel.
Llorentty Soliz said he told the council the primary responsibility for "the catastrophic situation in Gaza" rests with Israel.
Mansour said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the Security Council on February 20 on the situation of all Palestinians and will ask members to implement UN resolutions "to end the occupation that started in 1967, to allow for the independence of the state of Palestine, and therefore to save the two-state solution".