Warning that fuel and medicine are in “dangerously short supply” in the Gaza Strip, the senior United Nations political affairs official urged international donors today to boost their aid deliveries, while calling on Israelis and Palestinians to exercise maximum restraint amid the recent spate of violence.
Rosemary DiCarlo, United Nations Under‑Secretary‑General, briefing the Security Council, expressed concern over renewed hostility in the region, particularly citing Hamas’s firing of missiles into Israel, and Israel’s targeting of protestors in the Gaza Strip. The latter has resulted in the death of 13 Palestinian civilians, she said.
Also during the reporting period, Palestinian militants fired some 195 rockets and mortars towards Israel, she continued. Meanwhile, Israel targeted sites in the Strip on at least 125 occasions. During those operations, 8 Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her 18‑month‑old baby, were killed, while 56 Palestinians and 28 Israeli civilians were injured. While Israel has a duty to protect its civilians, it must exercise restraint, she continued, stressing: “Children should never be targeted in any way.” She also urged Hamas to provide full information on Israelis held in Gaza.
Ms. DiCarlo warned that the humanitarian situation had further deteriorated due in part to additional restrictions by Israel on the movement of goods through the Kerem Shalom crossing. While welcoming Israel’s 15 August decision to fully reopen Kerem Shalom and expand the fishing zone to nine nautical miles, she expressed concern about the closing on 19 August of the Erez pedestrian crossing to Gaza and West Bank residents. “As we work towards the full lifting of the closing on Gaza… I call on urgently needed supplies to reach the Strip,” she emphasized.
Urging donors and international organizations to increase their allocation of funds to Gaza, Ms. DiCarlo expressed support for the assistance and aid programmes spearheaded by the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), many of which are focused on providing decent employment opportunities for women.
“Improving Palestinian women’s socioeconomic status is essential to stability,” she stressed, adding that providing jobs for women is “a critical step”. The unemployment rate for Palestinian women continues to be significantly higher than men, exceeding 78 per cent in Gaza in the second quarter of 2018.
Ms. DiCarlo also reiterated the Secretary‑General’s warning of the humanitarian consequences resulting from failing to address the funding shortfall of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
She further noted the United Nations long‑stated position that all settlements are illegal under international law and must cease, urging Israel to cease the demolition of Bedouin properties as part of an effort to displace them. She reiterated United Nations calls on Israel to cease the demolition of Palestinian property and efforts to relocate Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank. Such actions undermine the two‑State solution.
Ms. DiCarlo added that the status quo must be preserved at the Holy Sites, stressing the need to end the Israeli occupation and achieve two States, where both Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace.
“With the celebration of Eid al‑Adha this week, and the Jewish holidays approaching, I urge all to do their part to avoid provocations at Jerusalem’s Holy Sites,” she said.
The meeting began at 10:01 a.m. and ended at 10:16 a.m.