HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES

MONDAY, 24 MAY 2021

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OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
On the situation in Gaza, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) tells us that the ceasefire has held since it went into effect on Friday. It is critical that all parties to the hostilities work to maintain it.
Routine life is being restored throughout Gaza. Some of the main roads have been made passable, and the authorities are fixing damaged electrical lines, water and wastewater networks.

Today, the Erez crossing is open for international humanitarian personnel. Regarding the Kerem Shalom crossing, no trucks containing humanitarian goods have crossed into Gaza today, or commercial goods, we’re told. Israeli authorities have given the UN a ‘green light’ to use the crossing for the passage of humanitarian goods but there seems to be a lack of clarity on the kinds of goods that can cross at this point, though we are in constant contact with the relevant Israeli authorities to try to clarify this.

Meanwhile, Lynn Hastings, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, spent the weekend in Gaza, speaking with people who she said had endured unimaginable suffering over the eleven days of hostilities.
In a statement, she said she met with several families that have been deeply impacted by the latest round of fighting. One message she heard repeatedly is that people in Gaza are traumatised more than ever. The intense strikes were without pause; too many homes were lost and loved ones gone. Many people told her that they feel helpless and have no longer any hope.

As a reminder, in the coming days, we expect a joint humanitarian appeal to be launched, either likely Wednesday or Thursday.

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  For the last two days, settlers invaded again the Al Aqsa Mosque right in front of [inaudible] eyes and protected by the Israeli security forces.  Are you aware of that?  And why there was no mention of that?  Why there was no statement?  Isn’t that violation of the kind of terms of the ceasefire, also?

Spokesman:  I… sorry.  I could hear every other word, but I think I know what you were talking about.  We did see some of the very disturbing images that came out of what happened on Al Aqsa, Temple Mount area.  It is very clear to us that there should be no violence in that area, that religious sites need to be respected and that the status quo needs to be respected.

Question:  And my second question… can you hear me?

Spokesman:  Yes, go ahead.

Question:  Okay.  On 30 April, the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Racism and Racial Discrimination accepted the complaints submitted by Palestine in April 2018.  Now, this Committee is entitled, and it will, I think, start re… investigation of racial discrimination and racism con… undertaken by the authorities in Israel.  Are you aware of that?  And what is your comment on that?

Spokesman:  No, I’m not aware of the decision taken by that Committee, but I’ll… we can look.

Correspondent:  Please do.  And I will ask again about it.  Thank you.  [cross talk]

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For information media. Not an official record.