UN spokesperson holds briefing on latest situation in Gaza

NEW YORK (CIHAN)- A United Nations (UN) spokesperson said on Monday (21 July) that the UN agency charged with ensuring the well-being of Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) is now housing up to 80,000 people in its various shelters and relief centers and UNRWA’s schools, representing about the five percent of the entire population.

Speaking via telephone from Cairo, Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that on the diplomatic front, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Egypt as part of a regional visit to express solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians and help bring about a ceasefire.

He added that the Secretary-General was also there to support the efforts to stop the fighting in Gaza and the rocket attacks in Israel, stressing that Ban “is indeed very grateful to the Government of Egypt, the Egyptian leadership, in mediating a durable ceasefire.”

Dujarric also said “the Secretary-General will stress that there is a need for plan on the aftermath to allow Gaza to breath and heal and focus on recovery and reconstruction.”

Finally, the UN spokesperson added “on the humanitarian front, UNRWA is now housing up to 80,000 Palestinians in its various shelters and relief centers and UNRWA’s schools and that we estimative to be about the 5 percent of the entire population.”

On Sunday evening(20 July), the Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and respect of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.

Following the late-night closed-door emergency meeting, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour told reporters “we were hoping that the Security Council to adopt a resolution to condemn the aggression against our people, to stop this aggression immediately to provide immediate protection for our people.”

He added “but, the fact that the Security Council agreed on the elements that were read to you by the president is a test for Israel if they are going to obey by all these elements and to stop this aggression against our people. The hours and the minutes will reveal whether they will honour and respect this call by the Security Council.”

Also speaking to the press, Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor said “there is no more complicated part of the world than the Middle East. But the solution to the current crisis is very simple: if it is going to be quiet in Israel, it’s going to be quiet in Gaza.”

He stressed “the equation is simple: it’s going to be quiet in Israel, it’s going to be quiet in Gaza.”

Finally, Prosor added “I am asking you: what other nation in the world has an army that supplies food, electricity and medicine to the other side? What other army in history has done this even if the enemy fires indiscriminately into its own citizens?”

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that up to 60 Palestinians are reported to have been killed from Saturday to Sunday, making that 24-hour period the deadliest since the start of the current escalation.

The overall number of displaced people is now reported to have exceeded 100,000, including some 84,000 people sheltering in schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that more than 3,000 Palestinians have been injured.

The main priority for humanitarian agencies continues to be the provision of food, water, mattresses and hygiene items, as well as fuel for essential water, health and sewage facilities.