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Friday, December 8, 2023

War in the Middle East: Winter brings disease

“We don’t have enough resources”: The UN points out the dramatic humanitarian situation in Gaza. Meanwhile, other foreigners were able to leave the country.

Street scene, people transport sacks of flour on a cart

Rafah, South Gaza, November 21, 2023: People with bags of flour distributed by UNRWA Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

BERLIN/TEL AVIV taz | In the Gaza Strip, the flight from the north to the south continues: tens of thousands of people are said to have made their way to the south in the past few days. The supply situation for internally displaced people there is becoming increasingly dramatic. “We currently have 900,000 people in 154 accommodations,” said the spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Adnan Abu Hasna, from Rafah to the taz on Monday.

“We are trying to look after them, but we don’t have enough resources.” Hunger as well as diarrhea and skin diseases spread. Added to this are the beginnings of winter rains. With them comes flooding, which flushes untreated wastewater into the streets from the sewer system, which is no longer functioning in parts.

Very few of the more than two million people in Gaza can leave the coastal area. A total of around 370 people, many with foreign passports, were due to leave during the course of Tuesday, including around 220 Germans, Swedes, Australians, Portuguese and French.

According to Egyptian information, all foreign nationals who want to leave the Gaza Strip should soon have left the Gaza Strip. That’s a total of around 7,000 people. The approximately 240 mostly Israeli hostages are not taken into account in this calculation; However, it became apparent on Tuesday that some of those abducted would be released as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas.

South Africa accuses Israel of “genocide”.

Meanwhile, Israeli government circles continue to consider expelling Palestinians from Gaza. However, the Israeli embassy in Washington made it clear that a controversial opinion article by Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel did not correspond to the government line and that the Likud politician was not part of the war cabinet that is currently making the important decisions in the Gaza war.

Gamliel had it on Sunday in the Jerusalem Post against the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the West Bank with limited power, also playing a role in Gaza after the war. It proposed instead to “promote a voluntary relocation of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip on humanitarian grounds.” Third countries should accept all those wishing to leave the country as part of a “global refugee resettlement program”. The minister did not mention what would happen to those people who did not want to leave the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa chose sharp words for Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, with which the country is reacting to the unprecedented Hamas massacre on October 7th, at a meeting of a special kind: at a virtual special summit of the Brics states, he accused Israel on Tuesday War crimes and “genocide”.

The Brics Group currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. But the heads of state and government of Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also took part in the special summit. The latter were invited in the summer to join the previous five-party alliance in January. Many observers saw the expansion to include a number of authoritarian states as a positioning of the Brics group against the perceived dominance of the West.

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