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UN Halts Relief Work in Gaza; Driver Killed by Israeli Fire; Starvation Looms for Civilians
From a Thursday, January 8, 2009 entry on Informed Comment a blog run by Juan Cole
UN Halts Relief Work in Gaza;
Driver Killed by Israeli Fire;
Starvation Looms for Civilians
' "The IDF knows all of our movements, and coordinates. Despite that we are still coming under attack," says Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). "Until the [Israeli Defense Forces] can guarantee the safety and security of our staff, everything is suspended."'
It is hard not to suspect that the Israeli army doesn't actually want the aid workers in Gaza (they have already excluded reporters) because of what the workers find when they look into the rubble of buildings the army has hit. AP writes:
' During a three-hour pause in the fighting to allow in food and fuel and let medics collect the dead, nearly three dozen bodies were found beneath the rubble of bombed out buildings in Gaza City. Many of the dead were in the same neighborhood where the international Red Cross said rescuers discovered young children too weak to stand who had stayed by their dead mothers. The aid group accused Israel of an "unacceptable" delay in allowing workers to reach the area."
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has admitted that pictures of civilian deaths coming out of Gaza generate pressure on Israel for a cease-fire, which the government is resisting for as long as possible.
Half of Gazans are children, and half of Gazans depend on external food aid. Even with that aid, about 17% of Gazans are malnourished. If the UN doesn't deliever food supplies, you are talking about vulnerable populations facing starvation.
posted by Juan Cole @ 1/08/2009 05:32:00 PM