UN calls for assisting Gaza, as US discusses blocking Palestinian factions’ access to funds

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings speaks (Emmanule Dunand - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  June 10, 2021

The United Nations urged the world to increase aid to Gaza as Palestinian officials warned of a humanitarian and health disaster in the Strip. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the need to establish a mechanism to prevent Palestinian factions from accessing funds being sent for reconstruction.

During a press conference in Gaza yesterday, Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Palestine, called on the international community and global institutions to increase their efforts to help Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Hastings said that the construction materials and aid currently being delivered to Gaza make up only 50 per cent of what was flowing into the Strip before the recent Israeli aggression.

The UN official also called for allowing the wounded and those in need of medical care, especially those who have cancer and chronic illnesses, to leave the Gaza Strip for treatment abroad.

Al-Jazeera correspondent Wael al-Dahdouh said Hastings’ call comes as the occupation government has so far dithered on all the conditions of the truce agreement that was reached after its recent assault on Gaza.

The correspondent added that Israelis’ stalling attempts are closely related to indirect negotiations with the Palestinian factions through Egyptian and international mediators, noting that the situation has now returned to revolving around linking facilitating reconstruction with the prisoners’ file.

He added that the occupation is withholding fuel needed to operate the Gaza Strip’s only power plant, exacerbating the electricity crisis.

In addition to the UN official’s statements, head of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), Mazen Ghoneim, warned of a serious humanitarian disaster and the spread of epidemics and diseases as a result of sewage leaks due to the deliberate Zionist targeting of the infrastructure in Gaza.

Ghoneim said that the occupation had partially blocked residents’ access to water, adding that the PWA is working on an emergency plan to ensure that all desalination and sewage treatment plants are operating.

He explained that the direct and emergency damage exceeds $16 million.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said America was working to prevent aid provided for the reconstruction of Gaza reaching Hamas and other Palestinian factions that “seek to destroy Israel”.