During a press conference in Geneva on Friday, Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO), stated that in Israel, 1,400 people have lost their lives and in Gaza, over 9,000 have been killed according to the authorities controlled by Hamas. Lindmeier also reported that 70% of the casualties are women and children.
The ones suffering are the innocent civilians. We should consider the people who have been harmed, he urged.
The principle of proportionality in attacks is being disregarded.
UN human rights office (OHCHR) spokesperson Liz Throssell highlighted concerns over Israeli airstrikes on Jabalia and Al Bureij refugee camps in recent days with dozens of residential buildings destroyed, as well as the high number of casualties reported in the enclave and the “reported use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in some of the most densely populated areas in Gaza”.
She expressed apprehensions about the lack of respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality from both parties.
The OHCHR has previously stated that the recent Israeli airstrikes on Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza have resulted in a significant number of civilian casualties and damage, which may be considered as disproportionate and potentially classified as war crimes.
The captives need to be set free.
Ms. Throssell repeated her plea for Palestinian armed groups to cease their indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel and to release all hostages being held in violation of international humanitarian law.
As per Israeli officials, there are currently 242 individuals being detained in Gaza, including both Israelis and foreign citizens. News sources suggest that approximately 30 of the captives are minors.
The spokesperson for OHCHR also reminded the de facto authorities of their responsibility to uphold and safeguard the human rights of the people in Gaza.
She emphasized that deliberately placing military targets alongside civilians or individuals not participating in war with the goal of preventing attacks on military targets is a severe violation of international humanitarian law.
Israel has claimed that Hamas utilizes civilians as protection and utilizes hospitals and other civilian structures for military actions.
Funds urgently needed
Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), announced on Friday that an updated urgent request for aid will be issued on Monday for the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This comes as the situation there continues to worsen.
On October 12th, a request for $294 million was made to help 1.3 million people. However, according to Mr. Laerke, this amount will not be sufficient. Currently, 2.7 million people in Gaza and 500,000 in the occupied West Bank are in need of aid for basic necessities such as food, water, healthcare, shelter, and hygiene. The estimated cost for meeting these needs is $1.2 billion.
According to Mr. Laerke, only 25% of the initial flash appeal has been funded. The top three contributors are the United States, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and Japan – a multi-donor fund for humanitarian aid.
Humanitarian pauses, key
Mr. Laerke emphasized the importance of humanitarian pauses in order to provide assistance. He highlighted that similar “deconfliction mechanisms” have been utilized in various regions such as northwest Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
He stated that it is within our capabilities to establish and support such systems, which would involve an agreement among those involved in the conflict to cease fighting.
‘Ease the suffering’
Once again, Mr. Laerke emphasized that our capability to alleviate the hardships of the Palestinian people is reliant on the accessibility of fuel.
Since the crisis began, Gaza has not received any fuel and OCHA reports that this has caused severe shortages. As a result, water wells and desalination plants in the southern region of Gaza were forced to cease operations on Thursday. OCHA also noted that there is uncertainty regarding access to water for residents in the northern part of Gaza.
Mr. Laerke emphasized the importance of opening the border crossings between Israel and Gaza, specifically mentioning the Kerem Shalom crossing, which has been a vital entry point for goods prior to the recent escalation. This will be crucial.
Up to this point, assistance has only been permitted to enter through the Rafah crossing from Egypt. A total of 374 trucks have entered since deliveries resumed on October 21. On Thursday, the biggest convoy, consisting of 102 trucks, arrived. According to OCHA, the aid that is currently available is not enough to meet people’s fundamental needs.
Increasing number of fatalities in the West Bank.
During the period of October 7th to November 2nd, Ms. Throssell reported that a total of 132 Palestinians, including 41 children, were killed in the occupied West Bank. This consisted of 124 deaths caused by Israeli forces and eight by settlers. Two Israeli soldiers also lost their lives.
It was emphasized that the Israeli military has been using more aggressive methods and weapons in their law enforcement actions. This was demonstrated by a recent overnight operation, which involved bombing the Jenin refugee camp. It was also noted that international human rights law dictates how law enforcement should be carried out and prohibits the intentional use of deadly force unless it is necessary to protect human life.
in West Bank
There has been a significant increase in violent actions by settlers in the West Bank.
According to the spokesperson for the OHCHR, incidents of settler violence have reached an all-time high and have significantly increased in recent times. On average, there have been seven attacks by settlers per day in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, with over a third of them involving the use of guns.
Ms. Throssell expressed concern over the apparent cooperation and collaboration between Israeli settlers and the Israeli forces, as well as the lack of consequences for their actions in numerous incidents where settlers were seen wearing uniforms and carrying military weapons.
She stated that while many settlers are taking part in the daily violence, the Israeli forces have only arrested two of them since October 7 for attacking Palestinians and causing the death of a Palestinian farmer.
The use of violence has resulted in the displacement of entire communities from their homes, potentially constituting a violation of “forcible transfer”. In the last week, approximately 1,000 Palestinians from 15 different herding communities in the West Bank have been forced to leave their land.
Arrests and ill-treatment
According to Ms. Throssell, Israeli forces have detained nearly 2,000 Palestinians since 7 October.
“We have been presented with reliable and continuous accounts suggesting a continued rise in the mistreatment of prisoners, which may potentially be considered as acts of torture,” she stated.
Since October 7th, two Palestinians who were arrested have passed away while in custody. The OHCHR has cautioned that these individuals who have been detained “allegedly do not receive fair legal procedures and rights, as mandated by international laws.”
The current number of deaths reported by UNRWA is 72.
The Palestinian aid organization currently employs 13,000 individuals in Gaza. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Israeli bombardment, 72 of these staff members have tragically lost their lives. This is the highest number of casualties the organization has ever experienced in such a short period of time. These individuals dedicated their lives to serving others in need.
The organization has published this footage as a tribute to their deceased coworkers, including Mai Ibaid, who battled muscular dystrophy. She was admitted to college as a computer science major and went on to work as a software developer for UNRWA in the Gaza office. “May they find eternal strength and serenity,” the organization states.