UN experts warn that Palestinians face “grave risk of genocide”
Image via UN on X
In a stark assessment of the horrific situation unfolding in Gaza the United Nations has said its experts "remain convinced that the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide." (See the list of experts here)
"The time for action is now. Israel’s allies also bear responsibility and must act now to prevent its disastrous course of action,” they said.
They further added that “The Israeli airstrike on a residential complex in the Jabalia refugee camp is a brazen violation of international law – and a war crime. Attacking a camp sheltering civilians including women and children is a complete breach of the rules of proportionality and distinction between combatants and civilians."
“All signs are that we have reached a breaking point,” the experts warned, pointing to images of people desperately grabbing flour and other essentials from a UN warehouse on Sunday (29 October), alarming news of children being forced to drink sea water in the absence of clean water, distressing reports of patients including children undergoing surgery without anesthetics, and persons with disabilities and older persons displaced and living in tents because houses have been turned to rubble.
“The situation in Gaza has reached a catastrophic tipping point."
“Water is essential to human life and today, 2 million Gazans are struggling to find drinking water,” they added.
The UN humanitarian coordination affairs office OCHA said that according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, 8,805 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October, including at least 3,648 children and 2,187 women, and some 22,240 have been injured.
The UN human rights office OHCHR noted on Wednesday that given the high number of civilian deaths and injuries in Gaza “and the scale of the destruction following Israeli airstrikes on Jabalia refugee camp, we have serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes."
They also stated that "in a blow to scores of chronically ill patients, Gaza’s main cancer treatment centre, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, ran out of fuel and was forced to stop most of its activities. The lives of some 70 patients are in danger, OCHA wrote on social platform X on Thursday.
OCHA also sounded the alarm over reports that the Al Hilo Hospital, also in Gaza city, was reportedly struck by shelling Wednesday night. “The hospital had absorbed and replaced Shifa hospital’s maternity ward, which is being used now to treat the wounded,” OCHA said.
Currently, 14 out of 35 hospitals across Gaza are not functioning."
Meanwhile Al Jazeera reports that the "UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the Israeli offensive in northern Gaza “is impeding the delivery of humanitarian aid to about 300,000 displaced people”.
With outrage growing in the US and around the world Common Dreams reports that "Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin on Thursday became the first U.S. senator to call for a cease-fire in Gaza and Israel, joining the head of the United Nations, human rights organizations, and nearly two dozen House progressives."