UN Halts Gaza Food Distribution

Israel’s reluctance to allow emergency supplies into the sealed off Gaza Strip forced the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to halt distribution of food to 750,000 people on Thursday, November 13.

"We have run out [of food aid] this evening," UNRWA Gaza chief John Ging told Reuters.

"Unless the crossing points open… we won’t be able to get that food into Gaza."

Israel had promised to allow 30 trucks to deliver supplies to Gaza Thursday but backtracked on its decision.

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said a truck loaded with aid was turned back from Kerem Shalom crossing.

Israel has not allowed the UN and other aid agencies to bring supplies into the impoverished costal territory since November 4, when its troops stormed their way into Gaza and killed six Hamas members.

It has also kept its commercial crossings with Gaza closed for the tenth day, cutting off EU-funded fuel supplies to Gaza’s sole power plant.

"It is completely shut down," Palestinian Energy Authority official Qanaan Obeid said.

The plant provides between a quarter and a third of Gaza’s power while the rest come from Egyptian and Israeli national grids.

A group of senior European diplomats and Western journalists have been prevented by Israeli forces from entering Gaza earlier today.

Israel has been closing the Gaza Strip’s exits to the outside world since Hamas took control of the territory in June of last year.

Collective Punishment

International aid agencies slammed Israel’s oppressive measures as collective punishment.

"Every day the situation is getting more and more precarious for Gazans," regretted Katharina Ritz, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) mission chief.

Gunness, the UNRWA Gaza chief, echoed the same concerns.

"Pushing people to the brink of desperation every few months and forcing UNRWA into yet another cycle of crisis management is not in the interest of anyone who believes in peace, moderation and stability."

Earlier this month, European lawmakers denounced the West’s shameful silence over the chocking, months-long Israeli siege.

"Our governments are shameful in that they don’t hold up international law and say to Israel the siege is illegal and must be broken," British MP Clare Short.

"The whole of the EU is colluding to what is taking place in Gaza to our shame."

(IslamOnline.net and agencies)

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