UNRWA: Nearly 800,000 now displaced from Rafah

Following evacuation orders demanding people to flee to so-called safe zones, people mainly went to the middle areas in Gaza and Khan Younis, including to destroyed buildings, according to UNRWA…reports Asian Lite News

Roughly 800,000 people have been forced to flee Rafah since Israel launched a military operation in the area on 6 May, the head of UN Palestine refugee agency UNRWA said on Saturday in a renewed appeal for greater protection of civilians in Gaza, safe humanitarian access and, ultimately, a ceasefire.

“Once again, nearly half of the population of Rafah or 800,000 people are on the road,” Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini wrote in post on the social media platform X. formerly Twitter.

He said that following evacuation orders demanding people to flee to so-called safe zones, people mainly went to the middle areas in Gaza and Khan Younis, including to destroyed buildings.

“The claim that people in Gaza can move to ‘safe’ or ‘humanitarian’ zones is false. Each time, it puts the lives of civilians at serious risk,” Lazzarini stated.

“Gaza does not have any safe zones,” he added. “No place is safe. No one is safe.”

False accusations against UNRWA: Jordan

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has said that anyone claiming the situation in the Gaza Strip is improving is not telling the truth, and accusations against the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have been proven false.

He made the remarks at a joint press conference in Amman with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, during which he said on Sunday that UNRWA is fulfilling its duty in the Palestinian enclave despite the circumstances of the Gaza conflict, Xinhua news agency reported.

Safadi confirmed that Jordan continues to stand by UNRWA, the role of which cannot be dispensed with or replaced by any other entity, according to a statement by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.

He stressed that the investigation conducted by an independent committee confirmed that UNRWA has all the tools to ensure that its actions adhere to all principles, ethics, and charters of the United Nations.

“The accusations have been proven false and the attempt to politically assassinate UNRWA has failed,” said Safadi.

For his part, Lazzarini thanked Jordan for its support for the agency and its solidarity with Palestinian refugees.

Lazzarini stressed that despite all the international community’s calls, Israel invaded and attacked the southernmost Gaza city of Rafah on May 6, with half of Gaza’s population forced to flee.

He pointed out that the two main crossings in the south, Rafah Crossing, and Kerem Shalom Crossing, have turned into conflict zones, and there are currently no crossings to transport aid across the borders.

Lazzarini noted that “198 UNRWA employees were killed, 160 sites were completely or partially destroyed, and employees were arrested, tortured, and forced to confess to crimes they did not commit”.

Egypt demands opening of all Israeli crossings for aid

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed on Friday the need for Israel to open all land crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip for full, safe, and unhindered access to humanitarian and relief aid into the war-torn area.

Shoukry made the remarks during a phone conversation with Sigrid Kaag, the United Nations Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The top Egyptian diplomat and the UN official touched on the dangers of Israeli military operations in Rafah, as well as the Israeli control over the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing.

They also stressed the need to ensure safe conditions for humanitarian aid to enter the Rafah crossing and end military operations in its vicinity.

Shoukry affirmed the importance of Israel respecting and protecting humanitarian workers, not targeting the headquarters of international relief agencies, as well as ensuring the access and freedom of movement of relief crews in the Gaza Strip.

On May 7, Israel’s military started “a precise counterterrorism operation” in Rafah and assumed “operational control” over the Rafah crossing in Gaza. Since then, the crossing has been blocked against the movement of travelers and trucks carrying aid to more than 2 million Palestinians in the enclave.

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