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Hope grows for UN mission to ‘flood’ Gaza with food, despite fears of imminent Rafah invasion

And that’s the combined parts of Israeli civil society and the politicians. And then you’ve got the army, the army themselves, the IDF, we’ve got the coordination liaison administration, and you’ve got COGAT, which is the body we deal with on a regular basis. So there’re many fragmented parts.And I think there’s a meaningfulness there and maybe a significance there that we shouldn’t expect them all to come on stream straight away, but we can start to work on them.You’ve also got a war cabinet made up of people who have very serious war aims after the 7th of October, tragic events. And then you have civil society who are pushing very hard for hostages to be released.And I think it’s now we are starting see that landing within the different parts of Israel, to understand that they have to do more with us and allow us to do more for the people of Gaza, and they shouldn’t be suspicious and mistrustful.

Jamie McGoldrick - Ad Interim Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian Territory meeting Palestinian Red Crescent Representatives in Rafah, Southern Gaza

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

We should be getting 30 to 50 trucks a day. And then in the north, Ashdod, the very well-functioning modern port, we are asking for that to be opened up again. And that could again bring us in another 100 trucks a day.And I’ve seen myself in Kamal Adwan’s hospital two weeks ago the depths and the direness of people’s suffering on the children’s ward was just something that should not happen in this day and age.UN News: We will have to start with the reports emerging about Israel’s troop withdrawal from southern Gaza. What’s your comment on that?And that means that some of the food isn’t getting to all the people that should get it. And so, it’s important for us to stabilize things. And the way we stabilize things is just to swamp the place, to flood the place with food everywhere.Demonetize it, take away the value that’s there. And so that that state stability would then allow us to have a much easier way to deliver assistance.UN News/Ziad Taleb

Children fill containers with drinking water in the Al-Shaboura neighborhood in Rafah, southern Gaza.
UN News: You mentioned that Israel has made several commitments to increase aid to Gaza in response also to the UN’s repeated requests. You stated seven commitments. Can you please explain to us the most crucial of those?

UN News: You mentioned that Israel has made several commitments to increase aid to Gaza in response also to the UN’s repeated requests. You stated seven commitments. Can you please explain to us the most crucial of those?

Jamie McGoldrick: Well, I think that what we face right now is a situation where it’s very unstable and very hostile military activity there. Many millions of people are suffering. Everybody in the Gaza Strip needs some sort of support from us.

A tent built with canned food cans in the middle of a makeshift shelter in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza.Jamie McGoldrick: “Well, I think that the most crucial of them is is getting more openings and more pipelines into Gaza. I mean, right now we’re very restricted in terms of what we’re able to bring in.And I think we just have to be in a situation to recognize that for them, the war is not finished, for them the end game is not yet there. And I think the withdrawal from Khan Younis is to prepare them for what’s next.Mr. McGoldrick said the combination of political and domestic pressure and growing international condemnation following the killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers together with months of UN advocacy, should translate into increased aid for desperate Gazans.And so, we have to find a way of convincing them or getting them to understand. And slowly but surely that has happened. And I think it comes as a direct result of the evidence that we’ve shown that more children than there should have, have died in the north of malnutrition and emaciation.UN News: When you say we know that the Rafah incursion is coming, you don’t have any hope that maybe this will be averted, that the Israeli side has started to listen and to respond positively to world pressure?UN News: So basically, you’re in a race against time?They should understand why we’re there and what we’re trying to do and it’s only to save lives and nothing else.And tragically, that’s only come as a result of the very serious incident that took place the other day with seven World Central Kitchen people who were killed and also political – a push by President Biden and phone calls to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Equally, we’re pushing with the Israelis to find out when can we get the Ashdod port opened up for more supplies and directly into Erez, or one of the other northern crossing points, not having to come south.Children fill containers with drinking water in the Al-Shaboura neighborhood in Rafah, southern Gaza.Because right now our planning horizons are two to three days, and we only have two or three days stock in country at any one point in time so we have to change that – the instability, the lawlessness, the security vacuum – and have for ourselves a massive amount of food available because we know the Rafah incursion’s coming and we need to be able to pre-position stocks. And right now, we can’t do that.So, all of those things are real big issues for us, and we really don’t have the capacity and resources and ability right now. And we’re really struggling to get prepared. So hopefully with all these pipelines opening, all of these new openings in the North – we can start to swamp and flood the place with food and other items, we can get ourselves ready for whatever comes next.UN News: You mentioned that the Israel in recent days has acknowledged the immense scale of suffering in Gaza and its own ability to facilitate the increase of aid. Is that another argument that the UN actually was standing ready to do everything it can but there were so many constraints? And in your assessment wasn’t that clear to the Israeli authorities before the immense suffering and its ability to facilitate?And for us we don’t play a part of any movement of population. But we have to be ready for the possibility of people leaving Rafah, because there’s very few places for them to go. And for us, we really struggle to pre-position enough material, non-food items, shelter, material and water, especially at this time of year when the weather is becoming so hot and the ability to have mobile health support and protection.


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