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Over 75,000 displaced in Gaza due to Israeli aggression, UN agency says

A targeted building is hit during an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 20, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the Israeli regime’s ongoing onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip has left more than 75,000 Palestinians displaced in the besieged coastal enclave.

The UN humanitarian said on Thursday that over 75,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced from their homes, 47,000 of them huddling in UN-run schools that have in effect become bomb shelters. Some 28,700 displaced people were staying with host families.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for OCHA, also warned that the overall situation across the occupied territories has remained alarming. 

"Hostilities between Israeli forces and ... (resistance) groups in Gaza continued for the ninth day yesterday, but at a lesser intensity. On the other hand, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces across the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, intensified," he added, renewing the appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire.

"All parties to the fighting must agree to a humanitarian pause until a ceasefire is reached, to ensure access into and out of Gaza for humanitarian staff and critical goods, and allow for safe emergency relief distribution inside Gaza."

Since May 10, Israel has killed 230 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including at least 65 children and 39 women, and wounded more than 1,700 others. The regime’s bombing campaign has caused widespread destruction in the besieged enclave.

The total casualties in the West Bank as of Wednesday were 25 deaths, including four children, and 6,309 injuries.

In response to Israel’s raids, resistance fighters have fired thousands of rockets into the occupied territories.

The raids on Gaza came after weeks of Israeli violence against Palestinians at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, coupled with attempts to force Palestinians in the Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah out of their homes to build more illegal settlements.

UN rights council set to discuss Israeli violations 

The UN Human Rights Council said Thursday it would hold a special session on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The planned session on May 27 will address "the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem," the Geneva-based council's 47 member states said in a statement.

The session was requested by Pakistan, which is the coordinator of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Palestinian authorities.

 Thursday's announcement came as Israeli airstrikes continued to hammer residential areas of Gaza on Thursday.

WHO appeals for humanitarian pause

Ahmed al-Mandhari, the World Health Organization's regional director, called on Thursday for a humanitarian pause in Israel's bombardment of Gaza to allow access for aid as the health system in the Palestinian enclave faces critical shortages.

"The closure of entry and exit points for patients and humanitarian health teams and the severe restrictions on the entry of medical supplies are exacerbating this public health crisis," Mandhari said.

"The severity of injuries is straining an already overwhelmed health system that is facing critical shortages of essential medicines and supplies while also battling the COVID-19 pandemic."

WHO head for the West Bank and Gaza Rik Peeperkorn also said that a United Nations convoy to ship humanitarian aid, including 10,000 Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines, into Gaza and to transfer wounded people out was ready to enter as soon as it could get access.

"Until there is ceasefire agreed, all parties to the conflict must agree to a humanitarian pause to ensure access into and out of Gaza," Peeperkorn said.

A top official at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said Palestinians are facing growing shortages of vital commodities, including food, fuel, and medicine in the Gaza Strip, adding that the already dire humanitarian situation in the besieged territory will dramatically worsen if Israel continues to bomb the enclave.

Matthias Schmale, the director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, stressed that the most urgent problem is the displacement of Palestinians, including around 50,000 people, who have left their homes near the fence between Gaza and the occupied territories due to the fear of an Israeli ground invasion.

Large protests have been held throughout the Muslim world in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are under Israel’s heavy bombardment in Gaza as well as the regime’s widespread violence in the occupied territories. 

Protesters in Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Tunisia and Turkey have taken part in demonstrations that were held in recent days to condemn the Israeli regime’s atrocities against yjr Palestinians.

In a show of support for the Palestinian nation, a group of Iranian protesters gathered in the capital Tehran Wednesday to denounce Israel’s relentless attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Imam Hussein square in Tehran, holding banners and placards in condemnation of Israeli crimes.

They chanted slogans against the Israeli regime and its closest ally, the United States.

Iran has called on the international community, particularly Muslim countries, to take decisive action against Israel’s attacks and atrocities.

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