The ONU “will not be part” of any forced displacement of Palestinians currently living in Rafah, the Secretary-General’s spokesman, Antonio Guterres, declared on Monday, while stating that there is no safe place in Gaza for them to go.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his army to prepare for an offensive in the southern city of Gaza, where approximately 1.4 million Palestinians fleeing fighting in other areas of the territory are taking refuge, according to the United Nations.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas was sparked by the Palestinian militant group’s Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, which killed more than 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Netanyahu pledged to provide a “safe passage” for the departure of civilians from Rafah, as he declared over the weekend in an interview with ABC News, although without specifying where the large number of people concentrated near the border with Egypt would go.
When asked if the United Nations would participate in such an evacuation mission, Guterres spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that the world body wanted to “ensure that whatever happens is done in full respect of international law, in full respect of the protection of civilians”.
“We will not be part of the forced displacement of peopleDujarric said. “As things stand, there is currently no safe place in Gaza”.
“You can’t send people back to areas that are riddled with unexploded ordnance, not to mention a lack of shelter.“added the spokesperson, referring to parts of the northern and central Gaza Strip.
He reiterated that the humanitarian aid entering Gaza remains insufficient, and warned that the available supplies “They can last us only days”.
Last week, Dujarric had already stressed the need to guarantee the “protection” of the Palestinians concentrated in Rafah.
Israel has carried out a relentless bombing and ground offensive in Gaza since the October 7 attack.
The health ministry of the Hamas-ruled territory says the offensive has killed at least 28,340 people, mostly women and children.
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