Palestinians Forced into ‘Safe Zone’ Face Nightmare Situation

by | Dec 10, 2023

Palestinians Forced into ‘Safe Zone’ Face Nightmare Situation

by | Dec 10, 2023

screenshot 2023 12 10 154819

A region of Gaza deemed a “safe zone” by Israel amounts to a tent city lacking aid, medical facilities, running water or bathrooms. UN officials say the Israeli destruction of the besieged Palestinian enclave has pushed society to the verge of collapse. 

One such zone has been established in Gaza’s Muwasi region. “The area has no running water or bathrooms, assistance and international humanitarian groups are nowhere to be found, and the tents provide little protection from the coming winter’s cool, rainy weather,” the Associated Press reported, noting that “Some don’t even have enough materials to build a tent.”

Danila Zizi, from Handicap International’s office in the Palestinian territories, said that in Muwasi, “There are no services, there are no schools, there [are] no health services. There is nothing.” Residents told the AP, the lack of basic services was humiliating. “Residents say that one of the most humiliating aspects of life is the lack of privacy and poor hygiene.” The residents added, “There are no toilets, so people relieve themselves wherever they can. Some leave the camp and head to nearby hospitals to use their facilities.”

Along with Muwasi, Israel says there are 150 shelter areas across southern Gaza where Palestinians are safe from Israeli military operations. Martin Griffiths, the head of the UN humanitarian agency said the safe zone proposal will fail and was not established with organizations responsible for bringing aid into Gaza. 

A joint statement signed by the leaders of some of the world’s largest humanitarian groups, including the top UN agencies, Care International, Mercy Corps, and the World Health Organization, said, “Without the right conditions, concentrating civilians in such zones in the context of active hostilities can raise the risk of attack and additional harm.”

The situation for Palestinians in Muwasi is the same faced by many of the 2.3 million residents of Gaza, of which about 75 percent have been displaced. On Friday, the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that children begging for water and people cutting down telephone poles for firewood indicated that “society is about to break down.”

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, warned that the agency’s ability to implement its mandate in Gaza is “severely limited” and that humanitarian assistance is “on the verge of collapse.”

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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