'Some progress' made in negotiations on allowing fuel into Gaza, UN aid chief says

Israel banned entry of fuel into the enclave on October 7, saying it would enable Hamas to continue its attacks

Palestinians in Gaza who have fled their homes due to Israeli strikes receive aid distributed by the UN. Reuters
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The UN's aid chief said on Friday that there has been “some progress” in ongoing negotiations to allow the entry of fuel into the Gaza Strip for the first time since the conflict started on October 7.

“I heard just this morning as I came in, there has been some progress on allowing some more fuel in through these negotiations,” Martin Griffiths said during a briefing at UN headquarters on the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Expressing hopes that he would “see that confirmed during today”, Mr Griffiths stressed the importance of continuing the ongoing negotiations involving the UN, Israel, Egypt and the US – though he admitted such talks “are not enough”.

“Fuel is essential for the functioning of institutions, of hospitals, of the distribution of water, of electricity. We must allow these supplies reliably, repetitively and dependably into Gaza,” said the UN official.

Mr Griffiths noted that 14 out of 35 hospitals in Gaza that can accept patients are currently not functioning.

Israel banned the entry of fuel into Gaza on October 7, saying it would enable Hamas to continue its attacks on Israeli citizens.

Mr Griffiths also insisted on the establishment of humanitarian pauses to let aid into the besieged Gaza Strip.

“We must have those pauses … If we do not have pauses, we will not keep up with the needs of the people of Gaza. And the Israelis are also caught up in those areas of conflict.”

He noted that the regular flow of 500 lorries carrying aid entering Gaza per day has been drastically reduced. Now, a day in which 100 lorries are able to enter is considered productive.

“We are not keeping up” with Gazan needs, Mr Griffiths said.

Reflecting on his recent visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, the UN official described the events of the past 26 days as “nothing short of what I think I would call a blight on our collective conscience”.

He noted the images from Gaza reminded him of the early days of the Syrian war, when towns like Homs were “razed to the ground”.

The UN humanitarian office said on Friday it would cost an estimated $1.2 billion to meet the needs of the more than million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank until the end of the year.

Updated: November 03, 2023, 6:03 PM