Israel still imposing ‘unlawful’ restrictions on Gaza aid, UN rights office says

By Thomson Reuters Apr 16, 2024 | 4:48 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) – Israel is still imposing “unlawful” restrictions on humanitarian relief for Gaza, the U.N. human rights office said on Tuesday, despite assertions from Israel and others that restrictions have eased.

Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip triggered by Hamas’ cross-border attacks on Oct. 7 has turned much of the Gaza strip into a wasteland, with hundreds of thousands of people now displaced and crowded into the southern corner of the enclave.

The amount of aid now entering Gaza is disputed, with Israel and Washington saying aid flows have risen in recent days but U.N. agencies say it is still far below bare minimum levels required to meet basic needs.

“Israel continues to impose unlawful restrictions on the entry and distribution of humanitarian assistance, and to carry out widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the U.N. human rights office, at a press briefing in Geneva, reiterating calls for unfettered aid access.

Israel, which denies hindering humanitarian relief to Gaza, has faced increased international pressure to let more supplies into the Gaza Strip since it hit an aid convoy on April 1, killing international relief workers.

“Those delivering or trying to access humanitarian assistance must never be attacked,” added Shamdasani.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Miranda Murray and Rachel More)