UNRWA suspends emergency food aid in Gaza
By MELISSA RADLER
Blaming Israeli restrictions at the Karni commercial crossing, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) suspended emergency food aid for 600,000 Palestinian in Gaza, the agency announced Thursday.
"If the new restrictions in Gaza continue, I fear we could see real hunger emerge for the first time in two generations," UNRWA commission-general Peter Hansen said in a press release.
Israel has increased security measures in Gaza following an increase in terrorist attacks, including a double suicide attack in Ashdod carried out by Palestinians who arrived at their target via a Gaza cargo container, and a March 6 gun and bomb attack at the Erez crossing that killed two Palestinian policemen.
A joint statement last issued by seven UN agencies warned that humanitarian aid to more than 1.3 million Palestinians in Gaza would be cut back or halted if Israel did not ease up on restrictions.
"Israel's legitimate and serious security concerns will not be served by hindering the emergency relief work of the United Nations," Hansen said. He noted that an 11,000-ton food delivery from the Ashdod port was halted in order to prevent a bottleneck, and prohibitive costs, on the journey to Gaza, and that UNRWA's stocks of rice, flour and cooking oil have been fully depleted.