12 Apr 2024, 21:35

UN wants IDF hotline for Gaza aid

GENEVA, April  12, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - The United Nations needs a direct

hotline to Israeli forces fighting in Gaza to combat mistrust and deliver aid
safely and effectively, the outgoing UN humanitarian coordinator insisted

Rather than going through liaison bodies, the UN and other humanitarian
actors "need to be speaking to people who are firing guns", Jamie McGoldrick
told a press briefing in Geneva.

The Israel Defence Forces and humanitarian groups in Gaza need to
understand each other better, he said following a final visit to the
Palestinian territory at the end of a three-month posting as interim
humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian territories.

"If we have a serious security incident, we don't have a hotline," he said,
speaking by video-link from Jerusalem.

"The IDF have never worked with humanitarian organisers before in this type
of environment. They don't understand how we function, they don't understand
our language and what our purpose is. And we don't understand their

"There's a degree of mistrust and misunderstanding that we have to address.
"We want to work with them differently."

He said agencies had been warning Israel about the flawed notification
system before the April 1 fatal attack on staff from the World Central Kitchen
(WCK) charity.

"We've been asking for a couple of things since day one," McGoldrick said.

"We don't deal directly with the IDF. We need to be speaking to people who
are firing guns and controlling weaponry and we have to build up an

"The deconfliction system and the notification system are not fit for

"We have to have a hotline and the ability to speak to them."
Since the WCK attack, which killed seven aid workers and triggered an
international outcry, McGoldrick said: "I don't think there's been any notable
improvement in terms of our ability to move around", and humanitarian workers
"fear for their own safety".

McGoldrick met this week with Major General Yaron Finkelman, head of the
IDF Southern Command to try to straighten out some problems.
"We pressed the point that we have to have a system that allows us to be
safe," he said.

McGoldrick said that in the weeks ahead, "if we don't have the chance to
expand the delivery of aid into all parts of Gaza, but particularly to the
north, then we're going to face a catastrophe".

The war began with Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack against Israel
which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to
Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,634 people in Gaza,
mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.



  • Latest News
  • Most View