UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk has underscored the extreme scarcity of food, fuel and medical supplies in Gaza.
Speaking at the UN in Geneva, Turk warned of the consequences of a “complete collapse” of water, sewage and healthcare services.
“Massive outbreaks of infectious disease, and hunger, seem inevitable,” he said.
Turk also spoke about the increase in settler attacks on Palestinians and once again called for a humanitarian ceasefire.
Commenting on the Israeli army dropping leaflets on Khan Younis ordering Palestinians to move to the western side of the city, Turk noted, “We have been absolutely clear that at the current moment, we do not consider any part of Gaza to be safe.”
He added that the Israeli army is obligated to ensure that those who have been evacuated get an effective warning and are able to find safety, shelter and food.
The Israeli air force dropped leaflets overnight on Thursday, November 16, 2023, in eastern areas of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, telling people to evacuate to shelters for their own safety; suggesting imminent military operations in the area.
Similar leaflets had been dropped about two weeks earlier.
Tens of thousands of people displaced from the north have sought refuge in Khan Younis, causing severe overcrowding amid shortages of food and water.
Mentioning the neighbourhoods of Khuzaa, Abassan, Bani Suhaila and al-Qarara, the leaflets read, “For your safety, you need to evacuate your places of residence immediately and head to known shelters.”
“Anyone near terrorists or their facilities puts their life at risk, and every house used by terrorists will be targeted,” it added.
Also in his address, the UN human rights Chief denounced international law violations in the ongoing war in Gaza.
“Extremely serious allegations of multiple and profound breaches of international humanitarian law, whoever commits them, demand rigorous investigation and full accountability.
“Where national authorities prove unwilling or unable to carry out such investigations, and where there are contested narratives on particularly significant incidents, international investigation is called for,”Volker Turk
Meanwhile, Israeli forces’ raid of al-Shifa Hospital, which began on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, continued for its second day.
The Israeli government and army officials iterated their long-voiced claims that Hamas was using the hospital as a command centre.
On Wednesday, the army published a video showing three duffle bags, each containing an assault rifle, grenades, Hamas uniforms and flak jackets that it claimed to have found inside the hospital compound.
Hamas rejected Israeli claims of the weapons being uncovered during Wednesday’s raid.
Additionally, Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, said what Israel showed in the video could easily have been planted by the army itself.
UN Unable To Curb Israel-Hamas Conflict
As the UN rights chief spoke on the situation in Gaza, Mahjoob Zweiri, a Professor at Qatar University, argued that the international body has had no ability to stop the conflict.
“We know that the United Nations is in a way controlled by specific countries, and those countries accepted the Israeli narrative, they accepted the victimisation by Israelis, and they basically imposed their impact on the UN,” Zweiri disclosed to a news agency.
“What we see in the al-Shifa complex is another story about this lack of ability of international community and organisations, they have no response, they have no tools. Why do those organisations exist?” he added.
Zweiri also voiced doubts about how effective the UN Security Council resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses” will be.