Israel stops fuel, food distribution into Gaza Strip
The United Nations is expected to suspend its food distribution activity to the Gaza Strip after Israel said it would not allow emergency supplies into the Palestinian territory, a UN spokesman said, according to the AP. Israel had initially permitted the UN Relief and Works Agency to send 30 lorries of supplies to Gaza Strip on Thursday but later reversed the agreement, citing a barrage of mortar fire by fighters in the enclave.
"They [Israel] have told us the crossings are closed today. At the end of today we will suspend our food distribution," Chris Gunnes, a spokesman for Unrwa, said on Thursday. "Our warehouses are effectively empty."
Unrwa usually distributes emergency food rations to about 750,000 people in the Gaza Strip. "Pushing people to the brink of desperation every few months and forcing Unrwa into yet another cycle of crisis management, is not in the interest of anyone who believes in peace, moderation and stability," Gunness said.
The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday that Israeli border authorities had turned back its lorries from the Kerem Shalom crossing.
In another development, Israel cut off European Union-funded fuel supplies to Gaza's only power plant on Thursday. "The plant will stop functioning at 6:30pm (1630 GMT) if Israel does not allow the supply of fuel today," Qanaan Obeid, an official from the Palestinian Energy Authority, said.