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17 July 2014
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 17 JULY 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES HUMANITARIAN PAUSE IN GAZA BROKERED BY U.N. ENVOY
In a statement, the Secretary-General
the humanitarian pause in Gaza today and appreciates that it has mostly been respected by all parties. This temporary ceasefire, brokered by his
, Robert Serry, has allowed civilians in Gaza to resume some daily routines and for repairs to start on essential electrical and water infrastructure. In Israel, civilians have had a reprieve from rocket fire. Throughout, the United Nations has continued providing essential humanitarian assistance.
The pause shows that a cessation of hostilities is possible if all the parties demonstrate the necessary will and put the interests of civilians, who have borne the brunt of this escalation, first. Encouraged by discussions in Cairo, the Secretary-General hopes today’s humanitarian pause can lead to a more durable calm and expresses once again his support for international efforts, led by Egypt, to arrive at a sustainable ceasefire. In this regard, it will be crucial to address the underlying factors that have led to the recent escalation, including governance issues, the need to bring Gaza back under one legitimate Palestinian Government adhering to the PLO commitments, the full opening of the legal crossings, and other unimplemented core elements of Security Council
The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations readiness to help facilitate all efforts to this end. He has dispatched his Special Coordinator to Gaza to help further de-escalate tensions and achieve a lasting ceasefire that will spare Palestinians and Israelis future such rounds of violence.
GAZA: WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME DISTRIBUTES SUPPLIES DURING PAUSE
The World Food Programme (WFP) took advantage of the five-hour humanitarian pause to provide emergency food assistance to thousands of people affected by the escalation in violence and to move food stocks into position around the Gaza Strip.
The World Food Programme is distributing emergency food vouchers in areas where shops are functioning, at a time when banks in the Gaza Strip are closed and household incomes are at risk. It also transported food, including wheat flour, bread and canned tuna from its warehouses, to distribute to 85,000 people in the next days as security conditions permit.
Meanwhile, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has made a $60 million flash appeal for Gaza. The appeal is to respond to the immediate shelter, food, health and psycho-social needs of affected families, to replenish emergency stocks, and to prepare for carrying out vital interventions that will be required immediately upon the cessation of military activities.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (
) says that at least 219 Palestinians have been killed as of today, and the Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that some 1,585 Palestinians have been injured. Some 25,000 children need specialized psycho-social support. Humanitarian agencies report that up to half the Gazan population is without water supply and essential medical supplies are urgently needed for Gaza hospitals.
U.N. AGENCY CALLS HIDING WEAPONS IN ITS GAZA INSTALLATION ‘FLAGRANT’ VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
Asked about a weapons discovery in Gaza, the Spokesman said that on Wednesday, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip.
UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.
Haq said that the incident, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestine refugees in Gaza.