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Hamas-Israel war: the one-week truce in Gaza, a useful, but insufficient, humanitarian break

The truce lasted six days.

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Hamas-Israel war: the one-week truce in Gaza, a useful, but insufficient, humanitarian break

The truce lasted six days. A short break in the conflict between Hamas and Israel, during which teams from international humanitarian organizations were able to come to the aid of part of the population of Gaza. Because according to the UN, all 2.4 million Gazans are victims of food insecurity and 1.7 million people have been displaced by the war. More than half of the homes were also damaged or destroyed by the bombings.

The truce between the two parties to the conflict, permitted by the mediation of Qatar, the United States and Egypt, had been requested for several weeks by the various international humanitarian organizations, such as the UN, the Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The latter deplored last October, to Le Figaro, the difficulties encountered by humanitarian teams in intervening in Gaza, particularly due to insecurity. “Our colleagues have been targeted by bombings several times,” denounces Lucile Marbeau, spokesperson for the ICRC. A member was killed just before the truce, as well as his wife, some of his children and grandchildren.

“The ceasefire therefore allowed our teams to do their work,” explains the spokesperson. Lucile Marbeau firmly recalls that “humanitarian assistance must not be conditioned by a ceasefire, it must be constant. It is enshrined in international humanitarian law.”

A total of 1,232 trucks were able to enter Gaza during the six days of truce, via the Rafah border post in Egypt, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) told Le Figaro. That's a little more than 200 trucks per day. A figure considered insufficient by Lucile Marbeau because “before October 7, 500 trucks entered every day” on the Palestinian territory. These loaded vehicles were able to transport “milk, food products, medicines, medical supplies and other essential relief materials”, specifies the IFRC. The latter also emphasizes that these trucks did not contain “no fuel and that the tankers (were) sent separately via UNRWA (the UN agency in charge of Palestinian refugees, Editor’s note)”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, for its part, carried out operations, mainly medical. “Our colleagues distributed four shipments of medical supplies on November 24 and 25 to the Nasser hospitals (in the city of Khan Younis, editor’s note) in the south of Gaza and to the al-Alqsa hospital (in the center of the country),” informs Lucile Marbeau. The ICRC spokesperson also indicates that a mobile team of surgeons is based in the European hospital in Gaza. This establishment was quickly overwhelmed during the truce, due to “massive movements of wounded from the North to the South”.

“The surgeons operated in droves, including many children,” she says. Among the recurring injuries, doctors attempted to treat numerous “burns” and “infected wounds that led to amputations.” The World Health Organization (WHO) reported this Friday, December 1, 111,000 cases of acute respiratory infection and 36,000 cases of diarrhea in children under five years old recorded among the displaced since the start of the war. But the most difficult thing for doctors remains “the lack of medical equipment, particularly orthopedic equipment and to treat major burns. But also anesthetics and painkillers,” adds Lucile Marbeau.

Also read: Gaza: what scenarios for the post-war period?

Since the end of the truce was announced on Friday morning, bombings have resumed on the Gaza Strip. The Hamas Ministry of Health reported at midday “more than 100 deaths”, including children, in various Israeli bombings on the Palestinian territory, a figure that cannot be verified by an independent source. The head of the ICRC, Robert Mardini, quickly regretted the resumption of fighting which plunged Gaza into a “nightmare”.

Humanitarian aid is therefore once again under threat, warn the various international organizations. “No aid trucks have entered since the resumption of Israeli bombings but preparations are underway for the evacuation of several wounded and the entry into Gaza of Gazans who were stranded abroad,” he said. 'AFP Waël Abou Omar, head of communications at the Rafah terminal. “The parties to the conflict always have the obligation to provide a minimum of vital assistance to the population,” recalls Lucile Marbeau. The spokesperson assures that the ICRC “will continue to dialogue with Hamas and Israel to organize secure humanitarian operations”.

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