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Gaza: Rights Experts Warn on Humanitarian Crisis

The experts have described it as “systematic and widespread destruction”, calling it a crime against humanity.
Children in Gaza. Photo: X/@DrTedros

Mumbai: Experts, including Francesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, have stated that the current military offensive in Gaza has led to unprecedented levels of destruction, with 60 to 70% of all homes in Gaza and up to 84% in northern Gaza either destroyed or partly damaged.

According to UN News, the experts have described it as “systematic and widespread destruction”, calling it a crime against humanity.

These experts, as per the report, are not UN staff and receive no salary for their work.

“With Israeli public officials joining calls for Palestinians to leave Gaza, to ‘take back Gaza’ to build settlements again, and ostensible enthusiasm expressed by prominent former US government officials for ‘Gaza beachfront’ properties, there is little doubt that Israel’s intent goes far beyond the purposes of military defeat of Hamas,” the experts told UN News.

The damage to the Strip is estimated to be $18.5 billion, which is 97% of the total economy of Gaza and the West Bank. More than 70% of this estimate is to replace housing, and another 19% is the cost of civilian infrastructure. The destruction has resulted in the loss of homes and the disruption of Palestinians’ ability to realise fundamental rights such as land, food, water, sanitation, health, education, and self-determination, said the experts.

Thousands of Palestinians attempted to return to their homes in the north of Gaza over the weekend, but Israeli tanks had reportedly blocked their path. According to the reports, five died, and dozens were wounded as a result of Israeli bombardment, which continued across the enclave, with casualties reported in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

According to Gaza’s health authorities, the death toll in the enclave has surpassed 33,200 since October 7, with the majority of the casualties being women and children.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme announced on Sunday that it had helped restart bread production in Gaza City by providing fuel and repairs to a bakery’s bread-making machines.

Filippo Grandi, the chief of UNHCR, warned against creating a new displacement crisis from Rafah into neighbouring Egypt and emphasised the need for access inside Gaza to prevent further crises.

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