UN Security Council asks Israel to do ‘more’ on Gaza aid

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The UN Security Council on Thursday acknowledged Israel’s pledge to open more entry points to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza but said “more should be done” to help civilians in the besieged Palestinian territory.

In a statement, council members “took note of the announcement by Israel to open the Erez (border) crossing and allow the use of the Ashdod port for aid deliveries into Gaza, but stressed that more should be done to bring the required relief given the scale of needs in Gaza.”

Israel promised last week it would open the Erez crossing in the north after a tense telephone call between Joe Biden and Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu in which the US president demanded “immediate action” on aid.

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But it is understood aid trucks will not use the crossing, with Israeli media reporting that the government fears protests from far-right groups who are against any aid reaching Gaza.

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Wednesday it is planning to send food through a new crossing and a port just north of the besieged territory.

In its statement, the Security Council reiterated its “deep concern over the human toll of the conflict, the catastrophic humanitarian situation and the threat of imminent famine in Gaza.”

Council members also “called for the immediate lifting of all barriers to the delivery of humanitarian aid at scale to the civilian population and to the unhindered distribution of such assistance.”

The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas’ surprise cross-border attack on Israel on October 7, in which around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to Israeli figures.

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Hamas militants also took around 250 hostages to the Gaza Strip. Israeli officials say 130 captives are still being held there, including 31 presumed dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza has killed at least 30,534 people, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s ministry of health.

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