Israel’s proposed so-called “safe zone” is “neither safe nor feasible,” as civilians must be protected throughout Gaza wherever they are, the UN human rights chief said on Friday.
“The current Israeli proposal for a so called ‘safe-zone’ is untenable. The zone is neither safe nor feasible for the number of people in need,” Volker Turk said in a virtual address to a UN General Assembly meeting on Gaza in New York.
“Civilians must be protected throughout Gaza wherever they are,” he urged.
Voicing alarm about the imminent, total depletion of fuel supplies, Turk said: “Already, this is leading to the collapse of water, sewage and crucial health care services, and could end the trickle of humanitarian assistance that Israel has to date permitted to enter Gaza.”
The “safe zone” proposal seems to answer the question of Israel’s intentions for Gaza after ordering the mass displacement of northern Gazans to go to the south, but due to the reasons cited by UN officials, especially the small size of the area for over 2.2 million people, the proposal is certain to face fierce criticism.
Since Israel started bombarding Gaza on Oct. 7, at least 11,500 Palestinians, including over 7,800 women and children, have been killed, and more than 29,200 others injured, according to the latest official figures by Palestinian authorities.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have also been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s relentless air and ground attacks on the besieged enclave.
An Israeli blockade also cut Gaza off from fuel, electricity and water supplies, and reduced aid deliveries to a small trickle.
The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.__The Nation