Telecommunications partially restored in Gaza
Read below: Israel agrees to week-long ceasefire for hostage release: Sources
GAZA — The UN humanitarians said that telecommunications, including internet services, were partially restored in southern Gaza, ending the most extended shutdown since the onset of Israel-Hamas war on October 7.
“These recurrent interruptions and the lack of electricity hinder access to vital information and severely affect humanitarian relief efforts,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update.
OCHA said the World Food Programme (WFP) reported that since the beginning of December, it distributed high-energy biscuits to about 600,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in designated shelters.
In addition, WFP distributed food parcels or wheat flour to about 110,000 IDPs during the past two weeks.
“Between Deceber 12-17, only two of our humanitarian partners were able to operate in the northern area of Gaza due to the security situation,” OCHA said.
“They distributed food to more than 46,000 IDPs in shelters. In the south, 11 of our partners have provided food to some 2.5 million people over the past week.”
The Unicef reported delivering nutrition supplements for more than 60,000 children in shelters and supplements for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
OCHA said its humanitarian partners distributed 2,300 kitchen kits, nearly 57,000 blankets and more than 27,000 mattresses in the south of Gaza.
But there is still a significant shortage of shelter materials ahead of winter, including tents and plastic sheeting.
The office said the aid crossing into Gaza does not meet a fraction of what’s needed.
“We need uninterrupted and unconditional flows of basic commodities into Gaza. For that, we need the conditions to deliver aid safely inside Gaza wherever people need our support,” OCHA said.
As of Wednesday, the death toll in Gaza increased to 19,667, with 52,586 injured persons.
Israel agrees to week-long ceasefire for hostage release: Sources
TEL AVIV — Amid increasing pressure from hostage families, Israel has agreed for a week-long ceasefire to secure the release of captives held by the Hamas militant groups in Gaza, according to highly-placed sources.
The fresh development comes two days after Mossad chief David Barnea met CIA Director William Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Warsaw on Monday.
The sources told IANS that Israel has communicated to Qatar –the key mediatory — that it was agreeable for a one-week ceasefire and demanded the release of 40 hostages.
These hostages include women, children and elderly persons above 60 years of age.
Meanwhile, Israel has also agreed to release Palestinian prisoners, including those who have commited more grievous crime than the one who were freed during the previous humanitarian pause between November 24 and December 1.
The sources also told IANS that Hamas had demanded for a total backout from the war which Israel did not agree to.
According to available information, the Israel side said that it would agree for a permanent cessation of war only after the Hamas hands over all those responsible for the October 7 carnage.
But as diplomatic efforts continue, the humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave worsens with each day.
Nearly 20,000 people have been killed by Israeli military action in Gaza since October 7, and more than 52,000 wounded, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health.
Meanwhile, much of northern Gaza has been decimated by airstrikes and, according to the UN, almost 1.9 million people — more than 80 per cent of the enclave’s population — have been displaced.