PARIS — France is hosting a “humanitarian conference” on Thursday aimed at securing aid for Gaza, made almost impossible by Israel’s incessant bombings.
Israel will not attend the summit initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke with Netanyahu on Tuesday and will speak to him again afterwards.
Macron also had telephone conversations on Tuesday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, whose countries play a key role in delivering aid to Gaza.
But Arab countries will also not be represented at the highest level.
The Palestinian Authority will be represented by its Prime Minister. Egypt, which controls the only border crossing with Gaza not held by Israel, will send a ministerial delegation.
The conference will, however, be closely followed by humanitarian organisations, who are tirelessly denouncing the lack of aid and the impossibility of providing more, amid Israel’s devastating strikes.
The UN human rights chief has said Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians and their forced displacement, as well as atrocities committed by Hamas groups on 7 October and their continued holding of hostages, amount to war crimes.
Volker Türk, standing in front of Egypt’s Rafah border crossing into Gaza, told reporters on Wednesday: “These are the gates to a living nightmare.”
“We have fallen off a precipice. This cannot continue,” he said later in Cairo, Egypt’s capital.
Türk said international human rights and humanitarian law must be respected to help protect civilians and allow desperately needed aid to reach Gaza’s beleaguered population.
He said the UN rights office received reports in recent days about an unspecified orphanage in northern Gaza with 300 children who need urgent help, but communications were down and access was impossible.
“We cannot get to them,” he said.
“I feel, in my innermost being, the pain, the immense suffering of every person whose loved one has been killed in a kibbutz, in a Palestinian refugee camp, hiding in a building or as they were fleeing,” Türk said.
“We all must feel this shared pain — and end this nightmare.” — Euronews