Israel denies barring UNRWA chief from Gaza

Philippe Lazzarini did not submit his request through the necessary channels yet blamed Israel anyway, said the government coordinator.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel on Tuesday rejected claims by UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini that he had been denied access to Gaza.

“The UNRWA commissioner’s request to coordinate his entry into the Gaza Strip was not submitted by the necessary coordination processes and channels,” the office of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) posted to X. “This was promptly communicated to the relevant UN bodies.”

“This is another attempt by UNRWA to blame Israel for their own mistakes,” the office added.

Lazzarini said on X Monday that “the Israeli Authorities” had not allowed him in to Gaza.

The purpose of his visit, he said, was “to coordinate & improve the humanitarian response” to what he called an “imminent famine in the northern Gaza Strip.”

The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants blamed only Israel for what he called “this man-made starvation.”

“Too much time was wasted, all land crossings must open now. Famine can be averted with political will,” he wrote.

The IDF has two cargo checkpoints at the southern part of the coastal enclave. There, trucks full of humanitarian aid are inspected for weaponry and then allowed to enter Gaza through the Egyptian border crossing at Rafah.

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The army has previously said that the bottleneck is on the Gaza side, with aid organizations unable to process the supplies efficiently.

These crossings have also been blocked often by Israeli citizens outraged by aid being allowed in while Hamas still holds 134 hostages, of whom 36 have been declared dead by Israeli authorities.

Many Israelis do not want to let trucks in because, as seen in videos posted online, they are stolen by Hamas, which will only help it prolong the war.

The terrorists have also shot and killed civilians trying to get to trucks that do enter.

UNRWA is completely discredited in Israeli eyes as the government has provided evidence in January that many on its Gazan staff cheered the Hamas invasion of October 7 in which the terrorists massacred 1,200 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

A few hundred, some 10% of its employees, are actually Hamas operatives, and over a dozen took part in the October 7th invasion.

A huge Hamas tunnel was also discovered underneath UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza. Lazzarini has claimed that the organization knew nothing of it, even though its electricity was being used to power the underground terror facility.

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The U.S. and other Western countries suspended funding of UNRWA after Israel’s damning report.

When the Biden administration announced new aid for Gaza last month, it said it would work with the World Food Program instead.

Israel is allowing airdrops of medicine, food and water from such countries as the U.S., Jordan and the Netherlands.  Supplies have also begun arriving via ship to the Gazan coast, with the U.S. currently sending the material to build a temporary pier there to facilitate the process.