Damien Personnaz of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that fear among children and parents in the Strip is increasing.
He also said that the organization's workers are assisting many Palestinian families suffering from tension and anxiety in light of the large-scale operation in the Strip, adding that many children aged six and less have began wetting their beds due to the tense situation.
The UN has asked Israel to leave the crossing to the Strip open to enable delivery of medications and food to the Strip residents.
Stocking food (Photo: Reuters)
The Palestinians reported that approximately 4,000 Palestinians have been stuck in the Rafah crossing for 10 days now without being able to leave or enter the Strip. The Palestinians fear that the crossing will remain closed for a long time as Israel has built a base for its forces in the southern Strip, mainly in the Dahaniya Airport area.
The Palestinians noted that many of those stuck on the Egyptian side of the border are in fact patients who left the Strip to be treated in Egyptian hospitals and are now unable to leave.
Palestinian medical sources, as well as the Physicians for Human Rights organization, reported that Israel was preventing many patients from leaving to the West Bank, into Israel and Egypt. The patients are mainly people who suffered from heart attacks and leukemia and other patients in need of urgent surgery.
Mattias Burchard, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), reported that the IDF operation in the Strip has extremely deteriorated the Palestinians' situation. He said that the residents still have access to food and medications, but that there is a difficulty to deliver additional products into Gaza due to the closing of the crossing.
UN Human Rights Council to hold special discussion
Israel closed the crossing following the combined attack carried out by armed Palestinians on June 25, an attack during which IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and two other soldiers were killed.
On Tuesday, the Red Crossed was permitted to make a delivery of food and medications into the Strip through the Karni crossing, for the first time since the closure was imposed.
UNWRA fears water pollution in the Strip following the long electricity blackouts, which prevent Palestinians from pumping water and getting them to reach apartments in tall buildings.
The organization is providing the residents with chlorine to purify the water, but it is uncertain how long it will last. The UN also fears pollution that may spread from the sewage in the streets.
The UN Human Rights Council is expected to hold a special discussion on the Palestinians situation in the territories on Wednesday. The UN also reported that its workers are holding talks with Israeli officials to ensure that humanitarian aids will reach the Strip in spite of the closure.
The World Health Organization also reported that its workers are exerting efforts to assist the Palestinians and have asked them for a detailed list of medications they require.
Palestinians reported that IDF soldiers raided several houses in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun and forces hundreds of residents to stay in their homes. The IDF did not confirm the report.
Palestinian sources reported that Hamas gunmen are exchanging fire with IDF soldiers in the Beit Hanoun area. According to the report, the gunmen also fired mortar shells at the forces.
News agencies contributed to the report