Senior Hamas official criticizes US, West’s calls on group to accept Biden’s Gaza proposal

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PARIS: Palestinians displaced by the Gaza war are living in “appalling” conditions. Children sometimes have to go all day without food and thousands have to share the same toilet, Oxfam warned on Tuesday.
In recent weeks, deadly Israeli bombings and fighting have erupted in the Rafah region in the far south of the Gaza Strip, near the Egyptian border, once again displacing those who had fled there in search of safety.
According to the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, more than a million people have fled Rafah to other areas.
An estimated two-thirds of Gaza’s population live crammed into less than a fifth of the besieged area, according to Oxfam.
“Despite Israeli assurances to provide full support to those fleeing, most of the Gaza Strip has been denied humanitarian aid as famine looms ever closer,” the aid group said.
“A nutrition survey conducted by aid organizations in May found that 85 percent of children had not eaten for at least one entire day in the three days prior to the survey,” it said.
Since the start of the Israeli troops’ ground attack on Rafah on May 6, an average of eight trucks carrying aid have arrived there every day, Oxfam reported, citing UN figures.
It is estimated that hundreds of commercial food trucks enter the market every day, but the goods on board include non-nutritious energy drinks, chocolate and biscuits and are often very expensive, it said.
“By the time famine is declared, it will be too late,” said Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s Middle East and North Africa director.
“To bombard a malnourished population with tons of food while simultaneously waving through caffeinated drinks and chocolate is disgusting.”
In an interview with French television last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected allegations that there was a famine in Gaza and said everything had been done to avert famine.
Residents of the Gaza Strip consume 3,200 calories a day, 1,000 more than their daily needs, he said.
Oxfam reported that families in some parts of the southern Gaza Strip, such as the coastal region of Al-Mawasi, which has been declared a “humanitarian zone” by the Israeli army, have virtually no access to water and sanitation.
“Living conditions are so appalling that in Al-Mawasi there are only 121 latrines for over 500,000 people – or 4,130 people sharing one toilet,” Oxfam said.
Meera, an Oxfam worker in Al-Mawasi who has been displaced seven times since October, described conditions there as “unbearable”.
“There is no access to clean water and people are forced to rely on the sea,” she said.
An AFP reporter said a refugee camp in Khan Yunis was flooded with sewage on Monday after a sewage pipe burst, with some people attempting to scoop out the dirt from their tents using plastic bottles.
The war was triggered by the unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, in which 1,194 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to a count by the AFP news agency based on official Israeli figures.
The militants also took 251 hostages, 120 of whom are still in the Gaza Strip. According to the army, 41 of them are dead.
According to the Health Ministry of the Hamas-controlled area, at least 36,550 people, again mostly civilians, were killed in Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza.

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