Press Release

UN Country Team in Palestine: Statement on Israel’s announcement to relocate residents of Gaza southwards

13 October 2023

Jerusalem, Friday, 13 October 2023

The United Nations in Palestine calls on the Israeli Government to rescind its announcement for UN agencies and Gazans to ‘relocate to southern Gaza immediately’ without any guarantee for their safety or their return.  

Palestinian civilians, including women and children, are terrified, injured, and traumatized. This will cause a humanitarian tragedy that can and must be averted. 

This measure comes on the heels of 1,800 Palestinians being killed by Israeli airstrikes, the destruction of infrastructure, and a full siege that has deprived civilians of electricity, food, fuel, and clean water. 

One million people cannot flee in a day: many were already displaced or do not have vehicles, and could not move while bombings continued.

Mass displacement puts the lives of the sick and wounded in immediate danger and risks a public health disaster, at a time when the health system in Gaza is on the brink of collapse, hospitals in the south of the Gaza Strip are at capacity and unable to accept new patients.  

Wars have rules and civilians must be protected at all times. Under international law, Israel needs to take precautionary measures in future attacks to limit any harm to civilians and civilian objects.    

Determined to continue supporting the needs of Gaza’s population, UN agencies have transferred staff and operations to the southern part of the Strip to ensure that the delivery of humanitarian assistance can continue.

Humanitarian access must be granted immediately and unconditionally – let us deliver the aid that is needed.  


* The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Palestine, under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator (RC), comprises all heads of UN agencies operating in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). 

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