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Macron continues diplomatic drive in Jordan, Egypt as relief operations collapse in Gaza

By RFI
Egypt AP - Nicolas Messyasz
WED, 25 OCT 2023 LISTEN
AP - Nicolas Messyasz

French president Emmanuel Macron is due in Egypt, after holding talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman. This, as the United Nations says that it will stop releif work in Gaza by the end of the day due to lack of fuel. 

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to hold talks in Cairo this Wednesday with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, on the latest leg of a whistle-stop crisis tour of the Middle East. 

Egypt has been one of the main brokers in efforts to secure the release of more than 200 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

On Tuesday, Macron already met separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, before meeting King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman. 

This comes as the main UN aid agency in Gaza has warned it will have to stop operations by the end of Wednesday because it is running out of fuel, as Hamas said overnight Israeli strikes killed at least 80 people.

Tensions at the United Nations

Alarm has grown about the spiralling humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where medics have been forced to perform emergency surgery on the wounded without anaesthetic.

Israel has cut off Gaza's usual water, food and other supplies, and fewer than 70 relief trucks have entered the enclave since the war started – "a drop of aid in an ocean of need," according to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Israel has launched incessant strikes on Gaza in response to an unprecedented cross-border attack by Hamas militants who killed more than 1,400 people and took 222 hostages on 7 October.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to "eliminate Hamas" and Israeli bombing has now killed more than 5,800 people in Gaza, many of them children, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry.

Tempers flared at the United Nations in New York where Guterres decried the "epic suffering" in Gaza and the "collective punishment" of its 2.4 million residents, drawing a furious response from Israel.

"Mr Secretary-General, in what world do you live?" replied an infuriated Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who recounted graphic accounts of civilians including young children killed in the deadliest single attack in Israeli history.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, called on Guterres to resign, writing on X, formerly Twitter, that the UN chief had "expressed an understanding for terrorism and murder."

600,000 displaced in Gaza

On the 19th day of Israeli air and artillery strikes and a near-total land, sea and air blockade of Gaza, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA warned operations are at breaking point.

"If we do not get fuel urgently, we will be forced to halt our operations in the Gaza Strip," said the agency which provides aid to 600,000 displaced in Gaza, where many families have slept in the open.

Israel has refused to allow fuel shipments into Gaza, fearing Hamas will use it for weapons and explosives and accusing the militant group of stockpiling supplies in large tanks.

The Gaza war has sparked fears of a regional conflagration if it draws in more of Israels' enemies – especially Iran-backed groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah which has already traded deadly cross-border fire with Israel.

Israeli strikes also killed eight soldiers early Wednesday in the south of Syria, another Iran ally, in what the Israeli army said was a response to earlier rocket fire.

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