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Israel Displaced Nearly 1 Million Palestinians in Past 2 Weeks, UN Report Shows

The latest report from the UN comes even as President Biden continues to deny that a genocide is occurring in Gaza.

Displaced Palestinian children carry containers with food in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip, on May 19, 2024.

A United Nations (UN) report issued on Monday describes how more than 900,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced in just the past two weeks alone, a disturbing trend that is a direct consequence of Israel’s continuing genocidal attacks and actions in the region.

The report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) showcases how 100,000 residents have been forced to flee the northern region of Gaza, as well as how a staggering 812,000 living in Rafah — where many have sought refuge over the past several months of bombardments — have also been displaced.

Three-quarters (75 percent) of Gaza is currently under evacuation orders, the OCHA report also noted.

Aid to Palestinians from Rafah and elsewhere is being hindered by Israel’s military disrupting the distribution of food, medicine, and other supplies in the region. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), only seven out of its 24 health centers are currently operational, with the organization not receiving any medical supplies in the past 10 days due to “closures” and “disruptions” at crossings into Gaza.

“As the large-scale displacement of civilians in Gaza continues, hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing extremely poor living conditions,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General António Guterres, announcing the OCHA report on Monday. “Our humanitarian partners — working to provide shelter to the people in Gaza — report that there are no tents and very few shelters left in the distribution.”

The mass exodus of Palestinians from Rafah comes amid fears of escalating attacks from Israel in the coming days, coupled with Israel ordering an evacuation of the city on May 6. Before-and-after satellite images showed the extent of how quickly residents in the area sought to leave due fear of imminent military operations.

“In the three days between the photos” taken in early May, ABC News reported, “at least half of the hundreds of tents cramming the area disappeared, likely from Palestinians packing up and departing.”

The UN report signals that movement from Rafah hasn’t slowed since the initial evacuation order was made.

The act of genocide is defined as any action that is committed “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” This is not just limited to the direct killing of members of said group, but also includes causing “serious bodily or mental harm” to them or “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

The Rome Statute within the International Criminal Court (ICC) also recognizes the forcible removal of a people — including “forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under international law” — as a crime against humanity.

Despite months of documented atrocities inflicted on the residents of Gaza by Israel, including the killing of around 36,000 Palestinians since October, the Biden administration is refusing to recognize the situation in Gaza as genocide.

“What’s happening is not genocide. We reject that,” Biden said in a speech at the White House on Monday.

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