GENEVA / MIDDLE EAST GRIFFITHS INTERVIEW

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16-Oct-2023 00:05:42
Every effort continues to be made by the United Nations and partners to get aid supplies into Gaza following the Israeli order to evacuate the north of the enclave, the UN’s emergency relief chief said. UNTV CH / FILE

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STORY: GENEVA / MIDDLE EAST GRIFFITHS INTERVIEW
TRT: 05:42
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT WFP FOOTAGE ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 16 OCTOBER 2023 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / 09 OCTOBER 2023, GAZA STRIP, PALESTINE

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, UN flag alley, UN Geneva

16 OCTOBER 2023 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA):
“My main concerns right now, today, this day, the 16th of October, is to get aid into Gaza. We've seen about a million people move from the north to the south due to the possible threat of Israeli intervention in the north arising out of the taking of those hostages. We need to get aid to those people for two reasons. Number one, to make their movement safe to where they want to go voluntarily and to just sustain them while they're there because they won't get out of Gaza and they need to be helped in Gaza. So aid access is our overwhelming priority. And we are in deep discussions hourly with the Israelis, with the Egyptians, with the Gazans about how to do that. I'm looking forward to some good news this morning about that.”

WFP - 09 OCTOBER 2023, GAZA STRIP, PALESTINE

3. Aerial shot, destroyed buildings, streets

16 OCTOBER 2023 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA): “I hope this morning (US) Secretary Blinken has raised it a number of times and he's traveling everywhere he possibly can find to negotiate this in the region. I shall be going to Cairo tomorrow to meet the Egyptian leadership, to press them to help us. And they have been very helpful. We need, of course, Israeli agreement as well. We've been negotiating strongly with them. And then, of course, we need the support and the viability of operations in Gaza. I want to mention one important aspect to that as to why access can be done well. UNWRA Work and Relief Road Association of the UN built right after the Second World War when so much of this started, is in the forefront of being the buffer between hunger and need and survival. They have 14,000 staff in Gaza. None of them have left. Some of them died. They are our front line of safety for the people of Gaza.”

WFP - 09 OCTOBER 2023, GAZA STRIP, PALESTINE

5. Aerial shot, destroyed buildings, streets

16 OCTOBER 2023 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA): “Urgency is the first message. Aid. And please make it reliable, dependable, repeated and constant (also) money to make that effort. UNWRA is always seriously underfunded. It needs money. Very grateful to hear that the European Union has tripled its funding. But number two, as important as access aid is, is adherence to the rules of war. We have heard so much about it, and there seems to be stories about it being in conflict. The rules of war are not in conflict with actions in war. They are ways to control those actions as they pertain to civilians. That's why taking those hostages was an egregious illegal act. That's why asking people to move from north of Gaza to the south to get out of harm's way; I understand the full request, but it needs to be buttressed by safety, voluntary movement, humanitarian aid to make that movement safe. So aid, please make it dependable and act within the rules of war.”

WFP - 09 OCTOBER 2023, GAZA STRIP, PALESTINE

7. Aerial shot, destroyed buildings, streets

16 OCTOBER 2023 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA):
“Well, you know, the civilian infrastructure, hospitals, classic case and the health system of course, in Gaza generally, but in the north in particular is collapsing before our very eyes. Water supplies and copper stocks are pretty well out in most of these hospitals. These are civilian infrastructures. They also are protected by international humanitarian law from attack. They must not be attacked. They must be places of safety. This is nothing special about Israel or the Occupied (Palestinian) Territories in the Middle East. This obtains in Ukraine, in Myanmar, in Venezuela, the South Sudan. It obtains across the world and it is borne out of vital experience. Much of it, incidentally, learned and framed and legislated upon by the experiences, the horrific experiences of the Second World War. So don't attack civilian infrastructure, protect civilians when they move. Make sure they get the aid they need and make sure that there are corridors which allow them some respite from the relentless attacks that are happening upon them. And I want to end by saying this war was started by taking those hostages. But, yes, of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.”

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

11. Wide shot, UN flag alley, UN Geneva

STORYLINE:

Every effort continues to be made by the United Nations and partners to get aid supplies into Gaza following the Israeli order to evacuate the north of the enclave, the UN’s emergency relief chief said on Monday.

“History is watching,” Martin Griffiths told UN News, after highlighting the desperate situation facing around one million Gazans uprooted over the weekend, after Israel warned of an imminent offensive following the 7 October attack on Israel by militant group Hamas.

“Aid access is our overwhelming priority. And we are in deep discussions hourly with the Israelis, with the Egyptians, with the Gazans about how to do that. I'm looking forward to some good news this morning about that.”

Griffiths said, “My main concerns right now, today, this day, the 16th of October, is to get aid into Gaza. We've seen about a million people move from the north to the south due to the possible threat of Israeli intervention in the north arising out of the taking of those hostages. We need to get aid to those people for two reasons. Number one, to make their movement safe to where they want to go voluntarily and to just sustain them while they're there because they won't get out of Gaza and they need to be helped in Gaza.”

He added, “So aid access is our overwhelming priority. And we are in deep discussions hourly with the Israelis, with the Egyptians, with the Gazans about how to do that. I'm looking forward to some good news this morning about that.”

He said, “I hope this morning (US) Secretary Blinken has raised it a number of times and he's traveling everywhere he possibly can find to negotiate this in the region. I shall be going to Cairo tomorrow to meet the Egyptian leadership, to press them to help us. And they have been very helpful. We need, of course, Israeli agreement as well. We've been negotiating strongly with them.”

Griffith said, “And then, of course, we need the support and the viability of operations in Gaza. I want to mention one important aspect to that as to why access can be done well. UNWRA Work and Relief Road Association of the UN built right after the Second World War when so much of this started, is in the forefront of being the buffer between hunger and need and survival. They have 14,000 staff in Gaza. None of them have left. Some of them died. They are our front line of safety for the people of Gaza.”

He stressed, “Urgency is the first message. Aid. And please make it reliable, dependable, repeated and constant (also) money to make that effort. UNWRA is always seriously underfunded. It needs money. Very grateful to hear that the European Union has tripled its funding. But number two, as important as access aid is, is adherence to the rules of war. We have heard so much about it, and there seems to be stories about it being in conflict. The rules of war are not in conflict with actions in war. They are ways to control those actions as they pertain to civilians. That's why taking those hostages was an egregious illegal act.”

The UN's emergency relief chief continued, “That's why asking people to move from north of Gaza to the south to get out of harm's way; I understand the full request, but it needs to be buttressed by safety, voluntary movement, humanitarian aid to make that movement safe. So aid, please make it dependable and act within the rules of war.”

Answering a question on hospitals In Gaza running out of body bags, he said, “Well, you know, the civilian infrastructure, hospitals, classic case and the health system of course, in Gaza generally, but in the north in particular is collapsing before our very eyes. Water supplies and copper stocks are pretty well out in most of these hospitals. These are civilian infrastructures. They also are protected by international humanitarian law from attack. They must not be attacked. They must be places of safety.”

He continued, “This is nothing special about Israel or the Occupied (Palestinian) Territories in the Middle East. This obtains in Ukraine, in Myanmar, in Venezuela, the South Sudan. It obtains across the world and it is borne out of vital experience. Much of it, incidentally, learned and framed and legislated upon by the experiences, the horrific experiences of the Second World War. So don't attack civilian infrastructure, protect civilians when they move. Make sure they get the aid they need and make sure that there are corridors which allow them some respite from the relentless attacks that are happening upon them. And I want to end by saying this war was started by taking those hostages.”

Griffith added, “But, yes, of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.”

He also said, “I'm very much, very much looking forward to being there, staying there, trying to help, working with diplomats from all countries because it's all member states who have obligations under This is not just those in the region, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the Arab world all have obligations to do the things that I've just been describing.”

He concluded, “History is watching in two different ways. History is watching if international humanitarian law is observed and if war can be managed within the civil compact that has been agreed through those Geneva Conventions. And history is watching to see if the consequences of this war are going to be generationally bad or if there are going to be ways in which swiftly that can be rebuilt, some kind of comity or neighbourliness between those two tragic peoples. …(That’s) the messages I'll be taking to the region about biased in favour of one or the other, that biased in favour of humanity.”
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