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Hello, this is Pip, and today we’re following the escalating violence between Israel and Palestine as fighting enters its second week.

We’re also hearing reactions to the appointment of a new UN humanitarian chief, and covering fresh allegations of sexual abuse by aid workers responding to the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Pip Cook


Peace and Humanitarian News

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A Palestinian man carries a teddy bear from the rubble of a destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, 16 May 2021. (EPA / Mohammed Saber)

❗Israel and Palestine heading for ‘uncontainable’ crisis. Israel stepped up air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Monday as violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants entered its second week. As of 17 May, nearly 200 people, including 58 children, have reportedly been killed during the intense bombing of Gaza. Israel has justified the bombardment as a retaliation to rocket attacks by Hamas fighters from Gaza which have killed 10 people inside Israel, including two children. A third emergency meeting of the UN security council failed to call for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after the US blocked a joint statement, while UN secretary general António Guterres warned the council the two sides were heading for an “uncontainable crisis”.


🇺🇳Can the UN’s new humanitarian chief be a reformer? The appointment of current Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths has been welcomed as a solid choice by some, while others see it as a missed opportunity to shake-up the aid sector.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🚫New sexual abuse claims against Ebola aid workers exposed in Congo. Over 20 Congolese women have reported sexual abuse by aid workers responding to the Ebola crisis in the country. Seven organisations are named in the allegations, including the WHO and other UN agencies.

The New Humanitarian (EN)

Here’s what else is happening

Image of the day

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Parents march down a street in La Paz, Bolivia, demanding free internet and computers for their children to take virtual classes. (EPA / Martin Alipaz)

Education in a pandemic. For millions of students, Covid-19 related school closures won’t just be a temporary interference with their education, but the end of it. A new report from Human Rights Watch looks at how the closing of schools and the pivot to online learning has exacerbated existing inequalities in education around the world and what can be done after over a year of lost learning.

Human Rights Watch (EN)

Number of the day

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Volunteers distribute food aid in southern Madagascar. (Vital Batubilema/Kalu Institute)

A major disaster risks being overlooked in Madagascar, where an unprecedented drought in the south of the island has pushed millions to the brink of famine. With child malnutrition rates and deaths from hunger on the rise, organisations including Médecins Sans Frontières and the World Food Programme have asked for a drastic increase in emergency aid.

France24 (EN)

Next on the agenda

📍17-19 May | UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development. This virtual conference is being convened to build on UNESCO’s framework for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and enhance awareness on sustainable development challenges, particularly the climate crisis.


📍20 May | A violent peace: media, truth and power at the League of Nations. A new book looks at how conflicts over truth and power that played out at the League of Nations offer broad insights into the nature of totalitarian regimes. Join author and IHEID professor Carolyn Biltoft for the launch.


Deep dive into International Geneva

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Much has happened last month, and we're rounding it up. Check out our monthly newsletter coming out next week.

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