UN chief says Gaza ceasefire 'more urgent with every passing hour'

AFP , Monday 6 Nov 2023

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli war on the Palestinian resistance, as he warned that the bombarded Gaza Strip was becoming a "graveyard for children."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged a humanitarian ceasefire in the war on Gaza in a televised address from UN headquarters on November 6, 2023. AFP


"The unfolding catastrophe makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour," he told reporters at the UN headquarters.

"The parties to the war, and, indeed, the international community , face an immediate and fundamental responsibility: to stop this inhuman collective suffering and dramatically expand humanitarian aid to Gaza," he said.

"The nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis. It is a crisis of humanity."

According to the Palestanian health ministry, in the ongoing 31-day war, Israeli occupation forces have continued their intensive bombardment of Gaza, resulting in the tragic loss of over 10,000 Palestinian lives, including 4,104 children, more than 2,600 women, and 600 elderly, while injuring more than 24,000.

Guterres also deplored the killings of media workers. According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 36 journalists and media workers have been killed.

"More journalists have reportedly been killed over a four-week period  than in any conflict in at least three decades," Guterres said.

Guterres was formally launching a recently announced $1.2 billion UN humanitarian appeal to help 2.7 million Palestinians over the entire Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Aid trucks have been coming into Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah crossing, but the level remains well below the level before October 7, with Israel saying it needs time for security checks of vehicles, and they are not bringing fuel.

"Without fuel, newborn babies in incubators and patients on life support will die," Guterres said.

"The way forward is clear. A humanitarian ceasefire -- now. All parties respecting all their obligations under international humanitarian law," he said.

Guterres again voiced alarm about the "clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing."

"Let me be clear: No party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law," he said.

Guterres did not name Israel. He outraged Israel on 24 October at a Security Council meeting where he alleged violations of humanitarian law and said that the Hamas offensive "did not occur in a vacuum," leading Israeli officials to accuse the UN chief of justifying violence.

Guterres on Monday also urged the Palestanian resistance group Hamas to free captives taken on 7 October.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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