According to Türk, both Israel and Hamas have engaged in acts that could be considered war crimes at Rafah crossing.
Volker Türk emphasized the stark contrast at the border checkpoint, referring to it as a crucial source of support for the 2.3 million people living in Gaza during the last month, despite being unfairly and shockingly limited.
However, he also stated that it is like “entering a never-ending nightmare” as the residents of Gaza are constantly under attack, grieving for their loved ones, and facing challenges with access to basic necessities like water, food, electricity, and fuel.
The chief of human rights is the most recent high-ranking UN representative to visit the area following an attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7th, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 individuals and the abduction of over 240 people who were brought into the enclave.
In reaction, Israel has been continuously attacking the Gaza Strip, as well as implementing a complete blockade on the area and initiating a land invasion, instructing residents in the northern region to relocate to the south.
Mr. Türk expressed that the actions committed by Palestinian armed groups, including the ongoing captivity of hostages, are abhorrent and should be considered as acts of war crimes.
He stated that Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians and the forced removal of civilians are both considered war crimes.
Cautioning that our current state is precarious, he expressed that despite being under occupation for 56 years, the current situation poses the greatest threat yet to the safety of those in Gaza, Israel, the West Bank, and the surrounding region.
Mr. Türk urgently requested for the parties to come to a ceasefire immediately in order to fulfill three crucial human rights priorities.
He requested for adequate assistance to be delivered to Gaza, the liberation of all captives, and the creation of “the necessary environment to ultimately achieve a lasting resolution to the occupation, taking into account the self-determination of both Palestinians and Israelis.”
Guterres explains the differences between Hamas and Palestinians.
On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres remarked that the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza indicates that there may be a flaw in Israel’s actions towards Hamas.
At the Reuters NEXT conference in New York, the speaker noted that Hamas has used human shields, which is a violation. However, upon examining the casualties among civilians during military operations, it is evident that something is amiss.
“It is crucial for Israel to recognize that constantly seeing the distressing conditions of the Palestinian people does not benefit Israel’s image in the eyes of the international community,” he stated.
Although he strongly denounced the Hamas assault on Israel, Mr. Guterres emphasized the importance of differentiating between Hamas and the Palestinian people. He stated that failure to make this distinction could lead to a loss of meaning in humanity.