The situation in Gaza is quickly becoming a disaster, increasing the urgency for a humanitarian ceasefire.
He stated to reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York that the situation in Gaza is not just a humanitarian crisis, but also a crisis of humanity.
He expressed serious worries about the increasing violence and escalation of the dispute between Israeli troops and Hamas fighters, stating that “the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is experiencing a critical situation.”
“A resting place for deceased children”
Mr. Guterres emphasized the increasing urgency for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza as the situation continues to worsen. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing the safety of civilians.
He stated that Gaza is turning into a place where many children are losing their lives. It has been reported that numerous girls and boys are being harmed or killed on a daily basis.
In the past four weeks, it has been reported that a higher number of journalists have lost their lives compared to any other conflict in the last thirty years. Additionally, there has been a greater number of United Nations aid workers who have been killed during this time than in any previous period in the history of the organization.
‘Ocean of need’
The UN and its partners have initiated a humanitarian plea to aid the entire community in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank, which includes East Jerusalem.
According to Mr. Guterres, while there is some aid entering Gaza through the Rafah crossing from Egypt, it is not sufficient to meet the overwhelming need.
In the last 14 days, 400 trucks have completed the trip, whereas 500 trucks were making the journey daily before the conflict began. Unfortunately, the aid shipments did not contain much-needed fuel.
be substituted for fuel in these critical situations.
“He cautioned that lack of fuel will result in the death of newborns in incubators and patients relying on life support. Water is not a viable replacement for fuel in these urgent circumstances.”
be pumped or purified. Raw sewage could soon start gushing onto the streets, further spreading disease. Trucks loaded with critical relief will be stranded.
Humanitarian ceasefire now
The Secretary-General reiterated his plea for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire and for all involved parties to uphold international humanitarian laws, stating that the path ahead is evident.
He restated his requests for the unconditional release of all Israeli individuals held captive by Hamas in Gaza, and for the safeguarding of innocent civilians, medical facilities, United Nations buildings, places of refuge, and educational institutions.
“He stated the urgent need for increased quantities of food, water, medicine, and fuel to be safely and quickly delivered to Gaza in the necessary amounts. He emphasized the need for unrestricted access to provide supplies to all individuals in Gaza who require them. He also called for an immediate end to the use of innocent civilians as human shields.”
Intensifying conflict and increasing hatred.
In regards to the larger consequences of the war, Mr. Guterres highlighted the “cycle of escalation” from Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Yemen. He urged for its resolution, emphasizing the need for level-headedness and diplomatic initiatives to prevail.
The speaker stated that hateful language and behavior should also come to an end. Mr. Guterres expressed his concern about the increase in discrimination against Jews and Muslims, acknowledging that both communities are feeling anxious for their well-being in various regions.
Despite heightened emotions and tense atmosphere, he emphasized the need to maintain our shared humanity.
He expressed concern for the civilians in Gaza, particularly the large number of women and children, who are living in fear due to the constant bombing.
I reflect on the individuals who were tortured and killed in Israel almost a month ago, as well as the innocent hostages who were taken from their homes and loved ones while going about their daily routines.
Mourning UNRWA staff
The head of the United Nations also stood in solidarity with the organization’s employees who aid Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, and who tragically lost 89 members in Gaza.
Several of these coworkers – including educators, school leaders, physicians, engineers, security personnel, and administrative staff – were tragically killed, along with their loved ones.
One of the individuals was Mai, a young woman who did not allow her muscular dystrophy or wheelchair to limit her aspirations. Despite these challenges, she excelled academically and went on to pursue a career in information technology at UNRWA.
At the end of his speech, Mr. Guterres urged for immediate global efforts to find a solution to the destructive and painful conflict, and to support the path towards peace and a two-state resolution for Israel and Palestine.