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The UN relief chief urges for an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict at the Paris forum.
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The UN relief chief urges for an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict at the Paris forum.

Philippe Lazzarini, the leader of the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), echoed his comments in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron. He emphasized the distressing situation of children in the region, recalling his recent encounter with them where they begged for basic necessities such as food and water.

Mr. Lazzarini reported that the displacement of a large number of people has resulted in overcrowding in shelters and the destruction of entire neighborhoods due to Israel’s aggressive air and ground attacks in response to the lethal 7 October strikes by Hamas.

It’s time for Guterres to take action.

In a video addressed to the conference, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres restated his disapproval of the “horrific acts of violence” carried out by Hamas towards Israel and once again urged for the immediate release of all captives.

He emphasized the need to aid civilians in Gaza who are currently facing an ongoing humanitarian crisis, emphasizing the importance of taking immediate action.

Despite the small amount of aid that has been sent to Gaza, the needs there are immense. The speaker urges the international community to increase their support and protection.

A boy collects water in a bombed neighbourhood in Gaza.

© UNICEF/Eyad El Baba

A young boy gathers water in a war-torn neighborhood in Gaza.

Reworded: Ceasefire for humanitarian purposes, assistance and unity

The Secretary-General stated that this entails an urgent ceasefire for humanitarian purposes, upholding all principles of international humanitarian law, and safeguarding hospitals, UN buildings, shelters, and schools.

This phrase implies unimpeded, secure, and steady opportunities to transport and deliver resources on a larger, more frequent scale, including fuel. It also signifies dedicating funds towards the $1.2 billion humanitarian request recently initiated by the United Nations to assist the population of Gaza.

Mr. Guterres called for support, saying “we can help civilians in Gaza see at last, and at the very least, a glimmer of hope – a sign of solidarity – and a signal that the world sees their plight and cares enough to act.”

Ensure the safety of civilians, no matter their location.

Mr. Griffiths, who was representing the UN Secretary-General at the high-level meeting in the French capital, described meeting the families of some of the 240 people held hostage by Hamas in Gaza since the militant group carried out its terror attacks in southern Israel over a month ago.

After talking to families in Gaza, Mr. Griffiths expressed that the current situation is unacceptable and allowing it to persist would be a tragic mistake.

The chief of UN relief emphasized the immediate necessity for a humanitarian ceasefire, in order to provide some relief to the people of Gaza and to facilitate the restoration of essential services.

The speaker also demanded that civilians be safeguarded “no matter where they are” and expressed worry about the displacement of hundreds of thousands of individuals from the northern to southern areas of the enclave due to Israeli military actions. These individuals were relocated to supposed “safe zones”, but their safety was not actually ensured.

He stated that the UN cannot back this suggestion unless there are assurances of safety.

Mr. Griffiths, the head of the UN’s humanitarian aid coordination office (OCHA), reported that on Wednesday, an additional 50,000 individuals were evacuated from the north of Gaza to the south through an “open corridor” created by the Israeli military.

for Yemen

Increased assistance crucial for Yemen

During the Paris conference, Mr. Griffiths and Mr. Lazzarini strongly urged all parties involved in the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian law. The conflict has already caused a devastating number of civilian casualties and the loss of fundamental human rights.

Hundreds more aid trucks were requested to have unobstructed access in order to deliver essential supplies such as food, water, medical resources, and fuel to those in desperate need in Gaza.

Mr. Lazzarini from UNRWA cautioned that restricting access to food, water, and medicine is considered collective punishment, and is therefore a breach of international law.

The leaders of the UN also supported the idea of creating more border crossings to provide aid, such as Kerem Shalom on the border with Israel. This is necessary because the amount of assistance currently entering through the Rafah crossing from Egypt is not enough.

Earlier this week, the UN and its partners called for $1.2 billion in funding to increase humanitarian efforts and aid 2.2 million individuals in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank, in response to the growing demand for assistance.

One of the goals of the Paris conference is to assist in securing this funding.

for Palestine refugees

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is seen as the last beacon of hope for Palestinian refugees.

Mr. Lazzarini appealed to donors to ramp up support to Gazans, stressing that UNRWA is the last glimmer of hope for civilians in the enclave, as staff continue to distribute food and water and serve people in shelters and hospitals, despite the risks.

The United Nations organization, which has suffered greatly in this war with 99 employees killed in Gaza, will not have enough funds to cover the salaries of its employees by the end of the year, he cautioned.

of nuclear weapons

Concerns about the spread of nuclear weapons in different regions

Regarding the larger area, Mr. Griffiths stated that we must not disregard the indications of potential increased conflict, referencing recent outbreaks of aggression in Lebanon and Yemen. He also conveyed apprehension about the increase in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim language.

The United Nations relief leader emphasized the vital importance of utilizing diplomatic measures among multiple nations to safeguard civilians, guarantee the delivery of aid, and facilitate the liberation of hostages.