Gaza is a Crisis of Humanity: UN Chief
The nightmare in Gaza is more than humanitarian crisis, it is a crisis of humanity, says UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres. He sounded alarm that the Gaza Strip is becoming a “graveyard for children” and reiterated an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
The UN chief highlighted that the unfolding catastrophe in the besieged territory makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour. Guterres emphasized that the protection of civilians is paramount. “Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children, hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day. More journalists have reportedly been killed over a four week period than in any conflict in at least three decades.”
He added that over 89 aid workers have also been killed, more UN aid workers have been killed than in any comparable period in the history of our organization.
Israel on Rampage in Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is adamant to continue with operations, no ceasefire until the return of the 240 hostages kept by Hamas in Gaza. He said it’s possible to talk about small ceasefires, an hour here and hour there. “I suppose, we will examine the circumstances to allow humanitarian goods to be brought in, or for our hostages, individual hostages to leave, but I don’t think there will be a ceasefire.”
However, the US is pressing Israel for a humanitarian ceasefire. The US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Israeli forces must distinguish between Hamas terrorists and Palestinian civilians. “We have been incredibly clear about the necessity of taking feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm and we believe that that’s especially true when it comes to children and refugees.”
Patel said Hamas continues to use civilian shields, and continues to put their infrastructure and their rockets in places in civilian areas. But dissenting US diplomats believe Israel has attacked civilian targets in the absence of a military justification. A memo stated that when Israel supports settler violence and illegal land seizures or employs excessive use of force against Palestinians, we must communicate publicly that this goes against our American values so that Israel does not act with impunity.
Gaza in Need of Humanitarian Aid
UN’s Guterres said the trickle of assistance into Gaza does not meet the ocean of need. Only 400 trucks have made it into the conflicted territory over the past two weeks. The UN warned that without fuel, newborn babies in incubators and patients on life support will die. “Water cannot be pumped or purified. Raw sewage could soon start gushing onto the streets, further spreading disease. Trucks loaded with critical relief will be stranded.”
Guterres believes the way forward is clear – an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and for all parties to respect international humanitarian law.