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Posted: Wednesday 8 November, 2023 at 12:42 PM

UN Chief says Gaza Strip “becoming a graveyard for children”

By: Stanford Conway,

    …calls for immediate ceasefire


    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS the war between Israel and Hamas continues, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said the Gaza Strip is “becoming a graveyard for Children” and urged an immediate ceasefire between the two parties.


    According to CNN, on Monday (Nov. 6) in New York, the Secretary-General told reporters: “The nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis. It is a crisis of humanity,” adding that the need for a ceasefire is becoming “more urgent with every passing hour”.


    “The parties to the conflict and, indeed, the international community, face an immediate and fundamental responsibility to stop this inhuman collective suffering and dramatically expand humanitarian aid to Gaza,” CNN quoted him as saying.


    In the early morn of Saturday (Oct. 7), Hamas had launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from air, land and sea, which resulted in the death of at least 1,400 people, (including women and children), injuries to 3,400 others and approximately 240 people taken as captives, according to Israeli authorities.


    Since then, Israel retaliated by launching airstrikes and ground offensive on Gaza, vowing to eliminate the Hamas group.


    The devastation of Israel attacks, so far, have resulted in more than 10,000 people killed, including more than 4,100 children and 2,600 women, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health.


    CNN noted that from the start of the war, global aid organisations and human rights groups had warned that such an assault would be catastrophic for Gaza, which has been cut off from much of the world for nearly 17 years. 


    This, the media outlet stated, is due to a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt that causes severe restrictions on the movement of goods and people that contributed to widespread poverty, hunger and dependency on international aid.


    CNN also stated that Tamara Alrifai, spokespers for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, said that around 1.5 million Gaza residents are now displaced - 70% of the population - with most living in crowded UN shelters.


    It further stated that many of them had evacuated their homes in the north after being warned by Israel to leave immediately, while others were left homeless by relentless airstrikes that razed buildings across the Gaza Strip.


    According to AFP, the the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists had informed that at least 36 journalists and media workers were killed, and this was deplored by the UN Secretary-General.


    “More journalists have reportedly been killed over a four-week period than in any conflict in at least three decades,” Guterres said, adding that 89 UN aid workers have also been killed.


    AFP also reported that 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 occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.


    The media house stated that aid trucks were going into Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, but the level remains well below that of before October 7, with Israel saying it needs time for security checks of vehicles. And one restriction is that they are not bringing fuel. 


    Responding to that particular restriction, the UN Chief declared: “Without fuel, newborn babies in incubators and patients on life support will die.” 


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


    Noting the violations of international humanitarian law that are currently being witnessed, Guterres said: “Let me be clear. No party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law,” 


    AFP stated that Guterres did not name Israel while speaking to reporters on Monday. But at a Security Council meeting on October 24, leaders of that country were outraged when he alleged violations of humanitarian law and said that the Hamas attacks “did not occur in a vacuum,” leading Israeli officials to accuse him of justifying violence.


    He however denied that was his intention and on Monday repeated his condemnation of “the abhorrent acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas,” and urged the Islamist militants to free the hostages.


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