The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, issued an urgent plea on Wednesday for immediate measures to alleviate tensions in Gaza and its surrounding areas.
During a meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Guterres emphasized the need for urgent action to de-escalate the situation and prevent further violence. He expressed deep concern over escalating tensions not only in Gaza but also in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Guterres condemned acts of violence from all parties involved and stressed the importance of holding perpetrators accountable. He commended the committee for its role in addressing the prolonged issue of Palestine and the recent escalation of violence, notably citing the October 7 attack by Hamas in Israel and subsequent military actions by Israel in Gaza.
Describing the dire situation in Gaza as a humanitarian crisis, Guterres lamented the widespread suffering and devastation caused by the ongoing conflict. He highlighted the disproportionate impact on civilians, with a significant number of casualties and extensive damage to infrastructure.
The secretary-general reiterated the principles of international humanitarian law and called for full compliance by all parties. He also addressed allegations against staff members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), emphasizing the organization’s crucial humanitarian work and measures being taken to address any misconduct.
With Gaza’s humanitarian system nearing collapse and millions facing dire conditions, Guterres urged for immediate and expanded humanitarian access to the region. He called for the establishment of more crossing points to facilitate aid delivery and appealed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
In conclusion, Guterres reiterated the importance of pursuing a two-state solution for lasting peace and stability in the region. He urged the international community to remain committed to advancing meaningful peace efforts in the Middle East.