UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his call on Monday for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza as the conflict reached its 100th day. Addressing reporters, Guterres emphasized the need for a swift resolution to the unprecedented civilian casualties, dire humanitarian conditions, the fate of hostages, and escalating tensions across the region.
The occupied West Bank is also experiencing heightened violence, exacerbating an already severe fiscal crisis for the Palestinian Authority. Guterres expressed deep concerns about daily clashes across the Blue Line, warning of the potential for a broader escalation between Israel and Lebanon, significantly impacting regional stability. He urged all parties to adhere to Security Council Resolution 1701 and cease hostilities.
After 100 days of conflict, the humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached a critical point, with civilians facing intolerable and dangerous conditions. Despite some efforts to increase humanitarian aid, the relentless bombardment hampers the effective delivery of assistance. Guterres highlighted the obstacles, including the loss of 152 UN staff members in Gaza, the rejection of vital materials at the border, and impediments to distribution within Gaza.
The UN chief stressed the necessity of basic conditions, including security and a conducive environment for aid operations. He called on the parties to respect international humanitarian law, protect civilians, and ensure essential needs are met. Guterres emphasized the urgency for a substantial increase in the commercial supply of essential goods, stating that the UN and humanitarian partners alone cannot provide necessities that should be available in markets.
While condemning violence by Hamas, Guterres also criticized the Israeli forces for unleashing widespread destruction and unprecedented civilian killings during the 100-day conflict. He pointed out the disproportionate impact on women and children, stating that nothing justifies the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.