United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has emphasized the urgent need to prioritize the protection of civilians in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, expressing grave concern over the toll on Gaza's children.
In a press statement, Guterres urged immediate action to navigate a path out of the devastating and tragic cycle of destruction. He reiterated his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, following an attack by militants that resulted in the loss of 1,400 lives and the abduction of more than 240 hostages on October 7.
Israel's response has included aerial strikes, a blockade, and a ground offensive. Palestinian health authorities have reported a death toll in Gaza exceeding 10,000.
Guterres: Gaza has tragically turned into a burial ground
Guterres voiced his distress, saying, 'Gaza has tragically turned into graveyard for countless innocent children, with hundreds of boys and girls falling victim to death or injury on a daily basis.'
The Secretary-General also noted that clear violations of international humanitarian laws are taking place. He underscored the UN's urgent need for $1.2 billion to provide assistance to 2.7 million individuals in Gaza and the West Bank.
Guterres concluded, 'The Israeli Defense Forces' ground operations and relentless bombings are indiscriminately affecting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, places of worship, and UN facilities, including shelters. No one is spared.
Simultaneously, Hamas and other militants persist in utilizing civilians as human shields while firing rockets indiscriminately at Israel.' Aid convoys, albeit at a slow pace, are making their way into Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, the only border crossing not shared with Israel.
However, UN officials have repeatedly stressed that this remains insufficient for Gaza's civilian population, of which more than a million have been displaced due to Israeli airstrikes. Chaotic situation must be admitted.