Monday, July 22, 2024

The war between Israel and Gaza: UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for a new ceasefire

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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Speaking from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip, he said, “It is time to silence the guns.”

He also called on Israel to provide “full and unrestricted” access to humanitarian goods throughout Gaza.

A UN-backed food security assessment said this week that 1.1 million people in Gaza are suffering from hunger and catastrophic famine.

She added that a man-made famine in the north is imminent between now and May.

“It is time to truly flood Gaza with life-saving aid,” said Guterres, who also called for the release of the Israelis. “The choice is clear: troop surge or starvation. Blocking relief trucks on the Egyptian side of the border is an act of moral outrage.” Hostages.

He added: “I want the Palestinians in Gaza to know: You are not alone. People around the world are angry at the atrocities that we are all witnessing in real time. The Palestinians in Gaza are still stuck in a nightmare that does not stop.”

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Aid trucks parked at the Rafah border crossing

Speaking to BBC Middle East correspondent Hugo Bachega, Guterres once again urged Israel to lift obstacles to the delivery of aid.

He added: “It is clear that these obstacles are part of the way this war is being conducted with regard to Gaza.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded to Guterres on X (formerly Twitter), saying the UN Secretary-General “blamed Israel for the humanitarian situation in Gaza” without condemning Hamas fighters who are “looting” aid.

The Rafah crossing is one of the main entry points for aid into Gaza, where long queues of trucks loaded with aid await Israel’s approval to cross.

Western countries and aid organizations have criticized Israel for the inspection process, which they hold responsible for slowing the entry of much-needed aid.

The war in Gaza began when Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking 253 hostage, according to Israeli officials.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry says more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli retaliatory air strikes and an ongoing ground offensive.

Earlier, Mr. Guterres met with UN humanitarian workers in Al-Arish, the Egyptian city closest to Gaza, where much of the international relief aid for the Strip is delivered and stored. He later visited a hospital where injured Palestinians were being treated.

His visit comes at a time when Israel is planning to launch a ground operation in Rafah. More than half of Gaza's 2.3 million people are seeking refuge in the southern city, where Israel says Hamas leaders are hiding and Hamas brigades still operate there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied international criticism of the planned attack, saying: “No international pressure will prevent Israel” from achieving all of its war goals.

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