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Guterres once again calls for humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

Wednesday, November 8th 2023 - 10:00 UTC
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“Everything he says is based on information that we have and that we trust to be able to use,” a spokesperson for Guterres explained “Everything he says is based on information that we have and that we trust to be able to use,” a spokesperson for Guterres explained

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres Tuesday called again for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza to allow humanitarian actions. The Portugal-born official said he was “extremely distressed by the violent death of civilians in Gaza and the humanitarian catastrophe that continues there.”

Guterres once again underlined “his absolute condemnation of the terrorist attacks committed by Hamas in Israel, for which there can be no justification,” while saying he was ”extremely distressed by the violent death of civilians in Gaza and the humanitarian catastrophe that (there) continues.“

The UN leader took heavy verbal flak in Israel for his previous remarks that those attacks by Hamas' armed wing ”did not come out of nowhere“ but were the product of ”56 years of suffocating occupation.“

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen posted on X: ”Aren't you ashamed, Antonio Guterres? More than 30 children are still being held hostage against their will in Gaza. Hamas is the problem in Gaza, not Israel's actions to eliminate this terrorist organization.“

Asked at a press conference Tuesday whether Guterres regretted using those words, the secretary-general's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, was blunt: ”He does not retract anything he has said.“ Dujarric also underlined the great pressure Guterres is under in speaking out one way or the other on this conflict: ”The secretary-general is often accused of following the narrative of one side or the other (but) everything he says is based on information that we have and that we trust to be able to use.”

In the meantime, 89 UN workers in Gaza have been reported killed as a result of the ongoing military actions, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (Unrwa) reported, while at least 26 members of the agency have been injured. “As an agency, we are beyond devastated. We will miss our colleagues dearly and will not forget them. We share this grief with each other and with the families,” Unrwa said in a statement.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the death toll resulting from Israel's offensive on Gaza had reached 10,328 by Tuesday, including 4237 children, 2,719 women, and 631 elderly people. More than 25,000 people have been reported wounded.

In this scenario, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus dubbed the Israeli bombardment of Gaza a “human catastrophe” and urged all parties for a humanitarian ceasefire and lasting peace.

“History will judge us all by what we do to end this tragedy,” Tedros posted Tuesday on X (formerly Twitter), urging “all parties to agree to a humanitarian ceasefire and work for a lasting peace.”

He also called again for “the immediate release of the hostages” taken by Hamas on October 7, when it stormed part of Israeli territory, leaving 1,400 dead. In retaliation, Israel is steadily and relentlessly bombarding the Gazan population.

“It has been a month of intense bombardment in Gaza. 10,000 people have been killed. More than 4,000 of them were children. How long will this human catastrophe last?” lamented Tedros.

WHO Spokesman Christian Lindmeier estimated that an average of 160 children die every day in Gaza and expressed his “pride” in the workers who “maintain the health system in Gaza despite everything.”

“They are true heroes, working under constant stress and without respite,” he was quoted as saying. He also stressed that “all attacks on health workers and facilities are prohibited by humanitarian law” and described as “unacceptable” the bombing of hospitals.

Lindmeier insisted on the importance of “the political will to grant at least a humanitarian pause” to “alleviate the suffering of the civilian population and hostages in Gaza.”

Categories: Politics, International.

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