Fighting in the Middle East should stop immediately, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a UN General Assembly meeting on Thursday, urging Israel and the Palestinians to stop the war immediately and pledging to do so.
“The past ten days have seen an alarming and alarming increase in violent crime in the Palestinian territories, especially Gaza, and Israel,” Guterres told a conference hosted by the Islamic Cooperation and Arab Group.
“I am shocked by the explosion of weapons and ammunition by the Israeli army in Gaza,” added the UN chief.
“Terrified” by reports that nine members of the same family were killed in al-Shati camp, Guterres added: “If there is a hell on earth, then the lives of children in Gaza.”
He expressed deep concern over the destruction of the press and the killing of a journalist in Gaza, saying that journalists have the right to do their job.
According to the UN, the blast killed 208 Palestinians, including 60 children, and injured thousands more. Hamas rocket attacks on Israel have killed 12 people, including two children, and injured hundreds.
The enemy has severely damaged difficult operations in Gaza, including roads and electricity, Guterres said. The crossing is closed and the lack of electricity affects the water. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Aircraft crashes have also devastated several hospitals, which were already burdened with the coronavirus epidemic.
More than 50,000 Palestinians in Gaza have fled their homes and are looking for school accommodation run by the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), where water and food are scarce, Guterres said.
Aid agencies should do their part, he said, recognizing that the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, and the Project Assistant, are planning to send $ 14m to areas living in Palestine.
“Finding useful resources is very important. Attacks by militias in the surrounding areas are illegal, “said a UN official.
He also called on Israel to allow non-humanitarian access – including food, oil and medicine – to Gaza and expressed concern over rockets from Gaza that reached Tel Aviv and its territories and Ben Gurion Airport. These stones have killed ordinary people, and hurt hundreds.
“Although wars have laws,” the secretary-general affirmed, emphasizing: “The common people must be protected. Indiscriminate torture, as well as civil and material attacks, is a violation of military law.”
“It does not make sense, including criminal or security, for employers to ignore the conduct of international law,” Guterres added.
He urged Israeli officials to adhere to the rules of war, including the proper use of force and called on them to exercise restraint in their actions.
He also urged Hamas and other militants to block the installation of rockets and mortars from densely populated areas to Israeli settlements, in violation of international humanitarian law. Areas with large populations should not be used for military purposes, Guterres asserted.
He also spoke of the seriousness of the ongoing conflict between Israeli and Palestinian security forces across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and called on Israel to stop the occupation and deportation.
Guterres said he was working with Egypt, Jordan and Qatar to mobilize all parties to end the violence and to work with all parties involved, including Hamas, to end the conflict.
The United Nations supports a two-state solution on the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine.