NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday emphasized the need for a continuous and permanent humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza amidst the ongoing negotiations between Israel and Hamas, facilitated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States.
While addressing the UN Security Council meeting on Gaza crisis, Guterres welcomed the release of hostages during the truce and highlighted the dire humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.
Guterres stated that the current humanitarian aid delivery into Gaza, although a welcome start, remains inadequate to meet the immense needs of over two million Palestinian people. He stressed the necessity of the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, noting that 60 hostages, including women and children, were released during the five-day truce.
While acknowledging the positive impact of the truce, Guterres urged the international community to address the broader humanitarian needs in Gaza. He called for the full restoration of water and electricity services, urgent measures to counter the collapse of food systems, and improvements in public health conditions.
UN Chief Warns Against Turning Away from Humanitarian Catastrophe in Gaza
The UN chief underscored the importance of opening additional border crossings, including Kerem Shalom, to facilitate the inflow of life-saving aid.
Guterres emphasized that humanitarian aid alone would not be sufficient, highlighting the role of the private sector in bringing critical commodities to replenish depleted shops. He urged a “true humanitarian ceasefire” and stressed the need for a two-state solution based on UN resolutions and international law, envisioning Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security.
The Secretary-General concluded by warning against turning away from the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, stating that failure to address the situation would lead to a never-ending cycle of death and destruction affecting Palestinians, Israelis, the region, and the world.