UN Chief Antonio Guterres Makes Fresh Ceasefire Appeal Amid Israel-Gaza War

UN Chief Antonio Guterres Makes Fresh Ceasefire Appeal Amid
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has made a renewed call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

UN Chief Antonio Guterres Makes Fresh Ceasefire Appeal Amid Israel-Gaza War

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reiterated his urgent call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, stressing the need to end the ongoing violence. Speaking from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing with Gaza, Guterres urged Israel to allow unrestricted access for humanitarian aid across the region. His plea follows a UN-supported assessment that highlighted the severe food insecurity crisis in Gaza, with 1.1 million people facing acute hunger and the threat of starvation. The assessment also warned of an imminent famine in the northern part of Gaza between now and May.

Guterres condemned the obstruction of a US-proposed UN resolution for a ceasefire linked to the release of hostages in Gaza, which was vetoed by Russia and China. He emphasized the crucial importance of ramping up life-saving assistance to Gaza, criticizing the blockage of relief trucks at the Egyptian border as morally unacceptable. Additionally, Guterres called for the release of Israeli hostages and expressed solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, assuring them of global support during their ongoing hardships.

In response to Guterres’ appeal, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz criticized the UN chief on social media, accusing him of unfairly attributing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza solely to Israel. Katz argued that Guterres failed to condemn Hamas militants for impeding aid distribution. The Rafah crossing, a vital entry point for aid into Gaza, currently experiences lengthy queues of aid trucks awaiting Israeli approval for entry. Israel has faced criticism from Western nations and aid organizations for its inspection procedures, which are seen as delaying much-needed assistance.

Guterres, in discussions with BBC Middle East correspondent Hugo Bachega, reiterated his call for Israel to remove barriers to aid delivery, asserting that such obstacles exacerbate the suffering in Gaza. Meanwhile, Guterres visited el-Arish, the Egyptian city closest to Gaza, where he met with UN humanitarian aid workers and visited a hospital treating injured Palestinians. His visit coincided with Israel’s plans for a ground operation in Rafah, a city where a significant portion of Gaza’s population seeks refuge and where Hamas leadership is believed to be present.

Despite international pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains firm in his decision to proceed with the planned offensive. As the humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens, Guterres’ efforts to garner support for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid underscore the urgent need for immediate action to alleviate the suffering of civilians caught in the crossfire.

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