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UN chief raises concern over ‘clear violations of international humanitarian law’ in Gaza

October 25, 2023 at 3:04 pm

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on September 19, 2023 [Fatih Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed “deep concern” about the clear violations of international humanitarian law taking place in Gaza.

In a speech before a high-level session of the Security Council held yesterday, Guterres said the situation in the Middle East is getting worse “by the hour,” warning that “the war in Gaza is getting more intense with time while the risk of a regional spillover is increasing by the minute.

Guterres condemned the attacks carried out by the Palestinian resistance in Israel on 7 October, however, he said: “The Hamas attacks did not happen in a vacuum.”

“The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence, their economy stifled, their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing,” he added.

He also warned against “collective punishment” of the Palestinians where the “unjust bombing of Gaza” by Israeli forces caused heavy casualties among civilians and the destruction of entire neighbourhoods. “The situation is absolutely horrific,” he added.

READ: UNRWA warns of ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ as 3 days of fuel left in Gaza

Israel has called for the UN secretary general to resign as a result of his speech. This comes after former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Sunday: “If the international media is objective and shows both sides, it serves Hamas.”

“My argument is that the media cannot just claim to bring both sides of the story. If you do that, you are only bringing one — Hamas’s side,” he said, urging the media to only present Israel’s narrative of events, which have been proven to include mistruths including about the targeting of medical and religious facilities.

The Israeli army has killed 5,791 Palestinians, including 2,360 children, and wounded 16,297 others in its ongoing bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip.