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UN chief appeals for humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza

December 10, 2023 at 12:55 pm

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to press ahead of the Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York, United States on October 13, 2023. [Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images]

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called for a humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip amid Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian territory, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking at the Doha Forum held in Qatar, Guterres criticised the UN Security Council’s “resounding silence” over the Gaza conflict.

“The horrific attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7, followed by the relentless Israeli bombardment of Gaza were met by a resounding silence from the Council. After more than one month, the Council finally passed the resolution, which I welcome,” he said.

“The delay comes at a cost, the Council’s authority and credibility were severely undermined and the resolution is not being implemented,” he added.

Guterres underlined that “there is no effective protection of civilians in Gaza.”

“The number of civilian casualties in Gaza in such a short period is totally unprecedented,” he said, noting that “the health care system is collapsing.”

The UN chief expected “public order to completely break down soon and then even a worse situation could unfold, including epidemic diseases and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt.”

Guterres called on the UN Security Council “to press to avert the humanitarian catastrophe.”

He also reiterated his “appeal for a humanitarian cease-fire to be declared.”

“Regrettably, the Security Council failed to do it but that does not make it less necessary, so I can promise I will not give up,” he added.

The US vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution on Friday that demanded an immediate cease-fire to halt the ongoing bloodshed in the Gaza Strip as the death toll continues to mount.

Israel resumed its military offensive on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 1 after the end of a week-long humanitarian pause with Hamas.

At least 17,700 Palestinians have been killed and more than 48,780 others injured in relentless air and ground attacks on the enclave since Oct. 7 following the cross-border attack by Hamas.

The Israeli death toll in the Hamas attack stood at 1,200, according to official figures.

READ: UN experts urge member states to do all for Gaza ceasefire ahead of Security Council vote