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Situation in Gaza 'catastrophic, unconscionable, shameful': UN General Assembly President

March 4, 2024 at 5:45 pm

UN General Assembly President, Dennis Francis at the UN General Assembly in New York, United States on June 01, 2023 [Selçuk Acar – Anadolu Agency]

The UN General Assembly President, Dennis Francis, on Monday described the situation in Gaza as “catastrophic”, “unconscionable” and “shameful”, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking at a debate on the 20 February veto by the US of a Security Council resolution on the Gaza crisis, Francis voiced his shock and said he is “horrified at reported killing and injury of hundreds of people during disbursement of food supplies, west of Gaza City last week”.

On Thursday, Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid at the Al Nabulsi roundabout on Al Rashid Street, a major coastal road to the west of Gaza City in northern Gaza, leaving at least 112 Palestinians dead and 760 injured.

The Israeli military said an initial investigation found that the Palestinians approached a military checkpoint overseeing the entry of the aid trucks when soldiers fired warning shots and shot at the legs of Palestinians who continued to move toward the troops.

Stressing that “countless communities have been decimated; countless families vanished,” Francis also cited the words of the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths “any ground operation in Rafah would leave an already fragile humanitarian operation at death’s door.”

READ: Israel bombs cemetery containing hundreds of martyrs in Gaza

“I, therefore, urgently call for maximum restraint to prevail in order to save innocent civilian lives,” Francis added.

Urging the UN member states to “work much harder to immediately end this conflict,” the General Assembly President also called for efforts towards a two-state solution.

Regarding a temporary ceasefire, Francis said it “would allow hostages to return home to their families” and “it would bring a halt to the widespread suffering of so many Palestinian children, women and men”.

Pledging to work to “expedite humanitarian support to the Palestinian people,” Francis further vowed to “continue to engage tirelessly in direct diplomacy and negotiations on the ground”.

Israel has launched a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since a 7 October, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group, Hamas, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

At least 30,534 Palestinians have since been killed and 71,920 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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