United Nations, Oct 9 (EFE).- United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres expressed discomfort at the “total blockade” of Gaza announced by Israel on Monday, on the third day of hostilities between the two sides, and urged the international community to “mobilize immediate humanitarian support” for Palestinian civilians “trapped” in the Strip.
“The humanitarian situation was extremely harsh before these hostilities, and now it can only deteriorate exponentially. Medical equipment, food, fuel, and other humanitarian supplies, as well as access to humanitarian personnel, are desperately needed” for Gaza, Guterres said during a press conference.
The organization’s chief, who called for a halt to attacks on Israel and the Palestinian Territories and warned of the human consequences, called on “all relevant parties and actors to allow access for the UN to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance to trapped and helpless Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”
The UN Special Coordinator is dealing with leaders in the region with the aim of “preventing any spillover into the wider Middle East,” he added.
He acknowledged that the recent violence stems from a “long-term conflict, with a 56-year occupation with no political end in sight,” so he urged the parties to “end the vicious cycle of blood, hatred and polarization.”
Guterres again condemned attacks by the Islamist group Hamas on Israeli villages on the periphery of Gaza and noted that both that group and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have indiscriminately launched thousands of rockets that have hit central Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“I recognize the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people, but nothing can justify these acts of terrorism. I reiterate my call for the immediate cessation of these attacks and the release of all hostages following these unprecedented attacks,” he said.
The number of Israelis killed stands at about 800 and the number of wounded at 2,500, “and is expected to rise as the attacks continue;” he also said that there are about 100 Israelis, civilians and military, kidnapped by armed groups who are holding them in Israel and Gaza.
Similarly, he maintained that the UN recognizes Israel’s “legitimate security concerns” and reminded his government that its military operations must be carried out under humanitarian law, never targeting civilians and their infrastructure.
However, he expressed alarm at the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and referred to reports that Israel is targeting health facilities, residential buildings, mosques, and schools housing displaced families in Gaza.
The number of Palestinians killed is about 500 and the number of wounded is about 3,000, “they are rising by the minute as Israeli operations continue,” he added.
At the end of his speech, Guterres called for a two-state solution as key to the long-term stability of Israel and the Palestinian Territories and the region. EFE