01/20/2024 UN Secretary General António Guterres POLITICS MIDDLE EAST ASIA ISRAEL UNITED NATIONS
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has highlighted the “total” destruction and “completely unprecedented” number of civilian deaths as a result of the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip. “Following the heinous Hamas attacks on October 7, the utter destruction of Gaza and the number of civilian casualties inflicted by the Israeli army in such a short period of time are unprecedented,” Guterres said from Kampala, Uganda, where he was attending the Non -Conference of affiliated countries. Guterres recalled that 152 UN employees were among those who died, “a heartbreaking tragedy for our organization, for their families and for those who worked in Gaza.” Humanitarian workers are “doing their best to provide assistance,” but “they face constant bombing and daily danger to themselves and their families,” he recalled. “People are dying not just from bombs and bullets, but also from lack of food and clean water, from hospitals without power or medicine, and from strenuous journeys to even smaller areas of land to escape the fighting,” he said. For Guterres, the conflict must “stop.” “I will not give in to my call for an immediate and humanitarian ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages. And we must do everything we can to prevent this conflict from affecting other countries in the region and the West Bank,” he added. Guterres particularly referred to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Red Sea. “The refusal to accept the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians and the rejection of the right to a state for the Palestinian people are unacceptable,” he stressed.