Humanitarian crisis in Gaza is an epic catastrophe, says UN chieftext_fields
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted the dire humanitarian crisis facing Gazans, characterising it as an "epic catastrophe witnessed by the world," while urging an extension of the existing ceasefire amid the ongoing conflict.
Speaking at a United Nations Security Council meeting, Guterres stressed the need for a genuine humanitarian truce, acknowledging the intense negotiations underway to extend the current pause in the conflict.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, addressing the meeting, portrayed the Palestinian people as confronting an existential threat amidst the ongoing conflict, asserting the demand for dignity and stating Israel lacks the right to self-defense against an occupied population.
The temporary truce in the ongoing conflict, set to conclude shortly, follows a six-day halt in the fighting.
Negotiators, supported by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, are striving for a lasting and sustainable ceasefire, with several hostages and prisoners being released as part of the arrangement.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned against a potential resurgence of hostilities, cautioning that it could escalate into a larger regional catastrophe.
Israel's ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said that "anyone who supports a ceasefire basically supports Hamas's continued reign of terror in Gaza."
Following a 48-hour extension of an initial four-day truce, a new group of hostages and prisoners, involving Israelis and Palestinians, was freed, reflecting the ongoing efforts towards peace.
Secretary-General Guterres welcomed the collaborative efforts of Israel and Palestine, assisted by various governments, in reaching agreements that aim to ease the conflict.
Despite the truce, severe devastation caused by Israel's military campaign in Gaza has resulted in significant civilian casualties and extensive destruction of homes, with an estimated 45% of residences damaged or demolished.
The ceasefire in Gaza has not curbed violence in the occupied West Bank, where recent incidents involving Israeli troops resulted in casualties, adding to the toll of Palestinians killed since the onset of the conflict.