As the conflict between Israel and Hamas reaches the grim milestone of 100 days, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip. Guterres emphasized the urgent need for such a ceasefire to ensure the delivery of essential aid, facilitate the release of hostages, and prevent further escalation of the conflict.
Speaking at a press briefing in New York, Guterres expressed deep concern about the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza, where 2.4 million people are grappling with the consequences of the protracted conflict. He underscored the growing risk of escalation and miscalculation, highlighting the imperative of ending the hostilities promptly.
The conflict originated from a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, leading to widespread devastation and a significant loss of life. The UN and aid groups have warned of a dire situation in the besieged strip, with much of the territory reduced to rubble.
Guterres condemned the collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian people and denounced the “beyond words” humanitarian situation in Gaza. He noted that over three months of fighting have displaced approximately 85 percent of the population, leaving them in overcrowded shelters and struggling to access necessities.
Highlighting the impact on UN personnel, Guterres revealed that the “vast majority” of Palestinian staff have fled their homes, with 152 staff members killed since the conflict’s outbreak—a tragic record in the organization’s history.
With aid deliveries facing challenges in reaching the traumatized population, Guterres warned of the looming shadow of starvation over Gaza. He called for an end to collective punishment and stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire to address the dire humanitarian crisis.
In addition, the UN chief expressed concern about the spillover effect of the conflict, including the potential escalation across the Lebanon-Israeli border. He emphasized the risk of destabilizing the region and called for concerted efforts to prevent further deterioration of the situation.
As the international community grapples with the complexities of the conflict, Guterres’s plea for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire underscores the pressing need for decisive action to alleviate the suffering of the people in Gaza and pave the way for a sustainable resolution.