Again: U.N. Boss, Antonio Guterres, Insists On Instant Ceasefire In Gaza


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres visits the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Saturday, March 23, 2024.

Antonio Guterres, United Nations (UN) secretary-general on Saturday declared starvation inside Gaza a “moral outrage” as he stood near a long line of waiting trucks.

He called for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

He spoke on the Egyptian side of the border not far from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israel plans to launch a ground assault despite widespread warnings of a potential disaster.

More than half of Gaza’s population has taken refuge there.

Said Guterres: “Any further onslaught will make things even worse — worse for Palestinian civilians, worse for hostages and worse for all people in the region”.

He spoke a day after the U.N. Security Council failed to reach consensus on the wording of a resolution supporting “an immediate and sustained cease-fire”.

Guterres repeatedly noted the difficulties of getting aid into Gaza, for which international aid agencies had
largely blamed Israel.

Noted he: “Here from this crossing, we see the heartbreak and heartlessness … a long line of blocked red relief trucks on one side of the gates, the long shadow of starvation on the other”.

Hamas is believed to be holding some 100 hostages as well as the remains of 30 others taken in its October 7 attack that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and sparked the war.

An estimated 1.5 million Palestinians now shelter in Rafah.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said an Israeli ground assault on Rafah would be “a mistake” and unnecessary in defeating Hamas.

That marked a shift in the position for the United States, whose officials have concluded there was no credible way for getting sheltering civilians out of harm’s way.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press forward with military-approved plans for the offensive, which he has said is crucial to achieving the stated aim of destroying Hamas.

The military has said Rafah is Hamas’ last major stronghold and ground forces must target four battalions remaining there.

Gaza health officials, disclosed that Israel’s invasion had killed more than 32,000 people, while leaving much of the enclave in ruins and displacing some 80% of the enclave’s 2.3 million people.

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