Gaza: UN chief calls on international community to prevent Israeli incursion into Rafah

Газа: глава ООН призвал международное сообщество предотвратить израильское вторжение в Рафах

The UN chief held a press briefing on the situation in Gaza. Gaza: UN chief calls on international community to prevent Israeli incursion into Rafah Peace and Security

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Israeli government and the Hamas leadership to reach an agreement on a ceasefire as soon as possible “for the sake of the people of Gaza, for the sake of the hostages and their families, and for the sake of the region and the whole world.”

Speaking to reporters at UN headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General reiterated his solidarity with the victims of Hamas attacks, the hostages and their families and friends. He also stressed that almost seven months after the events of October 7, the situation in Gaza is deteriorating every day. sustainable path to peace and security for Israelis, Palestinians and the entire region,” Guterres said.

The UN chief noted that members of the Security Council and many other governments have declared the planned Israeli operation in Rafah. He appealed to everyone who has influence over Israel to do everything possible to prevent this invasion.

Mass graves

“I am deeply alarmed by reports that mass graves have been discovered in several places in Gaza, including in the Al-Shifa and Nasser medical complexes,” Guterres told reporters. 

“It is imperative that independent international investigators with forensic expertise are given immediate access to the sites of these mass graves,” he added.

Action Plan 

The Secretary-General reported that the results of the report on the mechanisms and procedures of the United Nations Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to maintain neutrality an action plan is being developed to implement the recommendations of the Independent Group.

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Independent Panel Releases Final Report on UNRWA

Many countries that had previously suspended contributions to UNRWA have resumed them, he said. In addition, some countries supported the agency for the first time, in addition to private donations. However, a funding gap remains, the UN chief said, calling on all potential donors to provide funds to ensure the continuity of UNRWA’s humanitarian work.

Humanitarian situation

The UN chief also noted gradual progress in humanitarian operations, but he said much more was needed, including the promised opening of two checkpoints between Israel and northern Gaza so that aid could flow from the port of Ashdod and Jordan.

Speaking in Geneva earlier on Tuesday, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said more humanitarian aid had arrived in the enclave in recent weeks than in previous months, but it was “still far from enough.” He said UNRWA continues to face Israeli refusals, delays and other difficulties.

Inhumane treatment

According to Lazzarini, Israeli authorities close the checkpoint several times a week with little or no warning because released prisoners are being abandoned there or sometimes dumping the bodies of Palestinians who have been brought back from Israel to the enclave.

Citing testimony from former detainees, the head of UNRWA reported that they were “regularly rounded up, stripped down to their underwear, tied up and loaded into trucks while blindfolded.” After their arrest, the detainees were left incommunicado and subjected to “shockingly inhumane treatment, including torture such as simulated drowning, severe beatings and hounding by dogs.” 

Prisoners suspected by Israel of having links to Hamas were forced to wear diapers because they were not allowed to go to the toilet, and they were pressured to report UNRWA’s “political connections” in the sector and the agency’s violations of the principle of neutrality.

UNRWA staff

To date, 182 UNRWA staff have been killed and more than 160 agency premises have been damaged or completely destroyed, the Commissioner-General said . 

“Most of these premises served as shelters for displaced people, and more than 400 people were killed in them,” he said, while condemning the use of empty UNRWA facilities for military purposes.

Lazzarini reiterated the agency’s neutral status, which was confirmed by the findings of the report of the Independent Panel led by Catherine Colonna. He also noted that a separate UN investigation into 19 people completely cleared one employee of charges and suspended four other cases because they did not provide enough information.

Speaking of allegations that hundreds of UNRWA staff members are members of armed groups, the head of the agency said that “at this time these are simply statements for which there is no corroborating information.”

The UN Court rejected Nicaragua’s claim against Germany 

Meanwhile, the International Court of Justice on Tuesday refused to take temporary measures against Germany in connection with the export of weapons from this country to Israel. Nicaragua accused Germany of “engaging in probable ongoing genocide and other serious violations of international law” in the Gaza Strip.

The International Court of Justice ruled against the provisional measures by 15 votes to one, stating that the circumstances of the case do not require the exercise of the Court’s powers under Article 41 to order provisional measures. effective measures to ensure the immediate, unimpeded and widespread provision, in full cooperation with the United Nations, of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians throughout Gaza by all parties concerned.”


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