“If there is Hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today,”
United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that there must be an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, as deaths and destruction mount.
“But above all, what we must – and I am repeating my appeal – what we must achieve is an immediate cease-fire,” Guterres told a special session of the General Assembly requested by Arab and Muslim nations.
He said it is urgent that the hostilities are de-escalated, to prevent what he said would become an “uncontainable cross-border security and humanitarian crisis.”
“Even wars have rules,” he said. “First and foremost, civilians must be protected.”
The death toll stands at 230 in Gaza, including 65 children, according to local health officials there, and 12 in Israel, according to its authorities. More than 58,000 Palestinians have been displaced in Gaza.
“If there is Hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today,” the U.N. chief said.
He urged the international community to help the parties “to step back from the brink” and ultimately revitalize the peace process as the only route to a permanent and sustainable peace in the form of two states living side by side.
About a dozen foreign ministers flew to New York for the meeting – the first time such a high-level, in-person meeting has been held at U.N. headquarters since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than 14 months ago. (AFP/VOA)