UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says 'clear violations of humanitarian law' in Gaza.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says there have been "clear violations" of humanitarian law in Gaza and called for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire".
He made the comments before a Security Council that remained divided on the 18th day of the war between Israel and Hamas.
Guterres said the risk of the Gaza war spreading through the region is increasing as societies splinter and tensions threaten to boil over. He called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to deliver desperately needed food, water, medicine and fuel. He also appealed "to all to pull back from the brink before the violence claims even more lives and spreads even farther."
Guterres stressed that the rules of war must be obeyed.
He said the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify “the horrifying and unprecedented October 7 acts of terror" by Hamas in Israel and demanded the immediate release of all hostages.
But Guterres also stressed that "those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people."
He expressed deep concern at “the clear violations of international humanitarian law,” calling Israel’s constant bombardment of Gaza and the level of destruction and civilian casualties “alarming.”
Protecting civilians “is paramount in any armed conflict,” he said.
Without naming Hamas, the UN chief stressed that “protecting civilians can never mean using them as human shields.”
Guterres also criticized Israel without naming it, saying “protecting civilians does not mean ordering more than one million people to evacuate to the south, where there is no shelter, no food, no water, no medicine and no fuel, and then continuing to bomb the south itself.”