War in Gaza must end – UN
The international community must use “all its influence” to end the war in Gaza, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said on Friday.
The 90-day-long hostilities have made the Palestinian enclave "uninhabitable,” and the people of Gaza face daily threats to their very existence, he added.
The UN official recalled that tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed or injured, while areas they were told to move to for safety “have come under bombardment,” stressing that all this happens “while the world watches.”
“Gaza has shown us the worst of humanity,” Griffiths said, noting that “violence cannot resolve differences.”
“A public health disaster is unfolding,” he added, citing the spread of infectious diseases in the enclave's overcrowded shelters as sewage pipes overflow. “Some 180 Palestinian women are giving birth every day amid this chaos,” and Gaza’s children have nothing but “the terrifying sounds of war,” the official said.
“It is time for the parties to meet all their obligations under international law” to protect civilians and release hostages, he argued, calling on world leaders to use all their influence to “make this happen.”
“This war should never have started. But it’s long past time for it to end,” Griffiths said.
The conflict in Gaza escalated on October 7 after the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials. In response, West Jerusalem declared war and launched an air and ground offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 22,700 residents of the enclave and wounded more than 58,000, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
In late November, West Jerusalem and Hamas agreed to a week-long ceasefire, during which 108 Israeli hostages were released in exchange for Israel freeing some Palestinian prisoners.
Last week, Hamas offered Israel a new hostage deal consisting of three phases, Axios reported. According to the outlet, each stage would require a more than a month-long pause in hostilities in exchange for the hostages’ release and an end to the war upon completion of the final phase. The Israeli war cabinet discussed and rejected the plan as “unacceptable,” Axios said.
It came a few days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would continue the military operation against Hamas until the group is destroyed, Gaza is "demilitarized,” and its residents “deradicalized.”