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28 Oct, 2023 13:25

Gaza destruction would be disaster for decades – Lavrov

The Russian foreign minister has called for a ceasefire and humanitarian programs in the Palestinian enclave to save the population
Gaza destruction would be disaster for decades – Lavrov

A ceasefire and humanitarian programs are needed in Gaza to save the population, which has been blockaded without water, electricity, and food, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Belarusian news agency BELTA on Saturday.

According to the Russian official, “if the Gaza Strip is destroyed and 2 million residents are expelled, it will create a catastrophe for many more decades, if not centuries.” 

During the interview, Lavrov cited UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said that “the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum” and recalled the need for a two-state solution.

The minister noted that he has repeatedly told his Israeli counterparts that the unstable situation in the region will not calm down “without the creation of a Palestinian state through negotiations,” and that there will always be a threat to West Jerusalem from the unstable Palestinian territories.

Given the current situation in Gaza, Lavrov said, direct talks between Palestine and Israel about a two-state solution are hardly possible. However, Moscow is “sending a signal” to West Jerusalem that a peaceful way out must be found instead of “completing the announced scorched-earth strategy in Gaza,” he added.

The foreign minister also noted that the escalation of the Gaza conflict “has sent a signal to the West” that it should think “not only about Ukraine, where they want to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield,” but also about how to ensure security interests in general.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin recalled Moscow’s position on the Gaza conflict – that two independent sovereign states should be created based on the decisions of the UN Security Council – but noted that the main point now is to stop the bloodshed and violence.

On the same day, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation and said that “we are raining down hellfire on Hamas” promising a “ground incursion” into Gaza.

On Friday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that in addition to the attacks of the past few days, ground forces were “expanding” their activities. A few hours later, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry stated on X (formerly Twitter) that it was calling on the entire world “to intervene immediately to stop this war.” 

Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing up to 1,400 people and taking over 200 hostages. In response, West Jerusalem launched massive airstrikes on Gaza while cutting off the enclave’s water, electricity, fuel and medical supplies.

Palestinian officials say the death toll has exceeded 7,000, including more than 3,000 children. Gaza’s hospital system has reportedly completely collapsed, while humanitarian organizations and international journalists say they have lost contact with their colleagues amid the intensified Israeli bombardment.

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