Middle East crisis

UN chief says there’s growing consensus to tell Israel a ceasefire needed

UN chief says there’s growing consensus to tell Israel a ceasefire needed
A view of destroyed buildings following Israeli air strikes and a military operation in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, 24 March 2024. More than 32,000 Palestinians and over 1,450 Israelis have been killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), since Hamas militants launched an attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip on 07 October 2023, and the Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank which followed it. The Israeli military stated on 24 March that it conducted an overnight operation against Hamas infrastructure and militants in the area of Al Amal, western Khan Yunis. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

AMMAN, March 25 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said during a visit to Jordan on Monday that there is growing international consensus to tell Israel that a ceasefire is needed and that an assault on Rafah would cause a humanitarian disaster.

“We see a growing consensus emerging in the international community to tell the Israelis that the ceasefire is needed and I also see a growing consensus, I heard in the U.S., I heard from the European Union, not to mention of course the Muslim world, to tell clearly to Israelis that any ground invasion of Rafah could mean a humanitarian disaster,” Guterres told a press conference.

During a tour of a centre in Jordan’s Wihdat camp where the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA provides health and education services, the top U.N. official said that the agency was a lifeline of hope and dignity for millions of refugees across the region.

“We must strive to keep the one-of-a-kind services that UNRWA provides flowing because that keeps hope flowing. In a darkening world, UNRWA is the one ray of light for millions of people,” Guterres said.

Jordan, which lies at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict, hosts 2.4 million Palestinian refugees, the largest number of such refugees among Israel’s neighbours. Many of its citizens are of Palestinian origin.

UNRWA has been in crisis since Israel accused a dozen of its staff of involvement in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks against Israel.

The allegations prompted UNRWA’s biggest donor, the United States, and some others to pause funding, putting the agency’s future in doubt. However, some other countries have since restored funding

“UNRWA is profoundly contributing in ways that can’t be measured on a graph — advancing social cohesion, promoting stability, building peace. Imagine if all of this was taken away,” Guterres said.

The results of an independent internal U.N. investigation that was launched would help strengthen and improve UNRWA, the top U.N. official said.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Tala Ramadan, Nadine Awadalla and Clauda Tanios; Editing by Michael Georgy, Toby Chopra, William Maclean)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    Really? No mention here of the USA Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire that Naledi Pandor’s mates in China and Russia actually blocked?

    I would love to see SOME kind of reporting on that in DM – but I guess the Sino-Russo fans on the news desk find it embarrassing to comment on.

    • Andrew P says:

      Republished from Bloomberg on the DM web site yesterday: “Russia and China vetoed the strongest move yet by the US to pressure Israel at the United Nations Security Council, saying that a resolution endorsing a ceasefire in Gaza was still too weak.”

  • Anthony Krijger says:

    There remain over 100 innocent people taken as hostages. Hamas has been informed that a ceasefire is a possibility but talks can only start once hostages are returned. This salient fact has been studiously ignored by Hamas who continue to pretend they are not the aggressors and suddenly are aggrieved by the continued bombing of Palestine. The continued fighting could have been ended by Hamas a long long time ago by returning the hostages.

  • EK SÊ says:

    UNRWA? Is this man mad, genocidal or ignorant of history repeating itself in this region?

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