Describing the hostilities as ‘Very terrifying’The Secretary-General warned that hopes for coexistence and peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis are heading towards the horizon.
The current violence in Gaza and Israel only perpetuates cycles of death, destruction and despair, and pushes to the horizon any hopes for coexistence and peace.
The fighting must stop immediately.
The @a It works actively to engage all parties for an immediate ceasefire.
– Antonio Guterres (antonioguterres) May 16, 2021
The fighting must stop. He must stop immediately. The rockets and mortar shells on the one hand, and the air and artillery shelling on the other hand, must be stopped. I appeal to all parties to heed this call. ”
The virtual council meeting, which was attended by a number of foreign ministers and ambassadors, took place amid the most dangerous escalation in Gaza and Israel in years. Clashes also broke out throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The region is in danger
The Secretary-General feared that the violence would have far-reaching consequences.
“The fighting threatens to plunge Israelis and Palestinians into a spiral of violence with dire consequences for both societies and the entire region,” he said.
He said, “It is possible that a humanitarian and security crisis will be unleashed that cannot be contained and that extremism will be strengthened, not only in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but in the region as a whole, which could lead to the creation of a new place of serious instability.”
The United Nations Secretary-General stressed that the only way forward is to return to negotiations for a two-state solution, but that the fighting makes this goal more difficult.
He renewed the commitment of the United Nations to work with the Israelis and the Palestinians and with international and regional partners to achieve a lasting and just peace.
“This foolish episode of bloodshed, terror and destruction must stop immediately,” he said.
Death, displacement and devastation
Tor Winnisland, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, outlined the human cost of the deadly escalation between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza. Preliminary figures indicate that approximately 181 Palestinians and nine Israelis have been killed, while health authorities in Gaza have reported 1,200 injuries.
The UN envoy added that the humanitarian and security situation in the crowded Gaza Strip is getting more difficult every day.
The besieged health system is already suffering from chronic shortages of medicines and equipment, and now Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, more than 34,000 people have been displaced, and more than 40 schools run by the United Nations Agency for UNRWA are now operating as shelters.
“As a result of the military operations, seven factories, 40 schools and four hospitals were completely or partially damaged.” He said.
“At least 18 buildings, including four high-rise towers, including one hosting international media, were destroyed, and more than 350 buildings were damaged. According to the IDF, these buildings contained Hamas military installations.”
Echoing the Secretary-General’s call for an immediate de-escalation, Mr. Winsland said that the United Nations is working tirelessly on all sides to restore calm.
Israelis and Palestinians have a legitimate right to safety and security. The violence we are witnessing now is unacceptable and unjustified. “