UN Agencies Call for Immediate Humanitarian Cease-Fire in Gaza
The heads of all major UN agencies have issued a rare joint statement expressing outrage at the civilian death toll in Gaza and calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. The statement, signed by the heads of 18 organizations including UNICEF, the World Food Program, and the World Health Organization, describes the horrific toll on both sides since the Hamas cross-border attack from Gaza into Israel on October 7.
The statement highlights the shock and horror felt by the world as the number of lives lost and torn apart continues to rise. According to Israeli authorities, the cross-border attack left about 1,400 people dead, mainly civilians. In response, Israel has launched relentless air and artillery strikes that have killed at least 9,770 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.
The UN chiefs also draw attention to the dire situation in Gaza’s hospitals, which are struggling to cope with over 23,000 injured people requiring immediate treatment. They condemn the killing of civilians in Gaza and the denial of access to essential resources such as food, water, medicine, electricity, and fuel for the besieged population.
The statement further highlights the alarming number of attacks against healthcare facilities and aid workers. Since October 7, more than 100 attacks against healthcare have been reported, and scores of aid workers have been killed. Among the slain aid workers were 88 members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The UN leaders call on Hamas to release the more than 240 hostages it took in its attack and urge both sides to respect their obligations under international law. They emphasize the need for increased humanitarian aid, including food, water, medicine, and fuel, to be allowed into Gaza to help its besieged population as Israel continues its attacks with the goal of destroying Hamas.
The joint statement concludes with a plea for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, stating that enough is enough after 30 days of conflict. The UN further highlights the serious challenges faced by medical staff in Gaza due to the siege imposed by Israeli forces. Thousands of people seeking refuge from violence in hospitals have created difficulties for medical staff in ensuring safe childbirth.
The call for a humanitarian cease-fire comes as the international community grows increasingly concerned about the escalating violence and civilian casualties in Gaza. The UN agencies’ joint statement adds to the mounting pressure on both Israel and Hamas to halt the fighting and prioritize the well-being and safety of the civilian population.
The situation in Gaza remains dire, with limited access to basic necessities and a healthcare system on the brink of collapse. The international community must come together to support efforts for a cease-fire and provide much-needed humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people in Gaza.
As the conflict continues, it is crucial for all parties involved to respect international law and protect the rights and lives of civilians. The joint statement from the heads of major UN agencies serves as a powerful reminder of the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and the importance of prioritizing humanitarian assistance in Gaza.