UN Chief Calls Starvation in Gaza an Outrage and Says It’s Time to “Truly Flood” the Region with Aid

The famine inside the enclave is a “moral outrage,” according to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who stood alongside a lengthy line of waiting trucks on Saturday and announced it was time to “truly flood Gaza with lifesaving aid.” He called for Israel and Hamas to immediately cease hostilities.

Speaking near the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israel intends to launch a ground attack despite widespread warnings of a potential tragedy, was UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. There, more than half of Gaza’s population has sought safety.

According to Guterres, “any additional assault will make things even worse—worse for hostages, worse for Palestinian civilians, and worse for all people in the region.”

He made his remarks the day after the United Nations Security Council was unable to agree on how to phrase a resolution that the United States had sponsored endorsing “an immediate and sustained cease-fire.”

International relief organizations have mostly placed the blame for the challenges in getting aid into Gaza on Israel, as Guterres has often pointed out.”We can feel the heartlessness and misery here from this crossing. He stated, “The long shadow of starvation on one side of the gates, a long line of blocked relief trucks on the other.”

Gaza is set to be served by over 7,000 relief vehicles, according to a statement from Egypt’s governor, Mohammed Abdel-Fadeil Shousha.

In keeping with the Ramadan spirit of compassion, Guterres continued, “It is time for an ironclad commitment by Israel for total… access for humanitarian goods to Gaza and the immediate release of all hostages.” Later, he informed reporters that both the hostage release and a humanitarian cease-fire have to take place simultaneously.

In addition to the bodies of thirty hostages that were abducted during Hamas’ attack on October 7, which killed over 1,200 people—mostly civilians—and started the war, the organization is thought to be holding about 100 captives.In response to a query over Guterres’ remarks, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office cited a social media post made by Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who charged that the UN president was enabling the organization to turn “antisemitic and anti-Israeli.”

Rafah is currently home to an estimated 1.5 million Palestinians who fled Israel’s offensive elsewhere.

In order to defeat Hamas, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Thursday that an Israeli ground attack on Rafah would be “a mistake” and superfluous. The United States has since changed its stance, concluding that there is no practical means of removing civilians from danger.

Netanyahu has pledged to move forward with the offensive’s military-approved plans, saying that doing so is essential to accomplishing the goal of dismantling Hamas. The last significant bastion for Hamas, according to the military, is Rafah, and ground forces need to attack the four battalions that are still there.

According to Gaza health experts, Israel’s invasion has killed over 32,000 Palestinians, destroyed much of the territory, and forced around 80% of its 2.3 million residents to flee. According to a statement released by Gaza’s Health Ministry on Saturday, 72 fatalities’ bodies have been sent to hospitals in the last 24 hours.Although the Health Ministry claims that women and children account for the bulk of deaths, it does not distinguish between combatants and civilians. Israel claims that Hamas operates in residential areas and is to blame for the killings of civilians.

On Saturday, violence erupted near the main hospital in Gaza. Since the start of the operation on Monday, the Israeli military claims to have killed over 170 militants in Shifa Hospital, and Southern Command Commander Yaron Finkelman said as much on Friday.