Conflicts & War

Gazans are ‘looking into the abyss’, Guterres tells Security Council in emergency session

United Nations, Dec 8 (EFE).- The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Friday morning to discuss the catastrophic situation in Gaza, two days after Secretary-General António Guterres invoked “Article 99,” one of the most powerful tools at his disposal, to urge the body to stop the war in Gaza that has left 17,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis dead.

“The eyes of the world – and the eyes of history – are watching,” Guterres insisted at the meeting he requested, invoking for the first time in his tenure Article 99 of the UN Charter, which allows him to address the council in the event of a serious threat to security.

It is not clear whether a new resolution calling for a cease-fire can be voted on Friday, given the reluctance, particularly, of the United States, which has veto power.

“International humanitarian law (the rules that govern armed conflict) cannot be applied selectively,” Guterres said. “It is binding on all parties equally at all times, and the obligation to observe it does not depend on reciprocity.”

“While indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israel, and the use of civilians as human shields, are in contravention of the laws of war”, the Secretary-general admonished, “such conduct does not absolve Israel of its own violations,” he admonished.

Gueterres warned that in Gaza there is “a complete breakdown of public order and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt” and that “the consequences could be devastating for the security of the entire region.”

Guterres recalled that 60% of homes in the enclave have been destroyed or damaged, forcing the displacement of 85% of the population: “he people of Gaza are being told to move like human pinballs – ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival.”

The Secretary General concluded his speech by saying that “while we deal with the current crisis, we cannot lose sight of the only viable possibility for a peaceful future: a two-State solution.”

Robert A. Wood, ambassador of the United States to the UN, called the failure by the Security Council to condemn Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack a “fundamental disconnect,” adding that it is “undeniable” that if Israel unilaterally laid down its arms, Hamas would continue to hold hostages.

At the time of publishing, the emergency meeting was ongoing.EFE


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