Mideast peace coordinator: UN supports ceasefire, humanitarian efforts in Gaza

NEW YORK, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland affirmed, late Monday, the support for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

During a Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East, Wennesland called for the release of all hostages, the humanitarian relief aid to reach Palestinian civilians, and a ceasefire between the Israeli occupation forces and Hamas.

He stressed the importance for both the Israeli occupation and Hamas to reach prompt negotiations and terms for ceasefire efforts to commence. Wennesland expressed his concerns regarding the large-scale Israeli occupation military operation-taking place in Rafah City in the Gaza Strip, preventing humanitarian aid to safely reach and be distributed to civilians taking refuge in the area.

Wennesland relayed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that international allied and neighboring countries of occupied Palestine have condemned the latest Israeli occupation’s military operation.

He called for th
e international community to extend its support towards the new Palestinian government to curb the financial challenges it is currently facing while preparing to take charge of its governmental responsibilities in Gaza.

“There can be no long-term solution in Gaza that is not fundamentally political,” he underscored. “The new Palestinian Government,” Wennesland added, “with eight ministers from Gaza, represents an important opportunity to support tangible steps towards unifying Gaza and the occupied West Bank politically, economically and administratively.” Wennesland reiterated that the last seven months in Gaza were disastrous, affirming the need for a political solution to put an end to the war through a ceasefire agreement by both parties involved.

Meanwhile Edem Wosornu, Director of Operations and Advocacy Division, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), described the situation in Gaza as “a catastrophe, a nightmare and hell on earth.” “To be frank,” Wosornu continued, “we are ru
nning out of words to describe what is happening” in Gaza, elaborating on the increasing number of Palestinians affected by the war, with more than 35,000 killed, and 79,000 injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

“Seventy-five per cent of the population – 1.7 million people – has been forcibly displaced within Gaza, many of them up to four or five times, including because of repeated evacuation instructions from the Israel Defense Forces,” she added. She mentioned that more than 800,000 Palestinians were displaced from Rafah into other parts of Gaza, emphasizing, “Those forcibly displaced must be guaranteed the right to voluntarily return, as international law demands.” Wosornu underscored the dire conditions in Gaza and especially the refugee encampment in Rafah, stating, “Civilians’ essential needs must be met,” and that “these appalling conditions leave serious doubt as to compliance with basic obligations.” OCHA is “actively engaging with relevant parties to accelerate the provision of
humanitarian aid,” she said, demanding the protection of civilians, their homes and infrastructure. She highlighted the need to facilitate “rapid, unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief into and within Gaza.”

Source: Kuwait News Agency