European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Saturday that the actions of Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip are contrary to international humanitarian law. He condemned all attacks on civilians, including rocket attacks against Israel. “Far too many civilians died, including children,” he stressed. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday he was surprised by the escalation of Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip and renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinian enclave.
“We condemn all attacks on the civilian population, including continuous indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, and ask for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell appealed on the X platform (formerly Twitter).
In the next entry, he emphasized that “to enable access of humanitarian aid (to the Gaza Strip – ed.), a pause in hostilities is urgently needed.”
“Gaza is completely without electricity and isolated, at the same time under constant heavy fire. UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – ed. – ed.) warns of the desperate situation of the people of Gaza without electricity, food and water. Far too many civilians have died , including children,” Borrell wrote. He stressed that this was contrary to international humanitarian law.
UN Secretary General surprised by ‘escalation of bombings’
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also spoke on events in the Middle East. The Portuguese said on Saturday he was surprised by the escalation of Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip and repeated his call for an immediate ceasefire to deliver humanitarian aid.
In a statement, Guterres said the “growing consensus in the international community” made him optimistic “about the need for at least a humanitarian pause in the fighting.” “Unfortunately, instead, I was surprised by the unprecedented escalation of bombings and their devastating effects, making it difficult to achieve these humanitarian goals,” said the UN Secretary-General.
He added that he was concerned about the situation of UN staff who are in Gaza “to provide humanitarian aid.”
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that power outages in the Gaza Strip were preventing ambulance services from operating and evacuating patients, and leaving people without safe shelter.
Aid agencies say they are unable to contact their employees due to a communication blockade.
Israel has expanded its operation in the Gaza Strip
The Israeli army has expanded its operation in the Gaza Strip, sending tanks and infantry there and conducting air and sea strikes. The bombings, described by residents as the most intense since the beginning of the war, cut off most communications in the zone, the Associated Press reported.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also repeated on Saturday its demand for the evacuation of residents of the northern Gaza Strip ahead of the upcoming military operation. Israeli authorities say Hamas is hiding fighters and weapons among civilians in the densely populated area.
Israeli authorities announced the siege of the Gaza Strip on October 7 in response to an attack by Palestinian Hamas militants, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 people in Israel and the abduction of over 200. Since then, the IDF has been conducting intensive bombing of the Gaza Strip, in which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 7,000 people have been killed. people.
The tragedy of the civilian population
Aid agencies say Gaza’s 2.3 million people under a total Israeli blockade face a humanitarian catastrophe.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that the death toll rose to 7,700 on Saturday, with 377 people killed since Friday evening. According to the ministry, the telecommunications disruption “totally paralyzed” the health care system, and residents were unable to call ambulances, AP reported.
According to data cited by this agency, over 1.4 million people have already left their homes in the Gaza Strip, of which almost half have taken refuge in UN-run schools and other centers.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/HAITHAM IMAD