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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Image Credit: AP

Amid the escalating Gaza conflict, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pleaded for an immediate ceasefire and a reassessment of underlying issues.

Speaking at the UN Security Council, Guterres asserted, “Hamas attacks didn’t occur in a vacuum,” highlighting the imperative need to fathom the root causes fuelling the ongoing strife.

At the core of his address, there was acknowledgement of the 56-year suffering endured by Palestinians under a “suffocating occupation".

The UN chief noted, “They (Palestinians) have witnessed their land devoured by settlements, beset by violence, their economy stifled, people displaced, and homes demolished.”

Guterres condemned the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, urgently demanding a ceasefire. His deep concern about violations of international humanitarian law in the ongoing conflict reinforced his unequivocal demand for all parties to uphold their obligations, with a focus on safeguarding civilian lives.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, left, talk with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres before a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Image Credit: AP

UAE highlights protection of civilians

At the Security Council, the UAE recommitted to employing all diplomatic means and resources to secure an immediate, sustainable Gaza ceasefire, addressing one of the region’s most challenging modern crises.

The statement of the UAE delegation, delivered by Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation, affirmed that the region is currently witnessing one of the most difficult crises in its modern history.

Calling for giving priority to diplomatic efforts, the minister underlined the importance of harnessing all capabilities to reach an immediate and sustainable ceasefire.

“More than fifty years ago, when the war of 1967 broke out, this Council delayed the adoption of a ceasefire resolution, which resulted in creating the world’s longest military occupation, which continues until today. Should we leave the peoples of the region to live in a series of wars, violence, and hatred accumulated from one generation to another?” Reem Al Hashemi added.

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Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation during a session of the United Nations General Assembly. Image Credit: WAM

The minister emphasised that Hamas’s actions can never justify Israel’s policy of collective punishment towards Gaza and called on Israel to uphold its obligations under international humanitarian law and ensure the protection of civilians.