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At the gates of Gaza, the UN chief calls for an end to the “nightmare”

Photo: Said Khatib Agence France-Presse In Rafah, a nighttime Israeli bombing of a house killed a grandmother and four of her grandchildren.

Mohamed Abouelenen – Agence France-Presse and Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse Respectively in Rafah and the Gaza Strip

10:01 a.m.

  • Middle East

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, visiting the edge of the Gaza Strip, again called on Saturday for a ceasefire between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas, to put end to the “nightmare” in this Palestinian territory on the verge of famine.

After five and a half months of a devastating war in the Gaza Strip, which plunged it into a catastrophic humanitarian situation, Mr. Guterres visited the Egyptian side of the border town of Rafah, where he said he came to draw attention to the “pain” of Gaza residents, trapped in “an endless nightmare.”

“There is no justification for the horrific attacks by Hamas on October 7. And nothing justifies the collective punishment suffered by the Palestinian people. Now more than ever, it is time for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” he said.

Clashes show no respite across the Gaza Strip, particularly in and around the al-Chifa hospital in Gaza City, where the Israeli army began an operation on Monday with dozens armored vehicles based on information she said indicated the hospital was being used by “high-ranking Hamas terrorists.”

She claimed on Saturday to have killed a total of more than 170 Palestinian fighters and arrested hundreds of suspects.

In Rafah, a nighttime Israeli bombardment of a house killed a grandmother, Nadia Kawareh, 65, and four of her grandchildren aged between 3 and 12, according to relatives and the Hamas health ministry, which said also reports 14 injured.

“The whole house was destroyed,” said family member Fawzy Kawareh, who said more people were still trapped under the rubble.

“Free us from this life”

Early Saturday, the Hamas Ministry of Health reported 67 deaths overnight and evening across the territory.

“We’ve had enough, I assure you. Drop a bomb on us and free us from this life […] No human being could bear what is happening to us,” Turkiya Barbakh, close to victims of strikes in southern Gaza, said through tears.

The war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an unprecedented attack in southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to a tally by the AFP established from official Israeli data.

According to Israel, around 250 people have been kidnapped and 130 of them are still hostages in Gaza, of whom 33 are believed to have died.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to destroy Hamas in power in Gaza since 2007, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union.

His army launched an offensive which left 32,142 dead in Gaza, most of them civilians, according to the latest report from the Islamist movement's Ministry of Health.

In Rafah, the UN chief called on Israel to make a “solid commitment” to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, where it is largely insufficient according to UN agencies and NGOs .

“Release all hostages”

“In the spirit of compassion of [Muslim fasting of] Ramadan, it is time to immediately release all hostages” in Gaza, he also said.

In addition to the dramatic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, threatened with famine according to the UN, there are growing concerns about a possible Israeli ground offensive on Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are crowded together.

The question was at the heart of exchanges on Friday in Tel Aviv between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken, who disagree on how to weaken Hamas militarily.

Mr. Netanyahu told the American official that Israel intended to carry out an offensive in Rafah, Hamas' “last bastion”, even if the United States did not support it.

Shortly afterwards, Mr. Blinken asserted that such an operation “risks killing more civilians […], further isolating Israel globally and endangering its long-term security.” .

The Secretary of State completed a new tour of the region on Friday, which took him to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to also try to increase humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and support talks in Qatar with a view to achieving a truce.

Veto at the UN

Meanwhile at the UN, a draft resolution to the Security Council, presented by the United States, was not adopted on Friday due to Russian and Chinese vetoes.

Since the start of the war, the United States had opposed the use of the term “ceasefire” in UN resolutions, blocking three texts to this effect.< /p>

They finally decided to put to the vote this new text which mentioned “the need for an immediate and lasting ceasefire”, but Russia and China criticized an ambiguous wording calling for not directly to silence the weapons.

A new vote on a new draft resolution demanding an “immediate” ceasefire, prepared by eight of the Council's ten non-permanent members, is scheduled for Monday.

Israel has imposed a complete siege on Palestinian territory since the start of the war and strictly controls aid which arrives mainly from Egypt via Rafah. However, these controls have the effect, according to the UN, of reducing the number of trucks entering the territory.

To relieve the population, several countries are organizing food airdrops and have opened a maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza. But aid remains insufficient to meet the needs of Gaza's 2.4 million residents.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116