UNITED NATIONS-UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday decried events in bombed-out Gaza since Oct. 7, calling them a “killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented” since he took office. “What is clear is that we have had in a few weeks thousands of children killed, so this is what matters,” the UN chief said in New York while presenting a new UN environmental report. “We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I am secretary general.”
It is important to be able to transform the tragedy into an opportunity, Guterres said, adding: “It is essential that after the war we move in a determined, and the reversible way to a two-state solution.” In reply to a question, the secretary-general said that in all the reports issued during his tenure, on children in conflict, it was clear that the current war in Gaza has seen thousands of child deaths - compared with hundreds, in conflicts in Yemen and Syria. Without entering into discussing the accuracy of the figures released by the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza, which are regarded by UN agencies as reliable, he said that “what is clear is that we have had in a few weeks thousands of children killed.”
Latest reports from health authorities indicate that more than 13,000 civilians in total have died in the enclave since the 7 October attacks by Hamas, and subsequent Israeli offensive. “This is what matters. We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I have been Secretary-General.”
Also addressing how the region can move forward once the fighting stops, the UN chief said that it was “important to be able to transform this tragedy into an opportunity.” “For that to be possible, it is essential that after the war we move in a determined, irreversible way to a two-state solution”, he told correspondents. “It means also that after the war - and this is my opinion - I believe it to be important after the war to have a strengthened Palestinian authority to assume responsibilities in Gaza.” He said a humanitarian ceasefire was a crucial first step, along with unrestricted access to humanitarian aid, “the liberation of hostages” and an end to violations of international humanitarian law and protection of civilians. He said the Palestinian Authority which administers the West Bank, and which was forced out of Gaza in 2006 by Hamas, could clearly not assume control while Israeli tanks remain, meaning there must be a “transition period”.