UN’s Guterres condemns Israel for ‘heartbreaking’ killings in Gaza
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UN’s Guterres condemns Israel for ‘heartbreaking’ killings in Gaza

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday condemned Israel for the “heartbreaking” deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and called its resistance to statehood for the Palestinian people unacceptable.

“Israel’s military operations have caused massive destruction and killed civilians on a scale unprecedented during my time as secretary-general,” Guterres said at the opening of the G77+China summit in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

“This is heartbreaking and completely unacceptable. The Middle East is a tinderbox and we must do everything in our power to prevent conflict from breaking out across the region.”

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza following an attack by the Hamas militant group on October 7, in which Israeli authorities say more than 1,200 Israelis and foreigners were killed and 240 taken hostage.

According to Gaza health authorities on Sunday, the Israeli campaign killed more than 25,000 Palestinians and drove most of the enclave’s 2.3 million residents from their homes.

During the war, the Israeli military has expressed regret over civilian deaths, but accuses Hamas of operating in densely populated areas and using civilians as human shields, something the group denies.

Guterres added that refusing to accept a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is completely unacceptable, saying that denying the Palestinians the right to statehood would “indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to world peace and security.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on Saturday to refute US President Joe Biden’s comments on Palestinian statehood after the end of the war with Hamas.

His office said that during Friday’s talks with Biden, Netanyahu “reiterated his policy that, after the destruction of Hamas, Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel, a requirement that runs counter to the demand for sovereignty.” Palestine.

Guterres was in Kampala to attend the G77+China and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summits. The meetings were attended by leaders and senior officials from dozens of countries, including South Africa, Iran, China, Turkey, Cuba, India, Vietnam and others.

G77+China is a group of 134 developing countries that protects the common interests of the countries of the global south.

The document, released late Saturday at the end of the NAM summit, condemned “illegal Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip, indiscriminate attacks on Palestinian civilians, civilian facilities, forced displacement of Palestinian people” and called for an immediate and lasting humanitarian ceasefire.