If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza: UN chief

WION Web Team
GAZA Published: May 21, 2021, 09:36 AM(IST)

Palestinian children salvage toys from their home at the Al-Jawhara Tower in Gaza City's Rimal neighbourhood, on May 17, 2021, which was heavily damaged in Israeli airstrikes. Photograph:( AFP )

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He said an appeal for humanitarian aid donations would launch "as soon as possible," specifying that the UN would release $14 million from the Humanitarian Fund for the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Thursday he is "deeply concerned" the situation in the West Bank, calling "all settlement activities" illegal under international law. 

Expressing deep shock at the continued bombardment in Gaza that has so far claimed the lives of more than 200 people, Secretary-General António Guterres said that “If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza”.

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“The fighting has…forced over fifty thousand people to leave their homes and seek shelter in UNRWA (the UN relief agency for Palestine refugees) schools, mosques, and other places with little access to water, food, hygiene or health services”, lamented the top UN official.  

He said he was “deeply distressed” by damage to UN facilities, upholding that “humanitarian installations” are “inviolable”, including during armed conflict.   

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Guterres continued that "indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas and other terrorist groups towards population centres in Israel, resulting in at least 12 fatalities including two children, and hundreds of injuries, is also unacceptable."

The toll given by Guterres differs from that given by Israeli police, which says Hamas rockets have claimed 12 lives including one child.

He said an appeal for humanitarian aid donations would launch "as soon as possible," specifying that the UN would release $14 million from the Humanitarian Fund for the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

A tentative ceasefire between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip went into effect at 2 am Friday to halt an 11-day military operation in the Gaza Strip. 

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendations to accept an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional … ceasefire.” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also confirmed the cease-fire deal.

(With inputs from agencies)

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