Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Spikes in casualties, attacks on schools and shelters, including the death of a UN worker, and crippling fuel shortages blocking aid deliveries rippled across Gaza over the weekend, as the World Health Organization (WHO) helped to evacuate 31 babies in critical condition at the besieged Al-Shifa Hospital and the UN chief called for a humanitarian ceasefire amid the ongoing Israel-Palestine crisis.
Top UN officials echoed that call to improve conditions for Gaza’s 2.3 million people, 1.7 million of which have been displaced since the 7 October Hamas attack in Israel resulted in the killing of 1,200 Israelis and capture of 240 hostages. Since then, more than 11,000 people have been killed in besieged Gaza.
“This war is having a staggering and unacceptable number of civilian casualties, including women and children, every day,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement on Sunday. “This must stop. I reiterate my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”
Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said in a statement on Sunday that: “The horrendous events of the past 48 hours in Gaza beggar belief.”
“The killing of so many people at schools turned shelters, hundreds fleeing for their lives from Al-Shifa Hospital amid continuing displacement of hundreds of thousands in southern Gaza are actions which fly in the face of the basic protections civilians must be afforded under international law,” Mr. Türk said, stressing that failing to adhere to these rules may constitute war crimes.