Guterres calls for end to hostilities – Israel rejects

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has once again called for a permanent end to hostilities between Israel and the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “Intensive negotiations are taking place to extend the ceasefire, and we welcome this. But we believe that we need a real humanitarian ceasefire,” Guterres told a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Wednesday. said. Israel immediately rejected this request.

“Anyone who supports the ceasefire is basically also supporting Hamas’s ongoing reign of terror in Gaza,” Israeli U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the most powerful U.N. body in New York on Wednesday. said. Israel cannot protect its citizens with a ceasefire.

You cannot call for a ceasefire and at the same time claim to seek a solution to the conflict. Militant Hamas is not a reliable peace partner. Erdan continued: “Don’t you see the contradiction here, that the demand for ceasefire and peace is a paradox?” The violence can only end if Hamas surrenders all hostages and all terrorists involved in the October 7 attack on Israel.

Guterres said: “The people of Gaza are in the midst of an epic humanitarian disaster before the eyes of the world. We must not look away. In just a few weeks, many more children have been killed in Israeli military operations. The total number of children in Gaza since my term as Secretary-General “More people than the number of people were killed by one side of the conflict.” In Gaza, four out of every five people have been driven from their homes. 111 UN staff were also killed in Israeli attacks; this was the highest UN casualties ever. “45 percent of houses in the Gaza Strip were damaged or destroyed,” Guterres complained.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told a Security Council meeting that the Palestinian people face an “existential threat” in the conflict. Al-Maliki said, “Israel has no right to self-defense against a people occupying itself.”

The United States called on Israel to protect civilians in the Gaza war. “We know that Hamas uses civilians as human shields to deliberately and brutally endanger Palestinian civilians,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, America’s ambassador to the UN. “However, this does not remove Israel’s responsibility to protect civilians under international humanitarian law.”

The ceasefire, which came into force last Friday in the war between Israel and radical Islamist Hamas that has lasted more than seven weeks, will end on Thursday morning. Since the ceasefire came into force, a total of 60 Israeli women and children, as well as 21 foreign hostages, mostly Thai guest workers, have been released by Hamas through the mediation of Qatar, Egypt and the United States. In response, Israel has so far released 180 Palestinian prisoners from its prisons.

Shortly before the end of the ceasefire in the Gaza war, intense negotiations were held on Wednesday to extend the ceasefire. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to “do everything we can to extend the pause” following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday. We will also discuss with Israel how the country can achieve its goal of never repeating terrorist attacks like the one on October 7th.

Blinken also stated that he believes it is in the interest of the Israelis to maintain the ceasefire. “They are also intensely focused on returning their people to their homes,” the American said, referring to Israeli hostages still held in the Gaza Strip. According to his own statements, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will be in Israel again this Thursday and will hold talks with the government there. This is his third visit since the conflict began.

Islamist Hamas is working hard on a possible extension, a spokesman told Al Jazeera news channel. On Wednesday evening, 10 Israeli hostages were supposed to be released by Hamas, in return for the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

According to information received from Israeli negotiating circles, radical Islamist Hamas still has enough hostages under its control to extend the ceasefire for two or three days. The person who participated in the negotiations and did not want to give his name says that this emerged from the list of women and children. Egyptian security circles had also previously reported that a two-day extension was possible.

However, it was not yet clear in the evening whether the talks on extending the ceasefire would be successful or not. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that hostilities would restart “when this phase of returning our hostages is completed.” He also reiterated that he wanted to remain committed to the war goal of destroying Hamas.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) met with his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen of the national conservative Likud party on Wednesday ahead of the Skopje meeting of OSCE foreign ministers. As Schallenberg said via “X” (formerly Twitter), “Options for the ‘morning after’ that would enable Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security” were discussed.

Meanwhile, one of Cohen’s predecessors called for a “transitional period” in an interview with the daily newspaper “Die Presse” (online edition). Tzipi Livni, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2006 and 2009, said that Israel should continue to reserve its right to self-defense after a possible withdrawal from Gaza. International organizations, together with the Gulf countries, should deal with the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Livni said, “The terrorist attack on October 7 was also carried out to stop the rapprochement between Israel and the Saudis.” A quartet should be established to shape the future of Gaza: the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

Hamas kidnapped approximately 240 people, including children, in its brutal attack on October 7. Hundreds of fighters from militias classified as terrorist organizations by the US and EU entered Israel and killed around 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures. In response, Israel massively bombed targets in the Gaza Strip from the air and on the ground for weeks. According to Hamas figures, which cannot be independently verified, nearly 15,000 people have been killed in Palestinian territory.

(APA/dpa/AFP/Reuters)

Source: Vienna

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