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United Nations Chief Invokes Unprecedented Measure Amidst Escalating Gaza Crisis

By: ATN News

In a historic move, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres activated Article 99 of the UN Charter on Wednesday, highlighting an imminent risk of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

In a letter addressed to José Javier De la Gasca Lopez Domínguez, the current President of the UN Security Council, Guterres expressed deep concern, anticipating a breakdown in public order in Gaza. He pointed out that the severe conditions on the ground could make even limited humanitarian assistance unfeasible.

Article 99 allows the UN Secretary-General to draw the Security Council's attention to any matter that, in his opinion, poses a threat to international peace and security.

Guterres underscored the gravity of the situation, warning of a potentially worsened scenario in the besieged territory. He highlighted the looming threat of epidemic diseases and the mounting pressure to relocate displaced civilians to neighboring countries.

This marked a rare and significant step by the UN chief, who has consistently called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas amid a rising death toll and the extensive destruction of Gaza, governed by Hamas since 2007.

The conflict has persisted for nearly two months, briefly interrupted by a weeklong pause following Hamas' surprise assault into southern Israel on October 7, claiming the lives of over 1,200 people, including hundreds of civilians.

In response, Israel intensified its offensive on Gaza as part of its commitment to dismantle Hamas and its military capabilities. The death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 16,000 people, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

The blockade imposed by Israel on essential supplies such as food, water, and fuel has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Despite a temporary truce last month enabling aid to enter Gaza, hostilities resumed last week. Guterres emphasized the current challenges, rendering humanitarian operations virtually impossible.

"While supplies are being delivered through Rafah, the quantities are insufficient and have dwindled since the cessation of the pause. We are simply unable to reach those in need inside Gaza," wrote Guterres.

The Secretary-General implored the Security Council to take decisive action to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. He reiterated his urgent appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to restore the means of survival and facilitate the safe and timely delivery of aid to Gaza.


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