UN secretary general António Guterres has spoken about the “serious risk to the maintenance of international peace and security” in the Gaza conflict, citing the spillover of hostilities in “the occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen”.
He triggered Article 99, prompting a UN Security Council vote on Friday, because he believes this is a very urgent matter which must be brought to the attention of the council.
The Israeli government detests the UN and they detest the secretary general.
The Israelis rejected his description, claiming Mr Guterres is in fact the threat to world peace because he is pandering to Hamas by trying to end the fighting now, before their mission to destroy the group has been concluded.
That ill-feeling will not have improved after the secretary general also mentioned that one of the risks is that the situation in Gaza could get so bad that there would be a mass displacement of Palestinians over the border into Egypt – which is also of huge concern to the Egyptian government.
There was, Mr Guterres said, a high risk of the “total collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza”. And the Palestinians say that is exactly what Israel wants because it wants to get all Palestinians out of Gaza.
At the UN, the Americans duly vetoed this resolution calling for a ceasefire. For those concerned about the significant loss of life, that does sound a bit hollow – the Americans claim the Israelis are saying they will stick to the rules of war and avoid unnecessary civilian deaths. But, they say, there is a gap between what Israel says and what it does.
The pressure has also increased with the publication of footage of prisoners in Gaza, held by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), stripped to their underwear and being driven away in trucks. It’s a cruel image of war seeing these men, which local reports on social media suggest could be as many as 700.
Those same sources, including family of some of the men, say they were taken from a UN school where they were sheltering, and where others tried to get away and were killed.
A horrendous video circulated yesterday of six people lying dead in the street – said to be from that same area and near that same school – and one of them was a bloody corpse lying on top of a white flag he had apparently been carrying. (BBC)