Guterres: Palestinians are living 'in hell' under Israeli occupation
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in an interview on Saturday that Palestinians are "living in hell" under prolonged Israeli occupation, where they have been subjected to decades-long violence and human rights violations.
Guterres' comments came days after Israeli settlers carried out a rampage in the occupied West Bank town of Huwara, where they torched cars and vandalised properties, in a bid to "seek revenge" for the killing of two Israelis and one Israeli-American last week.
One Palestinian man was killed and hundreds more injured in the violence, which drew international condemnation - including from the US.
After the violence, hardline Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the Palestinian town to be "erased and wiped out" last Wednesday, prompting global criticism. Smotrich’s provocative comments were called "racist and repugnant" by world leaders.
In a televised interview with Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera, Guterres also stated that he is following the situation Huwara with "great concern", and has taken a firm stance against the violence and incitement there. The UN Secretary General stressed that Palestinian people are currently subjected to "great levels of suffering", both in the occupied territories and the besieged Gaza Strip.
In the interview, Guterres also stressed that there was "no alternative" to the two-state solution, which would grant Palestine its own independent state. He also said that "it is important to move away from any hindrances" to the solution, and that Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine.
Guterres also added that the international community must move strongly to "ensure that international law is respected", but he acknowledged that the they are not able to implement United Nations resolutions, as international governance is in need of "reforms in some areas".
The UN chief also expressed concern over the ongoing developments in Tunisia, where President Kais Saied’s government has arrested a significant number of opposition figures - namely individuals associated with the Ennahda party.
Guterres criticised Saied’s authoritarian ways, expressing that "no one should be arrested for their political views".
Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories since it invaded in 1967, subjecting Palestinians to violence, occupation and illegal settlement expansions.
Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 65 Palestinians so far this year, in what has been described as one of the bloodiest periods in recent Palestinian memory.