Israel's killing of civilians in Gaza 'unacceptable', UN chief Guterres says

Israel's killing of civilians in Gaza 'unacceptable', UN chief Guterres says
The comments from Antonio Guterres come as the number of Palestinians killed by Israel in its war on Gaza surpasses 25,000 people.
2 min read
Antonio Guterres comments were made at the opening of the G77 summit in Uganda [Photo by LUIS TATO/AFP via Getty Images]

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday denounced Israel's killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, labelling it "heartbreaking", and called it unacceptable to resist statehood for the Palestinian people.

"Israel's military operations have spread mass destruction and killed civilians on a scale unprecedented during my time as secretary-general," Guterres said at the opening of a summit of the G77+China in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

"This is heartbreaking and utterly unacceptable. The Middle East is a tinder-box, we must do all we can to prevent conflict from igniting across the region."

Israel's onslaught has killed 25,105 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities on Sunday, and displaced most of the enclave's 2.3 million people from their homes.

Israel renewed its attacks on Gaza after Hamas' 7 October assault in which 1,139 Israelis were killed and around 250 taken hostage.

The scale of the Israel's destruction of Gaza has prompted a case to be submitted to the International Court of Justice by South Africa, which accuses Israel committing genocide in Gaza.

Guterres added that the refusal to accept the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is totally unacceptable, saying denying Palestinians the right to statehood "would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security".


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on Saturday to push back against US President Joe Biden's remarks about Palestinian statehood after the war against Hamas ends.

His office said that in talks on Friday with Biden, Netanyahu "reiterated his policy that after Hamas is destroyed Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, a requirement that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty".

Guterres was in Kampala to attend the summits of G77+China and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Leaders and senior officials from dozens of countries including South Africa, Iran, China, Turkey, Cuba, India, Vietnam and others attended the meetings.

The G77+China is a group of 134 developing countries that champions the common interests of countries from the global south.

A document released late Saturday at the end of the NAM summit included a condemnation of "the illegal Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip, the indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians, civilian objects, the forced displacement of the Palestinian population" and called for an immediate and durable humanitarian ceasefire.

(Reuters & The New Arab Staff)