The grievances of the Palestinian people are legitimate and long, said United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Saturday while addressing the 2023 Cairo Peace Summit at the New Administrative Capital (NAC).
“We cannot and must not ignore the wider context for these tragic events: the long-standing conflict and 56 years of occupation with no end in sight,” the UN chief said.
“Yesterday I went to the Rafah border crossing. There I saw a paradox — a humanitarian catastrophe playing out in real time. On the one hand, I saw hundreds of trucks teeming with food and other essential supplies.
“On the other hand, we know that just across the border, there are two million people — without water, food, fuel, electricity and medicine. Those trucks need to move as quickly as possible in a massive, sustained and safe way from Egypt into Gaza. A 20-truck convoy of the Egyptian Red Crescent is moving today.
“And I want to express my deep gratitude to Egypt in this regard.”
But the people of Gaza need a commitment for much, much more – a continuous delivery of aid to Gaza at the scale that is needed, Guterres said.
We are working nonstop with all parties that are relevant to make it happen, he added.
“But nothing can justify the reprehensible assault by Hamas that terrorized Israeli civilians. And those abhorrent attacks can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” Guterres said.
International humanitarian law – including the Geneva Conventions – must be upheld, he added.
“That includes protecting civilians and not attacking hospitals, schools and UN premises that are currently sheltering half a million people. ”
He called for: “Immediate, unrestricted and sustained humanitarian aid for besieged civilians in Gaza.To advance all these efforts, I appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire now.”
“As we focus on ending the bloodshed, we cannot lose sight of the only realistic foundation for a true peace and stability: a two-State solution,” the UN chief said.
“Israelis must see their legitimate needs for security materialized, and Palestinians must see their legitimate aspirations for an independent State realized, in line with United Nations resolutions, international law and previous agreements.
“The time has come for action. Action to end this godawful nightmare. Action to build a future worthy of the dreams of the children of Palestine, Israel, the region and our world.”