Nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

UN Secretary-General (UNSG) António Guterres on Tuesday assured that no effective humanitarian aid operation can function under the conditions that have been forced on Palestinians in Gaza and those doing everything possible to help them out.

United Nations.- Speaking at a high-level meeting called by the UN Security Council (UNSC), Guterres remarked that the blockade and obstacles to assistance affect civilians and humanitarian workers, despite enormous efforts to bring them in.

“I renew my call for an immediate ceasefire. This will ensure that sufficient aid gets to where it is needed, facilitate the release of hostages, and help reduce tensions in the Middle East,” Guterres insisted.

The entire population of Gaza is enduring destruction at a scale and speed without parallel in recent history. Nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

With disease, and hunger ravaging and needs skyrocketing during winter, UN staff and partners are striving to achieve results despite overwhelming challenges, he said.

It was also reported on Monday that Israel is proposing a two-month pause in hostilities in exchange for a phased release of all remaining hostages.

I will continue, in my limited capacity, to pursue all efforts to contribute to their release.

The high representative warned with concern about violence beyond Gaza, with an increase in casualties in the occupied West Bank; the exchange of fire across the Blue Line; the escalation of the situation in the Red Sea; and attacks in Syria and Iran.

At the same time, he found unacceptable the clear and repeated rejection of the two-state solution at the highest levels of the Israeli government.

“This coupled with the denial of the right to statehood to the Palestinian people would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security,” he said.

The right of the Palestinian people to build their own fully independent state must be recognized by all, he stressed. (PL)