UN Chief Calls for End to Israeli-Palestinian Violence, Warns of Potential ‘Uncontainable’ Crisis

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May 16 has called for th end of the Israeli-Palestinian violence, describing it as a “senseless cycle of bloodshed, terror, and destruction.”

“The current violence in Gaza and Israel only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction, and despair, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace,” Guterres said at the UN Security Council meeting, describing the violence as “utterly appalling.”

“Fighting must stop immediately,” Guterres added.

Guterres warned that the fighting risks “devastating” consequences for both Israelis and Palestinians and for the whole region.

“It has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism, not only in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, but in the region as a whole, potentially creating a new locus of dangerous instability,” Guterres warned.

The council met for the third time to discuss the escalating violence between Israel and Palestine, including Israel’s recent airstrikes in Gaza that killed 42 Palestinians, making it the deadliest single attack since the fighting escalated last week.

According to UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland, initial figures show that the violence has killed around 181 Palestinians — including 52 children — and nine Israelis and have displaced over 34,000 people.

Wennesland also said that military operations has either completely or partially damaged 40 schools and at least four hospitals.

The fighting has also led to a lack of electricity in Palestine, resulting in a decrease of clean water and sewage treatment, according to Wennesland.

“Israelis and Palestinians have a legitimate right to safety and security. The violence we are witnessing now is unacceptable and unjustifiable,” Wennesland said.

Guterres said that the UN is actively engaging with all sides for an immediate ceasefire.

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