UN humanitarian official, Martin Griffiths, on Tuesday called for an end to the escalating violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, warning that “the whole region is at a tipping point.”
In a statement, Griffiths described the scale and speed of the unfolding crisis as “bone-chilling”.
UN agencies have been working round the clock since Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched an attack on Israel five days ago, prompting intensive strikes by Israel and a complete siege of the Gaza Strip.
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Mr. Griffiths outlined the toll on both sides. He said hundreds of Israelis have been killed and thousands injured. Scores are also being held captive “facing appalling threats to their lives.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians have also been killed and thousands injured in intense bombing in Gaza. He noted that homes, health centres and schools sheltering displaced families have been hit.
“My message to all sides is unequivocal: The laws of war must be upheld,” he said. “Those held captive must be treated humanely. Hostages must be released without delay.”
Furthermore, Griffiths stressed the need to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.
“Civilians must be allowed to leave for safer areas. Humanitarian relief and vital services and supplies to Gaza must not be blocked,” he appealed.