UN SECRETARY-General António Guterres has raised concern over the escalating conflict in Israel and Gaza and stressed the need to prevent the violence from spreading into the wider region
According to a UN statement, the Ministry of Health in Gaza said at least 830 Palestinians have been killed and 4 250 injured, while Israeli media have announced that 1 000 Israelis, including foreign nationals, were killed and at least 2 806 people injured
The statement further noted that over a tenth of the population in Gaza, more than 260 000 people, have been displaced since the start of the current conflict on October 7 and the numbers are rising fast.
Guterres said this sounded an alarm, citing that there were clashes along the Blue Line, the demarcation between Israel and Lebanon, as well as reported attacks from southern Lebanon.
“I appeal to all parties – and those who have an influence over those parties – to avoid any further escalation and spillover,” he said
Guterres called for crucial life-saving supplies – including fuel, food and water – to be allowed into Gaza.
“We need rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access now,” he stated.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended his condolences to all victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Ramaphosa has called for immediate and unconditional opening of humanitarian corridors.
“Our thoughts are with all the victims' families and loved ones during this perilous period of fighting. We remain gravely concerned at the devastating escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the atrocities committed against civilian populations,” he said
Ramaphosa said the South African government called for the immediate cessation of violence and the exercise of restraint
“ It is vital that all those who require urgent humanitarian assistance are provided with the basic life-supporting necessities and that human suffering is ameliorated,” said Ramaphosa.
He said South Africa stands ready to work with the international community and to share our experience in mediation and conflict resolution.