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Palestinians, Israeli each other’s only hopes for peace: UN Rights Chief

Volker Türk was speaking to reporters after visiting Rafah crossing that borders Gaza Strip and Egypt and which he described as a “gate to a living nightmare”. Read More

Friday November 10, 2023 0:03 AM, ummid.com News Network

Palestinians, Israeli each other’s only hopes for peace: UN Rights Chief

Geneva: Seemingly fed up by the arrogance of the far right Zionist regime in Israel which is rejecting all calls of ceasefire and end to war, UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk Thursday November 09, 2023 said Israeli and Palestinian people are only hopes for peace.

“We need to enable the political space to implement a durable end to the occupation, based on the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis to self-determination and their legitimate security interests”, Volker Türk said.

“It is no longer enough simply to say the 56-year occupation must end. The international community needs to be part of finding a just and equitable future for the Palestinian and Israeli people”, he added.

“They are each other’s only hopes for peace”, he said.

“Gates to a living nightmare”

Volker Türk was speaking to reporters after visiting Rafah crossing that borders Gaza Strip and Egypt and which he described as a “gate to a living nightmare”.

“I have just returned from the Rafah crossing — the symbolic lifeline for the last month for the 2.3 million people in Gaza. The lifeline has been unjustly, outrageously thin. In Rafah I have witnessed the gates to a living nightmare”, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in the media briefing.

“A nightmare, where people have been suffocating, under persistent bombardment, mourning their families, struggling for water, for food, for electricity and fuel. My colleagues are among those trapped, and among those who have lost family members, suffering sleepless nights filled with agony, anguish and despair”, he added.

“Israeli War Crimes”

Reminding the world that Gaza has already been described as the world’s biggest open-air prison before 7 October, under a 56-year occupation and a 16-year blockade by Israel, Volker Türk said, “The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts also to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.”

“The massive bombardments by Israel have killed, maimed and injured in particular women and children. The latest death toll from the Gaza Ministry of Health is in excess of 10,500 people, including over 4,300 children and 2,800 women. All of this has an unbearable toll on civilians”, he added.

The UN Human Rights Chief also described the current situation in Gaza “most dangerous in decades”.

“We have fallen off a precipice. This cannot continue. Even in the context of a 56-year-old occupation, the current situation is the most dangerous in decades, faced by people in Gaza, in Israel, in the West Bank but also regionally”, he said.

“World cannot afford double standards”

The UN Human Rights Chief also shared with the media about the complaints made to him about the “double standards” and “hypocrisy” while dealing with the Middle East Conflict, and called for a universal approach.

“During my visit here, I heard a lot of concerns about double standards in the midst of this conflict. Let me be clear - the world cannot afford double standards”, he said.

“We must instead insist upon the universal standards against which we must assess this situation - international human rights laws and international humanitarian laws”, he added.

The UN Human Rights Chief also proposed some guidelines of the universal standards he is talking about.

“And those standards are clear: parties to the conflict have the obligation to take constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian objects, which remains applicable throughout the attacks. The actions of one party do not absolve the other party of its obligations under international humanitarian law. Attacks against medical facilities, medical personnel and the wounded and sick are prohibited”, he said.

“Urgent need for humanitarian aid”

Volker Türk also called for immediate and urgent need for humanitarian aid for the “people who remain deeply vulnerable in all parts of Gaza.”

“There is an urgent humanitarian imperative to reach the population increasingly isolated, including in the North and Middle Areas of Gaza, cut off from the very limited aid that is entering Gaza”, he said.

“Just in the last few days my colleagues have been receiving reports about an orphanage in the northern governorate that has 300 children in need of urgent help. With communications down and access roads impassable and unsafe, we cannot get to them”, he said.

The UN Human Rights Chief also talked about the difficulties aid workers are facing immense difficulties because of the blockade and communication blackouts. He also hailed the journalists who lost their life while reporting in Gaza.

“Blackouts have serious consequences on rescue workers struggling to find and rescue the victims of strikes, families trying to find out the status of their loved ones and to access emergency medical care, and for the situation on the ground to be monitored and documented”, he said.

“Journalists trying to document and report on the situation in Gaza have been paying the price with their lives. At least 32 Palestinian journalists have been killed in Gaza in the last month”, he added.

Gaza Death Toll

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry said 10,569 people have been killed in Gaza, including 4,324 children, as of Thursday November 09, 2023.

Israeli forces also carried air strikes on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank killing 11 Palestinians.

UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said 99 of the UN agency’s staff have been killed since October 7.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said 39 journalists, 34 of them Palestinian, have been killed since the latest conflict erupted on October 7.

At least four Israelis and a Lebanese journalist are among those who have lost their lives in the war. The Paris-based press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has put the death toll at 41.


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