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UN Urged to Address Humanitarian Crisis in Israel-Palestine Conflict

UN Urged to Address Humanitarian Crisis in Israel-Palestine Conflict

Among the 102 Malaysian signatories to this letter are Anwar Ibrahim and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

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A letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has brought to the forefront pressing concerns about the Israel-Palestine conflict, drawing attention from prominent international figures. 

This letter, co-signed by distinguished individuals, including former Labour Minister Clare Short (UK) and esteemed academic Professor Hamid Algar (UK-USA), underscores the urgency of the situation.

Among the 102 Malaysian signatories to this letter are Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who are also both Members of the Malaysian Parliament.

Disruption of Critical Services and Alleged War Crimes

The letter’s primary focus is on grave concerns surrounding the ongoing conflict. 

It outlines the disruption of critical services, including electricity, water, and food supplies, alongside allegations of Israel abandoning the principles of proportionality and distinction in warfare. 

These allegations have stirred a global debate, further heightened by reports of residential centres, hospitals, ambulances, churches, mosques, schools, and commercial areas being targeted.

Civilians Bearing the Brunt

As of the time of writing, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported the grim toll the conflict has exacted. 

It notes that nearly 6,000 Palestinians have lost their lives, with over 15,000 wounded, a significant majority of whom are civilians. Particularly distressing is the fact that over 2,350 children are among the casualties, underscoring the vulnerability of the young in this conflict.

Additionally, there are an estimated 1,500 individuals unaccounted for, believed to be buried under the rubble, including over 800 children. In the West Bank, roughly 100 lives have been lost, with a significant number identified as civilians.

The allegations against Israel, especially concerning its actions in the densely populated Gaza Strip, continue to mount. It is claimed that Israel has deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure, violating international law. 

The targets allegedly include residential buildings, schools, hospitals, ambulances, places of worship, supermarkets, roads teeming with fleeing civilians, and food production facilities.

The letter underlines the direct targeting of gatherings of civilians, exemplified by the bombing of the Baptist Hospital grounds in Gaza on 17 October 2023, and the bombing of a civilian convoy headed south of Gaza on 13 October 2023.

Reports from various human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have suggested the use of white phosphorus by Israel in Gaza and Lebanon. White phosphorus is considered indiscriminate when deployed in populated urban areas, leading to severe harm to civilians. 

This incendiary substance burns at temperatures exceeding 800 degrees Celsius, hot enough to melt metal.

Call for UN Action: Ceasefire and Humanitarian Aid Urged

In light of the dire situation, the letter to the UN Secretary-General calls for immediate and substantial action to address the ongoing crisis. 

The authors implore the United Nations to act swiftly, “rising to the need of the hour” to take measures to restrain Israel’s actions. 

The primary demands laid out in the letter include the prompt establishment of a ceasefire, which would enable the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

The world watches as these grave concerns unfold in the Israel-Palestine conflict, bringing to the forefront the pressing need for international intervention. 

The appeal for UN action underscores the urgency to alleviate suffering and reduce further loss of life in this ongoing crisis.

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