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UN Chief Urges Israel to Reconsider

2023 Oct 14, 11:34, New York [US]

Following the Israeli military's order to evacuate all citizens from Gaza City, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel to "reconsider" its warning, calling it "dangerous and deeply troubling," according to The New York Times.

Guterres in an opinion article in The New York Times emphasized that such demand for a mass evacuation on extremely short notice could have devastating humanitarian consequences.

Earlier on Friday, the Israeli Defence Forces had asked civilians to relocate from their homes and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza for their own safety. The IDF stated that citizens should return only when advised to do so. It also asked citizens to not approach the area on the security fence with Israel.

Guterres further stressed that it applies to a territory that has suffered critical damage to roads and infrastructure in the past week, making the act of evacuating nearly impossible in the first place, The New York Times reported.

"It applies to United Nations staff members and more than 200,000 people sheltering in U.N. facilities, including schools, health centres and clinics," he added.

As nearly half of Gaza is under the age of 18, he said, "It applies to hundreds of thousands of children."

The UN Secretary-General further highlighted the need to humanitarian access throughout Gaza as the city has been deprived for fuel, food and water.

"The United Nations and our partners need rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access now throughout Gaza. Humanitarian aid including fuel, food and water must be allowed to enter," he said, reported The New York Times.

He further noted that he is in constant contact with leaders in the region, reported The New York Times.

On Friday the Israeli Defence Forces had called for the evacuation of Gaza saying, "The IDF calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza, as shown on the map. The Hamas terrorist organization waged a war against the State of Israel and Gaza City is an area where military operations take place. This evacuation is for your own safety."

"Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields," the Israeli military said.

"Hamas terrorists are hiding in Gaza City inside tunnels underneath houses and inside buildings populated with innocent Gazan civilians," the IDF said.

The Israeli Defence Forces asserted that they will continue to operate with significant force in Gaza and make extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians.

Responding to the evacuation warning for the approximately 1.1 million people, living in Gaza, a UN spokesperson said, "The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences. The UN strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation."

The United Nations also said that more than 338,000 Palestinians have been displaced due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, CNN reported. He further said that nearly 218,000 of those are sheltering in 92 schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency.


Colonel Jonathan Conricus Israel United Nations Antonio Guterres
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