UN chief calls for ‘silencing the guns’ in Gaza for Ramadan

UN chief calls for ‘silencing the guns’ in Gaza for Ramadan

UNITED NATIONS (AFP): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Monday for “silencing the guns” in Gaza in honor of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Guterres told reporters that Ramadan celebrates “peace, reconciliation and solidarity. Yet even though Ramadan has begun – the killing, bombing and bloodshed continue in Gaza.”

He urged the release of hostages and removal of all obstacles to “ensure the delivery of lifesaving aid at the speed and massive scale required.”

The United Nations says that lack of humanitarian aid means famine is a growing risk in Gaza, where 2.4 million people are under near-total siege by the Israeli military, as it battles Hamas militants.

The war, started by a bloody October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, has resulted in the deaths of 31,112 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

US President Joe Biden called for a temporary ceasefire ahead of Ramadan but his call went unanswered as Muslims in Gaza marked the start of the one-month holiday Monday.

Guterres said, “The eyes of history are watching.”

“We cannot look away. We must act to avoid more preventable deaths,” Guterres said.

“We have witnessed month after month of civilian killing and destruction at a level that is unprecedented in all my years as Secretary-General,” he said.

But aid “is coming in trickles – if it comes at all. International humanitarian law lies in tatters.”