The head of the United Nations recently spoke up about worrying actions during ongoing clashes between Israel and Palestine in the Gaza Strip area. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pointed to the possible breaking of international laws, which are the rules all countries agree to follow. He shared his concerns as violence that hurts civilians on both sides continues.
What’s Going On in Gaza?
The Gaza Strip is a Palestinian territory next to Israel and Egypt where over 2 million people live. For many years, tensions have erupted between Palestinian armed groups and Israel over control of this land.
Recently, fighting broke out when Israeli police entered a holy Muslim site in Jerusalem Palestinian fighters then fired rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel carried out airstrikes, or bombing raids by planes, in Gaza in response. Over 200 Palestinians, including children, have died from Israeli attacks in Gaza. Dozens in Israel have also died from rocket fire.
Why Is the UN Involved?
The UN’s job is to promote peace between nations. When violence happens, the UN Secretary-General often urges calm and respect for human rights. Guterres has asked all sides to work to ease tensions. He also wants to address old issues that keep leading to new fights.
What Global Rules May Be Broken?
Guterres pointed to some possibly worrying actions that could break international laws:
Attacks killing civilians – It goes against war rules to target areas where regular people live and gather. Yet homes have been bombed, leaving families dead.
Using human shields – Palestinian armed groups have launched attacks from crowded areas, making civilians into shields. This dangerously exposes innocent people.
Hateful language – Words likely to encourage harm against certain groups are prohibited. Yet troubling talk has come from leaders and spread online.
Silencing dissent – People have the right to speak out against government actions. But those protesting have faced limits on freedoms.
Press restrictions – Reporters must be allowed to safely cover events and share news. Yet journalists have been injured and media offices destroyed.
Other inhumane acts – Mistreating prisoners or destroying key systems like power and water also break global rules.
Why Follow the Rules During War?
Some may ask – if countries are in life-or-death fights, why stay lawful? Here are some reasons:
- Protects civilians – Following combat rules to avoid civilian deaths saves many innocent lives.
- Upholds values – Sticking to standards, even when hard, shows commitment to moral principles of human dignity.
- Prevents suffering – Clear rules stop the descent into total war, which multiplied misery in past world conflicts.
- Builds a peaceful future – Respecting rights during conflict makes eventual reconciliation easier once the fighting stops.
- Gains respect – When nations follow global standards, the world sees them as responsible, not extreme outliers.
Call for Peaceful Solutions
Guterres made clear he was not picking political sides in the disputed land. He simply urges all parties to respect international laws that protect civilians in wartime. The UN will keep documenting any possible violations.
Most of all, the UN leader presses Israeli and Palestinian leaders to find peaceful paths forward. He urges them to address differences through discussion instead of weapons. If not, cycles of violence may continue forever, only causing more harm to all. The UN stands ready to support any push for lasting solutions.