The heads of several major United Nations bodies on Monday made a united call for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza as Israeli strikes intensify nearly one month into the conflict. The 18 signatories include Volker Turk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths.
“An entire population is besieged and under attack, denied access to the essentials for survival, bombed in their homes, shelters, hospitals and places of worship. This is unacceptable,” they said in a joint statement. “We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. It’s been 30 days. Enough is enough. This must stop now.”
Griffiths on Friday called for humanitarian “pauses” in Israel’s bombardment of the densely populated Palestinian enclave to help aid deliveries, which are far below pre-conflict levels. Palestinian envoy to the United Nations Riyad Mansour responded that Griffiths should call for a full ceasefire.
“You should be saying clearly and loudly in line with IHL (International Humanitarian Law) that a ceasefire should take place,” Mansour said. “Saving lives should take place. An immediate cessation of all of these hostilities should take place. This is what I expect from you.”
Israel has rebuffed mounting international pressure for a ceasefire, saying hostages taken by Hamas militants during their rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7 should be released.