The 22 Arab countries at the United Nations joined in demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after hundreds of people were killed in an explosion at a Gaza City hospital that Hamas attributed to an Israeli airstrike but the Israeli military said was caused by a misfired militant rocket.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, said Arab Group members are “outraged by this massacre” and also united in demanding the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid and preventing “forcible displacement” of Palestinians.
Mansour said that after the “massacre,” the highest objective is a ceasefire because “saving lives is the most important thing.”
Also Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified” at the deaths and “hospitals and medical personnel are protected under international humanitarian law.”
The Security Council scheduled a Wednesday vote on a draft resolution that currently condemns “the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas” against Israel and all violence against civilians. It also calls for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver desperately needed aid to millions in Gaza.
Expressions of condemnation and grief poured in from around the globe.
Countries such as Syria and Saudi Arabia blamed Israel for the blast, with Libya’s Foreign Ministry accusing Israel of “war crimes and genocide” in the Gaza Strip. Iraq declared three days of mourning, and there were protests there and in Lebanon.
Egypt’s President, Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, condemned what he called Israel’s “deliberate bombing” of al-Ahli hospital and “a clear violation of international law … and humanity.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that his country condemns “the attack on the Al-Ahli hospital” and there’s no justification for targeting a hospital or civilians.
Richard Peeperkorn, World Health Organization representative for the West Bank and Gaza, expressed “our deepest grief at the horror that has unfolded,” calling it “unprecedented even in a region that has seen consistent attacks on healthcare.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement that it was “shocked and horrified by reports that al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza was destroyed.”
The United Arab Emirates and Russia called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday.