| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

UN spokesperson: Gaza-Israel conflict takes appalling toll; praises hostage releases

A statement attributed to Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said that weeks of conflict in Gaza and Israel has taken an “appalling toll that has shocked the world,” adding: “We have seen the release of Israeli and foreign hostages held by Hamas and others since 7 October, and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.”

The statement reiterated the Secretary-General’s praises to Qatar, Egypt, and the United States for enabling this deal, recognizing the International Committee of the Red Cross’ essential role. “The United Nations will continue to support these efforts in every possible way.”

It added that the “United Nations scaled up the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and sent aid to some northern areas that have been largely cut off for weeks. But this aid barely registers against the huge needs of 1.7 million displaced people. The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is getting worse by the day.”

The statement reaffirmed that the dialogue leading to the agreement must resume, resulting in a humanitarian ceasefire that benefits the people of Gaza, Israel, and the region.

“The Secretary-General once again calls for the remaining hostages to be released immediately and unconditionally,” it said.

He calls on all States to utilize their leverage to end the conflict and support irreversible steps towards a “sustainable future for the region: a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side, in peace and security.”

  • Reuters