A UN protectorate in Gaza would not resolve the conflict there, the body’s secretary general said on Monday, calling instead for a “transition period” involving Arab countries and the United States that would lead to a two-state solution.
Antonio Guterres said it was “important to turn this tragedy into an opportunity” – which for him meant “moving towards a two-state solution in a determined and irreversible way”.
This means, after the current war between Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza ends, “a strengthened Palestinian Authority, taking on responsibilities in Gaza,” he said.
But the Palestinian Authority cannot invade Gaza with the support of Israeli tanks, he added – meaning the “international community must look at a transition period.”
“I don’t think a UN protectorate in Gaza is a solution,” Guterres said.
Instead, he called for a “multi-stakeholder approach,” in which the US would act as the “main guarantor” of Israel’s security, while Arab countries are “essential” to supporting the Palestinians.
“Everyone must come together to create the conditions for the transition, allowing a strengthened Palestinian Authority to assume responsibilities in Gaza,” and from there to a two-state solution, he said.
Guterres also again denounced the killing of civilians – especially children – in Gaza, as Israel wages a brutal air and ground campaign in retaliation for Hamas’ attacks on October 7.
For seven years he has published a ‘list of shame’ of parties to armed conflicts that commit serious violations against children. Israel’s absence from the list has previously been criticized by human rights organizations.
Without saying whether that could change this year, Guterres placed the number of children murdered in Gaza in a sharp context.
In the ‘shame’ reports, the highest number of children killed in a single year by a single actor was the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2017-2018, followed by the Syrian government and its allies before 2020. Both times the number was in the hundreds.
“Without commenting on the accuracy of the figures published by the actual authorities in Gaza, it is clear that thousands of children have been killed in just a few weeks,” Guterres told reporters.
“We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unprecedented and unprecedented in any conflict since I became Secretary General.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)