UN chief slams Israeli offensive, says Gaza deaths show something is ‘clearly wrong’
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned Israel's military operations in Gaza as 'clearly wrong' on Wednesday, citing Hamas-provided civilian death tolls.
Guterres made the comments in an interview with Reuters, saying Israel was doing itself no favors with regard to 'global public opinion.' Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in Gaza, and its leaders have rejected international calls for a cease-fire.
'There are violations by Hamas when they have human shields. But when one looks at the number of civilians that were killed with the military operations, there is something that is clearly wrong,' Guterres said.
'It is also important to make Israel understand that it is against the interests of Israel to see every day the terrible image of the dramatic humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people,' Guterres said. 'That doesn't help Israel in relation to the global public opinion.'
The Hamas-led health ministry in Gaza has claimed more than 10,000 people have been killed by the Israeli offensive, 40% of them children. However, those figures cannot be independently verified and Hamas does not distinguish between civilians and terrorist fighters.
Guterres told Reuters the thousands of children said to be killed in Gaza is greater than the highest number of killings of children by state actors in conflicts around the world reported annually to the U.N. Security Council.
'We have in a few days in Gaza thousands and thousands of children killed, which means there is also something clearly wrong in the way military operations are being done,' he said, describing the humanitarian situation in Gaza as 'catastrophic.'
Israel on Wednesday denied that there is a humanitarian crisis within Gaza, despite reports from on the ground indicating otherwise.
Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst interviewed an Israeli military spokesman who made the claim on Wednesday. Yingst, who has been on the ground in Gaza and spoken with doctors and other sources there, contested the spokesman's claim.
'We know, and I can say for sure, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,' the official said. 'Obviously, the situation is not easy.'
'I would push back on that, sir. You're saying there's no humanitarian crisis in Gaza?' Yingst pressed.
'I am saying once again: There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,' the official repeated. 'I know the situation is not easy, but we are in a war.'
Yingst spoke with a medical director of a Gaza hospital earlier Wednesday who stated that they had almost completely run out of supplies, particularly those for cancer patients.
The United Nations has been working to increase humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza. Guterres said that in the past 18 days, only 630 trucks had been able to enter via the Rafah border crossing from Egypt. The United Nations also wants to be able to use the Kerem Shalom border crossing, controlled by Israel.
'We are in intense negotiations with Israel, with U.S., with Egypt, in order to make sure that we have an effective humanitarian aid to Gaza,' Guterres said. 'Until now it has been too little, too late.'
Fox News' Anders Hagstrom and Reuters contributed to this report.
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