Dec 06, 2023 17:02 UTC
  •  UN warns of 'apocalypse' in Gaza amid Israel's unrelenting bombardment

The UN human rights chief says Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are living in "utter, deepening horror" as he pleaded for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the ongoing Israeli aggression on the besieged Palestinian territory.

Volker Turk told a press conference Wednesday that some 1.9 million displaced Palestinians are being forced into smaller and smaller pockets of southern Gaza. The conditions are “overcrowded” and “unsanitary,” he said.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights further said there was a high risk of atrocity crimes being committed in such "catastrophic" humanitarian circumstances."

"Civilians in Gaza continue to be relentlessly bombarded by Israel and collectively punished -- suffering death, siege, destruction and deprivation of the most essential human needs such as food, water, lifesaving medical supplies and other essentials on a massive scale."

He further stated Palestinians in Gaza are facing “utter, deepening horror” as disease spreads, food is scarce and humanitarian aid is all but cut off.

“My humanitarian colleagues have described the situation as apocalyptic,” Turk added, saying the catastrophe “was entirely foreseeable and preventable”.

"As an immediate step, I call for an urgent cessation of hostilities and the release of all hostages," he said, adding: "You need to come back to your senses."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Turk said he was gravely concerned by "dehumanizing and inciteful statements" made by current and former Israeli authorities.

"History has shown us where this kind of language can lead," he said. "This is not just unacceptable, but a competent court may view such statements, in the circumstances in which they were made, as incitement to atrocity crimes."

Turk said the human rights crisis in the occupied West Bank was also "extremely alarming", calling for Israeli authorities to take immediate steps to end "widespread impunity" for violations.

"The only way to end the accumulative sufferings is ending the occupation and achieving the two-state solution," he said.

Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic warned that the current catastrophic situation in Gaza threatens to decline further.

Speaking in Brussels, Lenarcic stressed the need for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in Gaza for humanitarian aid to enter the territory as it faces Israeli bombardment, blockade, and ground attacks.

"Otherwise, the catastrophe in Gaza may turn into apocalypse," he said.

Israel has carried out airstrikes on several residential blocks in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, martyring at least 150 Palestinians.

Israeli warplanes have also pounded Khan Yunis in southern Gaza while the regime’s ground forces have surrounded the city.