'Shocking, unsustainable and desperate' conditions across Gaza, Security Council hears


The Security Council is meeting at UN Headquarters in New York on the situation in the Gaza Strip, wracked by months of unrelenting war, and tensions spilling into the wider Middle East region, with no solutions on the horizon to stop the fighting.

Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told ambassadors that “there is still no end in sight” as the war approaches its 140-day mark.

“No end to the trauma of those impacted by the horrors unleashed on 7 October. No end to the suffering and desperation the people in Gaza. No end to the regional turmoil.”

Mr. Wennesland visited Gaza this week and described the humanitarian situation there as shocking, unsustainable and desperate.

Humanitarian situation

Internally displaced Palestinians are facing acute shortages of food, water, shelter and medicine, while communicable diseases are rising sharply unsanitary conditions and there is a “near total breakdown” in law and order.

He added that his Humanitarian Coordinator has a plan to deliver the essentials – food, shelter, medicine and water/sanitation – but the UN’s capacity to deliver depends on coordinated humanitarian movements, effective deconfliction with the parties and Israeli approvals for essential communications equipment and armored vehicles – “all of which provide the minimum conditions for staff to work safely.”

“This must be improved – UN convoys and compounds must not be hit and our equipment needs clearance,” he stressed.

“Keeping Gaza on a drip-feed not only deprives a desperate population of life-saving support, it drives even greater chaos that further impedes humanitarian delivery,” he added.

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Dialogue, not violence

Warning that the scale of the emergency could quickly spiral out of control in the region, Mr. Wennesland appealed for a collective, coordinated and comprehensive response to not only address the immediate crisis before us in Gaza, but to help restore a political horizon for Palestinians and Israelis, alike.

“To do this, we urgently need a deal to achieve a humanitarian ceasefire and the release of hostages,” he stressed, adding also the need to create the space for dialogue over violence.

“Ultimately, the only long-term solution for Gaza is political,” said Mr. Wennesland.

“While taking into account Israel’s legitimate security concern, there must be a clear path toward restoring single, effective Palestinian governance across the OPT (occupied Palestinian Territory), including in Gaza,” he added.

Two-State solution

Alongside, international support to strengthening and reforming the Palestinian Authority to improve domestic and international legitimacy will be crucial.

To create these conditions, Mr. Wennesland called for time bound political framework to end the occupation and establish a two-State solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements.

“These efforts must coalesce and accelerate if we are to emerge from this nightmare into a trajectory that can provide Palestinians and Israelis with the chance of lasting peace,” he concluded.


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