With the situation in Gaza “worsening by the day”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday urged to reach a ceasefire agreement.

Iran Press/America: Speaking to journalists in New York, he called on Israel and the Hamas leadership to reach now an agreement.

Mr. Guterres expressed fear that without an agreement, “the war, with all its consequences both in Gaza and across the region, will worsen exponentially.”

Nearly seven months have passed since the start of the Israeli-American genocide in Gaza. 

Recent weeks have seen airstrikes on the Rafah area in southern Gaza, where more than 1.2 million people are now sheltering with limited access to food, medical care and other services, and nowhere safe to go. 

Mr. Guterres said a military assault there “would be an unbearable escalation, killing thousands more civilians and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee.” Furthermore, it would have a devastating impact on Palestinians in Gaza, with serious repercussions on the occupied West Bank and across the wider region.  

“All members of the Security Council, and many other governments, have clearly expressed their opposition to such an operation. I appeal for all those with influence over Israel to do everything in their power to prevent it,” he said. 

Turning to the north, where vulnerable people are already dying of hunger and disease, he urged the international community to “do everything possible to avert an entirely preventable human-made famine.” 

Lack of security is a major obstacle to distributing aid across Gaza, and he stressed that humanitarian convoys, facilities and personnel, as well as people in need, “must not be targets”. 

“We welcome aid delivery by air and sea, but there is no alternative to the massive use of land routes,” he said, before again calling on Israel to allow and facilitate safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Gaza, including for the UN’s Palestine relief agency, UNRWA.