UN chief expresses concern over situation in Gaza, calls for two-state solution

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Monday voiced concern about the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza and called for continued efforts toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza remains dire; Guterres said at a meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The UN Country Team in Palestine has predicted that Gaza will become unliveable by 2020 unless concrete action is taken to improve basic services and infrastructure.

Yet Gaza remains squeezed by crippling closures and a state of constant humanitarian emergency, he said.

“Two million Palestinians are struggling everyday with crumbling infrastructure, an electricity crisis, a lack of basic services, chronic unemployment and a paralyzed economy.

“All of this is taking place amid an unfolding environmental disaster.”

He said he was extremely concerned that the latest shortfall in funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) will gravely impair the agency’s ability to deliver on its mandate and preserve critical services such as education and health care for Palestine refugees.

“At stake is the human security, rights and dignity of the five million Palestine refugees across the Middle East.”

Also at stake, he said, is the stability of the entire region, which may be affected if UNRWA is unable to continue to provide vital services to the Palestine refugee population, both in the occupied territories and in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

“I appeal to the generosity of the international community not to let that happen,” he said.

Guterres reiterated that a two-state solution is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and secure a sustainable solution to the conflict.

“There is no Plan B.”

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was founded by the UN General Assembly in 1975. (Xinhua/NAN)

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