Guterres calls for de-escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

View of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem View of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem Photo by KingMatz1980 on iStock

12 May 2021

As violence escalates between Israel and Palestine, the United Nations calls for an immediate de-escalation to protect the civilian population

The recent escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine has so far caused the death of at least seven Israelis, one Indian national, and 103 Palestinians, including 27 children, as reported by Aljazeera. In light of these recent events, which mark the deadliest resurgence of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2014, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, has underlined the urgency to de-escalate the fight, which could evolve into a full-scale war in the Middle East.

The new wave of violence began following the forced expulsion of Palestinian families living in the Israeli occupied neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah, in East Jerusalem, evolving into violent protests and repression by the Israeli Army at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and which culminated in the exchange of air attacks. Hamas has indeed opened fire against Israel, having launched around 1500 rockets so far, while Israel has responded to the attacks by carrying out air raids on Gaza. As the air attacks from both sides are directed towards cities, the number of civilian casualties has been extremely high. As reiterated by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, it is the civilian population of both countries which has to endure the greatest suffering caused by the conflict, being dangerously exposed to these indiscriminate attacks. Among civilians, children are the ones suffering the most, as the high number of children among the recorded casualties is showing.

In light of the appalling number of child casualties caused by just a few  days of violence, the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, has urged the parties to the conflict to ensure civilian protection, spare civilian infrastructure, and to end violations against children. On his part, Mr Guterres has called on the international community to take action to push the parties to de-escalate violence immediately in order to prevent the death toll from rising and put an end to atrocities against children.


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Author: Carla Leonetti; Editor: Eleonora Gonnelli

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