Security Council urges prolonged ceasefire in Gaza amid humanitarian crisis

United Nations officials presented a dire picture of the humanitarian crisis affecting women and children in Gaza during a briefing to the Security Council on Wednesday, advocating for an extension of the ceasefire beyond the initially agreed-upon four days.

Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, revealed to the U.N. Security Council that over 5,300 Palestinian children had reportedly lost their lives since October 7, emphasizing that Gaza has become the “most dangerous place in the world to be a child.”

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of U.N. Women, addressed the Council, expressing that women in Gaza are praying “for a quick death” if their prayers for peace go unanswered.

In response to Israel’s military actions, including aerial bombardment, siege, and ground invasion with soldiers and tanks, an agreement for a four-day ceasefire with Hamas was reached on Wednesday. This pause aims to facilitate aid delivery to Gaza and the exchange of hostages for Palestinians held in Israel.

However, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, accused both UNICEF and U.N. Women of neglecting those affected during Hamas’s rule in Gaza. Erdan issued a warning, stating that the Israeli government would resume pursuing its objectives “with full force” once the ceasefire concludes.