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Israel must allow ‘quantum leap’ in aid delivery UN chief urges, calling for change in military tactics

He noted last week’s Security Council resolution calling for hostages releases, civilian protection and unimpeded aid delivery.  “All those demands must be implemented. Failure would unforgivable”, he said. “Fixing those failures requires independent investigations and meaningful and measurable changes on the ground.” 

‘Relentless death’ 

“I once again utterly condemn the use of sexual violence, torture injuring and kidnapping of civilians, the firing of rockets towards civilian targets and the use of human shields”, he said, calling again for the unconditional release of all hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip. Six months on, the world stands on the brink of mass starvation in Gaza, a regional conflagration and a “total loss of faith in global standards and norms.”“An information war has added to the trauma – obscuring facts and shifting blame”, said the UN chief, compounded by Israel denying journalists entry into Gaza, consequently allowing disinformation to spread. The resulting humanitarian disaster is unprecedented, with more than a million “facing catastrophic hunger.” 

Weaponized AI 

“Dramatic humanitarian conditions require a quantum leap in the delivery of life-saving aid – a true paradigm shift.” AI should only be used as force for good, not to wage war “on an industrial level, blurring accountability.” Marking six months of war since the “abhorrent” Hamas-led terror attacks of 7 October, António Guterres told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York that the nothing could justify the horror unleashed by Palestinian militants that day. 

Humanitarian deaths 

He said the UN had been told by the Israeli Government that it was now planning to allow a “meaningful increase” in the flow of aid to Gaza. The UN chief said he sincerely hoped the increase in aid would materialize quickly. Mr. Guterres said he was deeply troubled by reports that the Israeli military has been using AI to help identify targets during its relentless bombing of densely populated areas of Gaza. 

Tactics must change 

“Lives are shattered. Respect for international law is in tatters”, he said. Children are dying due to lack of food and water: “This is incomprehensible and entirely avoidable”, the UN chief declared, repeating that nothing can justify such collective punishment. Having met many of the family members of those captive “I carry their anguish, uncertainty and deep pain with me every day”, added Mr. Guterres. 

‘Failure would be unforgivable’ 

But the past six months of Israel’s military campaign has also brought “relentless death and destruction to Palestinians”, with over 32,000 reported killed, the vast majority women and children. Branding the war “the deadliest of conflicts”, he highlighted that 196 humanitarians including over 175 UN staffers have been killed, the vast majority serving Palestine relief agency UNRWA. And following the appalling killing of the seven staffers with World Central Kitchen, the main problem is not who made the mistakes but “the military strategy and procedures in place that allow for those mistakes to multiply time and time again”, the Secretary-General said. “No part of life and death decisions which impact entire families should be delegated to the cold calculation of algorithms”, he said. 


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