December 10, 2023

The looming specter of another forced displacement looms large in Gaza. Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA commissioner-general, recently visited the region, and his experience was a stark reminder of the dire situation faced by the people of Gaza. He met with displaced Palestinians seeking refuge in UNRWA schools and heard heartbreaking stories of destruction and death.

The toll of despair in Gaza reaches unimaginable heights, with over 10,000 lives lost since October 7, including more than 4,000 children. The ongoing siege has transformed the lives of its people into a nightmarish existence, devoid of basic necessities like food, water, medicine, and fuel.

As winter approaches, the situation in Gaza is likely to become more chilling, particularly for women, children, and the elderly. Moreover, a disturbing trend is emerging within certain circles – a conscious effort to dehumanize the entire civilian population of Gaza, including its innocent children. It is crucial that we express our profound outrage at the appalling massacre that has unfolded in Israel. No civilian should ever become a hostage or be reduced to a mere bargaining chip.

The widening of collective punishment to encompass all civilians in Gaza poses a haunting threat and has the potential to plunge the entire region into an unfathomable abyss. It is imperative that the responsible individuals are held accountable for their actions. Immediate activation of a humanitarian ceasefire is necessary, alongside the removal of the blockade imposed upon Gaza, permitting unobstructed access for continuous and meaningful humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza.

The children tragically lost in Gaza were not “terrorists,” “inhuman creatures,” or “people to be erased.” Like all children, they brimmed with life, dreams, and aspirations. This massacre must cease immediately, for it represents our final opportunity to salvage what remains of our shared humanity.