Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the first time invoked Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, which enables a U.N. chief to highlight threats he sees to international peace and security. He warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza. But U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood said on Friday that halting military action would allow Hamas to continue to rule Gaza and “only plant the seeds for the next war.”
The war was triggered by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, in which militants from Gaza killed about 1,200, most of them civilians and took about 240 people hostage.
The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory has surpassed 17,400 over the past two months, with more than 46,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70% of the dead were women and children.