Armed international mission among options floated by Guterres in response to General Assembly request for report on Gaza border clashes.
“The targeting of civilians, particularly children, is unacceptable,” Guterres said in the report, adding that “those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable.”
— UN Secretary General Antonia Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday presented four options aimed at boosting the protection of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, from sending UN rights monitors and unarmed observers to deploying a military or police force under UN mandate.
The proposals were contained in a report requested by the General Assembly in response to a surge of violence in Gaza, where 171 Palestinians have been killed during Hamas-led clashes with Israeli troops since late March. Dozens of the dead were members of Hamas and other terror groups, Hamas has acknowledged.
The UN chief stressed that for each of the options, cooperation by Israel and the Palestinians would be necessary. It remained unlikely however that Israel would agree to the proposals . . . .
A UN mandate for a protection force would require a decision from the Security Council, where the United States could use its veto power to block a measure opposed by Israel.
A small European-staffed observer mission was deployed in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994, but Israel has since rejected calls for an international presence in flashpoint areas.
In the report, Guterres said the United Nations was already undertaking many protection initiatives but that “these measures fall short” of the concerns raised in a General Assembly resolution adopted in June.