For the first time since 1989 the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has triggered Article 99 of the UN Charter. The reason is set out in his letter to the Security Council expressing the gravest alarm at the danger of “a collapse of the humanitarian system” in Gaza. The Secretary General emphasizes the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza and the inability to reach those in need.

The UN analysis is in keeping with what our team in Egypt and partners inside Gaza are reporting. Aid delivery is nearly impossible. The few remaining health services are completely overwhelmed. Even where limited services exist, bombardment and shelling, as well as movement restrictions, mean people are struggling to access the life-saving help they need. Food and water is scarce and diminishing. Water and sanitation are severely compromised. And needs are growing by the hour.

The UAE has tabled a resolution for debate and decision today directly addressing the humanitarian situation. The resolution calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, for all parties to act in accord with international law, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. From a humanitarian point of view, a halt to fighting is the only way to address the immediate needs of civilians in Gaza, both for aid and for protection. We urge Security Council members to support this resolution, and provide desperately needed respite from the consequences of the fighting.  The humanitarian case for a sustained ceasefire is clear. The only way for Palestinian lives to be protected and for adequate humanitarian assistance to be provided is for the fighting to stop.