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Govt calls on warring parties in the Middle East to exercise restraint

Story by Oleen Ndori, Foreign Desk Editor

THE Zimbabwean government has called on the warring parties in the Middle East to exercise maximum restraint and allow humanitarian workers access in the region as deaths from the Israel-Palestine conflict continue to rise.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said it is closely following developments and is deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict that has resulted in over 1 000 deaths with others being displaced.

It further called on Israel and Hamas to exercise restraint and allow humanitarian aid in the region while calling for an urgent revival of political processes aimed at finding a durable and just solution that respects the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the United Nations Human Rights, Chief Ms Ravina Shamdasani says Israel’s total siege of the Gaza Strip, depriving civilians of goods essential for survival, is banned under international law.

“The imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law. Any restriction on the movement of people and goods to implement a siege must be justified by military necessity, or it may amount to collective punishment,” said Ms Shamdasani.

The World Health Organisation has called for a humanitarian corridor to be established into and out of the Gaza Strip, which has been placed under total siege by Israel.

“The World Health Organization is also calling for an end to the violence. Health facilities, patients, health workers, and civilians in general have to be protected and safeguarded,” said WHO Spokesperson, Mr Tarik Jasarevic.

Palestinian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Tamer Almassiri reiterated the call for an end to Israeli occupation in Palestinian territory.

“We continue calling for the end of Israeli occupation in our country for our people. We call for the reform of the United Nations to give our people a voice as has been supported by all friendly nations,” he said.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, says he recognises the legitimate concerns of Palestinians and Israel’s security concerns adding that it is alarmed and distressed by the actions from both sides.

He urged all parties to immediately cease these attacks and release all hostages, while Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Israel will receive “a heavier slap” for the regime’s ongoing massacre of the Palestinian people in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed that Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 704 people and injured more than 3,900 people since the unprecedented operation by Hamas.

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