The UN Security Council, under pressure from Secretary-General António Guterres, will vote on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza Friday. The outcome of the session is uncertain amid Israel’s relentless bombardment, severe restrictions on essentials items, and escalating violence in Gaza and the West Bank.

The UN Security Council will meet on Friday under significant pressure from Secretary-General António Guterres and will vote on urging an immediate ceasefire after weeks of a devastating war. Despite the rising civilian death toll and catastrophic living conditions in the Palestinian territory due to Israel’s bombardment, the outcome of the session remains uncertain.

In a letter to the council on Wednesday, Guterres invoked the UN charter’s Article 99, expressing concern that the constant bombardment by the Israeli Army could lead to a breakdown of public order, making even limited humanitarian assistance impossible. He called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” to prevent a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians and the entire Middle East.

Israel’s relentless bombardment and shelling has reduced much of Gaza to rubble.

Israel is severely restricting the entry of food, water, fuel and medicine, and 1.8 million people (80 percent of Gaza’s population) have been forced to leave home to escape Israeli attacks.

Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza has resulted in nearly 17,200 deaths, mostly civilians, according to Gaza authorities. One of them, the Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer, a professor and co-founder of the project “We Are Not Numbers,” was killed by an Israeli strike.Alareer published a widely shared poem on X in November entitled “If I must die,” concluding with the words: “If I must die, let it bring hope, let it be a tale.”

Meanwhile, the violence in the West Bank has intensified since the Israel-Hamas war broke out, with Israeli Army shooting dead six Palestinians at Al-Fara refugee camp Friday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Israeli officials claim the Jenin refugee in the West Bank camp has become a “terrorist hub,” while the Palestinian Authority reports at least 263 Palestinians killed due to Israeli fire and settler attacks during the ongoing conflict.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) notes a disturbing trend in the occupied West Bank, with Palestinian gunshot victims being shot more often in the head and torso than the limbs.


Miroslava Salazar, with AFP