Middle East

UN Chief Tells Israel: It’s Time for a Big Change in How Aid is Delivered!

Marking six months of war since the “abhorrent” Hamas-led terror attacks of 7 October, António Guterres told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York that nothing could justify the horror unleashed by Palestinian militants that day. 

“I once again utterly condemn the use of sexual violence, torture injuring and kidnapping of civilians, the firing of rockets towards civilian targets and the use of human shields”, he said, calling again for the unconditional release of all hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip. 

Having met many of the family members of those held captive “I carry their anguish, uncertainty and deep pain with me every day”, added Mr. Guterres. 

‘Relentless death’ 

But the past six months of Israel’s military campaign has also brought “relentless death and destruction to Palestinians”, with over 32,000 reported killed, the vast majority women and children. 

“Lives are shattered. Respect for international law is in tatters”, he said. 

The resulting humanitarian disaster is unprecedented, with more than a million “facing catastrophic hunger.” 

Children are dying due to lack of food and water: “This is incomprehensible and entirely avoidable”, the UN chief declared, repeating that nothing can justify such collective punishment. 

Weaponized AI 

Mr. Guterres said he was deeply troubled by reports that the Israeli military has been using AI to help identify targets during its relentless bombing of densely populated areas of Gaza. 

No part of life and death decisions which impact entire families should be delegated to the cold calculation of algorithms”, he said. 

AI should only be used as a force for good, not to wage war “on an industrial level, blurring accountability.” 

Humanitarian deaths 

Branding the war “the deadliest of conflicts”, he highlighted that 196 humanitarians including over 175 UN staffers have been killed, the vast majority serving Palestine relief agency UNRWA. 

“An information war has added to the trauma – obscuring facts and shifting blame”, said the UN chief, compounded by Israel denying journalists entry into Gaza, consequently allowing disinformation to spread. 

Tactics must change 

And following the appalling killing of the seven staffers with World Central Kitchen, the main problem is not who made the mistakes but “the military strategy and procedures in place that allow for those mistakes to multiply time and time again”, the Secretary-General said. 

Fixing those failures requires independent investigations and meaningful and measurable changes on the ground.” 

He said the UN had been told by the Israeli Government that it was now planning to allow a “meaningful increase” in the flow of aid to Gaza. The UN chief said he sincerely hoped the increase in aid would materialize quickly. 

‘Failure would be unforgivable’ 

“Dramatic humanitarian conditions require a quantum leap in the delivery of life-saving aid – a true paradigm shift.” 

He noted last week’s Security Council resolution calling for hostages releases, civilian protection and unimpeded aid delivery.  

“All those demands must be implemented. Failure would unforgivable”, he said. 

Six months on, the world stands on the brink of mass starvation in Gaza, a regional conflagration and a “total loss of faith in global standards and norms.”

 

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13 Comments

  1. Could the use of AI in targeting during the military campaign lead to unintended consequences and civilian casualties?

    1. AI in military operations can indeed have unintended consequences, potentially resulting in more civilian casualties. It’s essential to prioritize the protection of innocent lives during conflicts.

  2. It is disheartening to see the ongoing devastation caused by the conflict in Gaza. The use of AI to target densely populated civilian areas is alarming and inhumane. In times like these, international cooperation is crucial to ensure the protection of innocent lives and uphold human rights.

  3. Could you provide more details on how the humanitarian disaster in Gaza is being addressed by international aid organizations?

    1. Sure thing, EmilySmith. International aid organizations have been working tirelessly to provide essential assistance to those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. They are delivering food, water, medical supplies, and shelter to those in need, with a focus on ensuring the well-being of women and children who are the most vulnerable in such situations. Efforts are also underway to address the long-term needs of the affected population and support the rebuilding of infrastructure. It’s a challenging task, but these organizations are committed to making a difference in the lives of those suffering.

  4. As a concerned individual, I firmly believe that both sides need to prioritize the protection of innocent lives above all else. The use of violence and technology in warfare should never come at the cost of humanitarian principles. It’s high time for all parties involved to strive for peaceful resolutions and put an end to the cycle of suffering and devastation.

  5. It’s heartbreaking to see the ongoing suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians in this conflict. The use of AI in warfare raises serious ethical concerns and adds another layer of complexity to an already devastating situation. It’s time for all parties to prioritize peace and human rights over violence and destruction.

  6. As an advocate for human rights, I strongly believe that the indiscriminate use of force and violence must be condemned in all circumstances. The suffering endured by innocent civilians, especially women and children, is heartbreaking and unacceptable. It is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the protection of civilian lives and adhere to international laws to prevent further devastation and loss. The use of any technology, including AI, that contributes to the harm of civilians should be thoroughly reviewed and halted immediately for the sake of humanity.

  7. As a humanitarian, I am deeply saddened by the ongoing conflict. It’s time for all parties to prioritize peace and humanitarian aid over violence and destruction. The suffering of innocent civilians, especially children, is heart-wrenching. The use of AI in targeting civilian areas is concerning and must be addressed immediately.

  8. It’s heartbreaking to see the continuous suffering of innocent civilians in the conflict. The use of violence and technology in such ways only leads to more devastation. We must strive for peaceful solutions and prioritize the protection of all lives involved.

  9. As a humanitarian, I am appalled by the devastating impact of the military campaign in Gaza. The use of AI to target civilian areas is deeply troubling and violates all principles of human rights and international law. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza demands immediate action and accountability. It’s time for a fundamental shift in how aid is delivered to ensure the protection and well-being of innocent lives.

  10. As a concerned citizen, I find it appalling that during times of conflict, all parties involved must prioritize the protection and well-being of civilians above all else. The use of violence and technology in warfare only exacerbates the suffering of innocent people. It is crucial for all countries to adhere to international humanitarian law and prioritize peace and diplomacy in resolving conflicts. Let’s strive for a world where aid is delivered with compassion and respect for human life.

  11. What are the implications of weaponizing AI in military operations? How can such actions be justified in the context of international law?

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