UN chief condemns ‘epic human suffering’ in Gaza

NEW DELHI — UN Chief Antonio Guterres has condemned the epic human suffering and collective punishment of Palestinian civilians, media reports said.

Reports said that he and other world leaders have repeatedly called for a ceasefire while Israel has vowed to push on until Hamas is defeated, a position backed by its powerful ally the United States.

“Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has called for the return of Jewish settlers to Gaza after fighting, saying its Palestinian population should be encouraged to emigrate,” media reports said.

“If we act in a strategically correct way and encourage emigration, if there are 100,000 or 200,000 Arabs in Gaza and not two million, the whole discourse of the day after will be completely different,” Smotrich told Israeli army radio.

Media reports said that there was no suggestion that the minister’s proposals had the support of the government as a whole but Hamas swiftly condemned his comments as a call to expel two million Palestinians and a war crime. — (IANS)