The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has broken down in tears while demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip amid relentless Israeli ground and aerial offensives against Palestinians in the war-torn coastal sliver.
Addressing the WHO Executive Board in the Swiss city of Geneva on Thursday during a discussion about the Gaza health emergency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus became emotional, describing conditions in Gaza as “hellish.”
“I’m a true believer because of my own experience that war doesn’t bring solution, except more war, more hatred, more agony, more destruction. So let’s choose peace and resolve this issue politically,” said Tedros, who lived through war as a child and whose own children hid in a bunker during bombardments in Ethiopia’s 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea.
“I think all of you have said the two-state solution and so on, and hope this war will end and move into a true solution,” he said, before breaking down.
The WHO chief said he was “struggling to speak” as he looked down and took a long pause before adding that it was because the situation in Gaza was “beyond words.”
“Seventy percent of the dead (in Gaza) are children and women. That alone is enough for a ceasefire,” Tedros said.
In the same address, the WHO chief warned that more people in Gaza would die of starvation and disease.
“If you add all that, I think it’s not easy to understand how hellish the situation is,” he said.
The speech comes as heavy fighting is underway in the vicinity of al-Aqsa, Nasser, al-Amal and al-Kheir hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis with the Israeli military continuing its intense ground operations and aerial bombardment.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has posted a video, showing a doctor holding a 1-kilogram piece of shrapnel removed from a 60-year-old patient’s shoulder at the al-Amal Hospital.
“The operation was crowned with success despite the scarcity of available medical capabilities and the occupation’s continued siege and targeting of the hospital’s surroundings,” PRCS wrote on X.
Earlier in the week, three people were reported killed in an attack on the entrance to the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s ambulance center and one was killed in an attack on al-Amal Hospital.
The Israeli strikes have killed at least 200 people and caused injuries to 370 others in 24 hours between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
Israel launched hostilities in Gaza following a historic operation by the Gaza-based Hamas resistance group against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.
More than 100 days into the campaign, the regime has achieved no objectives despite killing at least 26,083 people in Gaza, around 70 percent of them women and children.