Israeli officials have reacted furiously to the suggestion they've violated any laws, and called for Antonio Guterres' resignation from the United Nations.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says there have been "clear violations" of humanitarian law in Gaza and called for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire".
He made the comments before a Security Council that remained divided on the 18th day of the war between Israel and Hamas.
Guterres said the risk of the Gaza war spreading through the region is increasing as societies splinter and tensions threaten to boil over. He called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to deliver desperately needed food, water, medicine and fuel. He also appealed "to all to pull back from the brink before the violence claims even more lives and spreads even farther."
Guterres stressed that the rules of war must be obeyed.
He said the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify “the horrifying and unprecedented October 7 acts of terror" by Hamas in Israel and demanded the immediate release of all hostages.
But Guterres also stressed that "those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people."
He expressed deep concern at “the clear violations of international humanitarian law,” calling Israel’s constant bombardment of Gaza and the level of destruction and civilian casualties “alarming.”
Protecting civilians “is paramount in any armed conflict,” he said.
Without naming Hamas, the UN chief stressed that “protecting civilians can never mean using them as human shields.”
Guterres also criticized Israel without naming it, saying “protecting civilians does not mean ordering more than one million people to evacuate to the south, where there is no shelter, no food, no water, no medicine and no fuel, and then continuing to bomb the south itself.”
Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, in his address to the council, criticised the secretary general’s remarks. After being told by a reporter at a stakeout later that Guterres stood by his statement, the Israeli minister said: “There is no cause for this, and shame on him.”
Cohen then refused to meet with Guterres, writing on X (formerly known as Twitter) that "there is no place for a balanced approach. Hamas must be erased off the face of the planet."
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan accused Guterres of having lost “all morality and impartiality” and called for his resignation.
Blinken tells United Nations: 'Palestinian civilians must be protected'
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday that "a civilian is a civilian is a civilian" and said that Palestinian civilians "must be protected."
America's top diplomat called on Hamas to stop using civilians as human shields, and told Israel that it must "take precautions."
Blinken said that food, water and medicine must be allowed to flow into Gaza for the people who need it.
UN: Two-thirds of Gaza health facilities 'ceased functioning' after massive Israeli airstrikes
Nearly two-thirds of Gaza’s health facilities have ceased functioning amid a massive and deadly increase in Israeli airstrikes in the territory, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
A total of 46 out of 72 health care facilities - including 12 out of 35 hospitals - have stopped functioning across Gaza, the WHO said. Palestinian health officials said the lack of electricity and fuel to power generators from an Israeli blockade, as well as damage from airstrikes, has forced many of the facilities to close.
Gaza health officials said more than 700 people had died in Israeli airstrikes over the past day.
Israel escalated its bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip, the military said Tuesday, ahead of an expected ground operation against Hamas militants.
The stepped-up attacks, and the rapidly rising death toll of thousands killed in Gaza, came as Hamas released two elderly Israeli women who were among the hundreds of hostages it captured during its devastating 7 October attack on towns in southern Israel.
Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been running out of food, water and medicine since Israel sealed off the territory following the attack. A third small aid convoy entered Gaza on Monday carrying only a tiny fraction of the supplies aid groups say is necessary.
With Israel still barring the entry of fuel, the United Nations said aid distribution would soon grind to a halt when it can no longer fuel trucks inside Gaza. Hospitals overwhelmed by the wounded are struggling to keep generators running to power lifesaving medical equipment and incubators for premature babies.
On Tuesday, Israel said it had launched 400 airstrikes over the past day, killing Hamas commanders, hitting militants as they were preparing to launch rockets into Israel and striking command centers and a Hamas tunnel shaft. The previous day, Israel reported 320 strikes.
The Palestinian official news agency, WAFA, said many of the airstrikes hit residential buildings, some of them in southern Gaza where Israel had told civilians to take shelter.
An overnight strike hit a four-story residential building in the southern city of Khan Younis, killing at least 32 people and wounding scores of others, according to survivors.
Israel says it does not target civilians and that Hamas militants are using them as cover for their attacks.
Macron urges Israel not to widen Gaza conflict, and focus first on hostage releases
French President Emmanuel Macron has called on Israel not to "widen the conflict" with Hamas, and consider releasing hostages held in Gaza as "the first objective."
Macron made the comments during a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog.
"I think it is our duty to fight these terrorist groups, without confusion, and I would say, without widening the conflict", Macron said.
"The first objective we should have today is the release of all the hostages, without any distinction".
Macron told Israel that "you are not alone in this war against terrorism," adding that "clearly targeting these terrorist groups and organising targeted operations is a necessity".
The French president said the events of 7 October "will certainly never be forgotten."
Macron's comments come after two more Israeli hostages were released by Hamas, late Monday evening.
The hostages were identified as Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper of the Israeli kibbutz of Nir Oz.
In a statement, Hamas said it had released them for humanitarian reasons.
The release is the second time the militant group has freed hostages seized in its bloody 7 October cross-border incursion into Israel.
Hamas says Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed 140 overnight
At least 140 people were killed in the Gaza Strip after another night of Israeli airstrike, according to the local Hamas government.
The group also reported "hundreds of injured" and "dozens of homes destroyed". On Monday, in its latest overall report, the Hamas government announced that more than 5,000 people, including more than 2,000 children, had been killed since the start of the war on 7 October.
On Tuesday morning, France's President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Tel Aviv to express his country's "full solidarity" with Israel after the attack by Hamas which left more than 1,400 dead on 7 October.
Macron also called to "preserve the civilian populations" in Gaza as Israel strikes the territory in its attempt to destroy Hamas.
On Monday evening, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced that six more employees of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) had been killed in Gaza in the space of 24 hours.
This brings to 35 the number of UNRWA personnel killed since the war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7.
"We are lost for words", declared the agency on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"We pay tribute to our 35 colleagues who have been killed in Gaza since October 7. We grieve and we remember. These are not just numbers. These are our friends and colleagues. Many were teachers in our schools. UNRWA mourns this huge loss", added UNRWA.
In its daily report, OCHA highlighted the difficulties faced by humanitarian agencies in delivering aid to the people of Gaza "due to ongoing hostilities, restrictions on movement and shortages of electricity, fuel, water, medicines and other essential items."
Since Saturday, international aid has started to trickle in via Egypt into the small territory where 2.4 million Palestinians are crowded together.
Around fifty trucks entered the Gaza Strip in three days via the Rafah crossing, the only exit from the territory not controlled by Israel.