1 of 4 | A Palestinian woman surveys a destroyed home following an Israeli air strike in Rafah in southern Gaza on Monday. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The Carter Center is calling for a cease-fire and the safe return of hostages as Israeli forces enter Gaza, intensifying the conflict in the region.
The human-rights organization, a non-governmental entity founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and dedicated to enhancing the quality of life through conflict resolution, acknowledged Israel's right to self-defense but emphasized the importance of adhering to international law.
In a statement, the organization quoted Carter's 2002 Nobel Peace Prize speech, in which he stressed the need to avoid harming innocent civilians.
"We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other's children," Carter said.
The statement from the center also highlights the suffering of innocent people in Gaza because of the ongoing conflict and calls for both sides to stop the violence to enable the delivery of essential services to save lives.
"We urge all parties to agree to a cease-fire," said The Carter Center. "We ask for the opening of humanitarian corridors into Gaza and the reinstatement of essential services to the area. We urge the immediate, safe return of all hostages, and we call on both sides to abide by international law."
It also expressed strong disapproval of the increasing prevalence of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian sentiments worldwide, asserting that these attitudes are disseminating fear through hateful rhetoric and actions.
During a recent briefing at the Israeli Defense Forces' headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined international calls for a humanitarian cease-fire in Israel's ground invasion of Gaza.
He said his decision was based on concerns regarding the threat posed by the Hamas militant group. Netanyahu characterized the conflict as a battle against what he referred to as the "enemies of civilization itself" and indicated that any cease-fire with Hamas would be seen as a surrender.
As for the casualty figures, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that 8,525 people have been killed since Israel initiated its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza after a surprise attack by the militant group on Oct. 7 that resulted in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis.
The ministry also stated that 216 people were killed from Monday to Tuesday, with many of the casualties located in areas south of the Gaza Strip that Israel had designated as "safe zones." Additionally, 21,543 individuals were reported injured, and the health ministry had received reports of 2,000 missing people.