The UN Security Council called for a ceasefire in hostilities between Israel and Palestinians on Saturday, expressing its deep concern over the welfare and protection of civilians on both sides of the conflict.
“The Security Council members called for de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire,” the 15-member body said in a statement. It also called for international humanitarian law to be respected, including the protection of civilians.
There was no sign, however, that either side was prepared to consider a possible ceasefire as the Israeli military struck targets within Gaza for a fifth day. Meanwhile, Israel said militants had fired rockets at Tel Aviv, several of which were intercepted over the city, as well as at Jerusalem.
At least 150 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes, according to Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra, while more than 920 have been wounded. There have been no Israeli deaths reported.
The Security Council’s statement was its first official response to the conflict since it began. The United States – a close ally of Israel – and Jordan were unable to reach agreement on a Security Council statement on the crisis earlier this week, diplomats said. Council statements have to be approved by consensus.
Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour accused the council of dragging its feet and said Saturday’s statement had only been agreed after the Arab Group, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement threatened to push for a resolution on the issue.
The Security Council statement also expressed “support for the resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on the two-state solution”.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-07-12