U.N. Security Council calls for Gaza cease-fire


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United Nations Security Council called for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire” in Gaza.

In a nine-minute meeting that began just after midnight on Monday, the 15-member Security Council unanimously approved a presidential statement that “expresses grave concern regarding the deterioration in the situation as a result of the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties.” The statement does not name either Israel or Hamas.

The statement, which was drafted by Jordan and becomes part of the council’s official record, said that the Security Council calls for “full respect of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilian population, and reiterates the need to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and their protection.”

The council also expressed “strong support for the call by international partners and the Secretary-General of the United Nations for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance, and they urged all parties to accept and fully implement the humanitarian ceasefire into the Eid period and beyond.”

In addition to calling for a cease-fire based on the current Egyptian initiative, the statement urged “the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders as envisioned in Security Council resolution 1850 (of 2008).”

Following the approval of the statement, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, criticized the statement, which he said “miraculously managed to not mention the Hamas or rockets or Israel’s right to defend its citizens,” the Times of Israel reported.

“Every time the international community calls for a cease-fire, we cease and Hamas fires,” Prosor said.

At least 1,035 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of Israel’s operation in Gaza, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported Monday, citing the Palestinian health ministry, which said 236 of the victims are children, 93 of them women, and 47 of them elderly. An estimated 80 percent of the dead are civilians. At least 42 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza, as well as three civilians.

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