CAIRO: The United Nations Security Council urged the parties of the conflict in Gaza to adhere to a humanitarian cease-fire during the Eid holiday, and also called on engagement to implement a lasting cease-fire through the Egyptian initiative in a presidential statement late Sunday night at United Nations headquarters.
The Security Council, while not mentioning Israel in its statement, also called for “full respect of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilian populations and reiterates the need to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well being of civilians and their protection.”
Over 1,034 Palestinians have been killed and 6,233 injured so far in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf el-Qidra posted on his Facebook page Sunday evening. Forty three Israeli soldiers have been killed in the conflict as of Saturday, Haaretz reported.
Presidential statements of the 15-member Security Council are not legally binding, and Sunday’s declaration was the first official comment by the body on the issue.
“The Security Council should have adopted a resolution a long time ago to condemn this aggression and to call for it to be stopped immediately,” Palestinian Ambassador to the U.N. Riyadh Mansour told reporters following the council meeting , adding that the status quo is “not sustainable.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced in Cairo Friday night that both parties had agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire, that he hoped to be extended to a 7-day truce to span the Eid holiday.
An initial cease-fire proposal brokered by Egypt in mid-July was rejected by Hamas; the proposal had language calling for the opening of Gaza’s borders, but did not specifically mention the Rafah crossing to Egypt, a key demand by the Gaza Strip’s ruling body.