Sunday, December 21, 2014


News

UN Security Council Calls For Gaza Truce

A Palestinian man shouts as he carries the body of 1-year-old baby Noha Mesleh, who died of wounds sustained after a UN school in Beit Hanun was hit by an Israeli tank shell, during her funeral in Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip on July 25.
A Palestinian man shouts as he carries the body of 1-year-old baby Noha Mesleh, who died of wounds sustained after a UN school in Beit Hanun was hit by an Israeli tank shell, during her funeral in Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip on July 25.
By RFE/RL

The UN Security Council has approved a declaration in an emergency session calling for an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

The council meeting -- which began at midnight in New York -- urged Israel and Hamas "to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond."

It said this would allow for the delivery of urgently needed assistance.

Eid begins on July 28 in many Muslim countries.

The declaration was agreed upon by all 15 members of the Security Council ahead of the meeting.

The council statement also called on the parties "to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire, based on the Egyptian initiative."

Israel and the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have agreed to several short-lived cease-fires in the past two days that have been repeatedly broken.

More than 1,030 Palestinians and 45 Israelis -- mostly soldiers -- have been killed in three weeks of fighting.

U.S. President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late on July 27 in a phone call that an immediate cease-fire was needed in the Gaza Strip.

Obama called for an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" that leads to a permanent end to the fighting that has lasted for nearly three weeks.

There was no report on Netanyahu's reaction to the call.

A second cease-fire on July 27 ended shortly after it was declared when Hamas fired more rockets into Israel.

Israel admitted on July 27 that its troops had mistakenly fired a mortar shell into a UN school in Gaza last week but killed no one.

The Israeli Army showed a video that it says shows the courtyard where the shell hit was empty at the time.

Palestinian officials have said three shells hit the school in the town of Beit Hanoun, killing 16 people and wounding scores of others.

The UN has called for an investigation into the incident.

Netanyahu says Israeli military operations in Gaza will continue for as long as it takes to demilitarize the Gaza Strip -- where Hamas militants are shooting rockets into Israel and using a myriad of tunnels to dig under Israeli territory.

With reporting by AFP and AP