Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire has prevented all-out war but remains fragile, says UN Security Council
NEW YORK: Although a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants, brokered by Egypt on Sunday evening, ended intense fighting and appears to be holding, it is fragile and the underlying causes of the latest eruption of violence remain, the UN said on Monday.
He added that the cycle of violence will only end with a political resolution to the decades-old conflict that ends Israel’s occupation and includes a two-state solution, based on the June 1967 borders and consistent to UN resolutions and international law.
Tor Wennesland, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told an emergency Security Council meeting that 46 Palestinians were killed and 360 injured in the recent escalation, over of which Israel launched 147 strikes on Gaza and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired 1,100 rockets. and mortars in Israel. Hundreds of homes and other civilian infrastructure were destroyed. The figures are provisional and “verification is ongoing”, he added.
“While fully acknowledging Israel’s legitimate security concerns, I reiterate that under international law, any use of force must be proportionate and take all possible measures to avoid civilian casualties,” Wennesland said. . “Children, in particular, should never be the target of violence or put in danger.”
The United Arab Emirates, along with China, France, Ireland and Norway, requested the emergency meeting to discuss recent developments in the Gaza Strip.
Wennesland said the escalation had exacerbated Gaza’s already chronic shortages of essential medicines, and that Israel’s closure of the Erez crossing into the Strip for six days had serious humanitarian consequences for Gazans, including preventing patients to travel for treatment in Israel.
“The closures have also worsened the already precarious food security situation in the Gaza Strip,
reduce stocks of staple foods, especially wheat flour,” he said.
Wennesland thanked Egypt for the role it played in securing the ceasefire, alongside the UN, and also thanked Qatar, Jordan, the United States and the Authority Palestinians for their de-escalation efforts.
“Together, these efforts helped prevent the outbreak of a full-scale war and enabled much-needed humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza earlier today,” he told council members. .
He welcomed Israel’s “timely reopening” of the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings after the ceasefire, and called on the leaders of Israel and Palestine, as well as the international community, to intensify diplomatic efforts to resume negotiations aimed at securing a viable agreement. , a two-state solution.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent observer to the UN, accused Israel of “killing and oppressing an entire nation”. He added that “Israel’s right to security has become a license to kill and must be revoked”, as he urged the Security Council to “act now”.
“If you are against violence, don’t rule out Israeli violence,” he added. “Don’t justify it. Are you ready to say, “Enough is enough”, as the highest authority responsible for the maintenance of peace and security?
“Israel kills our people because it can. When will the world show them it can’t?
Mansour told council members that “helpless Palestinian families need your support; not a nuclear power, not an occupying power”, as he asked the members of the council “to involve the two parties in the peace process, today before tomorrow”.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, accused PIJ members of taking their orders from Iranian puppeteers, adding: “Their hatred knows no borders.
He drew a parallel between the PIJ and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the organization to which recently slain al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri once belonged.
“EIJ and PIJ share more than a similar name,” Erdan said. “They share the same value of destroying the free and modern world in which we live.”
As the world hailed the killing of Al-Zawahiri in a US drone strike on July 31, Erdan said “UN officials suddenly express deep concern when Israel does the same. It is difficult to understand such a double standard.
He added: “The only remedy for Gazans is for their leaders to stop trying to destroy Israel and stop investing in terrorist infrastructure.
Erdan urged the Security Council to unite behind the condemnation of the PIJ: “Holding a debate and not taking the opportunity to fully condemn their war crimes will motivate them to continue (to commit other such crimes ).”
He also thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for his efforts to help broker the ceasefire and “restore stability in our region.”
Osama Abdel Khalek Mahmoud, Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN, called on the Israeli authorities to put an end to all their illegal practices and stop the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, which he described as “the violation the most egregious of basic Palestinian rights,” and lift the blockade of Gaza and allow food and fuel to begin flowing back into the Strip.
He also called on Israel to respect the legal and historical status of the holy sites in East Jerusalem, urged all parties to refrain from targeting civilians and called on the international community to help restart the process of peace.
Mohammed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the UN, expressed deep concern over the recent violence in Gaza and stressed the need for all parties to uphold their responsibilities under international law and international humanitarian law. . He also condemned the Israeli incursion into Al-Aqsa Mosque as a provocative action.
“The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza cannot withstand any more shocks,” Abushahab said, welcoming the truce and offering his country’s “sincere appreciation” to El-Sisi for his role in restoring calm.
Abushahab reiterated his country’s support for all regional and international efforts aimed at bringing peace to the Middle East, and renewed his support for a two-state solution.