UNSC urges immediate end to Israeli-Palestinian violence
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 2 (APP): The UN Security Council, meeting in the wake of Saturday’s deadly Israel attack on Gaza that killed more than 50 Palestinians, called early Sunday for an immediate end to violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
The five-hour emergency session was convened at the request of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas after Israeli forces turned to the use of heavy weapons in a new escalation of the conflict. Many women and children were among those killed in the Gaza Strip.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the council’s rotating presidency, read a “summary” of the discussions among representatives of the 15 member states.
“Members of the Security Council are deeply concerned about the loss of civilian lives in southern Israel and Gaza and condemn the escalation of violence that has taken place,” Churkin said.
During the session, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, condemning Palestinian rocket attacks and Israel’s “disproportionate and excessive use of force.”
Earlier, Mo’aweya Hassanein, chief of emergency and ambulance services in the Palestinian health ministry, told reporters that the Israeli army Saturday killed 68 Palestinians and wounded 200, “the highest ever (daily) death and casualties toll in the Gaza Strip” since fighting erupted in 2000.
Churkin said members of the Security Council “underscore the need for all parties to immediately cease all acts of violence,” stressing that “these acts must not be allowed to deter the political process...aimed at establishing two states—Israel and Palestine—living side by side in peace and security.”
Churkin made no mention of a draft Security Council resolution circulated by Libya that would strongly condemn the killing of innocent civilians, including children.
The emergency session started and ended with closed-door consultations, with an open debate in between.
During the open debate, Permanent Observer of Palestine Riyad Mansour urged the Security Council to condemn Israel’s military actions against innocent civilians and to work for an immediate ceasefire on the occupied territory.
Daniel Carmon, Israel’s representative to the United Nations, defended the Israeli military actions as a response to rocket attacks by Palestinian militants. “The government of Israel should... not apologize for protecting its citizens,” he said.