UNSC: Halt all violence in Gaza now
As the sad event of the Israeli attack on Gaza unfolds worldwide, the UN Security Council has called on both "Israel and the Palestinians to immediately halt all violence." This call echoes other made by other world leaders but it has no teeth to deter the Israeli reaction against Palestinians. On Saturday, UN Secretary General had recognized Israel's security concerns regarding the continued firing of rockets from Gaza, but called on "Israel's obligation to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law and condemns excessive use of force leading to the killing and injuring of civilians.”
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. Security Council early Sunday expressed serious concern at the escalating situation in Gaza and called on Israel and the Palestinians to immediately halt all violence. After more than four hours of emergency consultations that began Saturday night, the U.N.'s most powerful body issued a statement that also urged the restoration of a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers. The Security Council also called for the opening of border crossings into Gaza «to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza» and ensure a continuous supply of food and fuel as well as medical treatment. Libya, on behalf of the Arab Group of nations at the U.N., called the late night council meeting after Israeli warplanes rained more than 100 tons of bombs on security sites in Gaza on Saturday and early Sunday, killing at least 230 people. Israel said the bombardment _ one of the Mideast's bloodiest assaults in decades _ was aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Gaza that have traumatized southern Israel. The statement, agreed to by all 15 council members including Libya, did not specifically mention either the Israeli bombing or the rocket attacks by Hamas militants. Instead, council members «called for an immediate halt to all violence» and «called on the parties to stop immediately all military activities. Libyan diplomats had pressed for an open council meeting but some council members were reluctant because of concerns of inflaming the situation. The final text of the statement, drafted by Russia, dropped initial references to numerous Palestinian deaths, including among civilians. The statement reflects the views of the U.N.'s most powerful body. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, told reporters before the council began its closed-door consultations that the council should demand an immediate halt to the bombing. «This collective punishment is inhumane, immoral and should be stopped immediately,» he said. «There is no justification for punishing 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza because of a few.
27 December 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday appealed for an immediate halt to the renewed violence in the Middle East, after Israeli air strikes – in response to ongoing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants – reportedly killed at least 150 people in Gaza. “The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by today's heavy violence and bloodshed in Gaza, and the continuation of violence in southern Israel. He appeals for an immediate halt to all violence,” Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement issued today. “While recognizing Israel's security concerns regarding the continued firing of rockets from Gaza, he firmly reiterates Israel's obligation to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law and condemns excessive use of force leading to the killing and injuring of civilians,” the statement said. “He condemns the ongoing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants and is deeply distressed that repeated calls on Hamas for these attacks to end have gone unheeded,” it added. In an effort to bring a swift end to the violence, Mr. Ban is making contact with regional and international leaders, including the other members of the diplomatic Quartet – the European Union, Russia and the United States – which backs the Road Map plan for a two-State solution to the conflict with Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Just a few days ago, he called on Hamas, which recently declared that the ongoing calm between Gaza and southern Israel was now over, to ensure an immediate end to rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and urged all parties to work urgently to ease humanitarian conditions in the Strip. Today he reiterated the call for humanitarian supplies to be allowed into Gaza to aid the distressed population of 1.5 million Palestinians, who have been suffering due to shortages of food, medicine and fuel. Some supplies did manage to get into Gaza yesterday, for the first time in almost ten days, after Israel opened a couple of the crossings which it had kept closed citing rocket and other attacks by militants from Gaza.