Rwanda’s top UN diplomat Eugène-Richard Gasana, in his capacity as current President of the United Nations Security Council, has called for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip during the Eid period and beyond”.
In a presidential statement released after last night’s Security Council sitting, Gasana urged both Israel and Hamas to fully implement the ceasefire to enable the delivery of urgently needed assistance to a region whose death toll has climbed drastically to 1060 Palestinians and 43 Israelis.
“The Security Council calls on parties to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected ceasefire, based on the Egyptian initiative. In this regard, the Security Council urges all concerned regional and international parties to vigorously support efforts to consolidate an agreement between the parties,” Gasana following a consensus among the 15-nation Council.
“The Security Council expresses grave concern regarding the deterioration in the situation as a result of the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties. We call for full respect of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilian population, and reiterate the need to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and their protection.”
Gaza, a Palestinian region bordering Egypt to the southwest and Israel to the east, has suffered constant rocket fire from Israel since July 2014.
The Israeli government says it targets Hamas strongholds in Gaza, a militant organisation it accuses of anti-Semitism and terrorism.
Despite agreeing to a ceasefire on Sunday, violence escalated again with both sides blaming each other for breaking the truce.
“The Security Council urges the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders as envisioned in Security Council resolution 1850,” Gasana said in the statement.
He added: “We stress the need for immediate provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, including through urgent additional contribution to UNRWA. The Security Council emphasizes that civilian and humanitarian facilities, including those of the UN, must be respected and protected, and called on all parties to act consistently with this principle.”
Earlier today, Hamas announced a 24-hour ceasefire, saying that “all Palestinian militant factions would stop firing from 11:00 GMT”.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of violating its own ceasefire, vowing that "Israel will do what it must do to defend its people".