UN Security Council Calls For Immediate, Unconditional Cease Fire in Israel-Gaza Conflict
WORLD NEWS- Paul Gordon Collier- The Rwanda-led UN Security Council passed an agreement with President Ban Ki Moon’s calls for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire in the current Israel-Gaza conflict. The agreement does not have the authority of a resolution, which requires all 15 members to approve it, but it is considered one step below an actual, binding resolution.
The Security Council adopted Ban Ki Moon’s call for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire” ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr, which ends the Ramadan time of prayer and fasting. The statement pressures both Israel and Hamas to cease hostilities unconditionally to allow for humanitarian aid and also for the Muslims to participate in the Eid festivities.
The Statement reads that Israel and Hamas must “accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond.” As a statement, though strong, there is no binding authority or action to follow up should either or both sides reject the call.
The statement goes on pressure both parties to “engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire…” The statement refers to the cease-fire originally proposed by Egypt. It gives no mention of the recent efforts by Secretary Kerry to broker a cease-fire.
The statement was drafted by Jordan, the representative of the Arab League on the Security Council. Interestingly, despite being drafted by Jordan, the statement makes no mention to the Israeli Military’s current presence in Gaza and does not require Israel to remove its military presence from the region.
Secretary-General Ban stated today that, “the people of Gaza have nowhere to run. They are trapped and besieged on a speck of land. Every area is a civilian area. Every home, every school, every refuge has become a target. The casualty and damage figures also raise serious concerns about proportionality.”
President Obama has also come out in support of an immediate, unconditional cease-fire, but not specifically in reference to the UN Security Council Statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Council of serving entirely a “murderous terrorist organization,”while threatening Israeli security. In a phone conference with Ban and Netanyahu, the Prime Minister accused Ban of ignoring the original purpose of the action, to demilitarize the Gaza strip in the wake of hundreds of missile attacks from the region in the last few months alone.
Netanyahu responded to the UN Security Council that, “the statement did not deal with the harm done to Israeli civilians, nor to the fact that Hamas turned Gaza civilians into human shields.”
During the phone conference with Ban, Netanyahu challenged Ban to “ work to demilitarize Gaza,” instead of having its money used by Hamas to build terror tunnels to attack Israel.
“They are continuing to fire even now at Israel citizens,” he said. “Israel will continue to deal with the terror tunnels, which is only the first step in demilitarization.”
While the President has supported a unilateral, unconditional cease fire for humanitarian purposes, he also reiterated his support of Israel’s right to self defense, while also expressing concerns for Palestinian civilian casualties during a phone call with the Prime Minister this weekend.
The President also called on the demilitarization of Gaza and a ‘dismantling of terror groups.’
Since late Sunday night, after the announcement was made by the UN Security Council, 8 rockets have been fired by Gaza. The Israeli military stated that, “Quiet will be met with quiet.”