UN Reiterates Demand For Immediate Cease-Fire In The Gaza Strip

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DATE IMPORTED:July 28, 2014Relatives of Palestinian man Hussien Abu al-Naja, whom medics said was killed in an Israeli air strike, mourn at his funeral during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 28, 2014. One of the most joyous days in the Muslim calendar, the holiday of Eid al-Fitr was marked on Monday by tears and sorrow in the Gaza Strip, left battered by three weeks of merciless fighting between Israel and Hamas Islamists.

The United Nations on Monday reiterated its call for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire” in the Gaza Strip.

In a presidential statement released following a short, emergency Security Council meeting held just after midnight on Sunday, the 15-member Security Council asked Hamas and Israel to “implement the cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond.”

“The Security Council calls for the full implementation of resolution 1860 and stressed 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 statement said.

Resolution 1860 was passed by the U.N. Security Council in January 2009 following a 13-day war  -- termed Operation Cast Lead by Israel -- between Hamas and Israel. The resolution could not be implemented as Israel and Hamas both chose to ignore it.

The U.N. statement also called for "full respect" of international humanitarian law and reiterated "the need to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and their protection".

Hamas had reportedly called for a 24-hour humanitarian truce on Sunday, demanding a temporary stop to hostilities on the occasion of Eid. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson, told Reuters that “it has been agreed among resistance factions to endorse a 24-hour humanitarian calm, starting from 2 p.m. on Sunday.”

Muslims in most Middle Eastern countries are celebrating Eid al-Fitr on Monday, marking an end to the one-month fasting period of Ramadan.

However, Al Jazeera reported Sunday that Israel, which had called off its own 24-hour truce earlier in the day, had refused to accept the temporary cease-fire. Although a partial truce is being observed in Gaza on Monday, with the Israeli military reportedly holding off air strikes, fighting on the ground has continued unabated.

Over a thousand Palestinians have been killed so far in the 21-day-long conflict in Gaza, Al Jazeera reported Monday. 45 Israelis, including 43 soldiers and two civilians, and one Thai farm worker, have also lost their lives.

Reacting to the Security Council statement, Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., told reporters that the statement had failed to condemn attacks on Israel by Hamas.

“It doesn’t even mention the firing of rockets,” he said, accusing the U.N. Security Council of bias.  

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