After three days of deadly fighting, the Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday to assess a fragile truce between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza.
Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, called on all sides to abide by the agreement while delegates denounced the deliberate targeting of civilians, notably children.
Collective efforts to forge ceasefire
“The ceasefire remains in place as I speak,” said Mr. Wennesland, updating on events between 5 and 7 August, which marked the worst outbreak of fighting since May 2021.
“The ceasefire is fragile. Any resumption of hostilities will only have devastating consequences for Palestinians & Israelis, & make any political progress on key issues elusive,” #UN Envoy @TWennesland to members of the Security Council.
🔗full briefing: https://t.co/KStBkpzGfo
— UNSCO (@UNSCO_MEPP) August 8, 2022
Alongside efforts by the UN, Qatar, United States, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, he welcomed Egypt’s crucial role in brokering the accord
“Together these efforts helped prevent the outbreak of a full-scale war,” and allowed for the delivery of humanitarian relief into Gaza earlier that day.
Counting the numbers
Preliminary numbers indicated that since Friday, Israeli Defense Forces launched 147 air strikes against targets in Gaza while Palestinian militants unnleashed 1,100 rockets and mortars into Israel.
After the dust settled, 46 Palestinians were killed and 360 injured.
In turn, 70 Israelis were injured along with damages to civilian structures.
In separate statements, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Prime Minister of Israel announced that a ceasefire would come into effect at 11:30 p.m. local time on 7 August.
The United Nations is in close contact with all parties to solidify the truce and ensure that the significant gains made since last May towards easing restrictions can be safeguarded – and ultimately expanded.
As the six-day closure of Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings had caused rolling power cuts of over 20 hours per day, the UN official welcomed in particular that the ceasefire would allow for the resumed movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza.
He highlighted that in opening Kerem Shalom, 23 fuel trucks were able to enter Gaza that day, allowing the area’s power plant to resume normal operations.
Pointing a finger
Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, asked how many more Palestinian children must be buried until someone says, “enough is enough.”
Pointing out that there are two constant features of Israeli policy regardless of who is in power — bombing Gaza and advancing colonial settlements — he stressed that “Israel kills our people because it can”.
He pressed the Council, rather than wait for one side to be ready, to instead “drag the two parties to the process of peace, today before tomorrow”.
In turn, Israel’s representative argued that the debate must focus on the fact that a terror organization, attempting to murder Israeli civilians, also murdered innocent Palestinian civilians along the way.
Reminding that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad deliberately fired 1,100 rockets at Israeli civilians with roughly 200 landing inside the Gaza strip, he said: “This is not an assessment. This is the hard truth and Israel has all the proof”.
The Ambassador pointed to video footage, radio evidence and mission logs, which proved that the deaths of children in Gevalia were the result of rockets fired by the group.
Click here to watch the debate in its entirety.