Addressing the UN Security Council, Ban Ki-moon appealed, on Thursday, for a ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians. He additionally called on the aid of the international community in halting the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip.
According to AFP, the UN chief said at an emergency meeting of the Council, in New York: ‘It is now more urgent than ever to try to find common ground for a return to calm and a ceasefire understanding… Today we face the risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza with the threat of a ground offensive sill palpable and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing.’
According to Ban, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired more than 550 rockets and mortars into Israel from Gaza, in the last few days, and Israel has launched more than 500 air strikes on Gaza.
He said that eighty-eight Palestinians, many of them civilians, have so far been killed, according to Ma’an’s report. Hundreds have been injured, and over 100 homes destroyed or severely damaged, with nearly 900 people displaced:
‘Israel has legitimate security concerns but I am also concerned at the many Palestinian deaths and injuries as a result of Israeli operations.’
Ban Ki-moon told reporters, at the UN headquarters in New York, that the risk of violence further expanding is still ‘very real’ and that the situation is on a ‘downward spiral which could quickly get beyond anyoneâs control’, describing Gaza as being on ‘on a knife-edge’ after the new wave of violence which has also hit southern Israel and the West Bank.
Ki-moon also said that he had been in contact with Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas, regarding the crisis, as well with as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, the Arab League, the US and the EU.
Ban praised Abbas for ‘courageously upholding his commitment to security coordination’ and urged Netanyahu ‘to exercise maximum restraint and to respect international obligations to protect civilians’.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told a parliamentary committee, earlier on Thursday, that a ceasefire with Hamas was ‘not even on the agenda.’
Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour has pointed to Israel for the increased violence in Gaza and for working to dismantle the Palestinian consensus government, which took office last month.
According to a WAFA report, Premier Rami Hamdallah called on the UN Security Council to provide immediate protection for the Palestinian people and oblige Israel to stop its genocide against defenseless Palestinian civilians in Gaza Strip:
‘We have directed an urgent appeal to all international medical relief organizations that operate in Palestine, such as World Health Organization, Red Cross and MĂ©decins sans FrontiĂšres, to consolidate their efforts to provide relief and medical supplies for Palestinians in Gaza,’ he said during a press conference held at his Ramallah headquarters.
The premier expressed his gratitude for all official efforts, especially those exerted by Egypt, aimed to support the Palestinian people.
Hamdallah stressed that the Presidency aims to take international action in response to the Israeli aggression, according to WAFA, making special reference to a letter sent by Abbas to his Swiss counterpart, in regard to emergency consultations for holding the emergency summit, in hopes of forcing Israel to commit to the international laws to which it is signatory to.