UN Security Council calls for Gaza cease fire
The U.N. Security Council is calling for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire” in the Gaza war. The midnight vote was unanimous as all 15 members of the Council - including the US - voted for it.
Israel mostly held its fire overnight, shelling only a site in the northern Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from there. The Israeli military said, however, that it would continue to destroy underground tunnels that militants had dug to try and infiltrate Israeli territory.
In an emergency midnight meeting, the U.N. Security Council urged Israel and Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza, to “accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond,” allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance to Palestinians, who cannot leave the territory.
The statement also called on Israel and Hamas to “engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire, based on the Egyptian initiative.” Earlier Sunday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued his own personal appeal for a week-long cease-fire.
The conflict raged on Sunday, even as both Hamas and Israel offered brief truces and President Obama pressed Israel for a cease-fire as the death toll continued to rise.
In a phone conversation Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself and condemned Hamas attacks, the White House said in a statement.
But as the administration continued trying to balance its support for Israel with criticism of civilian casualties in Gaza, Obama also urged an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, expressing Washington’s “serious and growing concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives.”
Israel continues to try and extend the 24 hour cease fire it unilaterally declared on Saturday, but Hamas is apparently having none of it.
Even while the IDF destroys Hamas tunnels, Egypt has chipped in and has blown up at least 13 other Hamas tunnels that led from its territory into Gaza. Egypt has a big stake in denying Hamas use of those tunnels due to the smuggling of weapons and terrorists into the country.
Egypt's army said Sunday it has destroyed 13 more tunnels connecting the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip, taking to 1,639 the overall number it has laid waste to.
Cairo has poured troops into the peninsula to counter a rising insurgency since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year, and its security operation involves the destruction of these tunnels.
Think of how much concrete have been poured into making those tunnels. It's probably enough to build every Palestinian refugee in the world a house.