Ceasefire Holding in Gaza – UN Worried over Damage

Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed homes in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA Archives/Shareef Sarhan
Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed homes in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA Archives/Shareef Sarhan

Gaza Remaining Peaceful

NEW YORK – INTERNATIONAL – The most recent ceasefire in Gaza appears to be holding but unless the underlying causes of the conflict are addressed, another round of violence and vengeance is almost guaranteed, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns. Speaking to journalists at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban pointed to a lack of political will as the reason that a durable and sustained ceasefire has not yet been reached.

“They have not been listening to the voices of the international community and concerns raised by myself as the Secretary-General and many world leaders in the region and around the world,” he said. “In the name of protecting their own people, they have been letting their people be killed by others. Is that what they have to do?”

“This is almost the last chance for them. They have a very limited time,” stated Ban.

In the meantime, humanitarian partners are addressing urgent needs. Nearly 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the month-long fighting, almost 75 per cent of them civilians, according to preliminary information. On the Israeli side, at least 67 people were killed.

The number of Palestinian deaths includes 459 children. That figure is higher than the number of children killed in Gaza in the previous two conflicts combined, Mr. Ban said.

Ban said that while Israel’s duty to protect its citizens from rocket attacks by Hamas and other threats is unquestionable, the fighting has raised serious concerns about Israel’s respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality.

Israeli tanks however have deployed to the border as the ceasefire was extended by five days. Israel and the Palestinians agreed on the truce with half an hour to spare before the midnight deadline expired.

Palestinian negotiator Azzam Amed stated, “In the final moments, or the final minutes, it was agreed to extend the ceasefire for five more days. It will begin at midnight tonight and it will end on Monday. Instead of 72 hours, it is 120 hours. The Palestinian delegation will leave for Ramallah tomorrow morning for consultations with President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and with the Palestinian leadership.”

Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed homes in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA Archives/Shareef Sarhan
Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed homes in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA Archives/Shareef Sarhan