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UN Security Council meets to weigh up Gaza violence

By Paul Myers - RFI
Middle East AFP - MOHAMMED ABED
AUG 9, 2022 LISTEN
AFP - MOHAMMED ABED

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday night to discuss the flare up of violence in Gaza which has left nearly 50 people dead including 16 children.

The meeting took just before Israeli police said they had been involved in a shoot-out with Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, who they say was suspected of several shootings in the West Bank earlier this year.

It confirmed that al-Nabulsi and another Palestinian were killed in and that troops found arms and explosives in his home.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that three people were killed — al-Nabulsi, Islam Sabouh and Hussein Jamal Taha — and at least 40 others were wounded.

UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland warned Monday night's meeting that a resumption of hostilities would have devastating consequences.

“The ceasefire is fragile,” he said.

Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzia said: "The council is deeply concerned by this turn of events, which could lead to the resumption of a fully fledged military confrontation and a further worsening of the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

Israel had since Friday launched a heavy aerial and artillery bombardment of Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza, leading the militants to fire more than 1,000 rockets in retaliation, according to the Israeli army.

Deal

An Egypt-brokered ceasefire reached on Sunday ended the intense fighting in which 360 people were also wounded 360 in the enclave according to Gaza's health ministry.

Both sides have reserved the right to respond if the ceasefire is violated.

Wennesland said that the UN's assessment of the violence was would continue.

Ahead of the meeting, Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, called for the council to place full accountability on Islamic Jihad, accusing the Iran-backed group of using Gazans as human shields.

Outcome

“There must be one outcome and one outcome only, to condemn the Islamic Jihad for its double war crimes while placing the full accountability ... for the murder of innocent Palestinians on the shoulder of the radical terror group,” he said at a press briefing.

“They fire rockets at Israeli civilians while using Gazans as human shields. This is a double war crime,” he said.

The United States UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield supported Israel's right to defend its people against terrorist threats.

“This council should be able to come together and unconditionally repudiate the terrorism of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose reckless actions have put the lives of civilians, on both sides, at risk,” she said.

But Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour slammed Israel's “unjustified aggression.”

“Are you ready to say enough is enough? As the highest authority responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security?” he demanded. “How many more children do we have to bury until someone says enough is enough?”

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