Only peace can end Israeli-Palestinian violence

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN’s top Middle East envoy warned Monday that the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants is “fragile” and that the “cycle of violence” will only stop when an independent Palestinian state coexists with Israel .

Tor Wennesland called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders and the international community to “intensify diplomatic efforts to return to meaningful negotiations towards a viable two-state solution,” during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the recent violence.

An Egypt-mediated ceasefire came into effect late on Sunday, ending the worst bout of violence since the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas last year. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and has fought four wars with Hamas since the group won elections in Gaza in 2006 and seized power from Fatah in 2007. The conflict has taken a staggering toll on the impoverished region’s 2.3 million Palestinian residents.

Israel began an offensive on Friday against Islamic Jihad fighters in the Gaza Strip, saying they faced a “specific threat” from the militant group. Nearly three days of violence killed 46 Palestinians, including 15 children and four women, while 311 others were injured and 70 Israelis were injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Winnesland condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinians into Israel’s densely populated center. He acknowledged Israel’s security concerns but stressed that any use of force “must be proportionate” and that “all feasible steps” were taken to avoid civilian casualties.

The UN envoy said the ceasefire brokered by Egypt “helps prevent a full-scale war” and warned that “any resumption of hostilities will only have devastating consequences for Palestinians and Israelis and make any political progress difficult to achieve.”

Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the Palestinian people were “powerless” and urged the Security Council to act to ensure their protection.

“As the highest authority responsible for maintaining international peace and security, it (Israel) also imposes an inhumane blockade of 2 million people (in the Gaza Strip), half of them children, until someone says enough?” he asked. “How many more children are we going to bury before someone says enough is enough?”

Mansour said the current situation was “very unsustainable” and asked the council to “do not wait until the next war or the next election” to implement and implement the Council’s resolution in favour of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council that President Joe Biden, who visited the region in July, reiterated that “the United States remains firmly committed to a two-state solution.”

She said the United States strongly urged all parties “to refrain from taking any unilateral steps that could jeopardize progress.”

“We call on all member states to join us in supporting steps that will stabilize the situation on the ground, bring economic benefits to the Palestinian people and revive a political vision that meets the needs of Israelis and Palestinians,” Thomas Greenfield said.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, told the Security Council that its military acted “to protect our civilians and to defend our country” and “with astonishing accuracy and extreme precision” “The operation was carried out to do everything possible to minimize civilian casualties.

“As a result of these extensive and documented precautions, no other military, and I reiterate, has had such a low rate of collateral damage,” Erdan told the council.

He stressed that the only reason Gaza is in this state is that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have chosen “terror and violence over coexistence and peace”.

“There is no other explanation,” Erdan said. “The only remedy for the Gazans is for their leaders to stop trying to eliminate Israel and stop investing resources in terrorist infrastructure.”

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