UN Security Council meets on Palestine-Israel tensions

The UN Security Council on Sunday held emergency consultations behind closed doors following massive attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants in occupied Gaza. The council did not come up with any documents after the consultations.

Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s ambassador to the United Nations, said before the consultations that Israel’s impunity and international inaction are to blame for the current situation.

“Regrettably, history, for some media and politicians, starts when Israelis are killed,” he said in a statement. “This is not a time to let Israel double down on its terrible choices. This is a time to tell Israel it needs to change course, that there is a path to peace where neither Palestinians nor Israelis are killed.”

“Israel keeps saying: the blockade and repeated assaults on Gaza are to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities and ensure security. Clearly and expectedly, its blockade and assaults accomplished neither,” he said.

“The only thing they did accomplish was inflicting terrible suffering on an entire civilian population. It is time for an immediate end to the violence and the bloodshed, and it is time to end this blockade and to open a political horizon,” he added.

Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian group ruling the Gaza Strip, launched a massive surprise attack on Israel on Saturday. In response, the Israeli military conducted tens of airstrikes targeting Hamas sites and headquarters in the coastal enclave. The new round of conflict has led to hundreds of people killed on both sides, with thousands injured.

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, called for restraint to avoid further escalation.

During the consultations, Zhang said China is gravely concerned about the clashes between Israel and armed groups in Gaza, and is saddened by the numerous civilian casualties. China is also worried about the prospects of further escalation, according to the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

Zhang called on all parties to exercise maximum restraint in order to avoid further escalation and to agree on a cease-fire. He called for efforts to push for the two-state solution with a sense of urgency.

(Cover: Headquarters of the United Nations, New York, United States. /CFP)

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