Security Council to Hold Urgent Meeting on Gaza
The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting late Sunday on the situation in Gaza.
According to AFP, diplomats said the meeting was requested by council member Jordan, following a call by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
As regional leaders met in Doha for urgent talks on a ceasefire, Abbas said that "what the occupation forces did today in Shejaiya is a crime against humanity," referring to an Israeli attack against Hamas terrorists that, according to PA reports, has claimed 62 Palestinian lives and wounded another 250.
"Those who committed it will not go unpunished," Abbas added.
The Council's 15 members held a meeting on Gaza Friday but failed to reach agreement on a joint declaration.
Since the conflict began on July 8, the council also held a first inconclusive meeting on July 10, before calling for a ceasefire in a unanimous declaration.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in Doha as part of a Middle East tour to push truce efforts, condemned what he called the "atrocious action" in Shejaiya and urged Israel to "exercise maximum restraint."
"Too many innocent people are dying... (and) living in constant fear," Ban told a news conference in Doha.
On Thursday, Ban urged Israel to "do far more" to spare civilians after it launched a ground offensive in Gaza.
"I regret that despite my repeated urgings, and those of many regional and world leaders together, an already dangerous conflict has now escalated even further," Ban told reporters.
"I urge Israel to do far more to stop civilian casualties. There can be no military solution to this conflict," he added.
Also last week, the UN chief urged Israel to scrap plans for a ground operation in Gaza, saying that "too many" Palestinian Arab civilians have been killed.
It should be noted that Israel tries to minimize civilian casualties when it strikes in populated areas, where Hamas hides its missiles and rockets launchers and uses Gazans as human shields.
The IDF has dropped leaflets, sent phone messages, and issued general warnings to all civilians within range of upcoming airstrikes to prevent further harm.
The IDF has also called off attacks upon realizing that there are innocent civilians in the area. Hamas, on the other hand, has openly boasted about the "success" of its strategy of using civilians as human shields during Operation Protective Edge.