The Palestinian Authority’s envoy to the United Nations appealed to the Security Council Tuesday to take action to stop the killing of Palestinian civilians, as the death toll in the Gaza Strip topped 600 and a cease-fire with Israel remained out of reach.
Ambassador Riyad Mansour held up photos of dead children and read out their names. Many were from the same families.
“Mustafa Nabil Mahrous Siyam, age 12; Ghayda Nabil Mahrous Siyam, age 8; Dalal Nabil Mahrous Siyam, 8 months; Mayar Nayif al-Yaziji, age 2; Anas al-Yaziji, age 5; Ibrahim Ammar, age 13," said Mansour.
He said everywhere in Gaza, people are suffering gravely and he asked what the international community is doing to stop what he called Israel’s “atrocities.”
“Without decisive action, the council’s resolutions and statements ring hollow as defenseless civilians find no relief from the murderous Israeli war machine," he said.
Israel’s deputy ambassador David Roet said members of the international community have said Israel has a right to defend itself, yet they are criticized for exercising that right. He said this is a war that Israel does not want.
“Trust me when I tell you, Gaza is the very last place that we want our soldiers to be in. The very last place," said Roet.
Jordan’s deputy envoy told the council his country would circulate a draft resolution later Tuesday aimed at stopping the violence.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been in the region since Sunday, holding meetings with the Palestinian president and Israeli prime minister, as well as with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who is also in the region trying to achieve a cease-fire. Ban also met with regional leaders in Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt, and he will travel on to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
He told the Security Council via a video link that it is his “hope and belief” that these efforts will soon lead to an end to the fighting. But he said it must go further than a cease-fire and lead to a resumption of negotiations between the two sides dealing with the root causes of the conflict.