UN Security Council officially calls for unconditional cease-fire in Gaza

Statement emphasizes that civilian, humanitarian facilities must be respected until after Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan.

A United Nations Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A United Nations Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The UN Security Council made a statement Monday morning urging Israel and Hamas to implement an unconditional humanitarian truce beyond the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr and engage in efforts to achieve a durable cease-fire.
The statement comes after the security council previously agreed on the statement the night before and was adopted on Sunday, according to a report by Israel Radio.
The statement expresses strong support for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance" in Gaza, where Israel's military offensive has entered its 21st day.
All 15 council members had agreed on the statement, diplomats said, and it would be formally adopted at a midnight meeting on Sunday.
The Security Council statement, drafted by Jordan, "urged all parties to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond" and "calls on parties to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire, based on the Egyptian initiative."
The council commended the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who spent last week in the Middle East trying to help broker an end to the fighting.
Some 1,031 Palestinians, mainly civilians and many of them children, have been killed in the 20-day conflict. Israel says 43 of its soldiers have died, along with three civilians killed by rocket and mortar fire out of the Mediterranean enclave.
The Security Council expressed "grave concern regarding the deterioration in the situation as a result of the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties" and "reiterates the need to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and their protection."
It "emphasizes that civilian and humanitarian facilities, including those of the UN, must be respected and protected."