AFP
Last updated: 15 November, 2012

UN Security Council calls emergency Gaza meeting

The UN Security Council held a late night emergency meeting on escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

The 15-nation council held closed talks with the Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors to the United Nations. The major powers and United Nations have all urged both sides to pull back from all-out conflict.

Egypt had urged the Security Council meeting after Israel carried out more than 20 air strikes and sea artillery attacks on Gaza, killing the military commander for Hamas, which controls the territory. Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour said at least nine people were killed on Wednesday.

Arab ambassadors said they wanted the council to condemn Israel.

The Arab group of nations want the council “to condemn that barbaric attack” and “to send a strong message to call for a cessation of hostilities,” said Sudan’s UN envoy Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, current chairman of the Arab bloc.

“We want the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and to find an immediate way to stop this aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip,” said Mansour.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that the military operation could be expanded and the country’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor said that “indiscriminate” rocket fire from Gaza had forced Israel’s hand.

Gaza “is a strategic threat against the state of Israel, missiles flying in to major cities in Israel,” Prosor told reporters.

“This is not finished yet,” added the Israeli envoy. “We have shown restraint but if this continues, Israel will do everything that it takes to defend its own citizens, like any other country would do.”