U.N. Secretary General For Middle East Today

Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East-2014-newsamericasnow
A UN Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East was held on July 18, 2014.
Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East-july 18, 2014-NewsAmericasnow
Members of the Security Council at a Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East on July 18, 2014 at UN Headquarters in NYC.

News Americas, UNITED NATIONS, NY, Sun. July 20, 2014: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to arrive in the Middle East today amid an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.

Ban Ki-moon is set to express solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians, and to help bolster regional and international efforts for a solution.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General called for an immediate end to the “indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and Israeli retaliatory action.”

He asked the parties to do their utmost to protect civilians and UN premises and staff, and to ensure that humanitarian assistance continues to reach all those in need.

Since July 8th, when hostilities intensified, two Israelis were killed, including one civilian, and at least 365 civilians were injured.

Meanwhile, some 250 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, have been killed, and more than 1,900 civilians were injured in strikes from land, air and sea.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo, and both reportedly agreed to the necessity of an immediate ceasefire and the urgency of holding a donors conference to start rebuilding the Gaza Strip, Mr. Feltman said.

Ban is currently reviewing a request by Abbas which would place Palestine under an international protection system administered by the UN.

Briefing the Security Council on the latest developments on Friday, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said the Secretary-General is “prepared to do his part” to help the parties end the violence and find a way forward.

While Israel has legitimate security concerns, the United Nations “is alarmed by Israel’s heavy response,” said Feltman. He said over a five-day period, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has so far conducted four ground incursions into Gaza and some 90 airstrikes, firing 91 missiles, as well as more than 500 shells.

Palestinians, meanwhile, have fired some 127 rockets and 29 mortar shells at Israel, during the same period.

“The Secretary-General is extremely concerned that this escalation will further increase the already appalling death toll among Gazan civilians,” Feltman said.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said today that over 47,000 displaced Gazans have taken refuge in its facilities. The overall number of displaced people inside Gaza is likely to be far higher as many people will have taken sanctuary with family and friends.