UN urges ‘full adherence to ceasefire’ as life resumes in Gaza

The ruins of houses and buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa - Reuters)

Al-Jazeera  /  May 22, 2021

The 11-day Israeli bombardment of Gaza killed at least 248 people, including 66 children, with more than 1,900 people wounded.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called for “full adherence to the ceasefire” between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in its first statement since violence erupted on May 10.

Saturday’s statement, approved by all 15 UNSC members, said it “mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence” and “stressed the immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza”.

The 11-day Israeli bombardment of Gaza killed at least 248 people, including 66 children, with more than 1,900 people wounded.

At least 12 people in Israel were killed by rocket fire from Gaza.

The statement further said it was urgent to restore calm and “reiterated the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders”.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, had earlier blocked four proposed council statements calling for a ceasefire that all other members supported, saying it could interfere with President Joe Biden’s administration efforts to end Israel’s military campaign.

On Saturday, Qatar promised to work with other Arab nations and Muslim countries to help stop Israel’s attacks on Palestinians while Mauritania’s parliament urged the International Criminal Court in resolution to prosecute Israeli officials for “genocide” for its military campaign in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza took to the streets to hail the ceasefire, continuing the trend from Friday when the fighting stopped.

Hundreds of Hamas fighters wearing military camouflage paraded past the mourning tent for Bassem Issa, a senior commander killed in the fighting.

The top Hamas leader in Gaza, Yehiyeh Sinwar, paid his respects in his first public appearance since the fighting began earlier this month.

Israel bombed the house of Sinwar, along with that of other senior Hamas figures, as part of its attack on what it said was the group’s military infrastructure.

Protests worldwide

Pro-Palestine solidarity marches were held on Saturday in a continuation of weeklong protests, with demonstrators demanding their respective governments impose sanctions and a military embargo to cut the supply of weapons to Israel.

Protests were held in Berlin, Melbourne, London and Paris, while more of them were scheduled for the weekend in other big cities, including New York.

“I am so proud that we have come together for something this important,” Amal Nagvi, who participated in the London rally, told Al-Jazeera.

“A lot of people think this doesn’t do anything … they think we are just marching and screaming. But things have changed, and we’re just not going to stop until that change actually comes into a place and we have a free Palestine.”

Thousands also rallied in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, calling for coexistence between Jews and Arabs.

The demonstration was one of several held across Israel to call for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Demonstrators marched through the city and later gathered in the central Habima Square to hear from politicians and artists.

“This is one of the rare instances where you will see Israelis speaking out against the occupation,” said Al-Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Tel Aviv.

The rally was organized mainly by left-wing groups and Palestinian-Israeli parties, with demonstrators holding a sign saying “Peace Now”, she said.

SOURCE: AL-JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES