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.”
Israeli airstrikes pummel a wide range of targets in the Gaza Strip; an Israeli tank is seen here while heavy smoke rises from Gaza, July 22, 2014.
Palestinians inspect the damage of the Al-Shalam (Peace) tower, destroyed by an overnight Israeli strike, in Gaza City, July 22, 2014.
A relative bursts into tears while mourners try to comfort him as they gather around the bodies of seven members of the Kelani family, killed overnight by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, July 22, 2014.
A Palestinian family flees from their home in Gaza City, July 22, 2014.
Israelis try to comfort a woman overcome by emotion after a rocket was fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza, into Yahud, central Israel, July 22, 2014.
As smoke rises in the skyline from an Israeli strike, mourners holding palm tree fronds gather to bury seven members of the Kelani family killed overnight by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, July 22, 2014.
Thousands of Israelis attended the funeral of Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, at the military cemetery in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, July 21, 2014.
Palestinian Khaled Sharmi, 67, walks past the Al Aqsa Martyrs mosque, destroyed by an overnight Israeli strike, in Gaza City, July 22, 2014.
“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.