Saturday 14 December 2019

UN chief Ban Ki-moon makes Gaza mediation bid

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon will leave tomorrow for the Middle East to help mediate in the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

Under-secretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman announced the visit at a UN Security Council emergency meeting on the conflict in Gaza.

He also said a ceasefire is "indispensable" for urgently needed humanitarian efforts to succeed. He said the UN refugee agency was already stretched to its limit.

Thousands of Israeli soldiers crossed into the Palestinian territory on the 10th day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel.

Jordan asked for today's meeting after Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza.

The Palestinian UN ambassador is threatening to go to UN and international courts which would probably include the International Criminal Court if the Security Council does not act to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli attack and end the conflict in Gaza.

Riyad Mansour told an emergency meeting of the council that Israel's "savage" aggression into Gaza "cannot be justified by any means".

"It is not self-defence," he said. "It is a vengeful military aggression intentionally planned and perpetrated by the occupying power on the civilian population under its occupation."

Mr Mansour said the Israeli campaign is designed to destroy "Palestinian unity and collapse of the national consensus government".

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