On Monday, August 8, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held an emergency meeting on the situation in Gaza amid uncertainty around the fate of the truce reached the previous day after three days of Israeli aggression.
Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland reported during the meeting that in three days, Israel had carried out 147 airstrikes which killed 46 Palestinians, including 16 children, and injured 360 more. In retaliation, Palestinian groups fired over 1,100 rockets, in which a total of 70 Israelis were lightly injured.
Wennesland also noted that increased border controls imposed by Israel before the actual bombings started caused a severe fuel shortage in Gaza, leading to power cuts of up to 20 hours a day in the densely populated territory.
The Israeli blockade also caused a massive shortage of medical supplies inside Gaza, hampering the treatment of people wounded in the Israeli bombings.
Wennesland claimed that the truce achieved through mediation by Egypt, the UN and Qatar on Sunday is “fragile” at best, and the cycle of violence will only stop with a political resolution to end the occupation and reach a two-state solution.
Speaking during the discussion, Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour condemned Israeli impunity that allows it to kill Palestinian children. He underlined the need for the UNSC, the “highest authority responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security,” to intervene to end the Israeli occupation.
The call for direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis was supported by Russia and India. Russia blamed the US for delaying the resolution of the conflict and asked for an initiative for talks under the Middle East Quartet.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed on Monday that the ceasefire was based on the condition that Israel would release two of its members, Khalil Awawda and Sheikh Basem al-Saadi, failing which, “there would be no ceasefire agreement,” Al-Jazeera reported.
However, as per reports in Israeli media, the Israeli government has denied any such agreement to release the prisoners.
Awawda has been on an indefinite hunger strike inside an Israeli prison for over 150 days. Basem al-Saadi was arrested last week from the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
The Egyptian delegation, which played a crucial role in achieving the truce, has supported the claims made by PIJ. As per reports in Al-Jazeera, the delegation was in Tel Aviv on Monday “working towards the release.”
Killing of Palestinians continues
Meanwhile, Israeli forces have continued their aggression inside the occupied West Bank. On Tuesday, at least three Palestinians were killed and over 40 were wounded in an Israeli forces attack in Nablus city. As per Wafa news agency, Israeli forces surrounded a building and fired rockets at it, killing or injuring those inside.
The dead were identified as Ibrahim Nabulsi, Islam Sabbouh and Hussein Jamal Taha.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the killings on Tuesday and called the continued Israeli aggression in Gaza, Nablus, Jenin and other places in the occupied territories an “ethnic cleansing process.” Recalling the UNSC’s active response to the Ukrainian crisis, Shtayyeh called on the body to end the “double standards in dealing with international laws” and intervene to end Israeli impunity.
Israel has been carrying out regular raids inside Palestinian localities in the occupied West Bank, killing scores of Palestinians and arresting hundreds more. As per a Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) report on Monday, Israeli forces have already killed 30 and arrested 400 Palestinians in Jenin alone since the beginning of the year.