UN calls for ceasefire, Gaza violence leaves 168 dead

The UN Security Council has haplessly called for ceasefire and peace talks as violence in Gaza entered a new phase with Israeli Special Forces raiding the Palestinian territory with a vengeance.

In a statement, the 15-member body expressed serious concern regarding the crisis and the protection and welfare of civilians on both sides.

“The Security Council members called for de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire.”

Nearly two years back, Egypt brokered an agreement that ended eight days of violence in Gaza and Israel.

Despite global calls for de-escalation, the violence continues unabated.

Israel has alleged that Palestinian militants fired around 90 rockets from the Gaza Strip into its territory on July 12 alone. While Israel’s air-campaign has killed over 168 Palestinians, among them at least 35 children and 26 women.

Israel has been heavily criticised for targeting civilian populations in offensive against Hamas. According the UN estimates 77% of the people killed in Gaza have been civilians.

The UN Security Council, which finally met on July 12, after four days of relentless bombing of the Palestinian region, has unanimously appealed for a ceasefire and called for peace talks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is also reported to have called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has expressed the need to prevent an escalation of the crisis.

However, an increasingly aggressive Netanyahu has vowed to target the growing force of Hamas in the region until “quiet is restored”. He warned, “We do not know when this operation will end.”