United Nations Demands Gaza Strip Cease-Fire, Airstrike Hits Hospital Compound Anyway
Rockets and shelling slowly subsided in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night, though tensions between the Israeli and Hamas governments remain as international groups began putting pressure on the region. Shortly after midnight on Monday, the United Nations called for an immediate Gaza Strip cease-fire, in hopes of ending the conflict that has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers. The U.N. Security Council called the cease-fire "immediate and unconditional humanitarian." On Monday morning, Palestinian officials said an airstrike hit the main hospital compound in Gaza.
According to The Washington Post, the security council asked for the cease-fire to be accepted and "fully implemented" during the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday "and beyond." The U.N. added that both Hamas and the Israeli government should "engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected ceasefire, based on the Egyptian initiative."
However, it's unclear if this cease-fire will be respected, and for how long. The Israeli Defense Forces claimed via Twitter that a rocket hit the city of Ashkelon in southern Israeli Monday morning. The IDF said it responded by firing a missile toward Beit Lahia, where the rocket was reportedly launched. Reuters reported that the Israeli military hit two rocket launchers and a weapon manufacturing site, killing a 7-year-old boy in the attacks.
An IDF military spokesperson told Israel Radio that the military will only attack if it has been assaulted first. "The situation now is an unlimited truce," Brigadier General Motti Almoz said, as quoted by Reuters. "The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) is free to attack after any fire if there is any."
The three-week conflict has had a devastating impact on the Gaza Strip. According to the BBC, more than 1,030 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed. A large majority of the Palestinians were civilians.
Last week, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to open an inquiry into possible humanitarian violations in the Gaza Strip, particularly East Jerusalem. According to the U.N., the United States was the sole nation that voted against the investigation, saying that it condemned Israel's "failure" to end Palestine occupation in the area.
The Human Rights Council described Israel's military initiatives as "widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms." The council added that Israel needed to reopen the occupied area so international humanitarian efforts could be made.
"The Council further condemned all violence against civilians wherever it occurred, including the killing of two Israeli civilians as a result of rocket fire," the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.