Special report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts
Palestinians inspect their houses
destroyed by Israeli strikes in Gaza City on Jan. 13, 2009. Israeli
soldiers fought heavy battles with local militants in Gaza early Tuesday.
Medics said Monday that over 900 people have been killed and more than
4,100 others wounded since Israeli military operation on Dec. 27, 2008.
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security
Council Tuesday voiced its support to the Middle East tour by the UN chief and
the regional initiatives, proposed by Egypt and other Middle East countries, in
their joint efforts to bring both Israel and Hamas into full implementation of a
new Security Council resolution, which went unheeded by the two warring sides.
The president of the Security Council for January,
French UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, told reporters at the end of the
closed council meeting, at which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the
15-member Security Council on his upcoming visit to the Middle East.
The Security Council supports the peace initiatives
by Egypt and other countries in the region to strive for an early end to the
ongoing conflict in Gaza, which has left more 900 Palestinians killed and more
than 4,000 others injured, he said.
Egypt is making great efforts to bring both Israelis
and Palestinians into talks aimed at an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal
of Israeli troops from Gaza, reports said.
Meanwhile, the Security Council also supported a
visit to the Middle East by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he said.
"Everybody supported the role the secretary general
can play ...in getting an immediate ceasefire and for implementation of
(Security Council) Resolution 1860," Ripert told reporters.
"We think the timing (of Ban's visit) is right. There
are very important initiatives on the ground that could help," he added,
referring to Egypt's efforts to mediate a ceasefire deal between Israel and
Hamas, which ignored the new truce resolution, which calls for an immediate,
durable and fully respected ceasefire in Gaza.
The new resolution reflects the unanimous will of the
Security Council members and it should be fully observed, he said.
However, "nobody expects the resolution can be
implemented in two hours," he said. "We are still thinking that ceasefire is
Earlier Tuesday, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian
permanent observer to the United Nations, told reporters here that the Security
Council has the responsibility to bring Israel into full implementation of the
new truce resolution, which is legally binding.
The secretary-general kicks off his Middle East tour
on Tuesday to press for the implementation of the resolution. He is scheduled to
visit Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait to
strengthen the joint diplomatic efforts to strive for an early end to the
At his first press conference for this year on
Monday, Ban said, "My goal is to step up the pace of our joint diplomatic
efforts and ensure that urgent humanitarian assistance reaches those in need."
At each stop of his week-long Middle East tour, "I
will repeat my call for an immediate and durable cease and insist that Security
Council Resolution 1860 be respected fully," Ban said. "To repeat, this means an
immediate end to military operation in Gaza -- an end to Israel's offensive and
a halt to the rocket attacks by Hamas."
Israeli troops battle in SW Gaza City
as death toll rise to 930
GAZA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Israeli troops tried to push
deeper into Gaza City on Tuesday, with the army focused on the south-western
Gaza City neighborhood of Tel Al-Hawwah overnight Monday, according to
Palestinian Ma'an News Agency.
Ma'an said that most of the fatalities since Tuesday
morning are from clashes in the Zayton and Tel Al-Hawwah neighborhoods. Full story
Israeli DM says to continue Gaza
operation with diplomatic efforts
JERUSALEM, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister
Ehud Barak Tuesday said that his country would continue its offensive in the
Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip along with diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire, local
daily The Jerusalem Post reported.
"The operation is continuing on the 18th day, with the aim
of restoring quiet for southerners and curbing weapons smuggling. We are working
on both those goals with an eye on diplomatic initiatives," the report quoted
him as saying during a tour of an air force base. Full story
UN: Gaza conflict has "devastating"
effects on children
GENEVA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations body
monitoring a key global treaty on the rights of children voiced its deep concern
on Tuesday at the "devastating effects" that the current conflict in Gaza is
having on children.
"Hundreds of children have been
killed or injured, many seriously. Many others have lost their loved ones," said
the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is currently in session in
Geneva. Full story
Iran denounces Israeli use of chemical
weapons in Gaza
TEHRAN, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Ministry of Defense and
Armed Forces Logistics on Tuesday denounced the Israeli use of chemical weapons
in Gaza, the official IRNA news agency reported.
According to the statement released by Iran's Defense
Ministry, Iran denounces the "Zionist regime for firing white phosphorus into
Gaza." Full story
Israel intensifies military offensive
in populated areas of Gaza
GAZA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli army intensified on
Tuesday its air and ground military offensive on the Gaza Strip for 18th
successive day, where its ground forces carried out short and quick incursions
into populated areas.
Palestinian witnesses and local radio stations said that
the Israeli army on Tuesday had intensified its ground, air and sea strikes on
houses and empty areas around Gaza city and in northern Gaza Strip. Full story