by William M. Reilly
UNITED NATIONS, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military death- dealing incursion into Gaza in retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks dominated on Tuesday the UN Security Council's monthly meeting on the Middle East.
Representatives of both entities described their suffering following UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported on his " mission of solidarity and peace" to Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Israel with visits planned to "Jordan and Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region if necessary." It was delivered by teleconference from Ramallah in the Palestinian West Bank,
"I have had intensive and fruitful discussions with the leadership in all countries," he said of meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Nabil ElArabi.
Ban declined going into detail, hoping "at this highly sensitive moment you will not expect me to publicly reveal the details. Suffice it to say that it is my hope and belief that these talks will lead to results and an end to the fighting in the very near future."
The secretary-general, cautioning of "many obstacles and complexities," said he carried "a three-part message at every turn of my visit. First, stop the fighting. Second, start the dialogue. Third, tackle the root causes."
"A ceasefire is essential -- but without addressing the deeper issues, we will never solve the problem, we will merely delay it for yet another time," he said pointing out, "The most promising prospect of a ceasefire comes in the form of the initiative put forward by Egypt."
But, while the cease-fire plan is supported by the Palestinian 's Abbas and the League of Arab States, "unfortunately, Hamas has yet to respond positively," The secretary-general said. "I encourage all those with influence to urge constructive action."
Hamas represents Gaza.
The Palestinian's permanent observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said that "despite all of these regional and international efforts, hundreds more Palestinian civilians have been killed, thousands have been injured and tens of thousands have been displaced by the Israeli military aggression in Gaza" since Friday.
"Israeli bombardment -- including missile airstrikes, bombs and artillery shelling by air, land and sea at densely-populated civilian areas -- has also resulted in the destruction of more than 1,000 homes and damage to more than 18,000 other homes," he said.
"Fear and panic have gripped the population, leading to displacement of more than 100,000 people, who are now sheltering in UNRWA (UN Relief Works Agency) schools, already double the number of Palestinians who sought refuge in the agency's schools in the Israeli war on Gaza of 2008-2009," Mansour said.
The permanent observer said more than 600 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3,500 injured and listed the names of more than 40 children between the ages of 8-months and 17-years who have been killed in the latest round of violence.
"We are haunted by the images of babies, boys, girls, women and men murdered by the Israeli occupying forces in their homes, in the streets and in refugee camps; by the images of the thousands of wounded people, their lives forever marred; by the sight of thousands of Palestinian families again dispossessed and fleeing for safety from the Israeli assaults" said Mansour, who called it "genocide."
However, Ambassador David Roet, the deputy permanent representative of Israel, said "The Israel Defense Forces are fighting to rid Gaza of the Hamas military infrastructure." "Trust me, when I tell you, Gaza is the very last place that we want our soldiers to be," he said. "This is not a war we chose. It was our last resort."
"Hamas has sent suicide bombers into our cafes and onto our buses ...armed terrorists through tunnels into our homes and schools," Roet said. "It has launched over 12,000 rockets towards our towns and cities in the last 10 years."
"Israel did not want this war," the ambassador said. "Three different times Israel agreed to accept a cease-fire and every single time Hamas refused and launched even more rockets. Each of these rockets sends a message loud and clear, Hamas is determined to wage war."
"It builds bunkers for its leaders, but refuses to build bomb shelters for civilians," Roet said. "It fires rockets from mosques and schools deep inside densely populated neighborhoods. And it has set up its headquarters inside a Gaza hospital where Hamas leaders can be seen walking through the hallways."
"Hamas has stepped up its attacks in the hopes of creating even more casualties," he said. "Hamas' strategy is clear -- it sees every Palestinian victim of this conflict as fuel for a propaganda machine. The purpose of this machine is to push the international community into pressuring Israel to grant Hamas' demands."
China's permanent representative, Ambassador Liu Jieyi, said, " The vicious cycle of violence for violence between Israel and Palestine must stop. China urges Israel, Palestine and other parties to respond in good faith to the appeals of the international community, cooperate with international good offices, and achieve an unconditional ceasefire immediately."
"China calls on the international community to step up its humanitarian assistance and calls for the opening of all crossings in Gaza and the provision of all facilities for humanitarian relief in order to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," he said.
"The negative effect of the conflict in Gaza has begun to spill over with serious security implications for borders between Lebanon and Israel and the borders between Syria and Israel, this has seriously threatened regional peace and security, the Security Council and the international community should take action to change such a situation," Liu said.