UNITED NATIONS, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - Palestine asked the UN General Assembly to support its request to set up international protection for the Palestinians, the move was supported by Russia.
“We therefore reiterate the request made by President [Mahmoud] Abbas to the Secretary-General for the urgent provision of international protection for the Palestinian people,” the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN, Riyad Mansour said. “The international community must uphold its responsibilities and rise to this challenge and give true meaning to the pledge and obligation to protect civilians, which has been thrown into such grave doubt by this war on our people.”
Mansour added that Palestine began discussions with the UN at all levels and sought to “provide this desperately-needed protection until this occupation is brought to an effective end.”
“This will also be a focus of our efforts with the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention, whom we have asked the Depositary, Switzerland, to convene to consider enforcement measures,” Mansour said.
Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin expressed confidence that the UN member-states also have considerations regarding the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We expect to get constructively engaged into the discussion. Part of it is carefully studying the relevant suggestions of the UN Secretariat responding to the Palestinian leadership’s request to provide international protection to Palestine,” Churkin said.
The UN General Assembly’s session devoted to the situation in the Gaza Strip condemned both Israel and Hamas for weeks of fighting which killed at least 1,800 people and wounded hundreds.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admitted that Israel has a “legitimate security right to defend Israeli citizens from the threat of rocket attacks by Hamas.”
“At the same time, the fighting has raised serious questions about respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality in international humanitarian law,” Ban Ki-moon said.
Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor stressed that Hamas should be disarmed in order to demilitarize the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas must be disarmed. Gaza must be demilitarized. And the international community must divorce itself from the romantic notion of Hamas as 'freedom fighters,'” Prosor said.
After weeks of fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed on a ceasefire. The ceasefire, concluded with the mediation of Egypt, came into effect Tuesday morning and is meant to last for three days. During this time, both sides are supposed to hold talks in Cairo. Israel said it has completed its main mission of destroying cross-border underground tunnels in Gaza and has withdrawn its troops from the Gaza Strip.
At least 1,800 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the conflict in early July. The Israeli side has lost 67 people.