UN Security Council Set To Meet as Israel Gaza Offensive Continues

NEW YORK (RushPRnews)01/05/09-U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to meet Monday with Security Council members as well as Arab leaders to reach a consensus on the situation in Gaza.
Mr. Ban has called for an immediate end to Israel’s ground operation and has expressed frustration that the Security Council has not been able to agree on what steps to take. The United States has objected to previous calls for a unilateral Israeli cease-fire.

Protesters hold banners and shout slogans during a rally against Israel’s air strikes in the Gaza Strip, in front of the Israel Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, 05 Jan. 2009
Protesters hold banners and shout slogans during a rally against Israel’s air strikes in the Gaza Strip, in front of the Israel Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, 05 Jan. 2009
European Union envoys are also pressing for an end to combat operations, traveling throughout the region for talks. The delegation, including foreign policy chief Javier Solana, met today with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Livni dismissed calls for negotiations to end Israel’s campaign against Hamas, saying her country could not reach an agreement with “terror.”

Protests demanding an end to Israel’s campaign have been held around the world. Aid agencies are also appealing for immediate assistance for civilians in Gaza.

Israeli ground forces are battling Hamas militants throughout the Gaza Strip, while Israeli air strikes target suspected militant positions for the 10th straight day.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Monday said the campaign will go on until communities in southern Israel are safe from Hamas rocket attacks.

Despite the offensive, Hamas has continued to fire rockets into Israel, killing four Israelis, three of them civilians.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar today urged his followers to “crush” Israeli forces and target Israeli civilians. But a Hamas official says the Islamist group plans to send a delegation to Egypt today to discuss the latest violence.

A wounded Palestinian boy is treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli missile strike, 05 Jan 2009
A wounded Palestinian boy is treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli missile strike, 05 Jan 2009
Medical officials in Gaza say nearly 530 people have died in the last 10 days, including at least 11 civilians today, at least five of them children. Israel reports one soldier has been killed in the ground offensive and 30 others wounded.

Israel has prevented foreign journalists from entering Gaza to cover the military campaign.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Sunday the Jewish state does not want to reoccupy the Gaza Strip, but only to stop Hamas’s rocket fire into Israel.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the humanitarian conditions in Gaza are too dire and that Israeli attacks must stop.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.