UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council called for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas at an emergency meeting just after midnight Monday morning. The council met as Muslims started celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The pressure for a cease-fire followed new attacks launched by Israel and Hamas on Sunday despite going back and forth over proposals for another temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting.
A 12-hour lull Saturday, agreed to by both sides following intense U.S. and United Nations mediation efforts, could not be sustained. The Security Council urged Israel and Hamas "to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond." It said this would allow for the delivery of urgently needed assistance. The presidential statement also called on the parties "to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire, based on the Egyptian initiative." Rwanda, the current council president, announced agreement on the statement Sunday night and called the immediate emergency meeting to approve it. The statement was drafted by Jordan, the Arab representative on the U.N.'s most powerful body.