U.N. Security Council calls for ‘full adherence’ to Gaza cease-fire, immediate humanitarian aid

The U.N. Security Council on Saturday called for a “full adherence” to the cease-fire in Gaza and urged immediate humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians in its first statement on the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.

The cease-fire, which took affect at 2 a.m. Friday local time, has held so far despite clashes in Jerusalem outside Al Aqsa mosque between Israeli police and Palestinians just hours after the truce officially began.

Al Aqsa mosque is one of the most sacred places in Islam and sits in a site known in Judaism as the Temple Mount, the religion’s holiest site. Clashes at the complex were one of the factors that sparked the war.

The security council urged a “restoration of calm in full” and emphasized “achieving a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders.”

The U.S. had previously blocked the U.N’s most powerful body from calling for an end to the conflict, arguing that doing so would hinder diplomatic efforts by the Biden administration to help achieve a cease-fire.

Israel hit Gaza with scores of airstrikes and Hamas militants fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel. Palestinian medical officials said at least 248 people were killed in Gaza, including 66 children and 39 women. At least 12 people were killed in Israel, all civilians except one soldier.

The security council “mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence” and expressed support the U.N. Secretary General’s call to develop an “integrated, robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery.”

More than 77,000 Palestinians have been displaced and reconstruction costs in Gaza could amount to tens of millions of dollars, according to Palestinian officials, with damage to infrastructure affecting water, sanitation and hygiene services.

The U.N. said Friday that it released $22.5 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza . A day earlier, President Joe Biden promised the U.S. would work with the U.N. to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinians and help rebuild Gaza.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to Israel and the West Bank next week to build on the cease-fire, according to Reuters. Egyptian mediators are also continuing talks with Hamas and Israel to secure longer-term calm after the truce

— Reuters contributed reporting

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