Egypt to spare no effort to reach Israel-Palestine ceasefire – FM tells Security Council

Egypt will spare no effort to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestine amid the almost week-long deadly confrontation, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke online to the UN Security Council on Sunday.

Shoukry stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire in the Palestinian territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state according to the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital.

The council, chaired by China, met on Sunday in New York in an attempt to de-escalate the heaviest military confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians since 2014.

The Egyptian foreign minister said that the two-state solution is still the only viable option to end the ongoing tension.

The escalation has been deemed as Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in retaliation for hostilities by Israeli police against Palestinian protesters near Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli air strikes targeting civilian buildings in Gaza, and most importantly the Israeli eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

Shoukry affirmed that 42 years after the peace process was launched, Israel has not offered anything.

The Palestinian cause has witnessed successive setbacks throughout its history, which brought us to the current scene, the minister added, affirming that the forced displacement has become a systematic Israeli policy in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Israel’s recent practices against the Palestinians have not been only limited to forced displacement and annexation activities in the occupied territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but also reached the point of “violating the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan,”

“We have witnessed unprecedented Israeli provocations in the occupied Jerusalem, and the Israeli occupation did not observe the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, which angered millions around the world,” the minister added.

He also stressed that peace in the Middle East region cannot be achieved without a just solution to the Palestinian cause.

The Israeli-Palestinian confrontation mounted when Israel repeated on Saturday what it did last week of targeting civilian buildings in Gaza. This included a 14-story Al-Shorouk Tower in Gaza that was flatten by Israeli jets. It was a trigger behind the ignition of the situation when Tel Aviv totally destroyed a 12-storey building in the Palestinian strip, called Al-Jalaa tower, which had housed the U.S. Associated Press (AP) and Qatar-based Al Jazeera media operations as well as various news agencies.

While the Israeli military claimed that the Al-Jala building was a legitimate military target for housing Hamas military offices, the AP condemned the attack asking Israel to put forward evidence.

“We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building,” the AP said in a statement.

Moreover, the Egyptian minister also noted during his speech that Cairo has sought from the outset of current tensions through holding extensive communications to establish an immediate ceasefire and to revive serious negotiations.

Since early last week, Egypt has been politically mediating in a move aimed at reaching a ceasefire. An Egyptian delegation already met Tel Aviv and Hamas officials last week and proposed a one-year truce for both sides that is to be monitored and coordinated by Cairo. However, the Cairo proposal was rejected by Tel Aviv.