UNITED NATIONS, November 29. /TASS/. The situation in the Gaza Strip is the result of the international community's failure to protect Palestine, the country’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said at a meeting of the UN Security Council.
"We need international protection and action at the international level to put an end to impunity and prevent the recurrence of these crimes that are taking place daily and in broad daylight," he said. "What our people are experiencing now is the result of the failure of the international community to provide such protection," the top diplomat pointed out. The Palestinian foreign minister called for an end to the carnage in Gaza, adding that the death toll from Israeli attacks has exceeded 15,000.
"Regional escalation cannot be avoided without an end to Israel's attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza," he pointed out. "We are at a historic crossroads," al-Maliki stressed, adding that the Palestinians face "an existential threat."
Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 when Hamas militants staged a surprise attack on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, killing residents of Israeli border settlements and taking over 200 hostages, including women, children and the elderly. Hamas described its attack as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. In response, Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, and has been delivering air strikes on Gaza as well as some parts of Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also underway in the West Bank.
On November 22, Hamas announced that it had reached, with assistance from mediators Egypt and Qatar, an agreement with Israel for a four-day humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The agreement calls for the release of 50 women, children and teenagers under the age of 19 held in the Hamas-controlled enclave in exchange for 150 women, children and teenagers under the age of 19 currently held in Israeli prisons. On November 27, the parties agreed to extend the ceasefire for two more days under the same conditions, that is, three Palestinian prisoners will be released daily in exchange for each Israeli hostage released.