Gaza remains critically low on food and medical supplies by Israel's 11-day bombardment campaign.

A Palestinian man lights a fire amid the rubble of his house which was destroyed by Israeli air strikes, in Gaza, May 23, 2021.
A Palestinian man lights a fire amid the rubble of his house which was destroyed by Israeli air strikes, in Gaza, May 23, 2021. (Reuters)

A ceasefire between Hamas and Israel is holding for a fourth day in Gaza as mediators speak to both sides about extending the period of calm.  

The UN also urged both sides to maintain the ceasefire in the enclave and avoid provocations.

“The ceasefire must be solidified with all avoiding provocation. Those violating international humanitarian law must be held accountable.

There must be a political horizon with the root causes of continued conflict being addressed,” the Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lynn Hastings, said during a joint news conference in Gaza with the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini.

“I reiterate the Secretary-General’s call for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to revitalise serious dialogue to achieve a just and lasting solution for all,” Hastings said.

She noted that the latest escalation worsened the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza caused by the 14-year Israeli blockade and called for the lifting of the siege to allow it to “be reconnected to the rest of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.”

READ MORE: Gaza rising from the ashes: The cycle of construction and destruction

For his part, Lazzarini expressed his deep frustration at the “senseless episode of extreme violence that killed civilians, destroyed infrastructure and threw Gaza back several years.”

Calling on the international community to fund UNRWA’s efforts to address urgent humanitarian needs for Palestinians, Lazzarini said his main mission after leaving Gaza will be “to ensure that stability remains in the lives of Palestine refugees in Gaza through a strong UNRWA.”

READ MORE: Hamas holds parade in Gaza as UNSC urges adherence to ceasefire

He also promised to urge the international community to address “the root causes of the conflict, the occupation, the displacement, of which we had a strong reminder in East Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah, the blockade and the cycle of violence – this sense of normality will only be a mirage until the next conflict.”

Tension escalated across the Palestinian territories last month over an Israeli court verdict to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem in favour of settlement groups.

The situation flared up after Israeli forces raided the Al Aqsa Mosque and assaulted worshippers inside.

The tension spread to the Gaza, with Israel launching airstrikes that killed at least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, and injured more than 1,900 others. 

Health authorities in the West Bank have separately confirmed 31 killed in that region, totaling 279 across all Palestinian territories.

Twelve Israelis were also killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza. The fighting, the fiercest in years, came to a halt on Friday under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.

READ MORE: Rallies across world express solidarity with Palestine

UN Security Council urges aid for Palestine

The UN Security Council is welcoming the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers and calls for full adherence to the cessation of hostilities.

Saturday's statement was approved by all 15 members of the council. It said the council “mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence” and “stressed the immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza.”

The statement further said it was urgent to restore calm and “reiterated the importance of 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.”

Council members backed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for the international community to work with the United Nations in developing a “robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery.”

Israel’s actions in Palestine looking increasingly like apartheid: Le Monde

The French newspaper Le Monde said Sunday that the expression "apartheid" becomes more appropriate every day for the system that Israel has implemented in Palestine.

In an editorial titled "Israel-Palestine: The Changing Paradigm," the newspaper said that if another war in Gaza is to be prevented, a new approach providing equal rights for both Palestinians and Israelis is required.

Focusing on the question of what will happen now after the cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, it pointed out that both sides had made great decisions after the events of 2009, 2012 and 2014, but because there was a real lack of determination by both parties, the attempts were inconclusive and led to new tensions.

The article also called for the urgent lifting of the embargos imposed by Egypt and Israel on the two million people of Gaza.

It emphasised that Gaza is part of Palestine and that tensions would not decrease until a comprehensive solution is reached.

It added that the expression “de facto apartheid” recently chosen by two major human rights organisations, Israel’s B'Tselem and US-based Human Rights Watch, to describe the system of domination of the Palestinians established by Israel unfortunately seems increasingly more appropriate in characterising the situation.

READ MORE: UN calls for 'political process' after Israeli bombing ravages Gaza

Jordan's King Abdullah says important to turn Gaza ceasefire into extended truce

Jordan's King Abdullah stressed on Sunday the importance of the Gaza ceasefire being translated into an extended truce, state news agency Petra reported.

King Abdullah said Jordan "puts all its diplomatic relations and capabilities at the service of the Palestinian cause," Petra reported.

The king also said "there is no alternative to a two-state solution to achieve just and comprehensive peace", Petra added. 

Qatar ruler, Hamas chief discuss reconstruction of Gaza

Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Sunday met with Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Palestinian group Hamas, in Doha, an official statement said.

The two sides discussed the recent developments in Palestine and ongoing efforts for the reconstruction of the blockaded Gaza Strip, a statement by Qatar's Amiri Diwan said.

Haniyeh thanked Al Thani for Qatar's diplomatic efforts to stop Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people and establish a cease-fire in Gaza.

Al Thani, for his part, reiterated Qatar’s support to the brotherly Palestinian people and their just cause.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies