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José Javier De La Gasca, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ecuador, which holds the Presidency of the Security Council for December, called the meeting to order.
Israel has been invited to the meeting, as has the been the Observer State of Palestine.
Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs; Marwan Muasher, Vice President for studies at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan; and a representative from the Norwegian Refugee Council will brief the meeting.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a non-permanent member called for the emergency meeting, and a senior UN official from the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) is expected to brief ambassadors.
The meeting follows a resolution adopted last week by the Security Council calling for a scale-up in aid deliveries to civilians in the Gaza Strip. The resolution passed with 13 votes in favour, and the US and Russia abstaining.
Tensions in occupied West Bank
Earlier this month, Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, voiced “deep concerns” over escalating tensions in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Briefing the Security Council on 19 December, he noted “intensified armed exchanges” between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, predominantly in the context of Israeli operations, which led to exceedingly high levels of fatalities and arrests.
Mr. Wennesland also expressed alarm at lethal attacks carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and by Palestinians against Israelis in the occupied West Bank and Israel.
“All perpetrators of violence must be held accountable and swiftly brought to justice,” he stressed.
Humanitarian situation in Gaza
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in the enclave remains dire.
Earlier today, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) cited reports from Gazan health authorities that half of all the pregnant women seeking safety in shelters suffer from thirst, malnutrition and a lack of healthcare. There is a lack of vaccinations for newborns and one in every two displaced children faces dehydration, malnutrition and disease.
Some 1.9 million Gazans, or 85 per cent of the enclave’s population, have been internally displaced since the start of Israel’s retaliation following Hamas’ deadly terror attacks in southern Israel on 7 October.