UN set to hold first open meeting on Gaza hostilities

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

The UN Security Council is set to convene shortly for an emergency session on the ongoing escalation in Israel and Gaza.

This will be third session in a week, but the first one that will be open to the press.

In the previous two meetings, 14 of the 15 member states sought to pass a joint resolution criticizing both sides for the violence and calling for a ceasefire, but the US blocked the effort, saying the timing wasn’t right for such a step, that it would not contribute to deescalating the situation and that it wanted more time for its own diplomatic efforts to play out, according to several diplomats involved.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr arrived in Tel Aviv on Friday and has been holding meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials aimed at reaching a ceasefire.

The US sought to have today’s meeting pushed to Tuesday, but came under immense pressure from other member states to hold it earlier.

There is not expected to be another push for a joint statement at today’s session, two diplomats involved say, though the Norwegian mission may once again decide to go on that path if they notice support for it during the meeting.

All parties at the session are expected to call for an immediate ceasefire, though the US will likely take a more moderate approach and be less critical of Israeli operations in Gaza that have left at least 188 Palestinians dead, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there. Dozens of the victims have been minors.

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