The UN Security Council emerged from a rare midnight emergency meeting demanding that Israel and Hamas implement "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza, reports the AP. The UN petition, which accompanied a relative lull at the start of Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, followed pleas for peace from President Obama, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, and Pope Francis over the weekend, as well as a brief truce that deteriorated after just a few hours on Saturday. Israeli jets, meanwhile, broke the lull, striking three sites in Gaza in response to a rocket attack.
Neither Israel nor Palestinian leaders seemed particularly pleased at the UN’s stance, which is non-binding. UN Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour told AP reporters that "you cannot keep 1.8 million Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip in this huge prison," calling the situation "inhumane" and a "recipe for disaster" and saying a legally binding resolution should have been passed already to put a stop to Israeli "aggression." Israel, for its part, took issue with the UN statement because it made no mention of the country’s right to defend itself or Hamas launching rockets into Israel. World leaders, including John Kerry, have been holding out hope that a series of temporary ceasefires might be the impetus the embattled region needs to work out its problems for good, reports the New York Times.