UN Security Council meets on Gaza crisis
( dpa )- The UN Security Council held an unscheduled meeting Monday to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip, where much needed electrical power and fuel were cut off by Israel in what was feared as a blockade of the Hamas -held territory.
The meeting was convened at the request of the League of Arab States, now headed by Saudi Arabia, which said the 15-nation council should discuss the "Israeli aggression in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."
It was not certain what action the council could take in the face of the worsening crisis between Israel and Gaza, diplomats said. But the council was called into action soon after it had received the request from Saudi Arabia.
The Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour , told reporters the Arab bloc asked the council to call on Israel to restore electricity and delivery of fuel and goods to the estimated 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.
He said cutting off the power and fuel amounted to a "collective punishment, which is a declaration of war against the Palestinian people."
He said without electricity, hospitals and the patients as well as the population will severely suffer.
Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Monday authorized a one- time shipment of fuel to Gaza's power plant, but said Israel will continue to apply "pressure" on the Gaza Strip to end rocket attacks.
Israel largely closed its borders with Gaza after the radical Islamic Hamas movement captured an Israeli soldier, who is still being held captive, in a cross-border raid 18 months ago, and further tightened its blockade of the Strip in June, when Hamas seized sole control of the area from security forces loyal to Abbas .
But on Friday, Israel closed also its Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom crossings, which had thus far remained open, to shipments of basic necessities, including key food products, drugs and fuel.