Denmark’s foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, is calling for an independent corps of international observers in the Gaza Strip.
Lidegaard says that a team of international observers could help ensure that ceasefires between Israel and Hamas are honoured and determine who fired the first shot if and when the ceasefires are broken.
“I think it is an unfortunate situation that every time a ceasefire is negotiated it is broken before it begins. Therefore it is my recommendation that we establish an independent observer corps as quickly as possible so that they can go in and see who is violating [the ceasefires]. That way we can hopefully have a ceasefire that lasts,” he told TV2 News.
Lidegaard said Denmark is ready to contribute to the observer team “economically, politically and eventually also with personnel.”
Lidegaard joined a chorus of international voices that condemned Israel’s bombing of a United Nations school in Gaza on Sunday, which killed ten people.
“The bombing of the school contributes to the completely unacceptable number of civilian losses in Gaza. I also naturally condemn Hamas’s attacks on Israel,” he told Berlingske Nyhedsbureau.
Fordømmer ny skolebombning, civile tab og Hamas angreb. Brug f våbenhvile overvåges af int. uafh. observ, så den holder. DK klar t bidrag
— Martin Lidegaard (@martinlidegaard) August 3, 2014
Lidegaard on Twitter: "I condemn the new school bombing, civilian losses and Hamas's attacks. We need ceasefires overseen by international independent observers so they last. Denmark ready to contribute.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called the UN school attack “a moral outrage and a criminal act”.
The United States also spoke out against the attack in a strongly-worded statement.
"The United States is appalled by today's disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed," a statement from State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki read.
Lidegaard said that the most natural solution for an observer corps would be to go through the United Nations.
“That way you have the entire global community’s backing to go in and support it. And also because when this nightmare is hopefully soon over, there will need to be a rebuilding of Gaza. That’s something Denmark is also prepared to support,” he told TV2 News.
The 118 deaths reported by Palestinian officials on Sunday brings the total number of Palestinians killed to more than 1,800 since the military offensive began on July 8th. The death toll on the Israeli side was at 65 as of Sunday.