By: Insider on July 18, 2014 SG: USG for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, announced the SG will travel to the Middle East tomorrow concerning the deteriorating situation in the region. Ukraine: In a statement, the SG condemned the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane yesterday in Ukraine killing all 298 people aboard, including 80 children, a WHO staff member, and passengers on their way to an international AIDS conference. The SG called for an international investigation to bring those responsible to justice. In an emergency meeting of the Security Council this morning, US Ambassador Power echoed the SG’s request for an investigation and remarked that the US will continue to impose sanctions on Russia if the country does not make efforts toward de-escalation. The Council’s meeting concluded with a press statement expressing the Members’ sympathies and condolences and calling for a “full, thorough, and independent international investigation”. Middle East: Following the five-hour humanitarian pause yesterday, Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza. The SG expressed alarm at the escalating situation and called for an end to the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and Israeli retaliation. OCHA reported that 96, 400 people are in need of shelter resulting from the violence. Nelson Mandela Day: Today marks Mandela Day (commemorated on July 18 in honor of Mandela’s birthday), which celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 67 years dedicated to fighting for social justice. In a statement, the SG recognized today as a call to action for everyone to address problems in their communities and he took on the 67 minute challenge by volunteering with MillionTreesNYC to tend to a tree in Ralph Bunche Park in honor of Mandela’s legacy. Syria: Following Resolution 2165 for Syria, OCHA reported that cross-border deliveries are taking place as 10, 000 people have received food, household items, water and sanitation and nutrition supplies. Assistance is expected to last until July 20th to reach the target of 20,000 people. Iraq:UNAMI and OHCHR reported numerous human rights violations committed by ISIL and associated armed groups. The report documents that the attacks were carried out with the intention of targeting civilians and infrastructure to systematically kill large amounts of people. CAR: UN Humanitarian Chief Amos and EU Commissioner expressed concern over increasing levels of violence in the CAR as armed groups have targeted camps sheltering refugees. They called on all parties to end attacks on civilians and asked EU and UN member States to scale-up funding efforts for humanitarian operations. UN-Habitat: The GA re-elected Joan Clos of Spain as the Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme.