NEW YORK – Several representatives of Arab and Muslim states announced Thursday at the UN they would be asking the Security Council to condemn Israel’s actions in the West Bank, which they called an overreaction.
Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour was flanked by the ambassador from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Senegal and the League of Arab States as he called on the Security Council to act against Israel for the second time in the two weeks since Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah were kidnapped.
Qatar’s Sheikha Alya Bint Ahmed Bin Saif al Thani said they were “joining in solidarity with Palestine in also deploring the acts of aggression committed by Israel, the occupying power, against the Palestinian people.”
She said the aggression in the West Bank, as well as the air strikes in Gaza that had killed a child, were all grounds for the Security Council to act.
“These acts should not go without any strong reaction from the Security Council,” she said. “They are grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.” She said the representatives would be working with the representative of Jordan on the Council to “see what could be done.”
Israel ambassador Ron Prosor struck back an hour later in his address to the press.
“Rather than denouncing this appalling attack, the Arab nations have the audacity to stand before you today and criticize Israel,” he said. “Even after Palestinian [Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas condemned the kidnapping, the Palestinian representative did not have the courage and dignity to denounce and attack on three schoolboys.
“The Arab nations give the world mostly oppression and aggression,” he continued.
“Remind me of a single innovation from an Arab nation in medicine or technology.
The only innovation here at the UN is coming together to criticize Israel, harassing UN officials, and wasting this body’s time and resources.”
Prosor continued with harsh words for the unlikely pairing of Saudi Arabia and Iran coming together, (“Love is in the air” at the UN, he quipped), to accuse Israel of human rights violations, as well as for Qatar for “treating their foreign workers like slaves.”
When asked about the charges of Israel’s “overreaction” and “collective punishment,” Prosor said “Israel is submitted to terrorist activity day in and day out. This has become something that people are accustomed to... We are entitled to defend ourselves, and that’s the one thing every country is allowed to do, to defend its citizens.”
The Security Council did not release any statement on the issue.