Palestinians and Egyptians failed late Wednesday night to sway the UN
Security Council to condemn Israel’s military strike against Gaza.
their request, the council held an emergency late-night private meeting
in which they were briefed by the council’s undersecretary for
political affairs Jeffrey Feltman.
They also heard from the Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors.
council did not issue any formal statement. But the council head,
Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri told the press, “The violence must
Puri added that he hoped the meeting would “deescalate the
situation and impress upon the parties the need to exercise maximum
restraint so the situation won’t deteriorate.”
Puri told the press that he was speaking as India's ambassador and not president of the council.
The US, which is
one of the council’s 15 members, and one of five countries that hold
veto power, has condemned Hamas violence and said that Israel has a
right to defend itself.
“There is no justification for the
violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing
against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these
cowardly acts immediately,” American Ambassador Susan Rice said.
She added that in the last 12 years, Palestinians in Gaza have launched 12,000 rockets at Israel.
Rice said that her country regretted the harm done to innocent Israelis and Palestinians.
the meeting, PLO Ambassador Riyad H. Mansour stood with ambassadors
from other Arab countries who had not been able to attend the meeting.
He said he had wanted an open meeting that the press could cover and hoped the council would hold such a gathering.
all those at Wednesday night’s council meeting wanted “this onslaught
and aggression against our people to be stopped,” Mansour said.
He warned that Palestinians would continue to push the council to condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza.
Mansour clarified that the Palestinian were “against the killing of innocent civilians regardless from which side.”
charged that the Israel’s military operation was connected to the
upcoming Palestinian bid at the UN General Assembly to upgrade its
status to that of non-member state.
“Part of the timing of the
attack is trying to divert attention away from our energies in
mobilizing the entire international community to support our effort for
succeeding in the exercise on November 29 of legislating through the
General Assembly the recognition of the state and bestowing observer
status,” he said.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor in
turn reminded the press that the latest escalation of violence between
Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza began Saturday when a
Palestinian-launched rocket hit an IDF jeep along the border.
Hamas is a recognized terror group and the international community recognizes Israel’s southern border, Prosor said.
left Gaza in 2005, Prosor said, adding that it could have been an oasis
and instead it was turned into a launching pad for terror.
said that when the Palestinians talk about a UN upgrade to that of
non-member state, they should say it would be a “non-member terror
state” because that is what would happen if Hamas is involved.
we speak, the citizens of Israel are in shelters. Children are not
going to school and people will not be going to work. Israel will do
everything it can to protect its citizens,” he said.
“Anyone who wants to live in peace should condemn the rocket attacks,” Prosor said.