US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley charged Hamas with orchestrating Palestinian deaths in Gaza, while her Palestinian counterpart Riyad Mansour retorted that she was a racist, during a UN Security Council Meeting on Tuesday.
It was a meeting that underscored the increasing enmity between Washington and the Palestinian Authority.
Haley, the United States’ representative to the Security Council, arrived late to the meeting, as did Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
They both arrived after the other 14 Security Council members held a moment of silence for the more than 60 Palestinians who the Hamas-run health ministry reported were killed by the IDF in an attempt to quell a violent protest along its southern border with Gaza.
It was the bloodiest day since the start of the Hamas-led “Great March of Return” on March 30, which had the goal of breaking down the border barrier and entering Israel.
Haley made a brief speech, arguing that none of the 15-member body would be as restrained as Israel if their borders were threatened.
“Make no mistake: Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday,” she said, as she explained how the terror group had goaded protestors into heading into dangerous areas of the fence by falsely telling them the IDF had fled.
Hamas used “loudspeakers that urge demonstrators to burst through the fence, falsely claiming Israeli soldiers were fleeing, when in fact, they were not. The same loudspeakers are used by Hamas to urge the crowds to ‘Get closer! Get closer!’ to the security fence,” Haley said.
“I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council: Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has. In fact, the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained,” she charged.
Haley then left the room, just as Mansour, who was an invited guest to the meeting, addressed the council.
Mansour charged that her words were “racist” and “provocative.”
He compared the Gaza protests to the demonstrations in the US against gun violence.
“We reject the racist discourse that turns us into excluded victims of humanity. We have the right to demonstrate as families against the occupation and its arrogance,” Mansour said.
The right to demonstrate is accepted throughout the world, he said.
“Why are we accused in a racist, fallacious way just because we exercise the same rights as anyone else?” Mansour asked.
“Stop the massacre committed against our people. The council cannot remain silent,” he said.
He called on the council to offer international protection to the Palestinians.
Danon then responded, explaining to the council that “these were not demonstrations, these were not protests – these were violent riots. They have repeatedly attempted to sabotage and breach the fence with the explicit goal of killing Israelis.”
Danon accused Hamas of wanting “death over peace,” and condemned the terrorist organization for exploiting its own people and using them as a collective “human shield.”
“Its goal was to kill and kidnap Jews in surrounding Israeli towns,” Danon charged.
When it comes to the safety of Israelis, “too often the world is silent,” he said.
He also charged that the Palestinians had caused their own people to die in a deadly public relations game.
“What would you do if a mob charged at your border with explosives and weapons?” he asked.
At a press conference outside the Security Council chamber, Danon showed a photograph of the sole commercial crossing between Israel and Gaza, the Kerem Shalom crossing, through which food and supplies enter the Strip. But during the Gaza riots, it was burned by the rioters, he said.
The council debate, in which most of the members spoke out against Israel’s disproportionate use of force, ended without any vote or formal condemnation.
The United States, which is one of five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power, had blocked any attempt to issue a statement with respect to Gaza or to demand a UN investigation into the deaths.
The UN Human Rights Council plans to hold an emergency session on the Gaza deaths on Friday. The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into IDF actions on the border.