US AMBASSADOR to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting in September..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There is no equivalence between the terror group Hamas and the legitimate State of Israel, US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on Monday during its monthly debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
She spoke out in response to a call on “all parties to exercise maximum restraint” made by UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov during his briefing to the council in New York through the help of a video hookup from Israel.
“Fact: There is only one side
that attacks indiscriminately [Hamas]. One side that targets civilians. One side that terrorizes to achieve its objectives,” Haley said.
Both she and Mladenov referenced the violent flare up between Hamas in Gaza and Israel that almost led to war last week.
She described how Palestinian groups in Gaza had indiscriminately launched over 400 rockets and mortars at Israel, sending families into bomb shelters.
“Even if you accept Hamas’s excuse that it launched its missiles in response to an Israeli covert operation, you cannot escape the fact that the Gaza terrorists targeted civilians in response. Their actions were not actions of a nation exercising self-defense, but of a terrorist group seizing a pretext to kill civilians,” Haley said.
She added that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operating with Hamas in Gaza was an Iranian proxy.
“The PIJ is yet another terrorist proxy that Iran calls on to stoke violence and instability in the region,” Haley charged.
By not correctly framing the narrative and failing to include Iran in his report, Mladenov’s statement missed its mark, Haley said.
She said that she did agree with Mladenov on one thing: “Both sides must work to resolve the conflict in the Middle East. Neither side can get everything it wants. Both sides must compromise. And compromise can only begin with a clear, honest and complete appraisal of the facts on the ground.”
In his briefing, Mladenov explained how his team and the Egyptians have worked to restore the 2014 ceasefire understanding between Israel and Hamas that had fallen apart in the last seven months.
As part of those endeavors, the UN is “intensifying efforts to alleviate Gaza’s deepening humanitarian and economic crisis,” he said.
“Two million Palestinians in Gaza cannot be held hostage to political grandstanding and brinkmanship. Their lives matter and they deserve real leadership that addresses the real problems of Gaza,” Mladenov said.
Conditions must be created on the ground to allow for intra-Palestinian reconciliation: its “clock is ticking,” Mladenov said, referencing the bitter 11-year division between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas, which rules Gaza.
“I urge all Palestinian parties to not waste time and engage in earnest and achieve visible progress in the coming six months. This is in the interest of the Palestinian people; it is in the interests of peace,” Mladenov said.
Moving forward, Hamas must stop launching rockets and Israel must ease restrictions on goods and pedestrian movement at its two crossings with Gaza, the UN envoy said.
“Israel must also recognize that Gaza is about to explode – and to prevent such an explosion, people must also see a normalization of their lives, for which the closures need to be relaxed and ultimately lifted,” Mladenov said.
He described the erosion of the foundations on which any final status agreement for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be built.
“We must continue to consistently push back against the entrenchment of the military occupation and the erosion of the international consensus on the final status issues,” Mladenov said.
“Together, we must work with determination and with vigilance to establish an environment conducive to the return to negotiations that will end the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, in line with the 2016 Middle East Quartet report recommendations and relevant United Nations resolutions,” he urged.
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