UNSC to meet on Sunday on Israeli-Palestinian violence

The 15-member body met in the aftermath of Jerusalem violence on Monday but was unable to reach the consensus needed for a joint statement.

Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in a site of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the west of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021. (photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)
Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in a site of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the west of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021.
(photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)
The United Nations Security Council plans to hold its second closed-door meeting this week on the escalating violence in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The UN Security Council will publicly discuss the worsening violence between Israel and Palestinian militants on Sunday as well, diplomats said, reaching a compromise over US objections to a meeting on Friday.
Diplomats said the United States, a close ally of Israel, had initially suggested a virtual public meeting could be held on Tuesday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday he hoped waiting a few days would allow for “diplomacy to have some effect and to see if indeed we get a real de-escalation,” adding that Washington was “open to and supportive of a discussion, an open discussion, at the United Nations."
The 15-member body met on Monday in the aftermath of Jerusalem violence, but was unable to reach the consensus needed for a joint statement.
Officials from individual member states, including China which holds the UNSC presidency this month, issued statements calling on both Israelis and Palestinians to de-escalate the situation.
Five permanent UNSC members have veto power: the US, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom. The Trump administration gave its unqualified support to Israel, blocking any potential statements and resolutions critical of its actions.
US President Joe Biden has sworn to also support Israel at the UN. Washington delayed Security Council efforts to issue a public statement on Monday, fearing that it could be harmful to behind-the-scenes efforts to end the violence, according to diplomats and a source familiar with the US strategy.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said Washington is "actively engaged in diplomacy behind the scenes with all parties to achieve a ceasefire" and was concerned that a council statement might be counterproductive at the moment.
That statement would have expressed concern over the Jerusalem violence; called on Israel to cease Jewish settlement activities, demolitions and evictions; and urge general restraint.
This next UNSC meeting comes amid the heaviest barrage of Gaza rocket fire since the 2014 Gaza war. The IDF has launched intensive military counter strikes.
"The United Nations is working with all relevant parties to de-escalate the situation urgently," spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday. He said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is saddened by "the increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children."
"Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force. The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centers is unacceptable," Dujarric told reporters.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called on the UNSC to take serious steps to halt Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip and its attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem, including in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif.