NEW YORK – Amid heightening tensions between Washington and Jerusalem on Monday as the United Nations Security Council issued an uncommon consensus statement of "dismay" and "concern" over Israeli settlement activity, Israel's ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan criticized the members of the Council. The ambassador also told the stories of the 11 Israelis murdered in the recent terror attacks, including two young brothers, aged six and eight, who were murdered in a car-ramming attack in Jerusalem.
Midway through his heated remarks to the Council, Erdan held up a photo of brothers Yaakov Yisrael, six, and Asher Menahem Paley, eight, who were killed by a terrorist earlier this month. The ambassador went on to dedicate a moment of silence to their memory and the memory of the nine other victims of terror.
"These two beautiful children were murdered just for being Jews," Erdan said. "Today’s meeting should have been convened to condemn the price paid by innocent Israelis for the Palestinian Authority’s incitement and hate. I will not let the victims be forgotten. I will now rise for a minute of silence in their memory and the memory of all the other victims of Palestinian terror. I pray for their memory and I pray that you think of them in the future when discussing the true obstacles to peace in our region."
The UNSC's joint statement, a two-page document issued in New York, condemned a series of recent Israeli settlement expansion announcements. It came after the US managed to convince members to withdraw a more forceful resolution on the matter and is considered a rare move from the UN.
“The Security Council expresses deep concern and dismay with Israel’s announcement on February 12, 2023, announcing further construction and expansion of settlements and the ‘legalization’ of settlement outposts,” the presidential statement reads. It points to the cabinet decision to legalize nine outposts — many of which are on private Palestinian land — and to green-light plans for some 10,000 settlement homes for advancement, the largest-ever package of projects to be approved at once.
"This meeting was once again initiated to condemn Israel. This time, for issuing building permits in already-existing communities. Building permits in our homeland spark international uproar, while dead Jewish children illicit nothing. This is an utter disgrace."Ambassador Gilad Erdan
The Biden administration’s approval of Monday’s UNSC consensus in a presidential statement reflected its growing frustration with Israel over settlement activity, particularly the security cabinet’s authorization this month of 10 West Bank outposts to become nine new settlements.
It was also upset that the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria plans to meet on Wednesday to advance plans for thousands of new homes. The UNSC also called on Israel to stop the “demolition of Palestinians’ homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians.”
The United Arab Emirates, which normalized ties with Israel under the Abraham Accords, submitted the statement on behalf of the PA.
In his response, Erdan went on to call out the members of the Council for ordering the meeting to condemn Israel for its work to protect its citizens from Palestinian terror but not condemning or taking action against the murderous incitement by the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Israel and the PA's support and funding of terror.
"Over the past weeks, the State of Israel has been mourning the deaths of eleven recent victims of terror and dozens injured. Civilians. Yet shockingly, we are not here today to condemn the Palestinian acts of terror that led to this loss of life," Erdan said. "This meeting was once again initiated to condemn Israel. This time, for issuing building permits in already-existing communities. Building permits in our homeland sparks international uproar, while dead Jewish children illicit nothing. This is an utter disgrace."
The Ambassador noted to the Council that PA President Mahmoud Abbas did not even condemn the acts of murder and terror and while the Palestinians were handing out candies to crowds celebrating the murder of innocent civilians, Fatah officials treated the attack on the synagogue in Jerusalem as an act of heroism. Ambassador Erdan said that the fact that the Security Council does not find it appropriate to address and condemn these actions is a disgrace.
The Ambassador said, "You know, it is not by chance that Haj Amin al Husseini and the Palestinian leadership at the time, were close allies of Hitler and later led the rejection of the UN Partition Plan in 1947.
Nothing has changed since then. The Palestinians’ main goal has remained the same – to prevent the existence of a Jewish State."
A Biden administration move
The last three US administrations have strongly backed Israel’s contention that the UN is biased against it and that statements and resolutions stem from prejudice rather than any specific issue. Washington has used its veto power at the UNSC to protect Israel.
The last time the UNSC issued a consensus statement against Israel like the one published on Monday was during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The UNSC in 2016 also approved resolution 2334 against settlement activity, with the US abstaining rather than vetoing.
Tovah Lazoroff contributed to this report.