UN Security Council must be more balanced on Israel, US envoy says

There are other countries and situations [besides Israel] in the region that merit Security Council attention and should not be neglected,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and United Nations Gilad Erdan and US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield (photo credit: ISRAEL AT THE UN)
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and United Nations Gilad Erdan and US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield
(photo credit: ISRAEL AT THE UN)

Attacks on Israel and counter-criticism occupy too much of the United Nations Security Council’s agenda at the expense of other issues in the Middle East, the United States Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 15-member body.

“This Council spends a great deal of time on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is both understandable and consistent with the agenda,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

She then took the UNSC to task for allowing the monthly meetings to overly focus on Israel in a debate that fails to advance a positive resolution.

“Far too often, the substance of these discussions is centered almost entirely around criticism of Israel and counterattacks. I sincerely hope that going forward, Council members will do their best to take a more balanced approach.

“Also, there are other countries and situations in the region that merit Security Council attention and should not be neglected,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

The United Nations Security Council, February 28, 2020 (credit: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)The United Nations Security Council, February 28, 2020 (credit: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said the tenor of the debates “only seems to perpetuate the conflict.”

He took issue, both with the speech by Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour and with the recent UNSC practice of inviting civil society representatives connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to address the council at the start of its meeting.

On Tuesday, the council heard from Daniel Levy, president of the US Middle East Project, and former Palestinian Liberation Organization Committee member Hanan Ashwari.

“MIFTAH, the organization that Ashrawi founded and led, has published antisemitic blood libels claiming Christian blood on Passover,” Erdan said.

“Does the Security Council really want to legitimize someone responsible for spreading gross antisemitism,” he asked.

“What’s next?” Erdan asked. “Will you invite [former Iranian President] Hassan Rouhani and [Iranian Foreign Minister] Javad Zarif as representatives of Iranian civil society?”

He charged that Ashrawi should not be considered a spokesperson for the Palestinian political leadership but as an “opponent of peace.”

“If this council wishes to invite members of civil society, why not invite courageous Palestinian entrepreneurs who are working together to create coexistence?” he asked.