The Biden administration, together with the UK, blocked the United Nations Security Council from issuing a statement condemning the IDF’s operation in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Thursday.
“We succeeded in blocking condemnation of Israel with the help of the US, whom we worked in conjunction with,” he told Army Radio.
“The US, together with Great Britain, clarified that they would not allow a statement,” he added.
Security Council holds closed-door meeting on Gaza
Erdan spoke after the 15-member Security Council held a closed-door meeting on Thursday about the situation in Gaza at the request of the United Arab Emirates, France and China, with Russia’s support.
The US and the UK, together with Russia, China and France, are among the five UNSC members that have permanent seats on the council and veto power.
Their opposition to the issuance of such a statement or condemnation meant the issue never came to a vote. The US, including during Joe Biden’s presidency, has a strong record of supporting Israel at the UN, particularly in the Security Council.
After the meeting, Switzerland, which holds the council’s rotating presidency this month, said on Twitter it was alarmed by the outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza this week, during which the IDF assassinated three top Islamic Jihad commanders as well as the head of its rocket-launching force.
At least 16 Gazan civilians were killed, including women and children, Reuters reported. Islamic Jihad has fired more than 500 rockets at Israel over the past two days. It launched a salvo of rockets last week as well.
Erdan unsuccessfully pushed for the UNSC to condemn the Palestinians’ indiscriminate firing of rockets.
Palestinian envoy: UNSC's duty is to hold Israel accountable
Prior to the meeting, Palestinian Authority Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said it was the Security Council’s duty to “condemn these crimes” and to demand that Israel be held accountable.
“We know that many states, including many members of the Security Council, issued national statements in which they expressed their condemnation or outrage,” he said.
“We will continue to keep knocking on the Security Council’s door to shoulder its responsibility” and for it to enforce already existing resolutions, he added.
This includes enforcing a resolution that calls for disarming settlers and for providing a temporary international force to protect the Palestinians, Mansour said.
The UNSC has held nine meetings on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year, including four that were regularly scheduled monthly events. In February, the UNSC issued a consensus statement of dismay about Israeli settlement activity. It last issued a statement on Gaza during the 2014 war.
Separately on Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned both the Israelis and Palestinians. He called for an end to the violence and for the use of “maximum restraint.”
The loss of civilian life, “including that of children and women… must stop immediately,” he said.
Guterres demanded that both parties abide by international law. In Israel’s case, that includes the “proportional use of force,” while the Palestinians must halt the “indiscriminate launching of rockets,” he said.