UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement that would have deplored the deaths of Palestinians in Israeli operations following the abduction of three Israeli teenagers.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current council president, told reporters he proposed the press statement after listening to a Palestinian appeal for council action, but one council member wanted stronger language and one didn’t want any reference to Israel.
Diplomats said Jordan insisted that “deploring” wasn’t strong enough and US Ambassador Samantha Power said any language directly criticizing Israel would be “a red line” for the Americans. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because the consultations were closed.
UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman told the council at an earlier open meeting that the Israeli-Palestinian situation “has turned highly volatile,” citing the kidnapping and ensuing crackdown.
Since the youths disappeared from a hitchhiking stop in the southern West Bank on June 12, Israel has rounded up hundreds of Palestinians in a bid to find them, while also crushing the West Bank network of Islamist movement Hamas, which it accuses of abducting the teens.
Troops have also killed four Palestinians in raids in the past week, and on Monday the United Nations called the deaths in the security sweep “alarming.”
“The rising death toll as a result of Israeli security operations in the West Bank is alarming,” Feltman, UN under secretary for political affairs, was quoted as saying in a statement.
“As the search for the missing youth continues, we call for restraint in carrying out the security operations in strict compliance with international law, and avoiding punishing individuals for offences they have not personally committed.”
“We nevertheless find Hamas statements glorifying the perpetrators of this act to be outrageous,” he said, referring to initial Hamas praise of the alleged kidnapping as a form of resistance.
On Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “deeply concerned” by the deaths of the Palestinians.
“It is vital that all security operations are conducted with due care and proportionate use of force,” he said in a statement.
There has been no claim of responsibility and no sign of the missing youngsters, although military spokesman General Motti Almoz said on Sunday that all information indicated they “are alive”.
With tensions rising among Palestinians over the crackdown and the deaths, the campaign is expected to shift focus to intelligence gathering rather than mass arrests.
So far, troops have arrested 361 people, among them 250 Hamas members and 57 who were freed during a 2011 prisoner swap deal to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, a soldier held in Gaza for five years by Hamas, the army said.
Press reports said Operation Brother’s Keeper was nearing its end in the present format and would be refocused ahead of the start next week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
There was no immediate comment on the reports by the army.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has denounced the abductions and defended his security forces’ ongoing cooperation with their Israeli counterparts to try to locate the missing youths.
But there are growing signs of Palestinian frustration with their own security forces, with angry protesters hurling rocks a Ramallah police station on Sunday, smashing the windows of two police cars.
Later on Monday, dozens of people protested in Ramallah against the Palestinian Authority’s security cooperation with Israel, with some calling for a new intifada, or uprising, against the occupation.
Former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya described the clashes in the West Bank as the start of another intifada.
“We’re not saying the intifada will start; we’re saying it has started already in the West Bank, and no one can stop it,” Haniya told journalists in Gaza.
“The enemy (Israel) cannot put a stop to the escalation of the resistance.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report