During a briefing with the UN Security Council on Tuesday, a senior Algerian diplomat said too little had been done by the international community to bring about the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, and lamented Palestinian “suffering” under years of Israeli rule, going so far as to quote a Palestinian who likened the Gaza Strip to a “concentration camp.”
Lakhdar Brahimi, who previously served as a special UN envoy on Syria, said in his address that over the past 50 years, since the Six Day War in 1967, Palestinians have endured “grave acts of oppression, violence and collective punishment” and “desperately” needed protection, quoting a Gazan woman whom he said told him that “Israel has put us in a concentration camp.”
Brahimi gave his briefing as a member of the “Elders,” a global group made up of retired world leaders founded by former US president Jimmy Carter, who in 2015 led a delegation of the Elders to Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, blasted Brahimi for the remark and the Security Council for allowing it.
“The Security Council has provided a platform to anti-Semitic comments and a malicious blood libel,” Danon said in a statement. “This one-sided obsession with Israel is beyond the pale. To accuse the Jewish state of using concentration camps is not only despicable, but it degrades the Security Council and the UN as a whole. We demand that the Security Council renounce Brahimi’s statement immediately.”
An official with the US mission to the UN was quoted by the Algemeiner as saying that “indecent and irresponsible remarks such as these are another example of the anti-Israel bias at the UN that has to end.”
Also on Tuesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged the Security Council to take a harder stance against Hamas, which rules Gaza, and state actors that support it.
Hamas is considered a terror group by Israel and the US. It took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after a violent coup against rival Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. That same year, Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade, which they say is aimed at ensuring the terror group does not acquire weapons and materiel to build up its military forces. Israel tightly controls what can enter the Strip, but allows in humanitarian aid.
Palestinians and others blame Israel for much of Gaza’s suffering, pointing to the blockade, now in its 11th year. The Jewish state has blamed the suffering of the Gazan population on its rulers whom it accuses of funneling funds toward its terror infrastructure of tunnels and rockets instead of investing in education and medical care.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008, the most recent one in the summer of 2014.
In her address, Haley said states must “pressure Hamas to end its tyranny over the people of Gaza.”
“We should condemn Hamas in this council’s resolutions and statements. We should name Hamas as the group responsible when rockets are fired from Gaza, or when fresh tunnels are discovered,” she said.
She noted the terror group’s practice of placing rocket launchers, tunnels and other military installations among civilians. On a trip to the region earlier this month, Haley surveyed a Hamas-dug tunnel.
“This is the way Hamas does business. Hamas hides military infrastructure in and around hospitals,” she said. “It plots and plans to attack civilians while using civilian buildings as cover.”
Hamas, she insisted, not Israel, was responsible for the suffering of Gazans.
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