WASHINGTON, DC — US Ambassador Nikki Haley challenged the United Nations’ special envoy for Mideast peace over his call for both Israel and the Palestinians to exercise restraint following an upsurge in violence across the Gaza border last week, in an intense UN Security Council meeting on Monday
Haley also castigated UN member states for focusing what she deemed a disproportionate amount of its criticism against Israel, when malevolent actors like the Iranian regime get nowhere near the level of attention.
After Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s special coordinator for Middle East peace, called for both sides to use “maximum restraint,” Haley accused him of “missing the mark.”
“Fact,” she said, “There is only one side that attacks indiscriminately. One side that targets civilians. One side that terrorizes to achieve its objectives.”
“Yes, Israel launched airstrikes on military posts, weapons depots, and intelligence assets in Gaza. But it did so in response to over 400 rockets and mortars that were fired indiscriminately from Gaza into Israel. Neighborhoods were targeted. A bus was bombed by an anti-tank missile. Families were forced into bomb shelters to escape the barrage.”
The exchange came days after the most serious flareup in violence between Israel and Gaza in years, sparked after an undercover Israeli operation went bad, with one Israeli officer and seven Palestinians killed.
The ensuing days saw Hamas and other Gaza terror groups fire some 470 rockets at Israel, which responded with airstrikes on over 150 targets in Gaza, before the sides agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt, with Maldenov’s help.
Mladenov, who briefed the council before Haley, called the ceasefire “a precarious restoration of calm.”
“I remain very concerned by Israel’s persistent use of live fire against protestors. I call on the authorities to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from using lethal force, except as a last resort. I also urge Hamas and other Palestinian militants to end the indiscriminate firing of rockets into southern Israel, and to stop all violence near the fence, including attempts to breach it,” Mladenov said.
Mladenov said that the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the battered coastal enclave was increasing the likelihood of violent conflict, while Israel’s continued expansion of West Bank settlements were chipping away at the possibility of Palestinian statehood.