WASHINGTON — US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to take a harder stance against Hamas and state actors that support the Gaza-based terror group.
Haley told UN Security Council member states at a meeting that a resolution should be introduced to ensure there are “consequences” for backing Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and much of the West.
“We need to pressure Hamas to end its tyranny over the people of Gaza,” she said. “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.”
“And,” she continued, “we should designate Hamas as a terrorist organization in a resolution, with consequences for anyone who continues to support it.
Her comments dovetailed with Israel’s position that holds Hamas responsible for any rocket fire out of Gaza, even when launched by smaller groups.
Haley did not detail what consequences should be imposed on countries that support Hamas, nor did she mention any in particular. The US is allied with two of Hamas’s main supporters, Qatar and Turkey, and maintains air bases in both countries.
Qatar has recently come under pressure from fellow Sunni states, with Doha reportedly rolling back some support for Hamas in response. US President Donald Trump has roundly criticized Qatar for supporting terror.
Haley, a former South Carolina governor, further excoriated Hamas for “squandering” its control of the coastal enclave.
She noted the terror group’s practice of deliberating 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.
“Israel did not cause the problems in Gaza; no single Israeli settler has lived in Gaza for 10 years,” she said, referring to former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to remove all 7-8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and pull the IDF back to the pre-1967 lines.
“We all would like to see Palestinians in Gaza receive the aid they need. But the responsibility rests squarely with the one group that actually controls Gaza — Hamas.”
“Hamas chooses to devote its resources to terrorism instead of governing and reaching peace,” Haley added.
Palestinians and some others blame Israel for much of Gaza’s suffering, pointing to the blockade placed on the enclave after Hamas took power a decade ago. Israel tightly controls what can enter the Strip, but allows in humanitarian aid. It says the blockade is necessary to keep Hamas from building up its military forces.
Before Haley’s remarks, the UN’s envoy for the Middle East, Nikolay Mladenov, presented his second report on Israel’s settlement activity. The council passed a resolution last year that demanded an immediate halt to all settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The US, under former president Barack Obama, allowed the measure to pass by virtue of withholding its veto power — to the fury of then presidential candidate Trump.
Mladenov told the body Israel has ramped-up building settlement units in the West Bank. “Since March 24, there has been substantial increase in settlement-related announcements as compared with the previous reporting period,” he said.
Israel is currently moving forward with plans to build roughly 2,500 new settlement homes in the West Bank, including housing units for the first new settlement in 25 years.
On Tuesday, Israel broke ground on the new settlement of Amichai, built for residents who were booted out of of the illegal Amona outpost.
The settlement — which will be located near the settlements of Shiloh and Eli, north of Ramallah — will be the first of its kind to be constructed since the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo peace accords were signed in 1993.
The Trump administration has chided Israel — albeit mildly — for this and other construction.
“President Trump has talked about this consistently, and he has said, in his opinion, unrestrained settlement activity does not help advance the peace process,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters last week. “He’s been pretty clear about that. It doesn’t help the prospect for peace.”
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