Israel envoy sounds rocket siren as UN debates Gaza violence

Security Council meeting ends with no action, Palestinians blame US for blocking motion to condemn Israel

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon sounded a rocket warning siren ahead of a Tuesday UN Security Council debate on Gaza, which ended with no agreement on how to address the crisis.

“Every time Hamas fires a rocket, children at school, adults at work, families across Israel hear this,” he said, before playing a recording of the siren.

Danon said Security Council members that want to blame Israel for the latest fighting with the Hamas terror group in Gaza are “morally bankrupt” and rejected those who call for restraint by both sides.

Danon told reporters at UN headquarters in New York that “there is no such thing as both sides.”

“There is Hamas that attacks and fires over 460 missiles at civilians and there is Israel that protects its people.”

Iron Dome missiles intercept rockets from Gaza seen in the sky in Southern Israel, on November 12, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Danon said ahead of closed Security Council consultations late Tuesday that the council must condemn only Hamas “for its aggressive assault on civilians.”

Asked about an undercover Israeli military operation that sparked the Hamas attacks and Israeli bombing of Gaza, Danon said: “We take action to protect our people and we will continue to do that.”

The meeting ended with no agreement on a path forward, with the Palestinian blaming the US for blocking any condemnation of Israel.

Kuwait, which represents Arab countries at the council, and Bolivia requested the meeting following the worst flareup in Gaza since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.

Addressing reporters after the 50-minute meeting, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the council was “paralyzed” and had “failed to shoulder its responsibility” to take action to end the violence.

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour speaks during a UN Security Council meeting concerning the violence at the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, at United Nations headquarters, May 15, 2018 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

“There is one country that is not allowing discussion at the council,” Mansour told reporters, in a reference to the United States, which has steadfastly supported Israel under US President Donald Trump.

There was no statement from the council on the crisis. Such statements are agreed by consensus by all 15 council members.

Kuwait’s Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi said the majority of council members were of the view that the top UN body “should do something” and some suggested a visit to the region, but no decision was taken.

Palestinian terror groups including Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued a joint statement earlier announcing an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel.

The groups said they would abide by the truce as long as Israel did the same, but there was no immediate comment from the Israeli side.

Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza as Israeli strikes targeted terrorists and flattened buildings in the worst escalation of violence since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

The latest round of violence began on Sunday with a botched Israeli special forces operation inside the Gaza Strip that turned deadly and prompted Hamas to vow revenge.

Palestinians then fired hundreds of rockets and mortars into Israel. An anti-tank missile hit a bus that Hamas says was being used by Israeli soldiers. A soldier was severely wounded in the attack.

The interior apartment building sits destroyed after being hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists from Gaza, in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Tuesday, November 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and protests and clashes along the Gaza border since March 30 have repeatedly raised fears of a fourth.



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