Israeli envoy urges UN Security Council to reject Arab-backed Gaza resolution

Israeli envoy urges UN Security Council to reject Arab-backed Gaza resolution

Danny Danon says Kuwait’s ‘dangerous’ document condemning Jerusalem and calling for international force in the Strip ‘only reinforces Hamas’s terror regime. Do not lend it a hand’

Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, speaks on the floor of the General Assembly on December 21, 2017 in New York City.  (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, speaks on the floor of the General Assembly on December 21, 2017 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon spoke with representatives of Security Council member states over the weekend, his office said Sunday, urging them to reject Kuwait’s “dangerous” draft resolution condemning Israel and calling for an international force in the Gaza Strip.

“Kuwait’s dangerous draft resolution only reinforces Hamas’s terror regime that oppresses and threatens the residents of Gaza and the security of Israeli citizens,” Danon said. “Do not lend a hand to support Hamas’s terrorism.”

He added that “If the Council seeks to protect the residents of Gaza, it must take steps against Hamas’s war crimes and not reward the organization’s cycle of bloodshed.”

Kuwait has urged the Security Council to condemn Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians “in the strongest terms,” especially in the Gaza Strip, and to deploy an international force to protect civilians.

A draft resolution circulated Friday by Kuwait, which is the Arab representative on the council, also demands that Israel “immediately cease its military reprisals, collective punishment and unlawful use of force against civilians, including in the Gaza Strip.”

The draft is expected to be put to a vote later this week.

The UN Security Council meets on April 14, 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York. (AFP/ Hector Retamal)

The United States has defended Israel’s actions in Gaza and will very likely veto the resolution if it is put to a vote.

Kuwait’s effort came after the Security Council couldn’t agree on a statement regarding the violence in Gaza Monday along the security fence that left some 60 Palestinians dead. Palestinian officials said it was a massacre of protesters demonstrating against a decade-long blockade; Israel said it was defending its border against a terrorism-fueled mob.

Hamas admitted on Wednesday that 50 of the dead were its members. Islamic Jihad said three others were its members. Israel said that some of those killed were involved in planting explosives or firing on soldiers and that Hamas was using the border protests as cover to stage attacks.

Israel has blamed Hamas for the deadly violence, saying the terror group encouraged and led the protests, which included attacks on Israeli troops and attempts to breach the border fence. The IDF said Sunday that Hamas planned to send armed terrorists through any breach in the fence to “massacre” Israelis.

Kuwait tried Monday to get the council to issue a statement expressing outrage at the killings and seeking an independent investigation, among other things. The US blocked the statement, saying it was one-sided and faulting it for not mentioning incitement of violence by Hamas.

The Kuwaiti draft resolution calls for measures to be taken to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population, including through the deployment of “an international protection mission.”

It would reaffirm the council’s willingness to respond to armed conflict where civilians are being targeted or aid to civilians is being deliberately obstructed and says this could include considering “appropriate measures” — UN language for sanctions.

Palestinian demonstrators use slingshots to hurl rocks at Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis on May 18, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

The draft calls for “the full lifting of the blockade and the restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.” This includes “the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossing points” to allow humanitarian aid, commercial goods and people to enter and leave in accordance with international law, it says.

Israel maintains a security blockade of Gaza to prevent Hamas, which seized control there in 2007 from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, from importing weaponry. Hamas seeks to destroy Israel.

The draft also calls for intensified efforts by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov to help deter violence, protect civilians and create “an environment conducive to dialogue.”

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday accused the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva of becoming a “cheerleader for terrorists,” after the UN’s top human rights body ordered an investigation into the deadly violence along the Gaza border.

Rejecting the probe, Liberman tweeted in Hebrew that “the only investigation that needs to be set up is into how the Human Rights Council became a cheerleader for terrorists.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, on April 12, 2018. (Flash90)

Israel said Friday that it will not cooperate with the investigation after the UN body in a special session voted through a resolution calling on the council to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry” to Gaza.

The council voted 29 in favor and two against with 14 countries abstaining. Australia and the US were the two countries to oppose the decision. The council also condemned “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians.”

The inquiry mandated by the council will be asked to produce a final report next March.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the vote and the council as “irrelevant.”

“The organization that calls itself the Human Rights Council again proved it is a hypocritical and biased body whose purpose is to harm Israel and back terror, but mostly it proved it is irrelevant,” he added.

“The State of Israel will continue to defend its citizens and soldiers,” he said.

Israel pointed out that the vast majority of the 60 people killed in Monday’s protest “were Hamas members, as even the leaders of the terror group have acknowledged in their own voices,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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