Kuwait on Wednesday blocked a US-drafted UN Security Council statement that would have strongly condemned Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Israel.
The United States had circulated the draft text ahead of an emergency council meeting, to be held later Wednesday at Washington’s request, on the rocket and mortar attacks by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups.
Kuwait, a non-permanent council member that represents Arab countries, said that it was blocking the statement to allow for consideration of a draft resolution it has put forward on the protection of Palestinian civilians.
In an email to the US mission seen by AFP, Kuwait said: “We cannot agree to the text put forth by your delegation especially as we are considering a draft resolution that deals with the protection of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip.”
Kuwait earlier this month blocked another US-proposed statement that criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s remarks about Jews as “unacceptable.”
Two other draft statements expressing concern about the violence in Gaza were previously blocked by the United States, laying bare the sharp divisions on the Security Council over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Security Council statements are adopted by consensus by all 15 members.
In response to over 100 mortar and rocket firings since Tuesday morning, according to an IDF tally, Israel said it pounded some 65 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
The exchange of fire on Tuesday and into the early hours of Wednesday had raised the possibility of yet another war in the Palestinian enclave run by Hamas terror group, which would be the fourth since 2008.
The council is expected to vote this week on the Kuwait-drafted proposal calling for “the consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population” in the Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip, according to the draft obtained by AFP.
Diplomats however expect the United States to resort to its veto power to block that measure.