Deputy US envoy to UN: It’s ‘striking’ those urging end to Gaza war not demanding more of Hamas

Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood speaks during a Security Council meeting on Gaza, at UN headquarters in New York City on December 8, 2023. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP)
Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood speaks during a Security Council meeting on Gaza, at UN headquarters in New York City on December 8, 2023. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP)

UNITED NATIONS – The United States defends its veto last month of a UN Security Council resolution calling for a Gaza ceasefire, saying the proposal was “disconnected from the situation on the ground.”

At a UN General Assembly meeting, the Palestinian and Arab delegations are joined by many other countries as they demand an immediate halt to the fighting — calls that are echoed by a group of anti-war rabbis in the gallery.

US deputy ambassador Robert Wood repeats that Washington is working to secure a “pause” in the Israel-Hamas war and the release of 136 Israeli hostages in Gaza. He says it’s “striking” that those urging an end to the conflict have made very few demands of Hamas, the Gaza-ruling terror whose devastating October 7 attack on Israel sparked the war.

The US only got support from Israel. A ceasefire would be “a victory for Hamas … to continue the reign of terror in Gaza,” says Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan. He says Israel supports delivering aid to Gaza but accuses Hamas of “looting” humanitarian assistance before it gets to civilians. He also accuses the UN of doing “nothing” to bring the hostages home.

Some 36 rabbis from the group Rabbis 4 Ceasefire, who oppose Israel’s ongoing military action, come to the UN as tourists. The majority of them briefly hold signs in the empty Security Council chamber saying “Biden Stop Vetoing Peace.” A small group does the same in the gallery of the General Assembly chamber before being hustled out by UN security officers.

Riyad Mansour, the UN’s Palestinian Authority ambassador, tells the assembly his people are “being slaughtered,” with entire families killed, and stresses that “the horrors need to end, and the only way to end them is a ceasefire.”

“The whole world is calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” he says, accusing Israel of “destroying everything to make Gaza livable.” However, he says, “The Palestinian people are here to stay.”

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