Michael Oren, French envoy in Twitter spat over UN Gaza vote
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Michael Oren, French envoy in Twitter spat over UN Gaza vote

Deputy minister accuses Paris of hypocrisy by supporting ‘anti-Semitic resolution’; French envoy questions whether Oren even read it and says he ‘insulted France’

Helene Le Gal during a ceremony for new ambassadors at the President's residence in Jerusalem, December 12, 2016. (Isaac Harari/FLASH90)
Helene Le Gal during a ceremony for new ambassadors at the President's residence in Jerusalem, December 12, 2016. (Isaac Harari/FLASH90)

Israeli deputy minister Michael Oren on Saturday slammed France for supporting a UN Security Council resolution on Gaza, saying Paris was hypocritical for supporting an “anti-Semitic resolution.”

Oren’s comments, in a tweet, prompted outrage from France’s ambassador in Israel Hélène Le Gal who accused Oren of not even reading the resolution and “insulting France.”

On Friday the United States vetoed an Arab-backed UN draft resolution calling for protective measures for the Palestinians that won backing from ten countries at the Security Council. A US resolution condemning Hamas also failed.

“Praise for the US for vetoing Security Council resolution on Gaza that didn’t mention Hamas and condemned the IDF for defending Israel,” tweeted Oren, the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office who is responsible for diplomacy.

“Shame on France for supporting it. French government cannot say it’s against anti-Semitism and vote for this anti-Semitic resolution,” said Oren, a former ambassador in Washington.

His critique was not welcomed by Le Gal.

Deputy Minister Michael Oren at the Knesset, June 27, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel)

“Shame on you M. Oren for insulting France on the eve of the visit of your Prime Minister to Paris,” she tweeted back.

“You didn’t read the resolution. It was not perfect but condemned all the violence against Israel. France is adamantly supporting Israel’s security.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit Paris and Berlin next week, with talks expected to focus on Iran.

At the UN, France, China, and Russia were among the countries that voted in favor of the draft put forward by Kuwait on behalf of Arab countries. Four countries, Ethiopia, the UK, the Netherlands, and Poland abstained.

A draft resolution requires nine votes to be adopted in the 15-member council and no veto from the five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council the measure was “wildly inaccurate in its characterization of recent events in Gaza” by condemning Israel for the violence.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, left, speaks to Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon before a Security Council meeting on the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Friday, June 1, 2018 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The Kuwait-drafted text had called for “measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and requested a UN report to propose an “international protection mechanism.”

The US, meanwhile, brought its own text to the council: A proposal that would condemn Hamas for its role in the escalation of violence in Gaza in the last two months.

The United States was the only country that voted in favor of the draft resolution in the Security Council. Eleven countries abstained while Bolivia, Kuwait, and Russia opposed it.

Israeli envoy to the UN Danny Danon lamented the failure of Washington’s motion, saying “Peace and stability will come to our region only when the international community is brave enough to call out the terrorists by name.”

He condemned Kuwait’s “hypocritical” resolution that did not “even mention the terrorists of Hamas as the root cause of violence and unrest in our region.” However, he asserted that, thanks to the Americans’ position, “the rules of the game are changing in the Security Council and that the double standard against Israel will not stand.”

It was the second time that Haley has resorted to US veto power to block a UN measure on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In December, Haley vetoed a draft resolution that rejected President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem after all 14 other council members supported it.

In two months of mass protests at the Gaza border, some 110 Palestinians were killed and thousands wounded by Israeli military fire. Dozens of the fatalities were members of terror groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad acknowledged. Israel said its troops were defending its border and accused Hamas of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of the protests.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad also bombarded southern Israel with rockets and mortar shells Tuesday, and Israel responded by striking targets throughout Gaza. Hamas said Wednesday it had agreed to a cease-fire with Israel.

Israel and Hamas are bitter enemies and have fought three wars since the Islamic group seized control of Gaza in 2007. Hamas seeks to destroy Israel, and has said the border protests are intended to erase the border and ultimately “liberate Palestine.”

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