A draft statement by the United Nations Security Council, vetoed by the United States, did not mention the rocket barrages at Israel’s civilian population by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations.
The statement distributed on Monday among the council members calls on the parties to reach a ceasefire and expresses concern for a possible eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem.
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An Israeli official said that the statement was predictable given the "bias" of the council members. As expected, the United States blocked the passing of the statement by exercising its veto.
The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas Greenfield, last week prevented the 15-member Security Council from issuing two other statements that were unfavorable to Israel.
In the latest draft the council “expresses grave concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties, and calls for de-escalation of the situation, cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, especially children.”
The council members “emphasize that civilian and humanitarian facilities, including those of the UN, must be respected and protected, call on all parties to act consistently with this principle and stress the need for immediate provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza.”
“The Members of the Security Council welcome all efforts to de-escalate and to reach a ceasefire agreement, including from regional states and the Middle East Quartet, and urges all actors to support these efforts,” the draft says.
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The statement also urged “maximum restraint” to preserve the status quo and uphold Muslim worshippers’ right to pray peacefully in Al Aqsa Mosque.
The council members expressed concern over the looming eviction of Palestinian families from their homes, in which they have lived for generations, in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan and objected to “unilateral actions, which will only escalate the already tense environment.”
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said Israel’s response to indiscriminate attacks by Hamas strictly adhered to international law and that the country was taking “unparalleled steps to prevent civilian casualties.”
“Israel uses its missiles to protect its children. Hamas uses children to protect its missiles,” Erdan said.
“Hamas murdered 10 people in Israel, both Jews and Arabs, and fired hundreds of rockets at Gaza residents as well, killing Palestinian children and destroying Palestinian houses. Hamas carries out its terror attacks hiding behind Palestinian buildings, schools and hospitals to use civilians as human shields,” he said.
“What would you do if thousands of rockets had been fired at your states?” Erdan asked the council members. “Toward your people? Your parents or your children? How would you react if an organization with a fanatic Jihadist ideology like ISIS, shelled Beijing or Moscow or Dublin and closed the airports of Paris or Oslo or London? What would you expect the Security Council to do?”
He said “Hamas was frustrated last month when President Abbas suspended the Palestinian election, after not holding elections for 15 years. It looked for another way to take over. So, regrettably, it chose to exacerbate the tension in Jerusalem as a pretext to begin this war.”
Referring to the conflict over evicting the families from Sheikh Jarrah, Erdan said: “Unlike Hamas, which did everything it could to incite violence, Israel has taken all possible steps to deescalate the tension in Jerusalem. In a most unusual step we’ve asked the Supreme Court to delay the hearing in the Sheikh Jarrah case. We changed the course of the Jerusalem Day Parade and in an unprecedented move and prevented Jews from entering their holiest site, the Temple Mount, on our holiday. Today too, on the eve of Shavuot, we prevented Jews from entering the site because of Palestinian terror.”