UN Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov warned of “how close to the brink of war we are every day,” calling on the world community to “unequivocally condemn” Hamas’ massive attack against Israel.
By AP and World Israel News Staff
UN Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov told an emergency Security Council meeting Wednesday that the latest escalation in Gaza between its Hamas rulers and Israel is a warning of “how close to the brink of war we are every day.”
Mladenov said the international community should “unequivocally condemn” Hamas’ massive attack against Israel by sending 216 rockets and mortars over the border. Israel responded with 65 airstrikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.
Mladenov called it the most serious escalation since the 2014 Israeli-Hamas conflict.
Hamas said earlier Wednesday it had agreed to a ceasefire, and Mladenov said that since 5 a.m. local time there had been no attacks by either side.
“It is imperative that this period of calm be preserved at all costs,” he said. “No one in Gaza can afford another war. No one has the right to play with the lives of two million people who have lived through hell in the last decade.”
Hamas forcibly wrested control of Gaza from the rival Fatah party in 2007 after winning legislative elections, triggering an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has severely restricted the movement of most of Gaza’s inhabitants.
Mladenov, however, said “the dangerous escalation” in Gaza cannot be divorced from two months of mass protests at the border fence with Israel in which some 110 Palestinians were killed and large numbers injured by Israeli military fire.
“As demonstrations and protests in Gaza continue into the month of June, I am concerned that we may experience further violence and further risks of escalation,” he said.
In fact, the protests were essentially violent riots with armed terrorists attempting to breach the security fence and cross into Israeli territory. The majority of Palestinian killed were affiliated with Islamic terror groups, it was confirmed.
Haley: Condemnation of Hamas a ‘no-brainer’
US Ambassador Nikki Haley, who called the meeting, noted that Hamas claimed responsibility for this week’s “outrageous terrorist attack” against Israel.
She said this “proves what we have consistently maintained — namely, that Hamas’ stated purpose is the destruction of Israel.”
Haley said a statement proposed by the US that would have the council condemn the Hamas attacks “should have been a no-brainer” — but it was blocked.
Kuwait’s UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, the council’s Arab representative, countered that “the Israeli occupation bears full responsibility for the latest escalation on our occupied land.”
“For as long as this occupation continues the Palestinians have a legitimate right to fight it and to defend their aspirations and their dreams to independence and dignified and free life,” he said. “We support their fight and commend their steadfastness in front of the destructive Israeli machine.”
Al-Otaibi said three council press statements Kuwait proposed that called for an independent investigation of the deadly Gaza protests were also blocked — by the United States.
Therefore, he said, Kuwait has circulated a draft Security Council resolution that would condemn Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians and support deployment of an international force to protect civilians.