US Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that Israel had acted with "restraint" in its deadly confrontation with Palestinians at the Gaza border, while Kuwait's ambassador urged the UN Security Council to offer protection to unarmed Palestinians.
After ambassadors joined in a moment of silence for the more than 50 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the bloodiest day in Gaza since a 2014 war, divisions among council members quickly re-emerged.
Haley said Israel was facing Hamas extremists who incited people who lobbed flaming objects toward the Israeli side of the border fence and urged protest marchers to breach it.
"Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would," she said. "No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has." Haley also insisted the violence had nothing to do with the opening of a US embassy in contested Jerusalem, saying that Gaza's Hamas rulers have been inciting violence there for years. Palestinians condemned the embassy opening as taking Israel's side in their conflict.
Kuwait's envoy, who requested the meeting, said that Israel was violating international law and that the council needs to offer protection unarmed Palestinians.
"The Palestinian people are looking to the United Nations and the Security Council to activate what this organization has taken upon itself in order to achieve the maintenance of international peace and security," said Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi.
More than 50 Palestinians were killed and over 1,200 wounded by Israeli gunfire amid mass protests Monday. Israel said its troops were defending its border and accused Hamas militants of trying to attack under the cover of the protest.
No joint statement or action followed a similar meeting after protests in March, and two U.N. diplomats said members couldn't reach unanimous agreement Monday on issuing a proposed statement circulated by Kuwait.
The diplomats insisted on speaking anonymously because the discussions were supposed to be private.
The draft statement, obtained by The Associated Press, would have expressed "outrage and sorrow" at the killings, sought an "independent and transparent investigation," and called on all sides to exercise restraint.
It also would have demanded that all countries comply with a decades-old Security Council resolution that called on them not to have embassies in contested Jerusalem.
The US vetoed a Security Council resolution in December that would have required President Donald Trump to rescind his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Earlier, the Palestinian UN envoy urged the United Nations' most powerful body to condemn the killings. Israel, meanwhile, called on the council to condemn Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the coastal strip and led the protests.
Israel isn't a council member, nor are the Palestinians.
from Daily News & Analysis https://ift.tt/2IJd777