Jean-Maurice Ripert, French ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to reporters at UN headquarters after an emergency meeting on the situation in Gaza on Sat., Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/ David Karp)
Diplomats say U.S. blocks UN statement on Gaza
January 4 2009
The United States has blocked approval of a UN Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, diplomats said.
French UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, the council president, said the 15 council members could not agree on a statement in closed discussions held after Israel launched a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip on Saturday. But he said there were “strong convergences” among the members to express concern about the deteriorating situation in Gaza and the need for “an immediate, permanent and fully respected cease-fire.”
Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said the United States during the discussions late Saturday objected to “any outcome” on the proposed statement. He said efforts were made to compromise on a weaker press statement but there was no consensus.
Several other council members, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were closed, also said the U.S. was responsible for the council’s failure to issue a statement.
The U.S., Israel’s closest ally, has designated Hamas a terrorist organization. U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the United States saw no prospect of Hamas abiding by last week’s council call for an immediate end to the violence. Therefore, he said, a new statement “would not be adhered to and would have no underpinning for success, (and) would not do credit to the council.”
Libya, the only Arab nation on the council, called the emergency meeting after Israel sent tanks and infantry across the border into Gaza on the eighth day of its offensive against Hamas militants. The ground attack followed a week of air strikes, which Hamas responded to with salvos of rocket fired into southern Israel.
Arab nations demanded that the council adopt a statement calling for an immediate cease fire and expressing “serious concern at the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the situation in Gaza and southern Israel,” a view echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
If it had been approved, the statement would have become part of the council’s official record but would not have the weight of a Security Council resolution, which is legally binding.
Egypt’s UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said it was regrettable that one permanent council member — a clear reference to the U.S. — refused to accept any statement at a time when “the aggression is escalating and more people are dying and the military attack on the ground is at its full scale.”
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer, said: “We have war. We have aggression against the Palestinian people, and it is a sad and tragic moment when the Security Council cannot address this issue by at least demanding from Israel … to stop this aggression immediately.”
More than 480 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 3,000 injured in Gaza, and four people have been killed in Israel.
Israel maintains the offensive is aimed at stopping the rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza that have traumatized southern Israel.
Though the Security Council took no action on Saturday night, an Arab draft resolution circulated by Libya on Wednesday night that would condemn Israel and halt its military attacks on Gaza remains on the table. It would have to be revised, however, since the United States has already called it “unacceptable” and “unbalanced” because it doesn’t call for an end to the Hamas rocketing of Israel.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected in New York on Tuesday, along with half a dozen Arab foreign ministers who will be at the UN on Monday, to press for a cease-fire resolution.
Mansour said he hopes Abbas and the ministers will succeed in pushing through a resolution “so that we will have a durable and sustainable cease fire between us and the Israelis.”
Asked what kind of resolution would be acceptable to the United States, Wolff said: “The important point to focus on here is establishing the understanding of what type of cease fire we’re talking about and to ensure that it’s lasting, and to ensure that we don’t return to a situation that led to the current situation.”
The US makes a habit of this. They have blocked UN Resolutions 40 times previous to this one as well. Just because the US says anything doesn’t make it true, except in their own minds. They said Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction” too and that was a lie. What Israel is doing I consider premeditated, mass, murder as they planed this over six months ago. This is the second time in as many weeks the US has interfered with the UN as noted below.
US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution
December 28, 2008
The UN Security Council has been unable to force an end to Israeli attacks against Gaza due to the intervention of the United States.
Israel wouldn’t let the UN in to deliver food back in November.
November 14 2008
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
A U.N. official says Israel is holding up planned food aid shipments to Gaza.
You know letting people starve is a crime. If Hamas did do something, it was in reaction to premeditated, death by starvation. Of course Israel has done numerous things to terrorize the Palestinians.
Building of the Wall for example. Kind of reminded me of the Berlin wall.
Of course I am not alone in thinking much of what the Israelis are doing is similar to what Nazis did to the Jews. This opinion is growing.
Where is the shock and horror towards the over 420 Palestinian men, women and children have been killed by Israeli bombs in the streets of Gaza? Where is the urgent reaction by world leaders, and not just those from the Arab league?
There are a lot of Questions this writer asks and I have asked myself many of the same questions. You should too.
Through out all of this everyone around the world will see the cruelty of Israel and the determination of the US to make absolutely sure nothing is done to help the Palestinians. In recent weeks up to the invasion of Gaza Israel had done numerous things to push Hamas into a corner.
They have been doing this for years not just because of Hamas, but anyone who leads in Gaza.
I guess we will have to dig up a nice long list of some of their nasty deeds. There are many.
These are just the recent few:
Israeli troops bisect Gaza, clash with Hamas fighters
Palestinians carry people injured during an Israeli army operation in Gaza, into Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. (AP / Fadi Adwan)
A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of a relative that was killed in an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. (AP / Fadi Adwan)
January 4 2009
Israeli troops clashed with Hamas militants early Sunday, leading to a number of casualties on both sides, as an Israeli ground offensive in the Gaza Strip gained momentum.
After moving into Gaza after nightfall, Israeli tanks and troops bisected the narrow strip of land and surrounded Gaza City.
The Israeli military says that soldiers have killed or wounded dozens of militants, but according to Gaza officials, at least 31 civilians have been killed in the ground offensive.
However, Palestinian medical officials could not confirm the exact number of casualties, as they are unable to move around Gaza due to the fighting. According to Hamas, four of its fighters have been killed.
The Israeli military reports that one soldier has been killed and 30 wounded, two seriously, as television news images show army ambulances bringing soldiers to a hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.
The ground invasion came after a week of air strikes launched by Israel against Hamas targets in Gaza in an effort to stem the rocket attacks launched into Israel from within the territory.
The air strikes have killed more than 500 people in Gaza since the latest conflict began on Dec. 27, and Palestinian and UN officials say at least 100 of those killed were civilians.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel would protect its civilians from rocket attacks, which continued throughout the air assault.
“This morning I can look every one of you in the eyes and say the government did everything before deciding to go ahead with the operation,” Olmert said.
Israeli officials have said they do not intend to occupy the Gaza Strip and have been clear that the goal is to stop rocket attacks.
However, the ground offensive would not be “a rapid one that would end in hours or a few days,” warned one senior military officer, who asked not be named.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the ground offensive “brutal aggression,” and reached out to his rivals in Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
In response to the troop movement, Hamas officials said Gaza would become a “graveyard” for Israeli soldiers.
“You entered like rats,” Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said in a statement on Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV. “Gaza will be a graveyard for you, God willing.”
The Israeli army has called up tens of thousands of reserve soldiers in advance of a potential third phase that could include a wider ground offensive.
Defence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the troops could be called in should militants in the West Bank or Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon launch attacks of their own.
But early Sunday, the Israeli offensive targeted the northern Gaza Strip, cutting off Gaza City’s 400,000 residents from the rest of the region to the south.
It is from northern Gaza that most rockets are fired into Israel.
In an interview Sunday morning on Newsnet, CTV News correspondent Janis Mackey Frayer said that partitioning Gaza is an attempt by the Israeli army to “impede the movement of Hamas and other militant groups. They believe it disables fighters from being able to move around, it disables rocket squads, it’s trying to effectively take control of movement within the Gaza Strip.”
The heaviest fighting Sunday occurred in the town of Beit Lahiya, where an artillery shell killed eight civilians as they ran to a nearby school to take cover, according to local paramedics.
Earlier this week, Beit Lahiya was hit by at least two air strikes, which also killed civilians.
Israeli troops were also reportedly searching houses in the northern town of al-Attatra. However, many residents had already fled in advance of the soldiers’ arrival.
Humanitarian disaster looms
The week-long air offensive has knocked out power to many homes and businesses in the Gaza Strip, leaving many families without heat and many shops unable to store food supplies.
“They’re traumatized, they’re terrorized and they’re trapped,” John Ging of the UN Relief and Work Agency, which has 10,000 Palestinian volunteers in Gaza, told CTV Newsnet on Sunday. “The population is without water, food is critically low, there’s no electricity.”
Ging also said that the dead and injured have left Gaza hospitals “completely and utterly overburdened.”
According to Ging, one Palestinian UN aid worker volunteering at a local hospital has been killed. He did not elaborate on exactly how the worker died.
The Israeli army dropped leaflets on Gaza Saturday, warning residents to take cover in advance of the ground offensive.
“The problem of course is that Gaza is a sealed place. It is confined, it is densely populated,” Mackey Frayer said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit the region Monday in an attempt to broker a cease fire and encourage the resumption of peace talks.
Israel prepares for possible ground offensive
Palestinian nurses treat Ihab Alhrzyn who was wounded in a recent Israeli airstrike, at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. (AP / Hatem Moussa)
A Palestinian inspects damage at the Hamas Interior Ministry building, following Israeli missile strikes in Gaza City, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. (AP / Hatem Moussa)
December 31 2008
Israel ramped up preparations Wednesday for a possible ground assault of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, amassing more troops at the border after it rebuffed a possible ceasefire.
Soldiers gathered at the edge of the densely-populated strip of land, along with dozens of tanks. Israel’s government also approved the call-up of 9,000 reservists.
Overnight, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had discussed a 48-hour truce proposal put forth by France with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.
The meeting ended with a rejection of the proposal.
Israel has rebuffed international pressure to impose a temporary halt of its offensive in Gaza, promising not to stop until Hamas guarantees they will no longer shoot rockets across the border.
Overnight, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed a 48-hour truce proposal put forth by France with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.
The meeting ended with a rejection of the proposal.
“Giving Hamas a respite just to regroup, rearm is a mistake,” Olmert spokesperson Mark Regev said. “The pressure on the Hamas military machine must continue.”
CTV Middle East Bureau Chief Janis Mackey Frayer sat down with Livni in Sderot, a town in southern Israel hit hard by Hamas rockets, and asked her about Israel’s objectives for the current military operation.
“When Israel is under attack we are going to retaliate, we are going to act back,” Livni said. “I’m not going to exist as a government and say to my citizens, ‘This is something you need to get used to’ — to be under attacks, even sporadic attacks, from the Gaza strip.”
She said Israel wants to “change realities” in the Gaza Strip, meaning a regime change. However, she also said removing Hamas from power is not the purpose of the current military campaign, but that Israel hopes Palestinians will vote out the group.
“Now (Hamas) knows that when they target Israel, Israel will act back, and I mean with forces that are not a proportionate answer to rocket attacks,” she said. “This should work once. And if they don’t understand it, it’s going to work in the future until they understand, and the population in Gaza understands, that Hamas is a problem for everybody.”
Livni also dismissed criticism that Israeli’s air strikes were carefully timed to coincide with the country’s upcoming election to draw support from voters, and before Barack Obama — who may be less supportive of Israel’s tactics than George Bush — takes office in the United States.
“It’s not connected to elections or to timing, it’s a question of a moment in which we can say, ‘OK, reality has changed,'” she said.
Livni also said Israel is “not the aggressor in the conflict.”
‘Far away’ from peace
Samah Sabawi, a spokesperson for the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations, said she was dismayed by that assertion.
“Israel has held, for 40 years, an illegal occupation of Palestinian land,” Sabawi, who was born in the Gaza Strip, told CTV Newsnet on Wednesday. “That occupation itself is a form of aggression against the Palestinians.
She said the way Israel has treated the Palestinians — building settlements in the territories, erecting walls — is also a “great form of aggression, and until Israel starts to understand that, we’re really far away from any kind of peaceful resolution.”
The campaign, which will enter its sixth day, has so far killed about 400 people in the Gaza Strip and injured 1,600. Of the dead, at least 200 were uniformed Hamas members. According to the UN, 60 Palestinian civilians have also been killed.
Hamas is protesting a blockade enforced by Israel that has reduced the amount of food and medical supplies entering the country. Sabawi said her sister, a doctor working in Gaza, told her the hospitals have been flooded with casualties but lack enough resources to treat them.
“The situation is very dire,” said Sabawi. “There is no hot water in the hospital. There is still no electricity, so the hospital is having to rely on generators to keep the lights on and keep the life-support machines running.”
She also said that while some supplies are still reaching the hospital, staff have run out of medication to help burn victims.
“Because Israel destroyed the infrastructure and the fire department, there’s a lot of fires going on from the bombings, and from people trying to find heat by burning wood and coal inside their homes,” said Sabawi.
Gabriella Shalev, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said the bombing campaign is the only way for Israel to bring about peace and security for Israelis targeted by rockets in the south.
“This is the right and the duty of every sovereign state to defend its own people so unless we get assurances and guarantees that Hamas will stop rocketing Israel, there will be no ceasefire,” Shalev told CTV Newsnet on Wednesday.
By midday Wednesday, more than two dozen rockets and mortar shells had been fired on Israel, including five that struck Beersheba, a major southern Israeli city.
Militants have been able to extend their reach with better rockets, putting more than one-tenth of the Israeli population in danger.
Since the conflict began, four Israelis, including three civilians, have been killed by militant rocket fire.
Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu said Wednesday that the Gaza government is still functioning.
“What our people want is clear: an immediate stop to all kinds of aggression, the end of the siege by all means, the opening of all border crossings, and international guarantees that the occupation will not renew this terrorist war again,” Nunu said in a statement.
The current crisis began roughly a week after a six-month truce between Israel and Hamas ended with a barrage of Hamas rocket fire. On Christmas day, 80 rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel.
Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae said Wednesday that Hamas needs to change the way it operates.
“Hamas has refused to recognize Israel and has rejected a ceasefire,” Rae told CTV Newsnet. “It’s absolutely crucial that Hamas change the way it behaves.”
At the same time, Rae said everyone has to work with the Israelis to achieve a real ceasefire that Hamas will respect.
“We all have to be working with the Israeli government to make sure that the long term efforts at finding a peaceful solution are not lost sight of,” he said.
Calls for an immediate ceasefire have also come from the Quartet — the U.S., E.U., UN and Russia — who joined together to attempt to broker a peace agreement in 2002.
“Israel says that at this stage there’s no use in exploring band aid solutions to what they still see as a grave problem — Hamas is still firing rockets from the Gaza Strip,” Mackey Frayer said.
Although it has rejected the temporary ceasefire, Israel has agreed to allow 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies into Gaza Wednesday.
Shalev said Israel’s borders were open all the time to allow aid into Gaza.
Shalev said Israel’s borders were open all the time to allow aid into Gaza.
This is a blatant lie. What BS. They wouldn’t even let the UN in with food .
How stupid are people if they believe this type of lie?
So I am guessing Israel is saying the UN lied ?
Israel is the lier. If they lie about that they will lie about anything.