Special Coordinator Urges Security Council to Intensify Pressure on Israelis, Palestinians amid Most Serious Escalation of Violence Since 2014

SC/13360
30 May 2018
8272nd Meeting (PM)

Special Coordinator Urges Security Council to Intensify Pressure on Israelis, Palestinians amid Most Serious Escalation of Violence Since 2014

Events unfolding in and around Gaza marked the most serious escalation of violence since the 2014 conflict between Hamas and Israel, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council today, as he called for intensified pressure on Israelis and Palestinians to advance a just and sustainable peace.

Describing the fresh fighting as a warning of how close the parties were to the brink of war, Nickolay Mladenov said that, between 28 and 30 May, 216 projectiles, rockets and mortar shells had been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.  In response, Israel had carried out air strikes on 65 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.  Hamas’ Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Jihad’s Saraya al-Quds had claimed joint responsibility for the rocket-fire attacks, blaming Israel for having targeted their fighters in the preceding 48 hours.

“Such attacks are completely unacceptable,” he stressed, urging the international community to join the United Nations in unequivocally condemning them.  However, the situation had since calmed, he noted, welcoming Egypt’s efforts to ensure that the calm prevailed.  He recalled that in his briefing last week, he had been encouraged by the Council’s willingness to consider ideas on changing the reality in Gaza.  However, the failure to act immediately with a set of relatively modest, achievable interventions would drastically increase the risk of confrontation, he warned.

He went on to state that the United Nations would immediately make efforts to facilitate project implementation in Gaza and to improve its coordination with Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority with the aim of overcoming political, administrative and logistical blockages.  The Organization would do its utmost to ensure that Gazans had a future “where you are the masters of your own fate”, united under a single, democratic and legitimate Government in a State of Palestine, living peacefully alongside Israel, he pledged.

In the ensuing debate, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine urged the Council to prevent Israel from terrorizing Palestinian civilians.  “We have been brought here today precisely because of the constant mistake of detaching developments from the root causes and the reality of the existence of the Israeli occupation,” he emphasized.  Israel could not claim the exclusive right to security, and attempts to justify its illegal actions under the pretext of security were totally unacceptable.

Israel’s representative responded by saying the Council should condemn Hamas for its war crimes against Israelis and Palestinians, and designate it a terrorist group.  The situation in Gaza was a direct result of its refusal to condemn violence, he said, vowing that if Israeli children were not allowed to sleep at night, then terrorists in Gaza would feel the might of the Israel Defense Forces.

Many delegates decried indiscriminate attacks against civilians as illegal and unjustifiable by anyone at any time, with Kuwait’s representative calling attention to a draft resolution that his delegation had tabled requiring international protection for Palestinians.  As long as the occupation persisted, Palestinians had the right to defend their aspirations for an independent and free life, he stressed.

Several delegates, including the representatives of Sweden and Ethiopia, welcomed Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate tensions and open the Rafah crossing point during the holy month of Ramadan.  Bolivia’s representative pointed out that 2 million Gazans were living without electricity, medicine or safe drinking water — the result of Israel’s 11-year-long blockade of the enclave.

The representative of the United States, meanwhile, asked:  “Who among us would accept 70 rockets launched into your country?”  The people of Gaza did not require protection from any external force, but from Hamas itself, she said, expressing hope that the ceasefire unilaterally declared by Hamas would hold.

Describing the use of force as “a road to nowhere”, the Russian Federation’s delegate said that the Middle East Quartet (European Union, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) was the appropriate forum for helping the region to surmount the long‑standing impasse.  China’s representative added that his country’s Special Envoy had recently met with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, as well as the Special Coordinator, sending a message on the need for progress on the peace process.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Peru, Kazakhstan, Côte d’Ivoire, Netherlands, Equatorial Guinea and Poland.

The meeting began at 3:07 p.m. and ended at 4:59 p.m.

Briefing

NICKOLAY MLADENOV, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, described events unfolding in and around Gaza as the most serious escalation since the 2014 conflict between Hamas and Israel.  Citing the Israel Defense Forces, he said that, between 28 and 30 May,  projectiles, including rockets and mortar shells, had been fired from Gaza towards Israel, 77 of which had hit the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev regions.  While most had been intercepted by the Iron Dome system, one had hit a kindergarten yard.  In response, Israel had carried out air strikes on 65 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, destroying a tunnel near the Kerem Shalom crossing.

He said that, on 29 May, Hamas’ Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Jihad’s Saraya al-Quds had claimed joint responsibility for the attacks, blaming Israel for targeting their fighters in the preceding 48 hours.  “Such attacks are completely unacceptable,” he emphasized, urging the international community to join the United Nations in condemning them unequivocally.  The dangerous escalation in Gaza had followed repeated United Nations warnings, he said, noting that they could not be divorced from the recent protests at the Gaza fence in which some 110 Palestinians had been killed.

On 27 May, he continued, the Israel Defense Forces, responding to an improvised explosive device found near the fence, had targeted an Islamic Jihad observation post, killing three members of the group, after which it had vowed to retaliate.  The Israeli military’s subsequent shelling of another observation post had killed a member of the Hamas military wing.  As of today, the situation was quiet, he said, welcoming Egypt’s efforts to ensure that calm prevailed.  Reiterating his call for all sides to uphold all understandings, he declared:  “It is imperative that this period of calm be preserved at all costs.”

Stressing that no one had the right to play with the lives of 2 million Gazans who had lived through hell over the last decade, he said that, despite the violence, Gaza’s civilian infrastructure had not sustained significant damage.  The Rafah crossing into Egypt was continuing operations for the nineteenth consecutive day, while the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings into Israel had experienced only minor delays.  However, fire from Gaza had damaged electricity installations on Israel’s side, resulting in a 30 per cent reduction in supply into Gaza, he said, adding that, today, the total supply was barely enough to provide three hours of sustained power.

He said that he had been encouraged by the Council’s willingness last week to consider ideas for changing the reality in Gaza, warning that failure to act immediately with a set of relatively modest, achievable interventions would not only amplify the humanitarian crisis but drastically increase the risk of confrontation.  He emphasized that the goals he had outlined last week were as valid as ever:  to prevent war, address urgent humanitarian needs and support Egypt’s reconciliation efforts.  He called for immediate implementation of approved projects; the revival of efforts to empower the Government to take up its responsibilities; efforts to sustain the 2014 ceasefire understandings on the ground; and a halt to the militant build up.

For its part, the United Nations would immediately enhance its ability to facilitate project implementation in Gaza, he said.  The Organization would also improve its coordination with Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority to overcome political, administrative and logistical blockages.  That plan was the only way to ensure that “we do not allow Gaza to become a pawn in someone else’s plans”.  Sending a message to Palestinians in Gaza, he said:  “We hear your plight.”  The United Nations would to its utmost to ensure they had a future of freedom and development “where you are the masters of your own fate”.  It would be a future for all Palestinians, united under a single, democratic and legitimate Government, living in a State of Palestine peacefully alongside Israel.  With that in mind, it was high time to intensify calls on Israelis and Palestinians to advance the goal of a just and sustainable peace, he said, underlining that such actions must encompass the political objectives of Gaza and the West Bank unified under the Palestinian Authority, an end to the occupation, and resolution of the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two-State formula.

Statements

NIKKI R. HALEY (United States) said that her delegation had called today’s meeting to discuss the destructive activities of the terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  It had also proposed a Council statement condemning Hamas for its recent rocket attacks against Israel, she added, noting that, while “this should have been a no brainer”, the statement had nevertheless been blocked.  The United States had then called for a meeting under the agenda item “threats to international peace and security”, but that had also been blocked because some delegations felt that rocket attacks did not qualify as terrorism.  The United States strongly rejected that assessment, she said, recalling that Hamas had indiscriminately fired at least 70 rockets into Israel — intending only to cause as much destruction as possible — one of which had landed in a kindergarten playground.

Hamas had proudly claimed responsibility for the attack, she continued, noting that the action had demonstrated once again the group’s stated purpose — the destruction of Israel.  The people of Gaza did not require protection from any external force, but from Hamas itself, she emphasized, asking:  “Who among us would accept 70 rockets launched into your country?”  Expressing support for Mr. Mladenov’s proposals and hope that the ceasefire unilaterally declared by Hamas would hold, she said it was unacceptable that the Human Rights Council had decided to send a fact-finding team to investigate actions taken by Israel in self-defence along the border with Gaza while the international community continued to sit on its hands when Israel was attacked.  “This is the height of hypocrisy,” she stressed, adding that while the Palestinian people deserved a better life, that could only be achieved by a more responsible leadership and a return to the negotiating table.

KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom), emphasizing that indiscriminate attacks against civilians were unacceptable and unjustifiable, said the latest attacks once again revealed the very real risk of a renewed war in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  They also threatened efforts to renew the peace process, she said, urging the Council to take all action to protect it.  The actions of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad — embracing violence and rejecting the Middle East Quartet principles — lay at the heart of the conflict, she said, calling upon all parties to cease provocative actions that put civilian lives at risk.  Nevertheless, Israel’s restrictions on the movement of Gaza’s inhabitants had contributed to the escalating tensions, she said, adding that it was the international community’s responsibility to work together to alleviate the humanitarian suffering.  She said that her delegation supported the Special Representative’s proposed support of infrastructure projects and engagement with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt to reduce tensions, adding that the United Kingdom had just announced a new pledge of more than $2 million in life‑saving support for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to keep hospitals in Gaza open at a time when its health‑care system was under great strain.  Ultimately, however, only a negotiated political resolution would put a lasting end to the conflict, she stressed.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), warning that the events of 29 May had revealed a real risk that violence on the ground could spiral out of control, said that, at the same time, the situation was “sadly predicable” and the same causes were producing the same results.  Condemning the rockets attacks from Gaza that deliberately targeted civilians, he reiterated France’s commitment to Israel’s security while urging all parties to exercise restraint.  The goal must be to avoid a deadly conflict in which civilians would pay the highest price.  The armed escalation had come after two months of repression and violence by Israeli security forces against Palestinian protesters, which had left more than 116 dead and thousands wounded as a result of the Israeli military’s disproportionate use of force, he noted.  Emphasizing that the protests must remain peaceful — and that Hamas must not be allowed to abuse them for military ends — he described Gaza’s ongoing humanitarian crisis as structural in nature.  Indeed, the recent protests could not be separated from the despair felt by Gaza’s people, and tensions would not recede until the population was supported and provided with hope.  Inviting the United States not to abandon its historic role in supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he emphasized that it remained critical for regional peace and stability.  However, there was need for a more long‑term response to the situation in line with Mr. Mladenov’s proposals.  The objective should be to lift the blockade while respecting Israel’s security concerns, he stressed, pointing out that the Security Council’s “heavy silence” on the matter showed the world that it was powerless and put its very credibility at stake.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), noting that the situation continued to deteriorate, condemned the targeting of civilians by any party at any time.  However, as long as the occupation persisted, Palestinians had the right to fight it and to defend their aspirations for an independent and free life, he emphasized, declaring:  “We support their fight.”  Kuwait commended their steadfastness in the face of the destructive Israeli regime, he said, stressing that the occupation was in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and must end, as it was the root cause of the regional conflict.  It was unacceptable that the international community remained silent in face of violations of international humanitarian law and the 1949 Geneva Conventions, he said, stressing that unlawful unilateral measures to Judaize Jerusalem continued, as had incursions into Al-Aqsa mosque.  Those actions provoked Muslims, as did the blockade of Gaza, which had lasted more than a decade.  Kuwait had tabled a draft resolution requiring international protection for Palestinians, he said, calling for transparency and inclusiveness in the attendant negotiations, having taken many amendments on board.  He expressed hope that the Council would send a message that it would stand by the side of the Palestinians, he said, welcoming the Human Rights Council’s 18 May resolution to send a committee to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially Gaza, to investigate Israel’s violations.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) expressed regret that the border between Israel and Gaza had again become an area of armed activity, describing civilians in Israel and Palestine as its “hostages”.  Relying on force and refraining from dialogue was “a road to nowhere”, he said, calling on both parties to exercise restraint.  The Council had dealt with the undesirable consequences of the stalemate between the parties, which prevented it from removing such chronic problems as provocative rhetoric, unilateral actions and settlement activity, he emphasized, advocating renewed efforts to activate the political process, including Security Council decisions and the Arab Peace Initiative.  The outcome should follow the two-State formula entailing a sovereign, independent State of Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem, he stressed.  Condemning the indiscriminate use of force against civilians, as well as the firing of rockets into Israel, he called for easing the difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza, pointing out that despair was a fertile breeding ground for radicalism.  Underscoring the important role of Egypt and Jordan in Palestinian affairs, he said the Middle East Quartet (European Union, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) was the appropriate forum for helping the region to surmount the impasse.

MA ZHAOXU (China) expressed concern over the escalation, pressing Israel and the Palestinians to work in the same direction, cease military action and take steps to de-escalate the situation.  Disputes must be settled by peaceful means, he emphasized, urging the Council to foster peace and create the conditions for stabilizing the situation and resuming dialogue.  China’s Special Envoy had recently met with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, as well as the Special Coordinator, he said, adding that they had exchanged views on the Gaza situation and sent a message on the need for continued progress on the Middle East peace process.  Describing the Palestinian question as the underlying obstacle to peace in the Middle East, he called for a relaunch of the peace process and urged the international community to advocate a lasting solution at an early date.  It should also uphold the two-State formula and work within the existing international consensus, including the land-for-peace principle and the Arab Peace Initiative.  China supported a fully sovereign, independent State of Palestine established within the pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, he emphasized, and would continue to follow President Xi Jinging’s four-point proposal on resolving the issue.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden), condemning the indiscriminate firing of rockets towards Israel by Palestinian militants, called for them to cease immediately.  “Yesterday’s attack did not take place in a vacuum,” he emphasized, recalling that, since 30 March, the Council had been repeatedly seized of violence in and around Gaza, which “we all know […] is on the verge of social and economic collapse”.  The international community must urgently address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and alleviate the suffering of its people, he stressed, reiterating his delegation’s appeal to support UNRWA during its present financial crisis.  It was high time to end the policy of closure in Gaza, he said, calling for the lifting of all restrictions, as well as full and sustained access and movement.  Welcoming Egypt’s decision to open the Rafah crossing point during the month of Ramadan, as well as that country’s efforts towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation, he said the Council also bore a responsibility to contribute to de-escalation efforts.  “We regret that this Council has not been able to agree on public expressions relating to Gaza,” he said, urging members to come together to address the crisis and more broadly advance the peace process in accordance with the two-State formula.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) recalled that it had only been two weeks since the Council’s emergency meeting on violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in which it had called upon Israel to exercise maximum restraint, and on Hamas to prevent violence.  He echoed the deep concern expressed over the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza, noting that, unless the peace process was advanced and the underlying problems resolved, the tragedy would reach a point of no return.  “That is where we seem to be headed,” he said, underscoring the importance of resolving the situation through the two-State formula.  He welcomed Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate tensions, stressing that it was important to “get the narrative right” on the potentially dangerous situation, which was conducive to the creation of all sorts of groups that could threaten the entire region.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), condemning all attacks against civilians and expressing support for Israel’s legitimate right to self-defence, also voiced concern about the escalating tensions and rhetoric in recent days.  All parties must act in strict accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, he emphasized, urging the Council to ensure a proper level of accountability for recent actions.  He also expressed regret that the consensus necessary within the Council to alleviate the worrying humanitarian situating in Gaza and tackle the root causes of the conflict remained out of reach.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) emphasized that all violence was counterproductive and denounced terrorism and incitement in all their forms, saying neither would advance the dream of Palestinian statehood.  At the same time, Israel must understand that its continued occupation and heavy-handed security measures played into the hands of violent extremists and undermined moderate voices, “which we need as bridge-builders”.  Condemning the firing of rocket from Gaza towards Israel on 29 May — which could endanger the peace process by hardening diverse positions and sharpening rhetoric on all sides — he also agreed with Mr. Mladenov’s assessment that anti-Semitic statements and inflammatory remarks were unacceptable, disturbing and did not serve the interests of the Palestinian people.  Leaders had an obligation to confront hate speech and conspiracy theories that fuelled tensions, he stressed.  Both sides must halt the hostilities, and those with influence over them should urge maximum restraint.  Underlining the importance of intra-Palestinian unity under a legitimate and democratic Palestinian Authority, he called upon the Middle East Quartet to intensify efforts to resume negotiations and upon the international community to respond to Gaza’s difficult humanitarian situation.

ILAHIRI ALCIDE DJEDJE (Côte d’Ivoire) voiced grave concern over the new cycle of violence and condemned the fighting, calling on the parties to both uphold a ceasefire and commit to a constructive dialogue.  There was no military solution to the crisis, he emphasized, saying that only credible political negotiations would allow for the creation of two States living in peace and security with the legitimate recognition of their respective rights.  The international community must pursue mediation for resumed negotiations that would lead to a two-State solution.  Expressing regret that over the absence of promising political avenues, he said the violence only exacerbated a difficult economic situation, marked by unemployment, as well as shortages of water and electricity.  Côte d’Ivoire advocated measures to foster economic development in Gaza, he said, while stressing that inter-Palestinian dialogue must continue between Hamas and Fatah, and calling more broadly on all parties to refrain from violence.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) decried attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, which were always unjustifiable.  Welcoming Egypt’s efforts to foster a ceasefire in Gaza, he called on Israel to reverse its decision to continue its aerial bombardments.  Stressing that 2 million Gazans lacked electricity and medicine, and lived with shortages of safe drinking water — the result of the 11-year-long blockade — he pressed Israel to abide by its obligations under international law, including the fourth Geneva Convention — and as the occupying Power — to open all border crossings for the entry of humanitarian and other goods.  The Security Council must support the resolution to be tabled by Kuwait on the protection of civilians, he said.  Reiterating Bolivia’s rejection of Israel’s settlement policies, he said they were in violation of resolution 2334 (2017), he said, emphasizing that they — and their illegal occupation by Israel — lay at the root of the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  He expressed support for the two-State formula to establish Palestinian State within the pre-1967 borders, in accordance with the relevant Council and General Assembly resolutions.

KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), condemning the 29 May attacks and calling for restraints on all sides, said the events demonstrated how quickly the fragile situation on the ground could spiral out of control.  “Civilians on both sides of the fence should not live in fear,” he said, welcoming the Council’s consensus that the humanitarian situation in Gaza must be addressed.  The challenge now was to identify how to act on that matter, he said, welcoming Mr. Mladenov’s plans to fast-track urgently needed water, energy and health projects.  Reiterating his delegation’s support for an appropriate public expression by the Council on the current crisis — one “that does justice to our shared concerns” — he said a political solution was also required to ensure a sustainable solution to the current humanitarian and security challenges.  The Netherlands therefore supported Egypt’s initiative to ensure the Palestinian Authority’s return as the legitimate Government in Gaza, as well as its constructive role in maintaining calm between the parties, he said.  Turning to the situation in the West Bank, he expressed concern about Israel’s intention to enforce the demolition of all structures in the Khan al-Ahmar community.  Area C was critical to the viability of a future Palestinian State, and the demolitions, confiscation of homes and humanitarian obstruction — as well as illegal settlement expansion — violated Israel’s obligations under international law, he emphasized.

JOB OBIANG ESONO MBENGONO (Equatorial Guinea), condemning all acts of violence by anyone, as well as all attacks against civilians, voiced regret that despite its repeated appeals, the Council was once again meeting to discuss more violence in the Gaza Strip.  Recalling Mr. Mladenov’s warning that Gaza was close to total collapse, he called for restraint and for the parties to avoid “stepping over the edge” in what was already a very delicate situation.  Instead, they should work towards normalizing the situation on the ground and easing humanitarian suffering.  Had all parties abided by the terms of their reconciliation agreement, the Palestinian Authority would be in charge of Gaza and Israel would not have used disproportionate force in its response to the recent protests at the Gaza border, he said, expressing his delegation’s full support for revived dialogue towards a two-State solution.  Equatorial Guinea called upon all States to avoid actions that could “bode ill” for those on the ground, he added.

JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland), Council President for May, spoke in her national capacity, condemning in the strongest terms the rocket attacks targeting civilians in southern Israel by militant groups in Gaza.  There was no justification under any circumstances for indiscriminate and deliberate violence against civilians, she said, emphasizing:  “They must stop.”  Both Israelis and Palestinians had a right to live in safety, and both sides should exercise the utmost restraint, refraining from actions that could escalate the situation.  She called upon all actors to ensure the protection of civilians and strict compliance with their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

RIYAD H. MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, urged the Security Council to act immediately to de-escalate the dangerous situation, deter the descent into more violence and chaos, and prevent the occupying Power from further terrorizing and endangering the Palestinian civilian population.  He called upon the Council to protect the defenceless, and to stand firmly on the side of international law with a steady moral compass, and not fall prey to the cynical narrative that was constantly dragging both sides to the brink of war, thwarting all efforts to find a just solution.  He also appealed for conscience and reason to prevail, while predicting that further escalation and deterioration of the situation were inevitable.  “We must act to avert the worst‑case scenarios, for the risks are immense,” he emphasized.

It was time to stop making excuses about why it was not the right time to act, continually absolving Israel of its crimes and facilitating its evasion of accountability, he continued.  It was inexcusable for the international community to continue standing idly by, while only expressing regret yet failing to act.  It was time to address the root causes and underlying issues of the situation, not just the symptoms, he stressed.  “We have been brought here today precisely because of the constant mistake of detaching developments from the root causes and the reality of the existence of the Israeli occupation, dispossession and colonization of the Palestinian people.

He went on to underline that the double standard over the Palestinian question was not new and was being reinforced by today’s meeting.  Perhaps some had already forgotten the 14 May slaughter of unarmed Palestinian civilians, including innocent children.  Israel’s suffocating blockade had depleted the coping capacities of the Palestinian people and intensified their despair, he said, declaring:  “Do not minimize their suffering.”  The events of the past few days had not occurred in a vacuum, he said, calling attention to the latest cycle of Israeli aggressions and rhetoric.  Israel could not claim an exclusive right to security, and attempts to justify its illegal actions under that pretext were totally unacceptable, he stressed.

DANNY DANON (Israel) called on the Council to condemn Hamas for its war crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians, and to designate the organization as a terrorist group, exactly as it had done with Al-Qaida and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).  Recalling that Hamas and Islamic Jihad had fired nearly 200 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel over the past 24 hours, he said the former had also incited and paid mobs to breach the border fence in recent weeks, opening fire upon Israeli soldiers and detonating explosives.  He said the events of the last day had confirmed his delegation’s countless warnings about Hamas, he said, adding that Iranian money had been used to pay rioters and Iranian rockets fired into Israel.  “We have here a situation that is black and white,” he said, stressing that while Israel had disengaged from Gaza in 2005 Hamas had done nothing but terrorize his country and prolong the suffering of Gaza’s population.

Emphasizing that the current situation in Gaza was a direct result of Hamas’ refusal to condemn violence, he said “if there were no terror, there would be no restrictions, and it is the people of Gaza who would benefit most”.  There was no moral equivalence, nor any question of morality, yet some Council members were circulating a shameful draft resolution that failed to mention Hamas even once.  “The idea that Hamas’ violence is being rewarded by a resolution condemning Israel is absurd,” he stressed, urging the Council to take action by designating Hamas as a terrorist organization — a move that would allow it to sanction the group’s leaders, members and every person, entity or country with which it was associated.  “Let me be clear:  if Israeli children are not allowed to sleep quietly at night, then the terrorists of Gaza will feel the might of the [Israel Defense Forces],” he said, calling upon Council members to have the courage and moral clarity to take up his delegation’s urgent proposals.

For information media. Not an official record.