“EWe hope that all members of the Council strongly condemn what happened” in Israel, US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told the media shortly before the start of the closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council.
“We hope to hear from other members of the Council a strong condemnation of these heinous terrorist acts committed against the Israeli people and their Government,” Wood added, noting that this was not at this stage a matter of a “declaration” by the Council.
According to diplomatic sources, cited by the France-Presse agency, members of the Security Council are considering issuing a joint statement, but discussions are difficult.
Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said China is “in favor” of a Council statement.
“We condemn all attacks against civilians,” declared the Chinese diplomat, but at the same time insisted on the need for a return to a peace process to achieve a two-state solution.
Israel officially declared itself at war with Hamas on Sunday, following the unprecedented offensive launched the day before by the Palestinian Islamic movement from the Gaza Strip, whose death toll (in total on both sides) rose to more than a thousand.
Israel has “one and only one demand” for the UN Security Council, said the Israeli ambassador to the organization, Gilad Erdan: “Hamas’ war crimes must be unequivocally condemned, these unimaginable atrocities must be condemned.”
And he added that “Israel must receive unwavering support to defend itself.”
“Unfortunately, for some media and politicians, the story only begins when the Israelis are killed,” responded the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, who represents the Palestinian Authority and not Hamas.
“We will never accept rhetoric that denigrates our humanity and denies our rights, rhetoric that ignores the occupation of our lands and the oppression of our people,” Mansour added.
For the Palestinian diplomat the message is clear: “Now is not the time to let Israel persist in its terrible choices. The time has come to tell Israel to change course and that there is a path to peace in which neither Palestinians nor Israelis are dead.”
The UN Security Council, regularly divided on this issue, denounced Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories last January, considering that they put the two-state solution at risk.
This was the first Security Council decision on this issue in six years.
In December 2016, for the first time since 1979, the UN Security Council called on Israel to end colonization in the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian Islamic group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israeli territory on Saturday, called operation “Al-Aqsa Storm”, with the launch of thousands of rockets and the incursion of armed militiamen by land, sea and air.
In response, Israel bombed several Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip from the air, in an operation it dubbed “Iron Swords”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel is “at war” with Hamas, a group considered terrorist by Israel, the US and the European Union (EU).
The armed confrontation continues today, with numerous rockets launched from the Gaza Strip and Israeli bombings against hundreds of Hamas targets in the Palestinian enclave.
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