PA's UN Envoy Pleads for Action Against Israel
The Palestinian Authority (PA) envoy to the United Nations pleaded for action on Tuesday from the Security Council over Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
"On behalf of the Palestinian people, we ask: What is the international community doing to stop this bloodletting, to stop Israel's atrocities?" the envoy, Riyad Mansour, was quoted by AFP as having said during a debate on the Gaza crisis.
During an emergency session on Sunday, the Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire and demanded protection for civilians, but it fell short of taking the stronger step of adopting a formal resolution.
"Without decisive action, the Council's resolutions and statements ring hollow as defenseless civilians find no relief from the murderous Israeli war machine," said Mansour, according to AFP.
Jordan said it would circulate a draft resolution later Tuesday that was expected to entrench the Security Council's call for an immediate ceasefire and press for measures to protect civilians.
It remained unclear when this measure would come up for a vote. Jordan, backed by Arab countries, has been pushing for a resolution since last week.
Envoys from some 60 countries lined up to address the Security Council as Israel continued to attack terrorists targets in Gaza and Hamas hit back with rockets.
Israel's deputy envoy said that Israel was acting in self-defense against Hamas.
"This is not a war we chose. It was our last resort," said David Roet, who added that Israel had accepted ceasefire offers, unlike Hamas which has rejected a truce.
Arab countries however questioned Israel's claim that it was acting in self-defense, pointing to the heavy toll among Palestinian Arab civilians, in particular women and children.
The Arab envoys did not mention the fact that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and has openly boasted about the "success" of this strategy.
"The Torah says an eye for an eye. It never claimed 100 eyes for just one," said Egypt's Ambassador Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil, according to AFP.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the Council by videolink from Ramallah that his efforts to secure a ceasefire had reached a "highly sensitive moment" and voiced hope for results "in the very near future."
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power warned that the crisis could worsen in Gaza and stressed that "the only solution is an immediate ceasefire."
More than 100,000 Gazans have reporteldy fled their homes and are sheltering in schools run by the UN relief agency UNRWA.