Security Council postpones vote on 'protection' of Palestinians

Vote on Kuwait's resolution calling for the “protection” of Palestinian Arabs postponed after U.S. seeks changes.

Elad Benari, | updated: 00:32

UN Security Council
UN Security Council

The UN Security Council has postponed a vote on a draft resolution calling for the “protection” of Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and Judea and Samaria after the United States sought changes, diplomats said Thursday, according to AFP.

"We received very late amendments from a member-state, but we have to consider them," said Kuwait's Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi, who presented the draft resolution. He specified that the amendments were from the United States.

The vote had initially been scheduled for 6:00 pm (2200 GMT). Kuwait represents Arab countries at the council.

Diplomats expected the measure to be vetoed by the United States had it gone to a vote.

Kuwait presented the draft resolution two weeks ago, initially calling for an international protection mission for Palestinians as protests turned violent on the Israeli-Gaza border.

The final version urges "the consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection" of Palestinian civilians and requests that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres present a report on a possible "international protection mechanism."

At a Security Council meeting on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley signaled that Washington would oppose the proposals for Palestinian protection.

"The people of Gaza do not need protection from an external source. The people of Gaza need protection from Hamas," she said.

The vote comes after this week’s barrage of rocket and mortars fired from Gaza toward southern Israel. The IDF retaliated by launching air strikes on more than 65 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.

Haley has been a strong supporter of Israel at the United Nations, arguing that Israel was resorting to legitimate defense against Hamas attacks.

At Wednesday’s Security Council session, Haley said, “As I have asked my colleagues before, I will ask you again today. Who among us would accept 70 rockets launched into your country? We all know the answer to that. No one would.”

“It is outrageous for the Security Council to fail to condemn Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, while the Human Rights Council approves sending a team to investigate Israeli actions taken in self-defense. I urge the members of the Security Council to exercise at least as much scrutiny of the actions of the Hamas terrorist group as it does to Israel’s legitimate right of self-defense,” she added.

“To allow Hamas to continue to get away with its terrorist acts, and to somehow expect Israel to sit on its hands when it is attacked, is the height of hypocrisy. To continue to condemn Israel without even acknowledging what is actually coming from the leaders of Gaza makes me question who actually cares about the welfare of the Palestinian people,” Haley pointed out.

Diplomats have said the Palestinian Authority may turn to the UN General Assembly if the draft resolution on protection is vetoed by the United States.