UNITED NATIONS – The Palestinians pushed for the quick adoption of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to the massive Israeli thrust into the Gaza Strip, despite opposition by the United States.
U.S. Ambassador John Danforth said Monday another Security Council resolution was not the answer and admonished the council which he said “acts as the adversary of the Israelis and cheerleader to the Palestinians.”
Nonetheless, Arab nations who introduced the resolution said they want a vote on Tuesday because of the urgency of the Israeli military operation that has killed 68 Palestinians and injured hundreds over five days — the deadliest Israeli incursion into Gaza in more than four years of fighting.
Nine Palestinians died Monday in northern Gaza, including four militants and a 14-year-old girl who residents said was shot as she baked bread with her mother in their garden. Israel has vowed keep its troops in the area until Palestinian militants end rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns.
“The next step is the vote, and we expect it to take place tomorrow,” said Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Palestinians’ U.N. representative, adding “many members” indicated agreement with the text.
The United States in the past has vetoed similar resolutions, saying they lacked balance by not criticizing Palestinian attacks against Israelis while concentrating just on Israeli responses.
In sharp remarks, Danforth did not speak of a veto but said he was displeased with the tone of the debate and the Arab resolution.
“What the Security Council should say, if it says anything, should be said to both sides,” he said.
“Many speakers today have spoken about the cycle of violence and that is exactly what it is. One side acts, the other side reacts, then more reaction and more violence. And round and round it goes.” Danforth said.
“And unfortunately the United Nations, both the General Assembly and the Security Council, instead of saying stop it to both sides, acts as the adversary of Israel and the cheerleader of the Palestinians. That is not the way to peace. That is not the roadmap to peace.”
Al-Kidwa scoffed at Israel’s assertion that the military operation was a justified response to the firing of two Palestinian rockets from Gaza that killed two children in the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Wednesday.
Al-Kidwa told the council that Israeli reacted to an attack by a “rudimentary” rocket by sending 2,000 troops, 100 tanks, more than 100 other armored vehicles and bulldozers and helicopter gunships into the strip, focusing on the Jebaliya refugee camp.
“Now there are hundreds of Palestinians without shelter as a result of that total demolition or partial demolition of their homes, tens of thousands without water or electricity and suffering from severe shortages of food and medicine, precipitating a genuine humanitarian tragedy,” Al-Kidwa said.
Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the Palestinian rocket attacks had become more sophisticated and created “an insufferable situation that no country … would tolerate.”
The council once again, he said, “had put the victim of terrorism in the dock and not the perpetrators.”