Palestine envoy criticizes UN’s failure to act in Gaza

World Today

A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows smoke billowing from buildings following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City

Palestine’s envoy to the United Nations criticized the UN Security Council on Wednesday for its lack of action over what he called Israel’s “collective punishment” in Gaza.

“The Security Council is dragging its feet while aggression and collective punishment is taking place against all people. We demanded that the Security Council to act and to act immediately to bring this aggression to a halt,” said Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.

Mansour also directed his criticism at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for “not condemning the killing of civilians, particularly the killing of children.”

More than 60 Palestinians are reported to have died in Israeli airstrikes since Tuesday.

In an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the threat of an Israeli ground offensive and “an all-out escalation” is preventable only if Hamas stops firing rockets and mortars into Israel.

The secretary-general, who is engaged in an intense round of global diplomacy to try to end the conflict, called for “bold thinking and creative ideas” and urged the world to accelerate efforts to immediately end the violence.

“Now is not a time for further incitement or vengeance,” Ban said. “Any further spiral of violence could have alarming unforeseen consequences,” he warned.

Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Ban called on both sides to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could “bring a greater escalation and destabilization instability in the region.”

His comments came after Israel said Hamas had targeted multiple cities in overnight rocket attacks.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor responded to Mansour’s comments by claiming that Israel had been forced into the conflict after the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers. Israel claims Hamas was behind the killings.

“Hamas dragged us in to this conflict. First they kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers as they made their way home from school. Then they began indiscriminately to fire rockets on our home and our cities.These rockets threaten the lives of 40 percent of Israel’s population, that is 3.5 million men, women and children,” said Prosor.

This report was compiled with information from CCTV News and The Associated Press.