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Guterres to UNSC: We’re working on a Gaza ceasefire, violence must stop

CM 17/05/2021 42

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The United States and the United Nations said they were working for a Gaza ceasefire when they briefed a special UN Security Council meeting that convened virtually, as Hamas barraged Israel with rockets for the seventh day in a row and the IDF launched counter strikes.
“The US has been working tirelessly through diplomatic channels to try to bring an end to this conflict,” Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 15 member UNSC. She spoke as US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr was in the region to help broker a ceasefire. He met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
The White House has also been involved, Thomas-Greenfield said. President Joe Biden spoke with Netanyahu, and Blinken spoke with senior Israeli, Palestinian and regional leaders. Those efforts come on top of the Egyptian and Qatari envoys who have been in direct contact with Hamas. 
“The United States remains intensively engaged with Israeli, Egyptian, and Qatari officials, as well as the Special Coordinator and his team – all of whom are working to define and establish conditions for a sustainable calm,” she said. Thomas-Greenfield explained that the US is “prepared to lend our support and good offices should the parties seek a ceasefire, because we believe Israelis and Palestinians equally have a right to live in safety and security. The current violence has deprived both communities of this basic right,” she said.
She called for an end to the Hamas rocket fire and said she was “concerned about the ongoing inter-communal violence within mixed communities in Israel.”
“We urge all parties to avoid actions that undermine a peaceful future,” the ambassador said. “This includes avoiding incitement, violent attacks and terrorist acts, as well as evictions – including in east Jerusalem – demolitions, and settlement construction east of the 1967 lines. And critically, all parties need to uphold and respect the historic status quo at the holy sites.”
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL Antonio Guterres said the “United Nations is actively engaging all sides towards an immediate ceasefire. The hostilities have already caused unconscionable death, immense suffering and damage to vital infrastructure.” He spoke as Hamas barraged Israel with rockets for the seventh day in a row and the IDF launched counter strikes.
“I am appalled by the increasingly large numbers of Palestinian civilian casualties, including many women and children, from Israeli strikes in Gaza. I also deplore Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza,” Guterres said.
He added that he was also concerned by violent clashes between Israeli security forces in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as well as the rioting within sovereign Israel between Jewish and Arab citizens.
“I am also deeply concerned by violent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, where some Palestinian families are under threat of eviction,” he stated.
“In Israel, violence by vigilante-style groups and mobs has added a further horrendous dimension to an already deteriorating crisis.  Leaders on all sides have a responsibility to curb inflammatory rhetoric and calm the rising tensions,” Guterres said.
Representatives from Egypt and Jordan were at the special meeting, as were those from Israel and the PA. 
PALESTINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER Riyad Malki accused Israel of war crimes and called on the UNSC to hold Israel accountable for its actions, including through an arms embargo or the suspension of relations with Israel.
Israel “has claimed the rights to security it denies us. Why not put yourself in our shoes? What would you do if your country was under occupation and your people were massacred?” he said.
“How many Palestinians killed is enough for a condemnation; what is the threshold for outrage?” he asked as he pointed to an incident in which nine members of one family were killed.
“Israel is not only a military power, it is a nuclear power,’ he said. Israel is protected by an Iron Dome, but the Palestinians have no safe place to go; it is the Palestinian citizens who needs protection and compassion,” he said.
“Palestinian freedom is the only path to peace, and the UNSC has a moral duty to help the Palestinians achieve this freedom,” Malki said.
ISRAEL’S AMBASSADOR to both the UN and the US Gilad Erdan  spoke the council about the cost of the rocket barrage against Israel, holding up a photo of Nadeen Awwad, 16, an Israeli-Arab teen who was killed by a rocket along with her father last week.
“She was studying  biology and chemistry, and she dreamed  of changing the world. She was murdered  last Wednesday by the radical, Jihadi terrorist group Hamas,” Erdan said. 
“Over the last week, millions of Israeli children, women and men, have been huddling in bomb shelters, while thousands of Hamas rockets landed all around them,” he explained. 
He asked UNSC members what they would do “if an organization with a similar fanatic jihadist ideology as ISIS, was bombing Beijing or Moscow or Dublin and shutting down the airports of Paris or Oslo or London? What would you expect the Security Council to do?”
Hamas, he said, not only wants to destroy the state of Israel, “it’s also vying to take power in the West Bank, and to replace the Palestinian Authority.”
Erdan accused Hamas of escalating tensions in Jerusalem and of inciting violence on the Temple Mount. Israel “cherishes freedom of religion. Every year during Ramadan, and throughout the year, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are free to pray at their holy site in peace,” he said.
Israel, he said, had done its best to diffuse tensions in the capital, including by denying a Supreme Court hearing on the pending eviction of four Palestinian families in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which has gained international attention.  
It rerouted the Jerusalem Day Parade and prevented Jewish visitors from accessing the site, Erdan said. 
Hamas’s response, he said, was to launch rockets at Jerusalem, adding that the terrorist group has used international aid to build an underground network of tunnels, beneath playgrounds, hospitals and mosques to carry out attacks against civilians.
Israel has done its best to strike military targets and to minimize civilian harm, the ambassador said.
He further charged that Hamas had called on Israeli Arabs to attack Jews, which had led to the ongoing rioting within sovereign Israel, which also included Jewish attacks against Arabs.
He called on the UNSC to condemn Hamas’s indiscriminate rocket fire and to demand the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. 
“You have two choices. You can create false moral equivalence – immoral equivalence – between the actions of a democracy that sanctifies life, and those of a terrorist organization that glorifies death, by calling for restraint on all sides, and failing to unequivocally condemn Hamas,” he said. 
Or, Erdan said, “You can send a clear message to Hamas that the international community will no longer accept its strategy of turning Palestinian children into human shields, and using schools, hospitals and high rises to hide its terror machine. You can choose to support a more peaceful future by demanding the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and insisting on an authority in Gaza that invests in the well-being of the people of Gaza, rather than in the destruction of the State of Israel. “
UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR to the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefed the council on the damage caused by the violence.
Since May 10, Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, he said, have launched over 2900 indiscriminate rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, killing nine Israelis at the time, including five women and two children, and one Indian national. In addition, he said, over 250 people were injured, 23 were severely wounded.
The IDF, he said, has conducted over 950 strikes against “what it said were militant targets, including weapons factories and depots, tunnel networks, Hamas training facilities, intelligence and security headquarters and offices and homes of senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives.”
Such strikes have killed over 100 Hamas operates, Wennesland said, as he placed the overall Palestinian death toll in Gaza at 181. 
He added that the dead also included 52 children and 31 women and said that over 34,000 people had been displaced.
“As a result of the military operations, seven factories, 40 schools and at least four hospitals sustained complete or partial damage. At least 18 buildings, including four high-rise towers… one hosting international media outlets, have been destroyed and over 350 buildings damaged,” Wennesland said. “According to the IDF, these buildings contained Hamas military installations.”


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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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