US only Security Council member to block UN inquiry into Gaza violence
For the second week in a row, the US has vetoed a UN Security Council (UNSC) statement calling on Secretary General Antonio Guterres to launch an independent inquiry into the Gaza violence. Put forward by Kuwait, a non-permanent UNSC member, it also reaffirmed the Palestinians’ right to peacefully oppose Israeli policies on the occupied lands.
Fourteen of the 15 Security Council members agreed to the statement, but the United States, Israel's closest ally, voted against, Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday evening. He said the UN rejection was “very irresponsible,” and that it gives Israel “the green light to continue with their onslaught against the civilian population” in Gaza.
Last Saturday, the US blocked a similar draft statement also introduced by Kuwait. The text called for a probe into the Gaza violence and also expressed “grave concern at the situation at the border,” according to AFP.
“We will not give up,” Mansour said on Friday. “We will continue knocking on doors.” Among the options on the table is seeking a Security Council presidential statement or resolution, as well as appealing to the UN General Assembly or the UN Human Rights Council where there are no vetoes.
Maged Abdelaziz, the Arab League’s UN ambassador, said the Gaza violence will be discussed at a ministerial meeting in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh on April 12.
Commenting on the Friday vote, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said the council “should condemn Hamas, which uses children as human shields while risking their lives, and must call for the end of these provocations which only increase the violence and tensions,” as cited by the Times of Israel.
In an opinion piece for the New York Times, he claimed that during the Gaza clashes, “armed terrorists were dispersed among the protesters,” adding that numerous efforts were made to breach the fence that “separates a sovereign, democratic state and a murderous terrorist entity.”
The news comes as violence continues to grip the Gaza-Israel border. On Friday, it was reported that 10 Palestinians, including two teenagers, were killed during the second week of the Great Return March protests. The Palestinian Red Crescent told RT it provided first aid to 81 people injured in Gaza Strip, and said 36 out of the total had bullet injuries. Three of those are serious injuries to the chest and head.
The Great Return March, which unfolded in late March, is planned to continue up until the anniversary of the mass exodus from their land during the establishment of the state of Israel. Israelis celebrate this as Independence Day. Gaza is home to 2 million people, many of them refugees expelled from Israel who hope their right to return will one day be granted.
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