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Loss disheartening, emboldens Israel – Arab League values Kuwaiti efforts to protect Palestinians

A Palestinian protester holds his national flag as smoke billows from burning tyres during a demonstration along the border with the Gaza Strip east of Gaza City on June 1. (AFP)

KUWAIT CITY, June 2, (Agencies): The UN Security Council’s failure to adopt the Kuwaiti-sponsored draft resolution, aimed at providing international protection for Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, is “disheartening,” said a Kuwait senior diplomat late Saturday.

The vote on the draft resolution saw 10 countries, including Kuwait, China, and France, voting in favor of the draft while four nations abstained and the US using veto. A voting session on a similar US-backed resolution on the matter was held, garnering three opposing votes from Kuwait, Russia and Bolivia while 11 nations — including France, China, and the UK — abstained.

The sole vote in favor of the resolution came from the US. Delivering his speech to the Council’s voting session on the Kuwaiti-backed draft, Kuwait’s permanent representative to the UN headquarters in New York, Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi said that the failure to adopt the resolution would encourage Israel to continue its decades-long aggression against the Palestinian, which escalated in the past few months.

Through the rejection of the draft resolution, the Council was sending a message that Israel was beyond the boundaries of international law and that the people of Palestine were unworthy of basic human rights and protection, noted Ambassador Al-Otaibi.

The Kuwaiti diplomat said that despite knowing the true aggressors, the Security Council had failed to hold Israel accountable for its actions, a matter that will have grave consequences on the Palestinian people. Ambassador Al-Otaibi thanked all those who voted in favor of the draft resolutions; however, he urged the international community to “wake up” and address the plight of the Palestinian people in a just and impartial manner to help protect their dignity and humanity.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul-Gheit has valued Kuwait’s recent intensive efforts at the UNSC to provide an international protection for Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Kuwait submitted a draft resolution to the UNSC on May 18, in which it condemned Israel’s use of force against the Palestinian people and called for a protection of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories from the Israeli atrocities.

The UNSC delayed a vote on the Kuwaiti-proposed draft resolution on June 1, and eventually failed to adopt it after the US vetoed the resolution.

Abul-Gheit, in a statement Saturday, lauded the Arab Group’s efforts at the UNSC in backing the Kuwaiti-sponsored resolution, and, strongly, denounced Washington’s use of veto to block it. He also expressed disappointment at the UK’s abstaining, along with The Netherlands, Poland, and Ethiopia, from voting on the draft resolution.

He also voiced his sorrow over UNSC’s inability to bear its responsibilities to impose measures aimed to end Israeli escalated violations against the Palestinian people. In recent months, Israeli occupying forces killed and wounded hundreds of unarmed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Abul-Gheit noted, adding such crimes have been widely condemned by the international community.

Washington’s current approach in undermining any resolution aimed at stopping the bloodshed of innocent Palestinians would only lead to encouraging the Israelis to continue their hostile and oppressive actions that clearly violate international legitimacy and law, he said. It would also diminish the chances of making the appropriate atmosphere to resume peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, and achieve a just and comprehensive settlement for the Palestinian cause, he added.

Furthermore, Abul-Gheit affirmed the League’s keenness to continue its “firm” and “solid” commitment to work in favor of supporting the Palestinian cause and protecting the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, of which most notably establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The United States vetoed Friday an Arab-backed UN draft resolution calling for measures to protect the Palestinians but failed to win any backing for its own text condemning Hamas for the violence in Gaza.

The two failed votes at the Security Council came a few hours after a young Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border fence. At least 123 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began at the end of March. No Israelis have been killed. US Ambassador Nikki Haley declared that “it is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel,” saying council members were “willing to blame Israel, but unwilling to blame Hamas.” Ten countries, including China, France and Russia voted in favor of the draft put forward by Kuwait on behalf of Arab countries.

Four countries — Britain, Ethiopia, The Netherlands and Poland — abstained. Kuwait’s Ambassador Mansour Al- Otaibi said the US veto “will increase the sense of despair among the Palestinians,” fuel further violence and “feed the sentiments of hatred and extremism.” The Kuwait-drafted text had called for “measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and requested a UN report on proposals for an “international protection mechanism.”

Haley told the council the measure was “wildly inaccurate in its characterization of recent events in Gaza” by condemning Israel for the violence and failing to mention Hamas, which rules Gaza. “The terrorist group Hamas bears primary responsibility for the awful living conditions in Gaza,” she told the council ahead of the vote. During a second vote, the United States failed to win support for its own rival measure calling on Palestinian militants to halt their protests in Gaza and condemning Hamas.

Eleven countries abstained, while Russia and two others opposed it. A draft resolution requires nine votes to be adopted in the 15-member council and no veto from the five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The outcome deepened the deadlock at the top UN body over how to respond to the fl areup of violence in Gaza that a UN envoy has warned is close to the brink of war.

“This session was another missed opportunity for this council,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre said, deploring an “increasingly deafening silence” from the United Nations on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. A barrage of rocket and mortars into Israel from Gaza on Tuesday was followed by Israeli strikes on 65 militant sites in the Gaza Strip in the worst flareup since the 2014 war. Israel has fought three wars in Gaza against Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist organization. After the failed votes, Arab diplomats said they were considering turning to the UN General Assembly to win adoption for the US-vetoed resolution.

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