Killing Palestinians will ‘never, never’ make Israel more secure, Palestine envoy tells UNSC

Killing Palestinians will ‘never, never’ make Israel more secure, Palestine envoy tells UNSC
Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour speaks at the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question at the United Nations on October 18, 2023 in New York. (AFP)
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Updated 19 October 2023
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Killing Palestinians will ‘never, never’ make Israel more secure, Palestine envoy tells UNSC

Killing Palestinians will ‘never, never’ make Israel more secure, Palestine envoy tells UNSC
  • Israeli UN envoy accuses members of playing role ‘Hamas has written in their script of death and terror’
  • GCC member states say collective punishment, creating famine are old Nazi tools with no place in modern world

NEW YORK CITY: The permanent observer of the State of Palestine to the UN on Wednesday expressed disbelief that “some still speak of the right to self-defense of a power that seeks the forced transfer and annihilation” of Palestinians.

Riyad Mansour was speaking during a Security Council meeting to discuss the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. It followed a vote in which the US vetoed a draft resolution that called for “humanitarian pauses” in the conflict and condemned the attack on Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7. As justification for the decision, America’s envoy cited the failure of the resolution to mention “Israel’s right to self-defense.”

The meeting took place amid the biggest escalation in the war since it began, a day after an attack on Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday that killed hundreds of patients and civilians who had been asked to shelter in the hospital. Israel accuses the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad of carrying out the attack.

“Had this council called for a ceasefire two days ago, it would have saved hundreds of lives,” Mansour told council members, referring to a previous draft resolution proposed by Russia on Monday. It had also called for a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds but was similarly voted down by the council. Those members who voted against it cited as their reason its failure to mention Hamas.

“Stop the bloodshed. I repeat, stop the bloodshed,” Mansour told the council, adding that “killing Palestinians will never, never make Israel more secure.”

He urged members to “heed the call of the UN secretary-general, of religious leaders around the world, the Pope, the Arab states, Muslim countries of the global south, billions of people around the world, including millions who marched in your streets. Listen to them and stop the bloodshed. Stop it now.”

Speaking on behalf of Gulf Cooperation Council member states, Omani envoy Mohammed Al-Hassan told the Security Council that its failure to stand united has resulted only in more bloodshed.

“For decades, this council has been unable to find a lasting, fair solution to the question of Palestine on the basis of the international law, including resolutions adopted by the council itself. The result is victims on both sides and full lack of security,” he said

He added that “double standards have led Israel to defy this council and its resolutions. Countless times, (Israel) has committed massacres against Palestinians.”

The massacre at Al-Ahli Hospital is a “dangerous escalation, and a violation of international law and international humanitarian law,” Al-Hassan said.

“Israel (is) tearing Palestinian civilians to pieces before the eyes of the world. Isn’t this a terrorist act and a flagrant violation of international law?” he asked the ambassadors.

“Israeli criminal acts, from causing famine to collective punishment, were practiced by Nazis in World War II and have no place in today’s world.”

He called for the council to uphold international law and added: “Prove to us that no one is above the law, even if it’s Israel.”

Speaking on behalf of the Arab Group at the UN, Jordanian envoy Mahmoud Hmoud said Arab countries condemn “in the strongest terms the massacre by the criminal IDF (Israel Defense Forces) of innocent civilians who were receiving care” in Al-Ahli Hospital. Israel is solely responsible for “this heinous war crime,” he added.

Hmoud, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the Arab Group, urged the Security Council to take “immediate action for an immediate ceasefire and end Israeli aggression on Gaza.”

He said the Israeli occupation is the reason that lies behind this conflict, and called for an independent Palestinian state to be established based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, “if we want peace and security.”

Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN, Osama Abdelkhalek, described the attack on Al-Ahli Hospital as an “attempt to uproot Palestinian people and drive them away from their territority.”

He added: “This war did not begin on Oct. 8 but much earlier than that. It began when occupation began.”

He warned that “occupation cannot go on. Israel’s crimes cannot be overlooked.”

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, asked council members: “What is going on here? The most barbaric terrorist attacks in decades, bigger than 9/11, happened 10 days ago and it seems this council has already forgotten it, and I must remind some of you what happened.

“Hamas killed Holocaust survivors who escaped Nazis only to be killed in their living room.”

Dismissing calls for a two-state solution, he said the only solution for “curing a cancer is the evisceration of every cancerous cell, just as it was done with ISIS and Al-Qaeda.” ISIS is an alternative name for the terrorist group Daesh.

Erdan condemned the Security Council for not having done “the most basic thing,” adding: “You have not condemned, as a council, Hamas’ brutal terror attacks. It is unfathomable that you cannot unite even on that basic thing.”

He also accused council members of playing “the exact role that Hamas has written for you in their script of death and terror.”

He added: “Where was the UN when Hamas exploited billions of dollars in international aid to embed terror infrastructure within and below densely populated residential areas? Where were you? The UN knew all of this but remained silent.”

Erdan said it is “ludicrous” that the council is discussing humanitarian corridors instead of condemning Hamas atrocities.

“Calling for calm restraint and a ceasefire is like putting a band aid on a bullet wound,” he added.

Regarding the attack on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital on Tuesday, Erdan accused the Security Council, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, of taking claims made by “baby-killing terrorists at face value, without a second thought.”

The hospital was hit by, “and only by,” a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket, he added, and Israel has footage to prove this “beyond any doubt.”


Netanyahu blocks minister’s order to build hospital for Gaza children

Netanyahu blocks minister’s order to build hospital for Gaza children
Updated 4 sec ago
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Netanyahu blocks minister’s order to build hospital for Gaza children

Netanyahu blocks minister’s order to build hospital for Gaza children
JERUSALEM: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday overruled an order by his defense minister to build a field hospital in Israel to treat sick Gaza children, officials said.
The decision was a new sign of divisions within Netanyahu’s ruling coalition over its handling of the war in Gaza in the face of persistent international criticism of the high civilian toll.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced this week that he had ordered the building of a “temporary hospital” in Israel to treat sick children from Gaza.
Gallant discussed the project in a call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a government statement said Wednesday.
Reports said the hospital would be built close to Israel’s border with Gaza to help children suffering from cancer, diabetes and other illnesses who could not get treatment in the Palestinian territory.
But the prime minister’s office announced suddenly on Thursday that Netanyahu “does not approve the establishment of a hospital for Gazans within Israeli territory — therefore, it will not be established.”
An Israeli official told AFP the defense ministry first asked the prime minister’s office two weeks ago “to speed up the evacuation of patients, especially sick children,” from Gaza.
“No response was received, so the minister issued an order to the army to establish a field hospital within Israeli territory as an immediate solution for sick children.
“The prime minister canceled the order and, for political reasons, blocked a humanitarian solution,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Gallant and Netanyahu are longtime rivals. In March last year, the prime minister sacked his minister, a fomer general, after he spoke out against judicial reforms. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets and Netanyahu revoked his decision.

Body found, 9 men rescued in search for missing tanker crew off Oman

Body found, 9 men rescued in search for missing tanker crew off Oman
Updated 22 min 52 sec ago
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Body found, 9 men rescued in search for missing tanker crew off Oman

Body found, 9 men rescued in search for missing tanker crew off Oman
  • Six remaining crew from the Yemeni-bound and Comoros-flagged Prestige Falcon are still missing
  • Omani vessels and personnel, as well as an Indian Navy warship, joined the search

AL-MUKALLA: Nine crewmen from an oil tanker that capsized off Oman have been rescued and a body recovered, the Omani maritime agency said on Thursday.  

In a post on X, the Omani Marine Security Center said the rescued sailors, eight Indians and one Sri Lankan, are in “good health” and receiving medical attention.

Six remaining crew from the Yemeni-bound and Comoros-flagged Prestige Falcon are still missing after the tanker capsized 25 nautical miles southeast of Ras Madrakah, near the Omani port town of Duqm, on Monday.

“Search-and-rescue efforts are still ongoing to locate the remaining missing crew members,” the Omani center said.

Omani vessels and personnel, as well as an Indian Navy warship, joined the search.

The Omani Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology said in a statement on Wednesday that the Prestige Falcon “almost completely” sank, and that the cause of the incident is being investigated.

The ministry said that it has prioritized rescuing the missing crewmen, followed by righting the ship and dealing with any environmental hazards. 

This comes as Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi repeated threats on Thursday to continue attacks in the busy shipping lanes despite a recent strike that resulted in an oil spill in the Red Sea.

Al-Houthi said that 25 ballistic missiles, drones, and drone boats have been launched at ships in the past seven days alone.

He claimed that the militia attacks on 170 ships since November have left the Israeli port of Eilat facing bankruptcy, and forced the US aircraft carrier Eisenhower to “flee” the Red Sea.

“Operations at sea have a significant influence on American commercial activity, the economic position in America and Britain, and the Israeli enemy,” Al-Houthi said.

Environmentalists say that a leak from a tanker targeted by the Houthis in the Red Sea has resulted in a 200 km slick moving south, threatening the area’s already fragile ecosystem.

Wim Zwijnenburg, of the Humanitarian Disarmament Project at Dutch peace organization PAX, told Arab News that diesel from the ship’s engine is spreading to a marine conservation area near Saudi Arabia’s Farasan Island and Eritrea’s Dahlak archipelago.

“The Red Sea is home to various protected species, including turtles, sharks, and fish such as the coral grouper. But there are also indications that both pollution and climate change are affecting coastal fishing communities and coral reefs,” he said.

“This conflict-linked oil spill is just a sad continuation of further degradation of the unique ecosystems in the Red Sea.”

On Monday, a Houthi drone boat struck and damaged the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Chios Lion northwest of Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah.

Since November, the Houthis have attacked ships in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean, claiming to be acting in support of the Palestinian people and to force Israel to cease its war in Gaza.

In response, the US launched retaliatory strikes on Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and branded the militia a terrorist group.

Houthi media said on Thursday that US and UK forces carried out three airstrikes on Hodeidah city airport in the western province of Hodeidah.


Israel parliament votes to oppose Palestinian state

Israel parliament votes to oppose Palestinian state
Updated 18 July 2024
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Israel parliament votes to oppose Palestinian state

Israel parliament votes to oppose Palestinian state
  • Resolution is symbolic but lays down marker before Netanyahu’s Washington trip
  • Palestinian state would cause existential danger to Israel and its citizens, says resolution

JERUSALEM: An Israeli parliament vote to oppose a Palestinian state as an “existential threat,” just days ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, brought Palestinian and international criticism on Thursday.
The 120-member Knesset late on Wednesday passed by 68 votes to nine a resolution that said a Palestinian state on land occupied by Israel would “perpetuate the Israel-Palestinian conflict and destabilize the region.”
The resolution is symbolic but lays down a marker before Netanyahu’s Washington trip as well as an opinion to be issued by the International Court of Justice over the legality of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
“The Knesset firmly opposes the creation of a Palestinian state (on land) west of Jordan,” said the resolution, referring to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which has been devastated by the war unleashed by the October 7 Hamas attacks.
“The creation of a Palestinian state in the heart of the land of Israel would constitute an existential danger for the state of Israel and its citizens, would perpetuate the Israel-Palestinian conflict and destabilize the region.”
It predicted that Hamas would take over the state and turn it into “a radical Islamic terrorist base” seeking to destroy Israel.
The resolution said “promoting” a Palestinian state was “a reward for terrorism and would only encourage Hamas and its supporters” after the October 7 attacks.
The Palestinian Authority said there would be “neither peace nor security for anyone without the establishment of a Palestinian state.” It accused Israel’s ruling coalition of “plunging the region into an abyss.”
The French foreign ministry expressed “consternation” at the resolution that it said was “in contradiction with resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council.”
The Knesset voted by an even larger majority in February against countries unilaterally backing a Palestinian state. Spain, Ireland, Norway and Armenia have since said they recognized a Palestinian state.
The latest Knesset resolution was proposed by a right-wing deputy in opposition to Netanyahu’s coalition of conservative and far-right parties. However, coalition deputies and some centrist lawmakers voted in favor.


Netanyahu makes a surprise visit to southern Gaza, days before speech to US Congress

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu sits in a military vehicle during a surprise visit to Israeli soldiers in Rafah, Gaza Strip.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu sits in a military vehicle during a surprise visit to Israeli soldiers in Rafah, Gaza Strip.
Updated 5 min 42 sec ago
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Netanyahu makes a surprise visit to southern Gaza, days before speech to US Congress

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu sits in a military vehicle during a surprise visit to Israeli soldiers in Rafah, Gaza Strip.
  • Netanyahu’s visit to Rafah was announced hours after Israel’s far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to troops in southern Gaza on Thursday, his office said, just days before his speech to the US Congress.
Netanyahu’s visit to Rafah was announced hours after Israel’s far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, a move that could disrupt the delicate Gaza ceasefire talks.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist settler leader, said he had gone up to the contested Jerusalem hilltop compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray for the return of the hostages “but without a reckless deal, without surrendering.”
The move threatens to disrupt sensitive talks aimed at reaching a ceasefire in the 9-month-old Israel-Hamas war. Israeli negotiators landed in Cairo on Wednesday to continue talks.
The visit also came just days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves for a trip to the United States, where he will address Congress.
Ben-Gvir said while standing in front of the golden dome of Al-Aqsa Mosque that he “is praying and working hard” to ensure that Netanyahu will not give in to international pressure and will continue with the military campaign in Gaza.
Ben-Gvir last visited the site in May to protest countries unilaterally recognizing Palestinian statehood.
He has been convicted eight times for offenses that include racism and supporting a terrorist organization. As a teen, his views were so extreme that the army banned him from compulsory military service.
As security minister, Ben-Gvir oversees the country’s police force. As a key coalition partner, Ben-Gvir also has the power to rob Netanyahu of his parliamentary majority and try to force early elections.
Ben-Gvir has used his influence to push forward pet projects and encourage Netanyahu to press ahead with the war in Gaza in the face of widespread calls to reach a ceasefire deal that would bring home hostages.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Ben-Gvir’s visit as a “provocative intrusion” that endangered the fragile status quo regarding the Jerusalem hilltop compound, which is considered holy for both Muslims and Jews.
The site is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, and by Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif, a holy site and important national symbol. Ben-Gvir has frequently visited the site during times of conflict, drawing condemnation. Tensions over the compound have fueled past rounds of violence.


Israel parliament votes to oppose Palestinian state

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses lawmakers in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses lawmakers in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem.
Updated 18 July 2024
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Israel parliament votes to oppose Palestinian state

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses lawmakers in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem.
  • “The Knesset firmly opposes the creation of a Palestinian state (on land) west of Jordan,” said the resolution
  • The French foreign ministry expressed “consternation” at the resolution

JERUSALEM: An Israeli parliament vote to oppose a Palestinian state as an “existential threat,” just days ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, brought Palestinian and international criticism on Thursday.
The 120-member Knesset late on Wednesday passed by 68 votes to nine a resolution that said a Palestinian state on land occupied by Israel would “perpetuate the Israel-Palestinian conflict and destabilize the region.”
The resolution is symbolic but lays down a marker before Netanyahu’s Washington trip as well as an opinion to be issued by the International Court of Justice over the legality of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
“The Knesset firmly opposes the creation of a Palestinian state (on land) west of Jordan,” said the resolution, referring to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which has been devastated by the war unleashed by the October 7 Hamas attacks.
“The creation of a Palestinian state in the heart of the land of Israel would constitute an existential danger for the state of Israel and its citizens, would perpetuate the Israel-Palestinian conflict and destabilize the region.”
It predicted that Hamas would take over the state and turn it into “a radical Islamic terrorist base” seeking to destroy Israel.
The resolution said “promoting” a Palestinian state was “a reward for terrorism and would only encourage Hamas and its supporters” after the October 7 attacks.
The Palestinian Authority said there would be “neither peace nor security for anyone without the establishment of a Palestinian state.” It accused Israel’s ruling coalition of “plunging the region into an abyss.”
The French foreign ministry expressed “consternation” at the resolution that it said was “in contradiction with resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council.”
The Knesset voted by an even larger majority in February against countries unilaterally backing a Palestinian state. Spain, Ireland, Norway and Armenia have since said they recognized a Palestinian state.
The latest Knesset resolution was proposed by a right-wing deputy in opposition to Netanyahu’s coalition of conservative and far-right parties. However, coalition deputies and some centrist lawmakers voted in favor.