Palestinians accuse U.S. of "blocking" UN statement on Gaza

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-01 02:13:43|Editor: Chengcheng
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Mourners carry the body of a Palestinian who was killed a day earlier during clashes with Israeli troops near the borders, during his funeral in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, March 31, 2018. The UN Security Council held an urgent session Saturday over the Gaza violent incident at the request of Kuwait, this month's chair, but failed to reach an agreement on a final statement over the incident that left 15 killed and over 1,200 injured. In light of that, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an independent and transparent investigation into the Gaza rally incident and the killing of 15 Palestinians. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)

RAMALLAH, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians on Saturday accused the United States of blocking a United Nations Security Council statement on the situation in the Gaza Strip and said the U.S. objections encourage Israel to continue its aggressive actions against the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian National Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Malki said in an official statement that "Washington would block any effort in the Security Council related to the massacre committed and to be committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip."

He added that "without the absolute U.S. protection in the Security Council, Israel won't dare to commit terrible crimes against the Palestinians."

In a closed-door session held at a request of Kuwait to discuss the bloody incidents in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening, the UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement condemning Israel's repression of the Palestinian popular protests on the anniversary of the Land Day.

"The decision was to go for an official open session, but the U.S. side opposed the idea that the Security Council issues a statement to condemn Israel's repression of demonstrators," said Representative of the state of Palestine in the UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour.

He also said "the efforts are continuing ... we will see in the next few hours and days whether we will succeed in this, or what are the other steps if they remain insistent on not allowing the council to assume its responsibilities in condemning the crime and prosecuting those responsible."

Mansour unveiled that "several European countries, including the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, demanded an investigation into events in the Gaza Strip, pointing out that the Palestinian side is pushing in this direction."

He also said the Palestinian side "won't accept a probe conducted by the Israelis themselves, but we want to investigate by impartial and fair bodies to brief the world in on this crime," stressing on the need to start the probe as soon as possible.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Saturday that the objections of the United States at the UN Security Council have led to thwarting the issuance of a resolution denouncing the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people and the killing of 16 Palestinians.

He added that this provides a cover for Israel to continue its aggression against the Palestinian people and encourage it to defy international legitimacy resolutions that aim at ending the occupation.

Abu Rudeinah said in a statement published by WAFA Saturday that it will only increase Palestinian resilience with the continuation of the U.S. approach to protect the occupation and obstruct all international attempts to pressure Netanyahu's government to stop its aggressiveness.

"The Palestinian side can go to the General Assembly of the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and the Commission on Human Rights and we will not stop in our quest to condemn the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people," said Nabil Shaath, an aide to President Abbas for foreign affairs.

Disabling a Security Council statement on Gaza "asserts that the United States is a partner in the crime with its strategic ally," said Hanan Ashrawi, the official in Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee.

"We are looking for a unified international position to act to provide urgent protection to the Palestinians, and to hold Israel accountable for these crimes," she said.

Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy chairman in President Abbas Fatah Party, considered the U.S. position "a new development in the U.S. bias towards Israel."

President Abbas held Israel totally responsible for the events on Friday and declared Saturday as a national mourning day.

A coordination committee composed of Palestinian political factions, civil society organizations and youth groups called weeks ago for a large popular rally at nearly 700 meters away from the Israeli border fence under the title of the "Great March of Return" starting Friday.

The Friday rally was the start of a six-week long protest that is expected to reach a peak on May 15, the day Israel celebrates its establishment and Palestinians mark the forcible transfer of two thirds of the Palestinian people and the ethnic cleansing of 418 Palestinian villages.

Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees should be allowed the right of return to the towns and villages from which their families fled or were forcibly driven out of when the State of Israel was created in 1948.

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KEY WORDS: Gaza Strip