U.N. Security Council fails to adopt resolution on Gaza
Arab states called an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to debate the situation in Gaza Strip, demanding in a draft resolution an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The evening session adjourned without a vote being called and diplomats said negotiations would be held in coming days over the draft, which Western delegates described as unbalanced and focusing almost entirely on Israel's actions.
The resolution, introduced by Libya, called for "an immediate ceasefire and for its full respect by both sides." It also demanded protection for Palestinian civilians, opening border crossings into Gaza and "restoration of calm in full." According to Reuters, it denounced "the excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by Israel" but its only mention of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel was a vague reference to "the deterioration of the situation in southern Israel."
"It's going to need a lot of work," one Western diplomat said of the resolution. British Ambassador John Sawers told reporters the draft "needs to reflect the responsibilities of all the parties." But he said a balanced resolution "will have a good chance of securing support across the Security Council."
On his part, American Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told the council Washington wanted to see "an immediate ceasefire that is sustainable and implemented by all."
In the council debate, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, echoed by European speakers, blamed both sides for what he called the "terrifying" conditions in Gaza Strip. He slammed the "irresponsibility" of the rocket attacks and the "disproportionality" of Israel's response.
In a harshly worded speech, Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said Israel's attacks and restrictions on aid convoys into the Palestinian territory "in their own way represent a crime of genocide."
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