Sunday, March 29, 2009

United Nations Continues to Weigh-in on Gaza Crossings

The U.N. weighed in with another demonstration of hand wringing over Israel's refusal to allow unfettered access to Gaza. Accusations flew across the Security Council table on March 25, 2009 as Israel was accused of making the humanitarian situation worse in Gaza.

B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, lamented that a " a worrying situation of impasse and uncertainty existed. Despite international engagement and support, very little concrete progress had been made on key issues outlined in Council resolution 1860 (2009), including the establishment of a proper ceasefire regime in Gaza, unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance, opening of the crossings, prevention of illicit trafficking in arms and ammunitions, and intra-Palestinian reconciliation."

No mention was made by Mr. Pascoe of the fate of Gilad Schalit, an Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas for more than 3 years.

As the Palestinian representative charged that
"Everyone was now aware of the human and physical tolls of destruction deliberately inflicted by the occupying Power [Israel] over three weeks, the magnitude of which was unprecedented since the beginning of the occupation in 1967."
Gabriela Shalev, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, responded by agreeing that

"civilians on both sides, including children, had indeed borne the burden of the conflict. Children in the cities of southern Israel asked their parents why more than 1,000 rockets had been fired into their communities. Osher Twito, who had loved playing soccer, had been eight years old when he had lost both legs a year-and-a-half ago and asked his parents that question every day. Each side had stories to tell, but they should only be used to advance the cause of peace.

Interestingly, representatives from Uganda, Turkey, China, Costa Rica, Viet Nam and Russia did not waste their time criticizing Israel. Instead, they focused on the need to stop rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.

Here's the full briefing to Security Council.

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