US Blocks UN Security Council Probe Into Deaths of Palestinian Rioters

March 31, 2018

2 min read

The United States blocked a United Nations (UN) Security Council statement that called for an investigation into the deaths of at least 15 Palestinians who were rioting at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip over the weekend.

According to AFP, the draft statement, recognized the “the right to peaceful protest” and conveyed “sorrow at the loss of innocent Palestinian lives.”

The statement also “called upon all sides to exercise restraint and prevent a further escalation.”

Kuwait, which is currently one of the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, presented the statement that was circulated among the Security Council on Friday, the eve of Passover.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon expressed his displeasure in a formal complaint against the UN Security Council’s scheduling of an emergency session on the first night of Passover.

“The State of Kuwait, with full knowledge that our permanent mission, Israel and Jews everywhere were observing the first night of Passover, hijacked the consultations, forced an open session and invited the Palestinian delegation to present remarks that they had been advised to prepare well in advance,” Danon said.

“Israel was not given the same advance notice and was barred from taking part in the deliberations due to the observance of our religious holiday,” he continued.

“I would like to remind the Council that exploiting procedural rules so that one side can make its case while the other cannot is antithetical to the spirit of the United Nations and is a direct affront to the fundamental principles of honest deliberation.”

Meanwhile, the office of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres called for an independent investigation into the deaths of the Palestinian rioters

UN spokesman Farhan Haq relayed Guterres’ statement to the media, saying that the secretary-general wanted “an independent and transparent investigation” into the violence.

“This tragedy underlines the urgency of revitalizing the peace process aiming at creating the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations for a peaceful solution that will allow Palestinians and Israelis to live side by side peacefully and in security,” Haq said.
Addressing the UN Security Council, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN, claimed that most of the rioters were at a significant distance from the border fence and were not violent.
“However, there are also reports that some protestors engaged in stone-throwing and violent behavior; some reportedly carrying weapons,” he admitted.
Zerihoun also noted that some rioters tried to get through the fence and plant explosives, referencing Israeli media reports. Moreover, he also affirmed that Israel “sent out warnings that it would act to prevent any breach of the border fence or violations of Israel’s sovereignty.”

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