WASHINGTON - The world must not interpret Israel's restraint as an acceptance of the situation, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman said Wednesday during the Security Council's monthly meeting on "the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian question."
Lynn Pascoe, who heads the Department of Political Affairs at the UN, warned against "the violence between Israel
and the Palestinians" and noted that in the past month there were 69 violent clashes between the two sides, which resulted in the killing of 21 Palestinians and in arrests.
In his report to the Security Council, Pascoe attempted to present the diplomatic progress made in terms of the Saudi initiative and the Palestinian unity government, but Ambassador Gillerman asked the Council to "return to reality."
"That harrowing reality was seen yesterday when Hamas, by its own account, launched
more than 28 Qassam rockets and 61 mortar shells at Israel. The rockets detonated across a large area of land, and as far north as the city of Ashkelon.
"These attacks, which came as Israelis woke up to celebrate Independence Day, were nothing short of an act of severe provocation.
"Later in the day, we learned that Hamas’s fierce rocket fire was just a front, to divert attention away from its truly evil plans, to kidnap an Israeli soldier. Thankfully, the IDF thwarted the kidnapping."
Gillerman dismissed Hamas' declaration that the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip was over.
"Since the ceasefire began at the end of November 2006, Israel has continually exhibited restraint to the more than 200 rockets fired at it by Palestinian terrorists. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself and its people, as enumerated in article 51 of the United Nations Charter, and will do so if the attacks do not stop," he added.
The Israeli ambassador sought to present the Security Council with the true colors of the Hamas-led unity government.
"Israel needs no further evidence to know that Hamas’s ways are not the ways of peace. Hamas has shown it will not stop its campaign of terror until its unholy ambitions of destroying Israel are fulfilled. Nothing – no initiatives, summits, or declarations – can take the place of an end to Palestinian terror."