WASHINGTON – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
and the foreign ministers of several Arab countries are leaving for New York in order to take part in a special United Nations Security Council discussion on the situation in Gaza.
The meeting may take place on Friday night, but will most likely convene on Monday at the earliest, in a bid to allow the rest of the Arab representatives – including the Egyptian, Saudi, Jordanian, Moroccan, Syrian and Libyan ambassadors – to make it to the session.
The diplomatic hourglass will be activated over the weekend, at the end of the New Year break, subject to developments on the ground, and particularly to footage from Gaza which will be presented on television networks worldwide.
Abbas wants to take part in the meeting in order to show that the Palestinian Authority is the body which truly cares for the wellbeing of Gaza's residents, as opposed to Hamas.
The Egyptians, Saudis and Jordanians also seek to show at the Security Council that their concern is for the Strip's inhabitants.
On the agenda is an extreme draft resolution submitted Wednesday night by Libya, the representative of the group of Arab countries at the Security Council. Libya asked for an urgent Council meeting in order to impose an immediate ceasefire.
The draft resolution "strongly condemns all military attacks and the excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by Israel, the occupying power, which have led to the death and injury of scores of innocent Palestinian civilians, including women and children."
The Libyan offer fails to mention rockets fired into Israel by Hamas. The US and British delegates described the Arab-drafted resolution as unbalanced during the previous discussion.
Following Wednesday night's meeting, the draft resolution was handed over to the Security Council members for instruction. The legal advisors of the UN ambassadors were expected to meet Thursday night to discuss additional draft resolutions, in preparation for the Security Council meeting on the situation in Gaza.
Five countries replaced on January 1 served as representatives during the previous Security Council meeting. The new composition is slightly more sympathetic to Israel, but not significantly.
South Africa and Panama, whose representatives' delivered hostile speeches against Israel, have been replaced by Mexico and Uganda, which are more convenient to the Jewish state. Japan replaces Indonesia as the Asian representatives, and Austria and Turkey replace Italy and Belgium.