A third day of discussions at the UN Security Council failed to produce a compromise statement that would press for an end to the Israeli lockdown of the Gaza Strip as well as to rocket firing into the Jewish state.
Experts of the 15-member body met behind closed doors overnight Friday to amend a draft statement submitted by the Arab League that calls on Israel to end its siege of Gaza and ensure "unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people" but makes no mention of the rocket attacks that triggered the blockade.
Only one of the 15 council members - the United States - opposes the Arab draft. A senior US envoy said Washington was unhappy with it because it fails to condemn the "terrorism" against Israel and ignores the causes of the problem.
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations criticized the organization's humanitarian affairs chief for failing to acknowledge the suffering caused by Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza.
Rice: Gaza-Egypt border needs to be protected
Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman was referring to comments last week by UN Undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs John Holmes, who said Israel's decision to shut all border crossings with Gaza had led to a humanitarian crisis and was "collective punishment" for its 1.5 million people.
"I did not hear Mr Holmes describe the 4,100 rockets which have been launched at Israeli cities aimed at the killing of Israeli babies and children, innocents, as a humanitarian crisis," Gillerman told reporters.
"I want to remind Mr Holmes and everybody else who is so worried about the situation in Gaza that Israel left Gaza over two years ago completely," he said.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday that Egypt must ensure the security of its border on the Gaza Strip where militants have blown a hole in the wall built by Israel.
"I understand that it's a difficult situation for them. But it is an international border. It needs to be protected and I believe that Egypt understands the importance of doing that," Rice told reporters before arriving in Medellin on a trip to promote a free trade agreement with Colombia.