The United Nations Security Council met Tuesday afternoon for an emergency session regarding events at the Gaza border, following the deadliest day since Operation Protective Edge. Kuwait called for the UN Security Council meeting after 61 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,200 wounded. The IDF said 24 of those killed were terrorists.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley took Israel's side in the events that took place parallel to the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, saying Hamas, not the move, is responsible for undermining the peace process and regional stability.
"Those who suggest the Gaza violence has anything to do with the location of the American embassy are sorely mistaken," she said. "Rather the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the State of Israel in any location ... We must remember that the terrorist organization Hamas is the one undermining regional stability for many years before the US decided to move the embassy," she noted, adding "It was Hamas who set fire to the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main crossing through which equipment and food arrives in the Gaza Strip."
Haley asserted the IDF acted with unparalleled restraint, telling her fellow representatives, "Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? … No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has."
Haley also referred to last week's rocket fire by Iranian forces in Syria on the Golan Heights, calling it "provocation that must be stopped" and reiterating that "Iran's behavior undermines stability in the region."
Haley then continued to attack Hamas, saying, "They urged demonstrators to break through the fence while they lie and told them that IDF soldiers are fleeing—when in fact they are not. Hamas is so determined to make life miserable for the Palestinians. They send up burning kites and try to cause as much destruction as possible in Israel."
Britain's ambassador to the UN, Karen Price, said that her country "is concerned that the legitimate protest of Gaza residents is being exploited by militants. This is unacceptable." She added that "Britain is committed to the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as capital. This is the best solution to resolving the conflict. Today, more than ever, we need a diplomatic process.” Price emphasized that Britain "is calling for calm and restraint, because escalation will not serve the interests of either side."
France's ambassador to the United Nations Francois Daltre said that President Emmanuel Macaron condemned "the violence by the Israeli army." He added that the Elysee Palace "calls for an independent investigation of the events yesterday," but stressed that "Hamas tried to use demonstrators to harm the security of Israel."
China also expressed "great concern" about the tense situation in the Gaza Strip. Chinese Ambassador to the UN Liu Jiayi called on "the Palestinians, and especially Israel, to moderate the events. The use of violence will not bring security to anyone." He said that "the humanitarian situation in Gaza is really bad - a fact that does not bode well for either side."
Kuwait's ambassador to the United Nations, Mansour al Atibi, said at the start of the meeting that the goal was "to provide protection for Palestinian citizens." He said there were "different ways" to do so. In the draft provided to the AP before the session, Kuwait expressed anger and pain regarding the killing of protesters and called for a transparent and independent investigation. "We call on all parties to maintain restraint," the report said.
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, spoke outside the Security Council at the start of the council's emergency session: "In the last month, rioters tried to break through the fence and infiltrate into Israel, they planted explosive devices, threw burning tires and Molotov cocktails and caused extensive fires in Israeli territory," he said as he showed a photo of the fire at the Kerem Shalom Crossing.
“Last Friday they set fire to the Kerem Shalom Crossing, a major crossing for humanitarian supplies and goods into the Gaza Strip, and destroyed large parts of it. Look at this picture and understand that if the rioters would cross the fence, there is no doubt that this how Israeli communities would look like across the border," Dannon continued.
According to Danon, "Hamas is committing war crimes, but not only against Israeli civilians. Hamas continues to exploit the citizens of Gaza, including children, as human shields. While the world is quick to condemn Israel for defending its citizens, it does not seem that they are concerned by the double war crimes committed by Hamas. Every citizen who is hurt by the border is a victim of Hamas' war crimes and is their sole responsibility."