Kuwait submits draft resolution to station international force at Gaza border fence amid Gaza border riots
In the wake of the Gaza border clashes, UN Security Council draft resolution suggests stationing international force to 'protect Gaza residents'; Israel's UN Ambassador Danon slams resolution, calling it 'a new low'; US Ambassador Haley says 'no country would have accepted' riots on its border, supporting Israel's actions.
If the motion garners a majority, Israel assumes the US will exercise its veto power, as it has done on numerous occasions since US President Donald Trump's election.
The draft resolution circulated by Kuwait, which is the Arab representative on the council, also demanded that Israel "immediately cease its military reprisals, collective punishment and unlawful use of force against civilians, including in the Gaza Strip."
Kuwait's effort comes after the Security Council couldn't agree even on a statement about a confrontation in Gaza Monday that left 61 Palestinians dead. Palestinian officials call it a massacre of protesters demonstrating against a decade-long blockade; Israel says it was defending its border against a militant-fueled mob.
Kuwait tried Monday to get the council to issue a statement expressing outrage at the killings and seeking an independent investigation, among other things. The US blocked the statement, saying it was one-sided and faulting it for not mentioning incitement of violence by Hamas, the Islamic terror group that rules Gaza and led the demonstration.
The Kuwaiti draft resolution called for measures to be taken to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population, including through the deployment of "an international protection mission."
It would reaffirm the council's willingness to respond to armed conflict where civilians are being targeted or aid to civilians is being deliberately obstructed and said this could include considering "appropriate measures"—UN language for sanctions.
The draft also called for "the full lifting of the blockade and the restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip." This includes "the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossing points" to allow humanitarian aid, commercial goods and people to enter and leave in accordance with international law, it said.
The draft further expressed "grave concern at the escalation of violence and tensions and the deterioration of the situation" in Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, since March 30—and at the loss of civilian lives and high casualties.
It urged immediate and unimpeded aid to civilians in Gaza, "immediate and significant steps" to stabilize the situation on the ground.
The draft called for intensified efforts by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov to help deter violence, protect civilians, and create "an environment conducive to dialogue."
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said Palestinians were looking at past UN operations in various countries to see what form a protection effort might take.
The key is "the ability to affect behavior on the ground and to provide genuine protection," she said at a news conference Wednesday at UN headquarters.
Kuwait's Ambassador to the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi said Tuesday during an emergency meeting convened by the Security Council amid the Gaza border riots that the draft resolution is meant to "provide protection to Gaza's residents."
Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said at the same meeting that the "Israeli occupation was the source of violence," and urged the Security Council to act immediately against the "massacre of the Palestinian people perpetrated by Israel."
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon slammed Kuwait's draft resolution, saying, "The cynicism and attempts to distort reality have reached a new low. Israel will continue protecting its sovereignty and its citizens' safety from Hamas's deadly terror and violence."
"Kuwait's disgraceful draft resolution is a resolution of support for Hamas's war crimes against Israel and against Gaza's residents, who are being sent to their deaths for the sake of preserving Hamas's hold on power," Danon added.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley also spoke during the UN Security Council's meeting, saying, "Hamas was the one that set fire to the Kerem Shalom Crossing, a major crossing for humanitarian supplies and goods into the Gaza Strip.
"I ask you: would you have accepted such a behavior on your border? No country would have let such a thing happen," Haley assured.
While international efforts were ongoing, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced Thursday that the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip would be opened for the passage of people and goods during the holy month of Ramadan, as a gesture of goodwill as well as an attempt at alleviating regional tension,
This would be the longest single opening in years.
Sisi's Twitter account said the opening of the crossing would "alleviate the burdens of brothers in Gaza."