Danon plays Code Red at UN Security Council
Israeli ambassador Danny Danon slams 'morally bankrupt' countries blaming Israel for latest round of fighting with Hamas in Gaza, rejects calls for restraint on both sides: 'Hamas attacks and fires over 460 rockets at civilians, and Israel protects its people.'
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon played the Code Red rocket-alert siren during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council Tuesday in an effort to demonstrate what Israelis living in border communities have to contend with when Hamas launches barrages of rockets at Israel.
The Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, but diplomats said there was no agreement on how to address the crisis.
Kuwait and Bolivia requested the meeting following the worst flare-up in Gaza since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.
Speaking at the meeting, Danon slammed Security Council members who put the blame on Israel for the latest fighting with Hamas in Gaza, calling them "morally bankrupt." He also rejected calls for restraint on both sides, dubbing it "hypocrisy."
"There is no such thing as both sides," the Israeli envoy told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York. "There is Hamas that attacks and fires over 460 rockets at civilians, and there is Israel that protects its people."
When asked about the botched IDF mission that sparked the Hamas attacks and Israeli bombing of Gaza, Danon insisted, "We take action to protect our people, and we will continue to do that."
"Every time Hamas fires a rocket, children, adults, and families across the country are running in fear to bomb shelters. The Security Council should condemn Hamas for its aggressive assault on civilians and declare it once and for all a terror organization," Danon said.
"Israel has cooperated with the UN to improve the conditions in the strip. However, the rampant escalation in Gaza proves there are elements that push for another round of fighting," he added.
"Hamas uses Gaza's residents as human shields.... The State of Israel will respond with force to those acting against it, and they will feel the IDF's might day and night," the Israeli ambassador warned.
Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi said that the majority of council members believe the top UN body "should do something" and some suggested a visit to the region, but no decision was taken.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired more than 460 rockets into Israel since Monday night, which claimed the life of one man in Ashkelon, while Israeli aircraft have hit 160 targets belonging to the terror organizations in response. The warring sides have since agreed to a ceasefire.
Speaking to reporters after the 50-minute meeting, Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the council was "paralyzed" and had "failed to shoulder its responsibility" for the situation in Gaza by lack of action to end the violence.
"There is one country that is not allowing discussion at the council," Mansour said in reference to the US, which has taken a pro-Israeli stance led by President Donald Trump.
There was no statement from the council on the crisis. Such statements are agreed by consensus by all 15 council members.
Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza as the Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck terror targets, flattening buildings and destroying Hamas infrastructure.
The latest round of violence began late Sunday with a botched Israeli special forces operation inside the Gaza Strip, during which IDF Lt. Col. M was killed and another officer was moderately wounded in a fire exchange that erupted between the army and Hamas.
The Palestinians responded with rocket and mortar fire. A 19 year-old IDF soldier was critically wounded after a Cornet anti-tank missile struck a bus near the Gaza border.