Saturday, July 01, 2006

The UN, the Palestinians, and Reuters: No fair! Israel is not allowed to fight back!
Security Council debates incursion

NEW YORK -- A Palestinian representative for the West Bank and Gaza Strip urged the U.N. Security Council yesterday to press Israel to quickly end its Gaza offensive, but the United States said Syria and Iran must first end their role as "state sponsors of terror" and condemn Hamas militants. [Ed. - Don't you just love the quotation marks]

Israel, for its part, insisted during an emergency session of the 15-nation council that its military presence was limited to a small part of southern Gaza and was intended to prevent a kidnapped Israeli soldier from being smuggled out of the area.

Israel was doing all it could to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians and planned immediate steps to improve the humanitarian situation in the area, said Daniel Carmon, Israel's deputy U.N. ambassador.

Palestinian U.N. Observer Riyad Mansour painted a dire picture of conditions in Gaza, where Israeli forces have bombed water pipelines and the area's sole power plant and attacked the Interior Ministry with missiles.

In the West Bank, Israel had detained at least 64 Palestinians including eight Hamas Cabinet ministers and 24 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, he said.

"The council cannot continue to remain passive in the face of such a military aggression against a defenseless civilian population," he said, calling for approval of a resolution condemning the incursion and urging the prompt withdrawal of Israeli forces and the release of detained officials.

However, John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called for caution.

"We should not undermine the limited credibility of the council by engaging in debate and rhetoric merely for their own sake," he said. [Ed. – I don’t envy Bolton his job. How hard must it be to enter The Twilight Zone each day for work?]

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