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Palestine: US blocks UN Security Council statement on Gaza
UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua): The United States decided to block a draft statement of the UN Security Council which is aimed at calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian militants over Gaza, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The draft statement failed to address the root cause of the current escalation -- the continuing barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel," Erin Pelton, the spokesman for the U.S. Mission, said in the statement.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative to the United Nations, on Monday accused the United States of seeking to "filibuster" the 15-nation council's efforts to seek an early end to the recently escalated lethal clashes between Israel and Hamas.
The draft statement was circulated last Thursday by Morocco, the only representative of the Arab countries on the Security Council, to call for a halt to the Israel-Hamas hostilities. The adoption of the press statement requires consensus among all the council members.
"We made clear that we would measure any action by the Security Council based on whether it supported the ongoing diplomacy toward de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns and restores a broader calm," the spokesman said.
"By failing to call for immediate and permanent halt to rocket launches from Gaza into Israel, this press statement failed to contribute constructively to those goals," the spokesman said. "As such, we could not agree to this statement, which was counter- productive and unacceptable."
The Security Council met on Monday evening behind closed doors to consult on the draft statement, but it failed to adopted it when the meeting ended about one and a half hours later.
Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations, told reporters after the council meeting on Monday night that he and representatives of the Arab countries here did not want the Security Council to remain silent on the Gaza clashes.
"As you may know, the Arab Group was engaged all through the weekend with this situation of aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip," Mansour said. "We met with the president of the Security Council Saturday night and we conveyed to him after a meeting of the Arab ambassadors that we do not accept that the Security Council to remain on the margin, and we emphasized the urgency of the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and to stop this aggression against our people."
Over the past days, Israel and the Palestinian militants brushed aside international calls for restraint and escalated their lethal conflict over Gaza.
An Israeli bomb killed 11 people in Gaza on Sunday afternoon, including nine in three generations of a single family, in the deadliest single strike since the cross-border conflict between Israel and militant faction Hamas escalated on Wednesday, reports said.
Israeli airstrikes in Gaza were reported to have killed since Wednesday more than 90 Palestinians and wounded as many as 700 more. Three Israelis were killed by rockets fired from Gaza.
Editor: Mu Xuequan
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