UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) — Palestinian Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, on Wednesday called the U.S. attempt to obtain a Security Council reaction to the latest escalation between Israel and Gaza “hypocrisy,” given that previous clashes resulting in severe Gazan casualties had not been addressed.
On Tuesday, the United States called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss attacks on Israel coming out of Gaza, shortly after mortars fired by Gazan militants hit Israeli civilian infrastructure, including a kindergarten.
Speaking at the emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon, Mansour said “accusations of a double standard when it comes to the Palestine question are regrettably not new in this chamber, and they will only be reinforced by the hypocrisy on display today, bringing us here to address the recent Israeli airstrikes and rocket attacks.”
“It is hard to understand attempts for a Council reaction to yesterday’s events, as if those events are somehow unrelated to those that preceded,” he said.
Mansour went on to remind the Council members that since the outbreak of the Great March of Return protests in late March, 118 Palestinians including 15 children had been killed, and that at least 13,000 civilians had been injured, mostly in clashes with Israeli forces.
The massive protests, demanding Palestinian refugees’ right to return home, were held from March 30 through May 15 mostly near the Gaza-Israel border where the brunt of the fatalities took place.
“This is the backdrop and context for recent developments. The events of past days did not occur in a vacuum,” said Mansour. “This latest cycle of violence has been fueled and incited by a series of Israeli aggressions and rhetoric.”
Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the UN, said at the meeting that over the past 24 hours, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired nearly 200 rockets and mortar shells from Gaza and into nearby Israeli towns and villages.
He urged the security council to condemn Hamas for its “war crimes against Israelis and Palestinians” and to designate Hamas as a “terrorist organization” recognized by the UN.
After Tuesday’s attacks, Hamas’ Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Jihad’s Saraya al-Quds claimed joint responsibility, according to UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, who briefed the Council before Mansour spoke.