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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Kuwait blocks US statement condemning Hamas at UN Security Council

The Arab state is sponsoring a draft resolution that calls for protection for Palestinian people

Israeli soldiers on tanks are stationed few kilometres from the border with Gaza. Reports state the Israeli military said Palestinian militants in Gaza on 29 May fired more than 100 projectiles and rockets into Israel. Abir Sultan/ EPA
Israeli soldiers on tanks are stationed few kilometres from the border with Gaza. Reports state the Israeli military said Palestinian militants in Gaza on 29 May fired more than 100 projectiles and rockets into Israel. Abir Sultan/ EPA

The United Nations Security Council failed on Wednesday to agree on a statement that condemns the Palestinian group Hamas, with Kuwait blocking a US draft that slams the militant group for firing a barrage of rockets into Israel on Tuesday.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley voiced disappointment over the council’s failure to adopt the statement, calling the inaction “outrageous” and describing the UN body as “disconnected”.

"Who among us would accept 70 rockets launched into your country?" she asked at an emergency session requested by the US to discuss the barrage of rocket attacks into Israel.

Calling the response of Israel by carrying air strikes as “inevitable” and “part of self defence”, Ms Haley said the people of Gaza “need protection from Hamas ... not from an external force”.

Both the UK and France condemned the mortar attacks from Gaza, and warned of further escalation that would put Gaza on the “brink of war” and carry regional implications. They also condemned the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces two weeks ago.

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French representative Francois Delattre criticised the “disproportionate use of force” by Israel.

Speaking at the session, Kuwait’s representative Mansour Ayyad Al Otaibi did not mention the rocket attacks and instead condemned use of violence “by all sides”.

He criticised the Israeli occupation and blamed it as the reason behind the recent escalation. “Palestinians are the ones that deserve protection not the [Israeli] occupation power,” Mr Al Otaibi said.

Kuwait holds a non-permanent seat at the council for this cycle, and used a procedural measure to block the vote. The Arab state is also sponsoring a draft resolution that calls for protection for the Palestinian people.

A copy of the draft obtained by The National requests UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “to examine the present situation and to submit a written report, as soon as possible, but not later than 60 days from the adoption of the present resolution, containing, inter alia, his proposals on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation, including, inter alia, recommendations regarding the establishment of an international protection mission”.

The draft also calls for “tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation, including in support of the mediation efforts of Egypt”.

The Kuwaiti draft is not expected to pass in its current form, and the Arab state is consulting with the Europeans for possible amendments ahead of a vote by Friday.

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