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US stymies Security Council action on Gaza
Thursday, January 24, 2008 : (IPS) - Despite intensifying calls for international pressure to address the fast deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip, observers and some diplomats say the UN Security Council has proved as ineffective as it has been for many years concerning issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On Tuesday, the Council called an emergency meeting during which a vast majority of delegates strongly condemned Israel's blockade of the occupied Palestinian areas and charged that it was violating international humanitarian law.
Yet at the end of the day, the Council failed to adopt a draft presidential statement calling for Israel "to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people and to open the border crossings to facilitate the passage of exports and imports to the Gaza Strip."
Why? Because it was not acceptable to the US delegation, a diplomat present at the meeting told IPS. The US rejected the first draft statement because it did not cover Israeli concerns about rocket fire by Palestinian militants into its territory.
The Council called another meeting Wednesday, but failed to issue a presidential statement based on the third draft, which, according to the source, was prepared by the diplomats representing the European Union.
"We were hoping ... but unfortunately we have not agreed," South African ambassador Dumisani Kumalo told reporters about the outcome of the Wednesday's meeting, adding that "everybody [in the Council] said they wanted the Security Council to speak out."