LONDON: Arab nations slammed Israel at a stormy UN Security Council meeting on Monday that focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Representatives of several Arab states spoke out against the actions of Israeli forces against the Palestinians, particularly the weekend violence in East Jerusalem and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israel criticized the UNSC for ignoring the activities of Palestinian terror groups and the growing threat from Iran.
Tor Wennesland, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said 23 Palestinians – including three women and four children – were killed in clashes with Israeli forces, and 541 were injured by the police and the settlers.
Twelve Israelis – including two women – and three foreign nationals were killed by Palestinians, and 82 were injured.
Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s permanent observer to the UN, said Israel had “resorted to its preferred justification – security” for the violence perpetrated by its forces.
“This is the sole justification: security to justify illegal occupation, security to justify forced displacement, security to justify an inhumane blockade, security to justify killing children on the way to school, security to justify the bombardment of entire neighborhoods, security to justify attacking our people, our land and our holy places,” he added.
“They called our followers ‘terrorists’ – the distortions are endless, offensive and dangerous.”
Gilad Erden, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said Israel was in the midst of a “terror wave” of attacks.
He criticized the UNSC for not raising the issue of Iran, its activities in Lebanon and its nuclear program, which he called “a real threat to regional security”.
Hezbollah “has increased its arsenal tenfold in Lebanon”, he said, adding that it “represents only a tentacle of terror belonging to an even more threatening threat: Iran.”
“Hezbollah is one of the six proxy terrorist armies that Iran funds and arms, and Iran, as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, uses these armies to sow death and chaos in the region. .
Erden said, “As we speak, Iran’s advanced centrifuges continue to spin. The ayatollahs’ regime is only weeks away from enriching enough uranium for a nuclear bomb.
“How is it possible that the global security body doesn’t devote the majority of this Middle East debate to the Iranian nuclear threat?
He added: “Try to imagine what the Middle East will look like when Iran’s terrorist proxies can operate under a nuclear umbrella.
“How bolder will the Houthis’ attacks on international trade routes and civilian infrastructure be once they have nuclear backing?”
Other nations, however, have criticized Israel for its actions against the Palestinians in recent days. Algeria reminded the UNSC that the session took place a few days before the 74th anniversary of the dispossession of the Palestinian people during the creation of Israel in 1948, “a people whose only wrong was to reject the occupation of their land, and to call for the right to self-determination.”
Jordan, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates also criticized Israel, calling on it to defuse the situation.
The UAE called the moment a “critical moment” and condemned “the repeated incursions by Israeli forces into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as the assaults carried out by the settlers in the courtyards of Al-Haram Al-Sharif”.
Richard Mills Jr., US deputy ambassador to the UN, warned that the situation in Gaza had also become desperate and required international assistance.
“In Gaza, the need for humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and recovery remains acute,” he said. “We encourage all member states to provide concrete assistance, including financial contributions…to help meet the needs of ordinary Palestinians.