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Palestinians make UN aid appeal as Council fails to find consensus

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Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour. Photo/ALARABIYA

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, on Tuesday, pleaded with the world body to gather more humanitarian aid for Gaza amid intense Israeli bombing, as the Security Council held its fourth meeting on the conflict without issuing a statement.

A convoy of international aid trucks that started rolling into Gaza through a border crossing from Israel, Kerem Shalom, was quickly halted Tuesday when Israel shuttered it again, citing a mortar attack on the area.

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“I asked the UN to issue an emergency call for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip immediately,” Mansour told a press conference at UN headquarters in New York.

“We cannot continue to live under this aggressive apartheid regime. This occupation has to end. We need to have the independence of our state with east Jerusalem as its capital where we can live with dignity and freedom.”

The UN Security Council meanwhile held its fourth emergency meeting in just over a week on the crisis, but no declaration was issued, and the talks lasted less than an hour.

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“We do not judge that a public pronouncement right now will help de-escalate,” US envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield said during the closed-door meeting, according to a diplomat.

“With regard to further Security Council action, we must assess if any given action or statement will advance prospects for ending the violence.”

Several diplomats told AFP that China, Tunisia and Norway — the three countries pushing for action in the Council — did not send other members a new proposed statement ahead of the talks.

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– ‘Time to break silence‘ –
The United States had rejected three prior drafts calling for an end to the fighting, which has killed 213 Palestinians, including 61 children, and wounded more than 1,400 people in Gaza, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

The death toll on the Israeli side rose to 12 when a volley of rockets Hamas fired at the southern Eshkol region killed two Thai nationals working in a factory and wounded several others, police said.

Mansour said it was “shameful” that the Council had not expressed “a unified position calling for the end of this aggression.”

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Sofiane Mimouni, chair of the Arab Group at the UN, told reporters: “We are disappointed to see the Security Council unable to pronounce itself on the grave and serious situation.”

For Thomas-Greenfield, “our focus has been and will continue to be on an intensive diplomatic engagement to bring this violence to an end,” rejecting criticism of Washington’s stance.

Her Irish counterpart, Geraldine Byrne Nason, issued a scathing statement after the Council meeting.

“Conflict is raging, resulting in utterly devastating humanitarian impact. The Security Council has yet to utter a single word publicly,” the Irish envoy said.

“Council members have a collective responsibility for international peace and security. It is high time the Council steps up, breaks its silence and speaks out.”

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