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Kuwait calls on UN to condemn Israel

World body urged to deploy international force to protect civilians amid Gaza deaths

Gulf News

United Nations: Kuwait is urging the Security Council to condemn the Israeli occupation regime’s use of force against Palestinian civilians “in the strongest terms,” especially in the Gaza Strip, and to deploy an international force to protect civilians.

A draft resolution circulated by Kuwait, which is the Arab representative on the council, also demands that Israel “immediately cease its military reprisals, collective punishment and unlawful use of force against civilians, including in the Gaza Strip.”

The United States has defended Israel’s actions in Gaza and will very likely veto the resolution if it’s put to a vote.

Kuwait’s effort comes after the Security Council couldn’t agree even on a statement about a confrontation in Gaza on Monday that left 62 Palestinians dead. Palestinian officials call it a massacre of protesters demonstrating against a decade-long blockade.

Kuwait tried on Monday to get the Council to issue a statement expressing outrage at the killings and seeking an independent investigation, among other things. The US blocked the statement.

The Kuwaiti draft resolution calls for measures to be taken to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population, including through the deployment of “an international protection mission.”

It would reaffirm the Council’s willingness to respond to armed conflict where civilians are being targeted or aid to civilians is being deliberately obstructed and says this could include considering “appropriate measures” — UN language for sanctions.

The draft calls for “the full lifting of the blockade and the restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.” This includes “the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening” of border posts to allow humanitarian aid, commercial goods and people to enter and leave in accordance with international law, it says.

The draft expresses “grave concern at the escalation of violence and tensions and the deterioration of the situation” in occupied territories including east Jerusalem since March 30 — and at the loss of civilian lives and high casualties.

It urges immediate and unimpeded aid to civilians in Gaza, besides “immediate and significant steps” to stabilise the situation on the ground.

The draft calls for intensified efforts by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov to help deter violence, protect civilians, and create “an environment conducive to dialogue.”

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said Palestinians were looking at past UN operations in various countries to see what form a protection effort might take.

The key is “the ability to affect behaviour on the ground and to provide genuine protection,” she said at a news conference on Wednesday at UN headquarters.