The United Nations Security Council has held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied territories, a day after Israeli troops unleashed a brutal crackdown on Palestinian protesters, martyring dozens of people and wounding over 2,700 others.
The meeting began with a moment of silence for dozens of Palestinians martyred by Israeli forces on Monday, the bloodiest day there since a 2014 Israeli war on the Palestinian enclave.
Joanna Wronecka, Poland’s ambassador, called for the gesture of remembrance in her role as current council president.
Kuwait had called for the session after Monday’s killings.
From US friends to foes, most ambassadors announced their opposition to the US embassy move. But the main focus of the debate was the violence at the Gaza border.
Almost all ambassadors said the regime of Israel bears a responsibility to keep its response proportionate, and not use live ammunition on civilians.
Olof Skoog, Sweden’s representative said that lethal force should be exercised with restraint.
Francois Delattre, the French ambassador, said the violence threatens to engulf the Mideast region. “The situation in the Middle East is close to a perfect storm,”
Karen Pierce, the British ambassador, voiced support for a probe into Monday’s killing, then stated London’s position to the US embassy opening in al-Quds.
“Our position on the status of Jerusalem and moving the American embassy is well known,” she said. “The status of Jerusalem [al-Quds] should be determined in a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.”
Sasha Llorenty, Bolivia’s envoy said, “The unilateral decision by the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem does nothing but inflame spirits.”
“The United States, which supports the occupying power, has become an obstacle to peace. It has become part of the problem, not part of the solution.”
The envoys from China, Sweden and the Netherlands also went out of their way to reiterate their government’s position that al-Quds’s status should be left to negotiations, and their intention to keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.
Speaking at the beginning of the session, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, defended the Israeli use of force against peaceful Palestinian protesters, saying that the Tel Aviv regime had reacted with restraint in its military response to protesters at the Gaza border. She also dismissed suggestions that the violence was caused by the opening of the US embassy in al-Quds.
“No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has,” Haley told the Council. “In fact the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained,” she said.
The United States has already blocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that called for an “independent and transparent investigation” into Israel’s martyring of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border.