The United States government has sought to call out Palestinian terror group Hamas as the chief instigators of the violence seen at the Gaza/Israel border over the past weeks. In a distinct break from the foreign police of previous administrations, the Trump administration has reportedly blocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that called for an “independent and transparent investigation” into the violence and the role of the Israeli armed forces.
Some reports have indicated that as many as 58 Palestinians lost their lives as a result of yesterday’s clashes, and there has been widespread criticism of the IDF in their use of live fire as protesters rushed the border.
The Security Council statement was drafted by Kuwait ahead of today’s meeting and raised concerns over the use of force by the Israelis.
“The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest,” the draft text reads, as reported by the Telegraph. “The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability.”
However, at the emergency UN Security Council meeting held this afternoon, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, fundamentally disagreed with the accusations leveled against the Israeli forces.
“In recent days, Hamas terrorists, backed by Iran, have incited attacks against Israeli security forces and infrastructure,” Haley said. “That is violence that should occupy our attention too.” Haley went on to say that the Israeli armed forces had shown ‘restraint’ in their dealing with the violent onslaught of Palestinian demonstrators attempting to breach the border.
“Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border?” the ambassador asked the UN Security Council members.
“No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has,” Haley answered. “In fact, the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained.”
In a piercing set of remarks, Haley argued that the UN continues to demonstrate “double standards” against Israel.
And for those who are attempting to use the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem as a direct explanation for the violence, Haley had posed a question to the chamber: “How is that justified?”
“Let’s remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy,” she stated. “Those who suggest that the Gaza violence has anything to do with the location of the American embassy are sorely mistaken.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 15, 2018
“In recent days, multiple news organizations have documented the Hamas incitement in Gaza. They have documented the Hamas maps and social media which show the fastest routes to reach Israeli communities in case demonstrators make it through the security fence. They have reported Hamas messages over loudspeakers that urge demonstrators to burst through the fence, falsely claiming Israeli soldiers were fleeing, when if fact, they were not.”
Haley added: “Hamas has attacked the Kerem Shalom Crossing, the biggest entry point in Gaza for fuel, food and medical supplies. This is how determined they are to make the lives of the Palestinian people miserable.”
The message put across to the United Nations by the Ambassador signals a marked break from the rhetoric of previous administrations toward the Arab/Israeli conflict. Indeed, one of President Obama’s final acts in the White House was to send over $350 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority – a move considered so dangerous that the funds were frozen by the State Department under President Trump.
“The easiest way to sum it up is that Congress had been looking at various behaviors from Palestine — unilateral attempts at statehood, corruption, incitement of violence, and paying salaries to people in jail for terrorism — and that’s why the hold has been there,” Dr. Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Business Insider regarding the money transfer.
“I was tracking President Obama’s 11th-hour moves on the Palestinians, and this issue never came up once … Most analysts and observers didn’t think Obama would or could do this,” Schanzer said, calling Obama’s final move shocking and “a strange message to send.”
The leader of the Palestinian Authority, Schanzer argued, has become shrouded in accusations of corruption. Obama is “releasing funds to a guy that’s become an autocrat,” Schanzer noted at the time.
In his final speech to the UN before leaving the Oval Office, President Obama told Israel it cannot permanently occupy and settle on Palestinian land. “Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel,” he said on Tuesday.
“But Israel must recognise that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.”
John Brennan, former CIA Director under President Obama, lambasted Trump the Jerusalem embassy move and asserted that the President “played politics” and “destroyed US peacemaker role.”
Deaths in Gaza result of utter disregard of Messers Trump & Netanyahu for Palestinian rights & homeland. By moving Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump played politics, destroyed US peacemaker role. New generation of Israelis/Palestinians need to isolate extremists to find path to peace.
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) May 14, 2018
No progress was made regarding a prospective peace agreement between the Israeli’s and the Palestinian’s in the eight years President Obama was in office.