New Straits Times

UN warns Gaza on the brink of war


NEW YORK: The latest escalation of fighting between Israel and Palestinia­n Hamas has pushed Gaza to the brink of war, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East warned the Security Council on Wednesday.

Nickolay Mladenov delivered the stark warning as the council remained deadlocked over how to respond to the flare-up between Palestinia­n militants in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

“This latest round of attacks is a warning to all of how close to the brink of war we are every day,” said Mladenov, who spoke via video link from Jerusalem.

The council met in emergency session at the request of the United States, which had asked the top UN body to condemn rocket firings by Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Israel.

But Kuwait, a non-permanent council member that represents Arab countries, blocked the USdrafted statement, arguing that it had presented its own draft resolution that addressed the crisis.

“No one in Gaza can afford another war,” said Mladenov.

Kuwait was pushing for a vote at the council this week on its draft resolution calling for “the considerat­ion of measures” for the protection of Palestinia­n civilians, according to the text obtained by AFP.

The US, which has veto power in the council, would oppose the measure, Israeli ambassador Danny Danon said.

US ambassador Nikki Haley said: “The people of Gaza do not need protection from an external source. The people of Gaza need protection from Hamas.”

With the council deadlocked, France warned that the failure to agree on a response to the Gaza crisis was damaging to the United Nations.

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