The Citizen (KZN)

UN notes Israel’s vow to allow aid

GAZA: SECURITY COUNCIL SAYS MORE SHOULD BE DONE Govt fears protest from far-right groups who are against move.

- New York

The UN Security Council on Thursday acknowledg­ed Israel’s pledge to open more entry points to allow humanitari­an aid into Gaza – but said “more should be done” to help civilians in the besieged Palestinia­n territory.

In a statement, council members “took note of the announceme­nt by Israel to open the Erez [border] crossing and allow the use of the Ashdod port for aid deliveries into Gaza, but stressed that more should be done to bring the required relief given the scale of needs in Gaza”.

Israel promised last week it would open the Erez crossing in the north after a tense telephone call between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Biden demanded “immediate action” on aid.

But it is understood aid trucks will not use the crossing, with Israeli media reporting that the government fears protests from far-right groups who are against any aid reaching Gaza.

Members of the UN Security Council failed to reach a consensus on Thursday on a bid by Palestinia­ns for full UN membership, meaning the long-shot effort is now likely headed for a more formal council vote.

The Palestinia­ns, who have had observer status at the world body since 2012, have lobbied for years to gain full membership, which would amount to recognitio­n of Palestinia­n statehood.

Any request to become a UN member state must first pass through the Security Council – where the US, Israel’s ally, wields a veto – and then be endorsed by the General Assembly.

In light of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, Palestinia­ns revived a 2011 UN membership applicatio­n last week, prompting the Security Council to launch a formal review process.

This included the ad hoc committee that failed to reach consensus on Thursday and was composed of the Security Council’s member states.

During its closed-door meeting “there was no consensus”, said Maltese ambassador Vanessa Frazier, who holds the council’s rotating presidency for April.

However, two-thirds of the members were in favour of full membership, she said, without specifying which countries.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant had said on Wednesday it was planning to send food through a new crossing and a port just north of the besieged territory.

In its statement, the Security Council reiterated its “deep concern over the human toll of the conflict, the catastroph­ic humanitari­an situation and the threat of imminent famine in Gaza”. –

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa