‘UN failure to adopt statement on Israel-Palestine issue unacceptable’

Turkish envoy to UN criticizes Security Council’s belated meeting and failure to issue any statement on Israel-Palestine issue

2021-05-17 05:54:40

ANKARA

Turkey has described the UN's failure to adopt a press statement after debating the Israeli-Palestine issue on Sunday as “simply unacceptable”.

“Failure to adopt even a press statement on an issue that has been on the Council's agenda since almost its inception is simply unacceptable,” said Feridun Sinirlioglu, Turkey's ambassador to the UN, in a written statement sent to the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the conflict.

Sinirlioglu strongly condemned Israel's aggression, including airstrikes, against Palestinians and conveyed condolences to the Palestinian nation for the loss of lives, including infants and children.

Decrying the Israeli attack on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) schools in Gaza, he said attacks on schools constitute war crimes.

“Since the start of the Israeli aggression, over 40 children have died in Gaza. If a classroom full of kids was blown up elsewhere, how many days would it have taken for this Council to have a public meeting?” he asked, criticizing the late meeting that came 10 days after the start of the Israeli attacks.

“What can justify Council's current inaction in the face of such human carnage broadcast live on TV?” Sinirlioglu said.

He noted that remaining silent in the face of Israel's indiscriminate attacks on Palestinians only served to encourage Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “prompting the occupier to launch its largest military operation targeting Gaza since 2014”.

The envoy called on the UNSC to immediately stop Israel's attacks on Palestinians.

“It must also compel Israel to immediately allow humanitarian aid into Gaza for thousands of displaced Palestinians,” he stressed, adding that the Council can no longer escape its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people.

Highlighting Turkey's active multilateral efforts to galvanize the international community to stop the deterioration of the situation on the ground, Sinirlioglu said Ankara is ready to provide full support to initiatives in the UN General Assembly in the coming days.

Call for international protection mechanism

He said an international protection mechanism must be established to deter Israeli aggression and ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians.

“The General Assembly should lead the efforts for the establishment of an international protection mechanism for the Palestinian civilian population,” he urged.

The death toll from Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip on Sunday rose to 197, including 58 children and 34 women, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The number of injured has reached 1,235, while tens of buildings were destroyed or damaged.

The recent tensions that started in East Jerusalem in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan spread to Gaza after Palestinian resistance groups there vowed to retaliate against Israeli assaults on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah if they were not halted.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

*Betul Yuruk in New York contributed to the story