Home News Israel says it has ‘tactical control’ of Gaza Strip bordering Egypt

Israel says it has ‘tactical control’ of Gaza Strip bordering Egypt


Palestinians inspect some of the damage, a day after an Israeli attack on a site near the Rafah camp for displaced persons on Sunday sparked a fire that killed at least 45 people.Credit…Iyad Baba/AFP – Getty Images

In an effort to calm public anger over Israel’s attacks on Sunday that burned Palestinian camps and killed at least 45 displaced Palestinians, including children, several UN Security Council diplomats this week backed a new resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and halt to Israeli military operations in the city of Rafah.

But they must overcome opposition from the United States, which has veto power on the Security Council and has said it will not support the resolution in its current form.

Algeria, the only Arab representative on the Security Council, drafted and circulated the one-page resolution, which states that “Israel, the occupying Power, shall immediately cease its military offensive and any other actions in Rafah.” It calls for “an immediate ceasefire, respected by all parties, and demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”

The Security Council met on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the Gaza war, first in an emergency closed-door meeting on the attack on the Rafah camp and then in its monthly open session on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Algerian resolution is expected to be voted on in the coming days.

“The human toll speaks for itself, it is shocking. The crimes speak for themselves,” Algerian Ambassador Ammar Benjama told the Security Council on Wednesday.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States would block the current version of the resolution because it viewed it as unbalanced and problematic. The official said the United States had proposed several changes.

In particular, the official said the United States did not want to support a resolution calling for a complete halt to Israel’s military offensive in Rafah, which Israeli commanders believe remains a stronghold of the militant group Hamas. The Biden administration supports limited Israeli action there.

The United States, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power, has vetoed ceasefire resolutions three times since the war broke out in October last year. In March, the United States abstained from voting on a resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire during Ramadan.

U.S. officials have become more publicly critical of Israel’s war efforts in recent weeks as the number of civilian casualties in Gaza has mounted. At least 36,000 people have been killed in Israeli bombing and ground operations, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians. Health officials say most of the victims are women, children and other noncombatants.

Gaza authorities said Sunday’s attack and its aftermath killed at least 45 people as fire swept through Kuwait’s Al-Salam refugee camp, where displaced people live in tents. Among the casualties was a young child, whose burned and headless body was shown in a video verified by The New York Times.

“The continued heavy civilian casualties from Sunday’s airstrikes undermine Israel’s strategic objectives in Gaza,” Robert Wood, deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council on Wednesday. Mr. Wood added that Israel has the right to defend itself but also has an “obligation to protect civilians.”

On Tuesday, senior Biden administration officials expressed shock at Sunday’s attack but said it was not part of a larger ground operation and therefore did not cross President Biden’s red line of withholding weapons shipments to Israel.

The Algerian resolution also mentioned Friday’s emergency ruling The ruling was made by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the highest court of the United Nations. The ruling requires Israel to immediately stop its military operations in Rafah, but Israeli officials believe that the wording of the ruling leaves some room for interpretation. The ruling was made after South Africa raised an objection. At the end of last year, South Africa filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of committing genocide.

Several Security Council diplomats said they wanted a vote on the resolution as soon as possible to stem the momentum and anger over Sunday night’s attack and prevent as many more civilians in Gaza from being harmed. Diplomats said protracted negotiations to appease the United States would send the wrong signal about the Security Council’s resolve to act.

“The Security Council must urgently speak out on the situation in Rafah and demand that this offensive be stopped,” French Ambassador Nicolas Rivière said.

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