Lebanon blocked the U.N. Security Council on Friday from condemning a series of terrorist attacks in Israel.
The United States had circulated a draft press statement to the Security Council that would have condemned the attacks by gunmen who crossed into southern Israel from Egypt on Thursday and killed eight Israelis. Israel blamed an armed Palestinian group from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and launched retaliatory airstrikes.
During a closed council meeting, diplomats said Lebanon refused to sign on to the statement, which requires the support of all 15 council nations.
The U.S. deputy ambassador, Rosemary DiCarlo, told reporters afterward that the statement used “standard language on terrorist acts,” which the council has adopted many times.
“We think the council needs to speak out on this issue,” she said. “We find it regrettable that because of one delegation we couldn’t issue that in a timely way.”
Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor called the Security Council’s actions “outrageous,” calling it a “sad reminder that the United Nations is too often deaf and blind when it comes to acts of terror committed against the people of Israel.”
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, told reporters he sent a letter to the Security Council Friday saying 10 Palestinians had been killed in the retaliatory Israeli action, including two children. In addition, he said, “a large number of civilians have been injured and an electrical generator was destroyed,” plunging Gaza into darkness during the holy month of Ramadan.
“Of course we condemn the killing of innocent civilians regardless of where they are,” he said.
Mansour said the Palestinians wanted the council to condemn the Israeli attacks in Gaza in the last 24 hours and request an immediate halt.
“It is very unfortunate that the Security Council was unable to reach a common understanding in a balanced way to condemn the killing of all innocent civilians, including those in the Gaza Strip, and to call for the immediate cessation of the intensification of attacks against our people in Gaza,” he said.
During the council meeting, Mansour said the issue of Palestinian protests over recent stepped up Israeli settlement-building was raised, especially in East Jerusalem which the Palestinians want as their capital.
“It is unfortunate … that there was no acceptance of any reaction with regard to the settlement activities,” he said.