UNITED NATIONS: The US blocked a statement in the UN Security Council that would have blamed Israeli forces for the killings of civilians scrambling for food aid during a chaotic incident in Gaza City.

In a late-night session at the UN Security Council, Arab nations faced significant resistance from the US when they pushed for the statement, accusing Israel of “intentionally targeting and killing” over 100 Gazans.

The statement urged the council members to “express deep concern on reports stating that over 100 individuals have lost their lives, with approximately 750 others sustaining injuries due to opening fire by Israeli forces”.

“We don’t have all the facts on the ground. That’s the problem,” said US Deputy Envoy to the UN Robert Wood following consultations with the 15-member council late Thursday afternoon.

The Israeli military claimed victims, rushing for aid, trampled each other, and some were run over by convoy vehicles.

The statement faced a daunting task as it required unanimous agre­e­ment from all council members to pass, and with US history of vetoing moves that target Israel, the consensus was unlikely.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority’s envoy to the UN, said 14 members supported the statement drafted by Algeria.

After meeting with US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Mr Mansour implored the Security Council to condemn the killing and pursue those responsible for the alleged massacre.

“I think her heart is in the right place, but she is an official of an administration that receives instructions from Washington, D.C.,” Mr Mansour said while referring to the US envoy.

Speaking soon after the incident, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed shock and criticised the Security Coun­cil’s paralysis.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2024

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