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  • 1/26/2008

UNSC Fails Again On Gaza Statement


The UN Security Council failed yet again on Thursday to agree on a compromise statement urging an end to Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip and to the rocket attacks on the Jewish state.

After daylong talks by experts and ambassadors, it was agreed that a new attempt would be made Friday to overcome US objections to a text accepted by the council’s 14 other members, AFP said.

“We still do not have an agreement and the way it’s going it’s not hopeful, “said South Africa’s UN envoy Dumisani Kumalo. “But the president (of the council) has asked us to try again (Friday). “

The United States, a staunch ally of Israel, insists that the crippling Israeli blockade of Gaza is a self-defense move in the face of rockets fired from the impoverished territory controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas.

After consulting with Washington, the US delegation here on Thursday put forward a series of oral amendments, including a call for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier seized by Gaza militants in 2006 and a condemnation of terrorism under all its forms.

But most of these amendments were deemed irrelevant and unacceptable by Arab countries which feel strongly that the council has to react to what they view as the “collective punishment“of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents by Israel in reprisals for the rocket attacks.

Egypt set a deadline Friday for the border with Gaza to be resealed after Washington said it was looking to Cairo to put a stop to the uncontrolled flood of people of the past three days.

Egyptian security forces announced by loudspeaker in towns near the border with the Gaza Strip that the frontier would be closed from 1300 GMT, witnesses said, with an unknown number of Palestinians still in Egypt.

The move came as an Israeli air strike killed the Hamas military commander for Rafah and one of his lieutenants early on Friday.

Two other members of the military wing of the Hamas movement which controls Gaza were also killed during Thursday night when two Israeli missiles slammed into their jeep, medical sources said.

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