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Cablegate: Gaza: Security Council Meets to Discuss

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O 230051Z JAN 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3592
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 1787
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 USUN NEW YORK 000064

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER KPAL KWBG UNSC IS
SUBJECT: GAZA: SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION

REF: USUN 63 (NOTAL)

1. (SBU) Summary. The Security Council held a public debate
January 22 on the situation in Gaza. Public statements were
delivered by UN U/SYG Lynn Pascoe, all Security Council
members, Israel, the Palestinians, neighboring states, the
Arab League, OIC, and NAM. Amb Khalilad's intervention
expressed concern for the plight of the Gazans, condemned the
rocket and mortar attacks, stated that Hamas is responsible
for the current situation, and noted that the United States
expected Israel to take all possible steps avoid civilian
casualties when responding in self defense. Common themes
expressed by many delegations in the debate include: concern
that the situation in Gaza would undermine the process
launched in Annapolis; condemnation of the rocket attacks;
opposition to "collective punishment"; and accusations that
Israel is deliberately targeting civilians and in violation
of international law. Details of the interventions are
included in paras 4-6.

2. (SBU) Summary, cont'd. Following the public debate, the
Security Council met privately to discuss a draft
Presidential Statement (PRST) prepared by the Arab group in
New York and tabled by Council President Libya. At the
beginning of the meeting, Amb Wolff spoke against the idea of
a PRST in principle, explaining that the United States did
not believe that the Council could reach agreement on the
issue in view of the clear divergence of opinions and
assessments expressed during the public debate. Thirteen
Council members argued that it was important for the Council
to issue a statement and expressed a willingness to work from
the Libyan draft. Given the interest in a PRST and the
willingness to modify the text, Council President Libyan PR
Ettalhi scheduled additional consultations of the Security
Council on January 23 to consider a revised PRST. End
Summary.

Details of Interventions
------------------------

3. (U) A summary of the debate, as well as the full
transcript, should be available on the UN website
(www.un.org, then click on &press center8) by January 23.
USUN has also e-mailed transcripts of the several
interventions to IO/UNP and NEA/IPA.

4. (U) SECRETARIAT BRIEFING AND PARTIES:

U/SYG PASCOE:

-- Indiscriminate rocket and mortar firing towards civilians
is totally unacceptable and UN condemns it unreservedly. UN
also concerned about Gilad Shalit and weapons smuggling into
Gaza.

-- Israel must adhere to international law, refrain from
disproportionate measures, extra-judicial killings, and
should investigate incidents leading to civilian deaths.

-- Israel must reconsider its closure policy. Collective
punishment is prohibited under international law. SYG Ban
supports Abbas/Fayyad plan for PA to man crossings into Gaza.

-- Events of the past week threaten the Annapolis process.

PA Observer (Riyadh Mansour):

-- Israel actions are immoral and unbearable and have caused
a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

-- UNSC should call on Israel to stop all acts of violence
and terror, lift siege, provide immediate humanitarian access
to Gaza, and hold Israel accountable to international law.

-- PA ready to operate all crossings into Gaza per plan
proposed through Quartet envoy Tony Blair.

Israel (Gilad Cohen):

-- UNSC cannot be oblivious to suffering in Sderot. Israel
will protect itself. 7000 rockets fired into southern Israel
since since 2000. 150 percent increase in rocket attacks
since Hamas coup in June 2007.

-- No equivalence between Palestinian terror targeting
civilians and Israeli response.


USUN NEW Y 00000064 002 OF 004


-- If the Palestinians continue to choose Hamas, it will lead
to more suffering.

5. (U) COUNCIL MEMBERS (in speaking order):

Italy:

-- Concerned about Israeli electricity cuts and reduction in
humanitarian supplies.

-- Call on all parties to cease military action.

Burkina Faso:

-- Gaza situation exacerbated by &Draconian8 Israeli
measures. Blockade is unacceptable.

-- Israeli actions are a response to rocket fire from Gaza.

UK:

-- Israel has a right to self-defense, but Israel cannot
carry out actions designed to cause human suffering. UK does
not accept the closure of Gaza and calls on Israel to re-open
the crossings.

-- UNSC should play its role. Rocket attacks are
unacceptable and casualties caused by IDF actions are
unacceptable. Actions by both sides are counter-productive
in search for peace.

South Africa:

-- Rocket attacks must stop immediately but entire Gaza
population should not be punished as a result.

-- UNSC should call on Israel to permanently lift the
blockade and keep the crossings open. Collective punishment
unacceptable.

-- Israel is still effectively occupying Gaza and is
therefore bound by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Russia:

-- Condemn rocket attacks but concerned about IDF reprisals
that kill civilians.

-- Important for UNSC to react. Economic restrictions should
be lifted immediately but &terrorist8 activities must also
stop.

Indonesia:

-- Israel should lift the blockade immediately.

-- All parties should exercise restraint.

France:

-- Condemn violence in all forms and call for cease-fire.
Right to self-defense should not be exercised
indiscriminately.

-- Greatly regret Israeli decision to impose blockade and cut
off fuel. Call for restoration of basic humanitarian
services.

Costa Rica:

-- Endorse SYG statement regretting closure and rocket
attacks. But collective punishment cannot be justified even
by rocket attacks.

-- UNSC should send a message to Israel to respect
international law and to the PA that it must control its
territory.

Panama:

-- Rocket attacks are indefensible but Israeli response
should be proportionate. Even in war, civilians cannot be
deprived of basic supplies.

-- UNSC should call for a cease-fire. Prefer a UNSC
statement today (January 22) because the world will notice if
the SC is silent.

USUN NEW Y 00000064 003 OF 004

Croatia:

-- Rocket attacks and closures are both unacceptable.

China:

-- Call on Israel to immediately cease military operations in
Gaza, lift closure, and re-open crossing points.

-- International community should ensure Geneva Conventions
are respected.

-- UNSC members agree more than they disagree. Impossible to
resolve all questions about the Middle East in a PRST but can
focus on humanitarian situation.

Belgium:

-- Rocket attacks unacceptable but no justification for
blockade of entire civilian population.

Vietnam:

-- Israeli power cuts have created a deplorable situation.

-- But targeting innocent civilians through rocket attacks is
unacceptable.

Libya:

-- Israel seems to be escalating its military activities to
derail success of Annapolis. UNSC must stop &genocide8 in
Gaza.

-- Israel is punishing Palestinians because they elected
Hamas. Israeli actions in Gaza cannot be justified or
equated with anything.

6. (U) OTHER STATES

Saudi Arabia (for Arab League):

-- Israeli actions raise doubts about Israeli commitment to
Annapolis.

-- Urge an immediate end to siege, embargo, and opening of
border crossings.

-- Call for international inquiry into &war crimes8 in Gaza.

Lebanon:

-- Call on Israel to explain how children killed by IDF (list
of children's names read out loud) fit into the category of
&terrorists.8

-- Israel is practicing collective punishment and committing
war crimes.

-- Although Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, it controls all
crossings and therefore is still the effective occupier.

Syria:

-- Israeli claim of withdrawal from Gaza is blatantly false
as it still controls all its borders.

-- Israel is a &terrorist entity8 which has killed eight
times more people than Palestinian &resistance8 groups.

-- Rocket attacks are a reaction to IDF assassinations of
Palestinian leaders.

-- Israel could not act as it does without support of
&influential states.8

Jordan:

-- Israel should facilitate Jordanian humanitarian relief to
Gaza.

-- UNSC should put an end to humanitarian tragedy including
by ending all military activities and lifting the siege and
closure.

Egypt:

USUN NEW Y 00000064 004 OF 004

-- Israeli policies violate international law and constitute
collective punishment.

-- Egypt fully rejects launching of rockets from Gaza into
Israel.

-- Egypt has worked with Israel to resolve situation.
Quartet and the UNSC must fulfill their responsibilities.
KHALILZAD

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