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Cablegate: Middle East: Usun Leads Walk-Out After Libya

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DE RUCNDT #0394/01 1232040
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 022040Z MAY 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4203
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000394

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER KPAL KWBG KPKO UNSC SY IS LE LY
SUBJECT: MIDDLE EAST: USUN LEADS WALK-OUT AFTER LIBYA
COMPARES GAZA TO NAZI CAMPS

REF: USUN 280

1. (SBU) Summary. The UNSC held its monthly discussion on
the Middle East on April 23. Following last month's
rancorous debate (reftel), SC members agreed to a public
briefing by the UN Secretariat, followed by closed
consultations. DPA A/SYG Angela Kane briefed on recent
attacks in Gaza and southern Israel, the worsening
humanitarian situation in Gaza, continuing settlement
expansion and barriers to movement in the West Bank, and the
Friends of Lebanon statement adopted in Kuwait on April 22.
Most Council members repeated standard positions criticizing
Palestinian rocket and other attacks against Israel as well
as Israel's "disproportionate" and "excessive" military
operations in Gaza. They also criticized continuing Israeli
settlement activity and lack of progress towards dismantling
barriers to movement. France and Panama supported former
President Carter's recent efforts.

2. (SBU) Summary, cont'd. At the end of the morning's
consultations, Costa Rica and South Africa complained at
length that the Council "just listened" to repeated briefings
about a worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza but failed
to take any action. Costa Rica then proposed a short UNSC
press statement expressing concern about the humanitarian
situation and the security situation, which the Council
considering during an afternoon session. After Amb Wolff
said the U.S. could not support a statement that did not
address the terrorist rocket and other recent attacks, Libyan
Polcouns Ibrahim al-Dabbashi angrily responded that the
situation in Gaza was worse than in concentration camps of
Nazi Germany. At this point, Amb Wolff walked-out of the
consultations, and was followed by the French PR, Belgian PR,
Costa Rican DPR, and British DPR. Dabbashi continued
speaking, arguing that the core problem of the conflict is
Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian lands, which he
argued justified and explained rocket attacks and suicide
bombs. Dabbashi reiterated his remarks to the press on April
24 and claimed they represented official Libyan Government
policy. End summary.

DPA Links Gaza Crisis to Terrorism
----------------------------------

3. (SBU) DPA A/SYG Angela Kane briefed the Council in a
public meeting followed by closed consultations April 23.
Kane said that 69 Palestinians and six Israelis had been
killed in the reporting period in Palestinian attacks and
Israeli military operations. She reiterated the SYG's
condemnation of rocket or other attacks against civilians or
crossing points into Gaza as well as his condemnation of
civilian casualties in IDF operations. Describing the
humanitarian situation in Gaza, Kane noted that the attacks
on the fuel depot at Nahal Oz and the Kerem Shalom crossing
had caused the situation to worsen. Her report on the
deterioration of the humanitarian situation included the fact
that 15-20 percent of the population only had access to water
for three-five hours every four days, a point later picked up
by South African PermRep Kumalo who claimed this condition
was worse than anything he had experienced as a child in
Zululand under apartheid.

4. (SBU) Kane recalled Israel's intention to remove obstacles
in the West Bank, but reported that of the 44 obstacles
actually removed (out of the 61 Israel said it would remove),
only 5 were significant obstacles to movement and the other
39 did not appear on the list of obstacles previously
maintained by the UN. She criticized Israel's continuing
settlement activity. Turning to Lebanon, Kane recalled
Secretariat support for the Friends of Lebanon statement

SIPDIS
adopted on April 22. She briefed the Council on the March
30-31 incident in south Lebanon in which a UNIFIL patrol was
blocked from searching a truck carrying armed personnel,
noted this was the first time UNIFIL had confirmed the
presence of unauthorized armed elements in south Lebanon
since August 2006, and described UNIFIL-LAF efforts to
prevent a recurrence of the violation.

Criticism of Israel and Hamas
-----------------------------

5. (SBU) Most Council members repeated familiar positions
criticizing both rocket and other attacks against Israel as
well as Israel's "disproportionate" and "excessive" military
operations in Gaza. Most delegates also criticized the
closure of Gaza and continuing settlement expansion in the
West Bank. Russia said preparations for the Moscow
Conference continue and that the Syrian-Israeli and
Lebanon-Israeli tracks should also be addressed. After

USUN NEW Y 00000394 002 OF 002


recalling its support for the EU position that Hamas must
fulfill the Quartet conditions, in particular the
renunciation of violence, France expressed support for former
President Carter's recent efforts. Panama also expressed
support for President Carter's efforts to engage Hamas.
China, Russia, and Indoensia explicitly called for unity
between Hamas and Fatah. Croatia strongly supported Israel's
right to self-defense, while calling for all actions to be in
accordance with international law.

Libya Compares Gaza to Nazi Camps
---------------------------------

6. (SBU) At the end of the consultations, Costa Rica and
South Africa complained at length that the Council "just
listened" to briefings about Gaza that describe a worsening
humanitarian situation, while consistently failing to take
any action. The South African PermRep also accused the
United States of double standards, arguing that the U.S.
sought action on domestic matters in countries such as Burma
and Zimbabwe while refusing to address the crisis in Gaza
that posed a unambiguous threat to international peace and
security (the Council's charter). Costa Rica then proposed a
UNSC press statement to encourage the parties to continue
their negotiations, express concern about the humanitarian
situation in Gaza, and welcome the April 22 statement adopted
by the Friends of Lebanon in Kuwait. South Africa, Libya,
Indonesia, France, and Italy expressed support for such a
statement. Russia welcomed the proposal but said it could
not agree to any reference to the April 22 Lebanon statement
without more time to consult Moscow. Given the sensitive
issues involved, delegations then agreed to reconsider the
proposed statement during afternoon consultations.

7. (SBU) When delegations reconvened in the afternoon, Amb
Wolff said the U.S. could not support a statement that did
not address the terrorist rocket and other attacks that
caused the deterioration in the humanitarian situation in
Gaza, nor one that ignored the illegal Hamas take-over of
Gaza -- on which the UNSC has never pronounced itself.
Libyan PolCouns Ibrahim al-Dabbashi then launched an angry
appeal for the Council to take action on Gaza, and said the
treatment of Palestinians in Gaza was "worse than the
concentration camps of Nazi Germany." At this point, Amb
Wolff walked-out of the consultations, and was followed by
the French PR, Belgian PR, Costa Rican DPR, and British DPR,
in that order. Dabbashi continued his intervention,
asserting that the primary cause of the conflict is Israel's
continued occupation of Palestinian land, which justified and
explained rocket attacks and suicide bombs. In comments to
the press one day later, Dabbashi reaffirmed his earlier
remarks, and said they represented the policy of the Libyan
Government.

Lebanon: Support for Friends Statement
--------------------------------------

8. (SBU) European delegations as well as Burkina Faso
expressed support for the Friends of Lebanon statement
adopted on April 22 in Kuwait. Several of these countries
called for presidential elections to be held immediately
without prior conditions and for Lebanon and Syria to
normalize their relationship. Libya, South Africa, and
Indonesia were also prepared to "welcome" the Kuwait
declaration in the context of the press statement on Gaza
proposed by Costa Rica. The Russian Mission told USUN that
Moscow had issued "strong instructions" to block any
reference to the Kuwait statement because Russia was
reportedly invited to the Friends of Lebanon meeting at the
last minute and shown a copy of the proposed declaration 20
minutes before it was supposed to be adopted. "That is no
way to treat a lady," complained the Russian Middle East
expert.
Khalilzad

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