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Algeria picks up accusing Israel at UN where South Africa let off in The Hague

“While we all agree that more must be done, we must be honest about what the court did not order,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. envoy.

Ahmed Attaf, the Algerian foreign affairs minister, speaks at a U.N. Security Council meeting about the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinians, at U.N. headquarters in New York on Jan. 23, 2024. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Ahmed Attaf, the Algerian foreign affairs minister, speaks at a U.N. Security Council meeting about the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinians, at U.N. headquarters in New York on Jan. 23, 2024. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.

Jonathan Miller, the deputy Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, blasted members of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday for trying to impose a judgment on Jerusalem that even the International Court of Justice wouldn’t.

The Israeli envoy called the recent ruling by the court, which is the main U.N. judicial arm, “a verdict without a crime,” and said that Algeria and South Africa—which brought the ICJ case—presented a case to the court and the world that was “an obscene inversion of reality.” 

The Hamas terrorist organization has consistently and proudly made its genocidal intentions known, yet the ICJ case portrayed it as a victim and made a “vile attempt” to deny Israel the right to self-defense, Miller said.

The council met on Wednesday at Algeria’s request to discuss last Friday’s preliminary ICJ ruling, whose meaning has been hotly debated. The North African nation has long been one of the most anti-Israel countries in the world and recently took over the Security Council seat held unofficially for the Arab and Muslim world.

Some council members claimed the court found it plausible that Israel was committing genocide in Gaza. Israel and the United States pushed back, pointing out that the court stated clearly that it could come to no such conclusion at such an early stage.

Miller said Israel’s foes, whom he called “Hamas’s defenders,” presented a “warped” description of the court’s decision. Those attempting to slander the Jewish state have turned the ICJ into a political weapon, he added.

UNRWA

Another subject debated was the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which has seen countries freeze their funding in the wake of reports that a dozen UNRWA employees participated in Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel. Some 10% of UNRWA’s staff in Gaza are members of or have close ties to Palestinian terrorist groups, The Wall Street Journal reported recently. 

Martin Griffiths, U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, called UNRWA “the beating heart” of Gaza relief efforts.

“To put it bluntly and simply: Our humanitarian response is completely dependent on UNRWA being adequately funded and operational,” he said.

“Decisions to withhold funds from UNRWA must be revoked,” he added.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington’s decision to withhold UNRWA funds pending an internal U.N. investigation is “not a punitive measure” but “a wake-up call.”

UNRWA must make fundamental changes so “this does not happen again,” said Thomas-Greenfield, who also chided council members who twisted the ICJ ruling.

“While we all agree that more must be done, we must be honest about what the court did not order,” she said of the lack of an ICJ injunction calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. 

Thomas-Greenfield also said that the court did not find that Israel violated the Genocide Convention, as many have falsely claimed.

“The United States continues to believe that such allegations are unfounded,” she said.

She urged the council to work towards a diplomatic solution, noting ongoing talks between Israel and Hamas on a ceasefire, which would include the release of hostages held in Gaza and security prisoners detained in Israel.

“Rather than try and will a ceasefire into existence when the conditions to sustain it unfortunately don’t exist, we must instead work towards a durable solution to this conflict through the hard work of on-the-ground, relentless diplomacy,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield’s plea apparently fell on deaf ears. 

Shortly after the meeting, Algeria circulated a draft resolution to council members demanding an immediate ceasefire. The text mentioned nothing about the hostages whom Hamas terrorists continue to hold in terror tunnels and elsewhere in Gaza.

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