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Hard to punish Hamas due to Arab nations’ fears, Thomas-Greenfield says

"As we look at the protests on the streets in the Arab world, there's a sense that the countries in the region fear those protests," the U.S. envoy said.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, briefs reporters following a Security Council meeting about the Middle East on Feb. 20, 2024. Credit: Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, briefs reporters following a Security Council meeting about the Middle East on Feb. 20, 2024. Credit: Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.

Interviewing Linda Thomas-Greenfield on his eponymous show, Don Lemon asked the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations why it is so hard to punish Hamas.

“I can’t answer that question,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “I ask that question regularly in the council: Why can’t we call out Hamas? The Israelis ask that question regularly.”

The U.S. envoy said that her suspicion is that “there’s tremendous fear on the part of the Palestinians, who are being held hostage in a sense by Hamas, who are hiding behind civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

“I know that as we look at the protests on the streets in the Arab world, there’s a sense that the countries in the region fear those protests and don’t want to provide any fuel to those protests,” Thomas-Greenfield added.

Lemon later asked the U.S. envoy to respond to Francesca Albanese, a U.N. special rapporteur, who said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of the crime of genocide against Palestinians as a group in Gaza has been met.”

“We don’t agree with that. Let me be clear,” she responded.

Thomas-Greenfield added that she didn’t want “to get ahead” of the case before the International Court of Justice, the principal U.N. judicial arm in The Hague.

“In the meantime, we are continuing to press the Israelis to take into account civilian casualties as they carry out their efforts to end Hamas’s carnage, their threats to the existence of the Israeli people,” Thomas-Greenfield added.

Lemon also asked Thomas-Greenfield why does “a conflict like Sudan basically get zero attention compared—in comparison to Gaza and Ukraine, which we’re going to talk about?”

“Well, I’d like to ask the press that,” she said. “I think we need to encourage our media to pay attention to all humanitarian situations.”

“We can’t parcel out our attention to one crisis and forget others,” she added.

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