newsWorld News

UNSC discusses advancing IDF Rafah operation

Israel’s U.N. envoy chastises the Council for finally hearing hostages’ plight last week, only to work to “prevent their release” this week.

Gilad Erdan, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, addresses the U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, April 17, 2024. Credit: Evan Schneider/U.N. Photo.
Gilad Erdan, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, addresses the U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, April 17, 2024. Credit: Evan Schneider/U.N. Photo.

Mere days after the U.N. Security Council finally met to discuss the plight of the hostages held in Gaza—the first such session solely dedicated to the topic—Israel’s U.N. envoy said it convened again on Monday for the exact opposite reason.

The UNSC, at the behest of Algeria and Slovenia, met to discuss the latest on the situation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, which serves as the last remaining stronghold of Hamas, and likely the holding spot for a significant number of hostages. It is also the area from which nearly a million Gazans have been evacuated in the past two weeks, in preparation for an IDF operation.

“You waited over seven months to hear a single word from released Israeli hostages, but it took only four days to forget their gut-churning stories and hold a discussion on how to prevent their release,” said Gilad Erdan, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, addressing the UNSC on Monday afternoon. “This Council does not function through logic or morality. Sadly, it is simply a political tool exploited by some members to advance skewed agendas.”

The meeting came after a weekend during which Israel announced the discovery and return of four dead hostages killed on Oct. 7 and held in Gaza.

Erdan, noting the high casualties the Israel Defense Forces has suffered during the war, said Israel prefers to stay out of Rafah, but not at the expense of providing “immunity” to the terrorists hiding behind and among civilians there.

“Our best and brightest are making the ultimate sacrifice there, not yours. But there are still thousands of Hamas terrorists in Rafah and you ignore them,” said Erdan. “We have already uncovered 50 terror tunnels in Rafah—and that is just the tip of the iceberg. What do you honestly expect Israel to do? What would your countries do?” 

While Erdan urged the Council to act in designating Hamas a terror organization and demanding it release the hostages, Algeria’s envoy urged a different action.

Terming Israel’s pending operation in Rafah as “genocidal,” Nacim Gaouaoui, deputy ambassador for Tunis, said it “would entail further atrocity crimes, for which those responsible must be held accountable.”

While Washington has reportedly sent signals of late to Jerusalem that it is more open to a large-scale Rafah operation, its U.N. representative at least hinted otherwise on Monday.

“We have long maintained our objection to any large-scale military operation in Rafah that risks mass civilian harm,” said Robert Wood, U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations.

Wood said that Israel’s preparations for Rafah evacuees are “insufficient” and that Israel “should take immediate and decisive actions to remedy this situation and ensure protection of civilians.”

While repeating U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent calls for an immediate ceasefire, Wood put the onus on Hamas, saying that the terror group “must comply with the Security Council’s resolutions and release the hostages. That is how to bring the fighting to an end.”

James Kariuki, deputy U.N. ambassador for the United Kingdom, concurred, saying that “the fastest way to end the conflict is to secure a deal which gets the hostages out and allows for a pause in the fighting. We must then work to turn that pause into a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.”

Though several Council members chastised Israel for preventing the speedy delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza, none referenced a media report that most of the aid coming into the Strip over the weekend from the U.S. military’s new pier was stolen by Gazans en route to a U.N. warehouse.

Council members are still negotiating a France-drafted resolution on the Israel-Hamas war that attempts to balance Israeli concerns against those more in support of the Palestinians. The resolution has seen little advancement over the past two weeks.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates