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US calls for full backing of Israel at UN Security Council

"What's important now is the international community show its solidarity with Israel. We have Israel's back fully," said U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood.

Robert Wood, the alternative representative of the U.S. for special political affairs in the U.N. Source: Hillel Neuer/Twitter.
Robert Wood, the alternative representative of the U.S. for special political affairs in the U.N. Source: Hillel Neuer/Twitter.

“The era of reasoning with these savages is over,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations told an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Sunday, referring to the Hamas terrorist organization.

Following the weekend’s unprecedented terrorist assault on Israel by the Gaza-based Iranian proxy group, envoy Gilad Erdan said the time has come to “obliterate Hamas terror infrastructure, to completely erase it, so that such horrors are never committed again.”

He continued: “These animal-like terrorists broke into homes, gathered entire families into rooms and shot them point-blank, as if they were stomping on insects.

“Grandparents and the elderly, among them Holocaust survivors who endured the Nazis, were violently dragged from their homes, this time by Hamas and taken into Gaza.”

The 15-member council held Sunday’s session in a closed format, meaning that only council members themselves could participate. Malta requested the meeting, seconded by the United Arab Emirates.

The council did not release a post-meeting statement, which requires consensus. But Robert Wood, the U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters international backing for Israel and global condemnation of Hamas was the priority for the Biden administration.

“What’s important now is the international community show its solidarity with Israel. We have Israel’s back fully,” Wood told reporters. “The condemnation of Hamas needs to continue until they end this violent terrorist activity against the Israeli people.”

The council, briefed virtually by U.N. Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland, met for approximately an hour and a half.

There was a noticeable change in tone from the UAE, which acts as the de-facto representative of the Arab and Muslim world on the council and has often been first in line to call Security Council meetings in condemnation of various Israeli activities, despite Abu Dhabi’s diplomatic relations with Israel.

On Sunday, Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s ambassador to the United Nations, seemed to swat down the usual calls for de-escalation and proportionate response.

“The point about proportionate response was also discussed, but clearly, right now, the focus for Israel is its own security needs and the fact that it has hostages being held in the Gaza Strip that should be released,” she told the media.

However, while according to Wood “a good number of countries” condemned Hamas, such condemnation wasn’t universal. He did not specify which country, stating only that the media could probably figure it out.

Vassily Nebenzia, Moscow’s representative at the United Nations, denied the veiled accusation, but both he and China’s envoy trotted out the usual diplomatic language of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nebenzia said Russia’s position is “to stop the fighting immediately, to go to a cease-fire and to meaningful negotiations, which were stalled for decades.”

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said his government condemns any attacks on civilians. He did not, however, call out Hamas by name, opting to prioritize the prevention of “further escalation of the situation and further casualties of civilians,” in addition to focusing on a two-state solution.”

While Wood wouldn’t abandon Washington’s preference for a two-state solution, he brushed aside a question of whether now would be an opportune time to restart talks.

“There’ll be time for that. The time right now is we’ve got to deal with the hostage taking, the violence that is going on that’s being perpetrated by Hamas, and we’ve got to deal with first things first,” he said.

Vanessa Frazier, Malta’s U.N. ambassador, said that if any statement is to be adopted by the council, the vast majority of the condemnation must be against Hamas.

“Palestinian civilians are also victims in this and Hamas put them in this position,” she said.

While Israel appears to be enjoying some rare sympathy in Turtle Bay, that could change with a massive Israeli military operation in Gaza. Heavy Palestinian death tolls there have tended to shift the dynamic and blame in previous rounds of fighting.

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