The United States on Monday night banned the UN Security Council from calling for an investigation into the Israeli massacre in the Gaza Strip, and the White House refused to urge Israel to exercise restraint.
Diplomatic sources said that Washington prevented the adoption of a statement to the Security Council calling for an independent investigation into the bloody events in Gaza, where the draft statement also condemned the shooting that killed 59 Palestinian civilians.
“There is no justification for the recklessness and indifference shown by Hamas by inviting people to engage in violence that puts them at grave risk,” a White House official said .
He also refused to urge Israel to exercise restraint against protesters in Gaza, saying that Israel has the right “to defend itself.”
The UN Security Council said in a draft statement that the council “expresses its anger and regret over the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest” and calls for an independent and transparent investigation to ensure accountability.
“The Security Council expresses its deep concern at recent developments in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the context of peaceful protests in the Gaza Strip and tragic civilian casualties,” the draft said.
The Security Council calls upon all parties to exercise restraint in order to avoid further escalation and calm, according to the draft.
The Security Council called on “all States not to take any steps further aggravating the situation, including any unilateral and illegal measures that undermine the prospects for peace.”
According to the draft, any decisions and actions “that would change the character, status or demographic composition of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal effect,” referring to the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories, at the request of Kuwait as the only Arab member of the Council.
“I am particularly concerned about the news coming from Gaza and that a large number of people have been killed,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterich was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein said on Twitter that “the shocking killing of dozens and hundreds of injuries caused by the use of live ammunition by Israel in Gaza must stop now.”