Security Council schedules emergency debate on Israeli offensive in Gaza

Security Council schedules emergency debate on Israeli offensive in Gaza

By ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 30, 2006

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency debate Friday afternoon on the Israeli offensive in Gaza and the Palestinians said they will press for adoption of a resolution condemning Israel’s aggression and demanding a halt to all military operations.

The Palestinian U.N. Observer Riyad Mansour said a resolution would also demand the release of Palestinian Cabinet ministers and Hamas officials arrested by Israel on Thursday following the abduction of an Israeli soldier, which sparked the current crisis.

The council agreed to the open meeting after receiving a request from Algeria, the current head of the Arab Group at the United Nations. It was presented by Qatar, the only Arab member of the council.

Mansour accused Israel of trying to reoccupy parts of Gaza, bombarding it with artillery from the sea, dropping bombs from fighter jets, and preparing for additional ground attacks.

« The (Gaza) strip is completely besieged. Nobody is in, nobody is out, » Mansour said. « It is a huge crime against humanity endangering 1.3 million Palestinians. »

He expressed hope that « the council would rise up to this occasion and adopt an appropriate resolution that does not allow aggression to take place. »

But U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said he expected only a debate on the five-day-old crisis, noting that a resolution has not been circulated to council members.

« We don’t think a resolution would be advisable, » he said.