Israel’s envoy lashes out at U.N. General Assembly

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations slammed its members for “their complicity in allowing organizations like Hamas to continue to exist in the Middle East.”

Ron Prosor spoke Wednesday at a special General Assembly session on Gaza.

“This institution was founded to stand for truth, for justice, and for moral clarity. This is no longer the case,” he told the delegates.

“It might be too much to ask you to stand on our side in this battle between civilization and barbarism, but at least have the decency to swallow your selective outrage while Israel wages war against the extremist groups seeking to eradicate the values that we all hold very dear.”

Prosor spoke after the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. ambassador, Riyah Mansour, accused Israel of violating international law during its 29-day operation in Gaza.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the current cease-fire “has come at a price that is almost too much to bear. The massive death and destruction in Gaza have shocked and shamed the world.”

Ban called for a negotiated political settlement between the two sides.

He acknowledged that weapons had been discovered stored in what he called “abandoned” U.N. buildings and that there were reports that Hamas rockets had been fired from near U.N. properties.

“Yet, let me be clear: Mere suspicion of militant activity does not justify jeopardizing the lives and safety of many thousands of innocent civilians,” Ban said.

He added: “International humanitarian law clearly requires protection by all parties of civilians and civilian facilities, including U.N. staff and U.N. premises. Those who violate this sacred trust must be subject to accountability and justice.”

Rosemary DiCarlo, the U.S. deputy permanent representative to the U.N., said the United States was “horrified” by the attacks on U.N. buildings acting as shelters for displaced Palestinians but added: “Let us remember how this conflict started. Hamas launched repeated rocket attacks at Israel. Hamas deliberately, willfully targets civilians. No nation can accept such attacks, and Israel has the same right to self-defense as every other nation.”

The U.S. also called for the disarmament of Hamas and other Gaza terror groups, and on the international community to strengthen the Palestinian Authority in order to rehabilitate Gaza.