Russia called for an anti-Israel session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the same day of the Israeli Memorial Day.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan voiced outrage over meeting on the very day in which Israel commemorated Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism.
“If this Council refuses to respect their memory, I will dedicate this speech to their memory. I light this (memorial) candle, Mr. President, to honor them and may their memory be blessed. I’m sorry, but I refuse to spend this sacred day listening to lies and condemnation. This debate disgraces the fallen and Israel will not take part in it,” said the Israeli envoy.
“Today’s debate has crossed all lines. Not only am I both appalled and outraged to the very depths of my soul, but I am sad – very, very, sad. Today is one of the most sacred days of the year for Israel, which pauses to commemorate those lost to violence and who paid the ultimate price while defending the Jewish homeland. This day holds more sanctity to Israelis than almost any other day of the year. Yet while Israelis mourn, this Council – as usual – will hear more blatant lies condemning the State of Israel and falsely painting it as the root of all the region’s problems. This could not be further from the truth,” he insisted.
Ambassador Erdan then read out the names of 32 victims whose lives were lost due to Palestinian terrorism over the past year, including citizens, foreigners, soldiers and police.
Prior to his departure from the hall, the Israeli diplomat accused the UNSC of failure to address dangers Iran poses to the region and around the world by its nuclear program and international terrorism campaign.
The UNSC was convened at the initiative of the Russia Federation to deliberate the so-called “Palestinian question.”
Russia, which has held the rotating presidency at the Security Council since 1 April, refused Israel’s repeated requests to reschedule the session. Jerusalem views the refusal as a vindictive retaliation for its support for pro-Kyiv UN resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who chaired the session, cynically dismissed Israel’s anger over time of the session.
“This was not an anti-Israel meeting – it was a meeting held pursuant to an agenda item that has been on the Security Council’s agenda for decades, and the Palestinian question is one of the most protracted conflicts that has not been solved and cannot be solved by anyone or anything and now the agreements and Security Council resolutions are being avoided and things are being promised, certain economic benefits in exchange for giving up their claims to an independent state,” said the Kremlin’s top diplomat during a press briefing.
He went on to assert, “as I stressed in my statement, the meeting seeks to ensure the implementation of the initial decisions made by the UN that were meant to ensure the Palestinians right to create their own state and at the same time the right of Israel to security within its borders and a lack of threats to its security overall in the region. This is what the meeting was about, not condemning Israel. We also heard lots of criticism today regarding those terrorist acts that are carried out against Israelis, everyone is well aware of this.”
Minister Lavrov also told the 15-member body that the United States and European Union have engaged in destructive efforts to substitute economic peace for genuine peace while ignoring the Palestinian issue to advance Arab-Israeli normalization. “It is only the return to direct talks on all issues related to the ultimate status that can break the vicious circle of violence and radicalization and restore mutual trust,” said Lavrov, going on to state, “Washington claims to be the only sponsor of the Middle East peace process, ignoring the fact that it has long ago lost its neutrality and impartiality – qualities that are integral for a fair broker.”
He then called for a resumption of the Middle East Quartet – consisting of Russia, the UN, US and the EU – to help resolve the conflict, along with UNSC pressure on Israel to comply with its resolutions.
The United Nations has a long record of bias against the Jewish State, targeting it with the highly-disproportionate annual adoption of critical resolutions. While overlooking malign actions by Islamic Republic of Iran, North Korea, Russia and other states, the UN General Assembly condemned the State of Israel more times last year than all other countries combined.
Over 50 speakers addressed the Council during the hours’ long session.
Even though he maintained that Erdan’s comments “do not merit a response,” Iran’s UN Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani went on to say that the Israeli envoy’s “unfounded claims against his country” were neither “surprising or unexpected” as “deception and lies have long been part of this regime’s toolbox” in attempt to divert attention from what he called “the atrocious crimes committed against the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded international protection of his people, including designation of Israeli civilians and settlers as a terror group.
Also entreating the world body to upgrade the PA’s status from non-member state to a full member, he declared that “any country that supports the Two-State Solution and peace” must “recognize the State of Palestine” and pressure Israel to withdraw from the “occupied” West Bank districts of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.