News US rejects Hamas plea to halt Gaza airdrops as fighting rages on

Attack on Rafah ‘not the way’ to defeat Hamas, US envoy tells UN Security Council

NEW YORK: The US has again urged Israel to abandon plans for a major ground operation in Rafah, where more 1.5 million displaced Palestinians are hemmed in after months of fighting in Gaza.

“We share Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas,” US ambassador Robert Wood told the UN Security Council on Tuesday, “but a major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it.

“It risks killing more civilians, it risks wreaking greater havoc with the provision of humanitarian assistance.

“And so our advice to Israel is, there is a better way.”

Wood also said Washington is working to dramatically step up humanitarian aid into Gaza, “where not enough assistance is reaching civilians in need.”

He said: “The reality is that children are starving to death because humanitarian assistance can’t reach them.

“Children should not be dying of malnutrition in Gaza, or anywhere else for that matter. A 100 percent of the population of Gaza is experiencing severe levels of acute food insecurity. “

After 170 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas, the UN Security Council on Monday adopted Resolution 2728, calling for a cessation of hostilities during the holy month, leading “to a lasting, sustainable ceasefire.”

In addition, the resolution calls for Hamas and other militant groups to release all hostages taken on Oct. 7.

It also demands that all involved in the conflict “comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain,” and emphasizes “the urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance to, and reinforce the protection of civilians in, the entire Gaza Strip.”

The resolution reiterates a demand for the lifting of “all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale.”

Wood expressed regret that the resolution failed to condemn the Hamas terror attack on Oct. 7, and “its sexual violence.”

“There is no excuse, let me repeat, no excuse for the Security Council’s failure to condemn Hamas’ terrorism. This council needs to condemn Hamas,” he said.

Guyana’s Deputy Permanent Representative Stephanie Savory told the council that “from all indications, yesterday’s resolution is not being adhered to.”

As the war in Gaza grinds on, an Israeli strike late on Monday on a residential building in Rafah where three displaced families were sheltering killed at least 16 people, including nine children and four women, according to hospital records and relatives of the victims.

“Accountability remains sorely lacking in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and perhaps is the reason crime after crime is committed year after year with seeming impunity,” Savory said.

France’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, called on Israel to “immediately and without conditions” open all existing land crossing points.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic, and there is an urgent need to ensure the massive entry of aid given the risk of imminent famine,” he said.

Like other council members, de Riviere condemned the Israeli policy, “contrary to international law,” of continuing and “even accelerating” Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.

“France will never recognize the illegal annexation of territories. The Israeli decision of the 22nd of March, confiscating 800 hectares of land in the West Bank is unacceptable. This is the largest confiscation of land by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory since the Oslo Accords.

He added that “the historic status quo over the holy places in Jerusalem must be preserved.”

France calls for all measures to be avoided “which would lead to conflagration of the situation in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” de Riviere said.

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