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UN Facility Had Hamas Members, Israel Claims, But Not Armed, UN Says

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 6 -- Israel's shelling of three facilities of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza was mentioned by most speakers at Tuesday's Security Council meeting. Afterwards, Inner City Press asked Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev to respond to the UN's call for an independent investigation of the bombings. "We investigate every kind of occurrence," she said. But she added, "by the way... among the casualties were two senior Hamas members." Video here, from Minute 4:44.

  Inner City Press went up to the UN spokesperson's office and asked, had the UN found that too?  The spokesperson's answer was that "our line is... we are defending our right to defend refugees." She said there were "no armed men... they might have been Hamas" but they were "there as refugees."

    As the Council meeting was suspended Tuesday night at nine, Libya's foreign minister Abderrahmane Mohamad Chalgan announced that the Libya-introduced draft resolution has been "put into blue," and could be voted on it 24 hours. This brought howls of protest, most loudly by the French. Bernard Kouchner had bragged at the stakeout about Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Egypt, that the Council should wait to see what happens "on the ground."

UN's Ban and France's Kouchner, reliance on Egypt and preferential access not shown

   The French Council presidency, which invited only French journalists into the Council for some type of briefing, insisted that the Libyan draft resolution was "dead." But then Libya said they would be calling for a vote, and event that they had discussed this with France. Mais non, the French said, there was an experts meeting earlier on Tuesday, but nothing was negotiated.

News analysis: on the one hand, the irony of supposed human rights promoter France staking it all on an Egyptian president who disappears his opponents including critical media cannot be ignored. On the other, Libya's apparently pushing for a vote to draw a U.S. veto may smack of grandstanding at the expense of people in Gaza. More on how this plays out should be known on Wednesday, watch this site.

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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