Tanks Roll Into Gaza, UN Council Meets, Fireworks at
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
January 3, with updates --
With Israel's ground
offensive into Gaza having begun, the UN Security Council began an
meeting on Saturday night. Libya on behalf of the Arab Group circulated
three-paragraph Presidential Statement calling to a ceasefire. The
new President, France's Jean-Maurice Ripert, was asked if he thought
was similar to the press statement read out last Saturday. There's a
significant difference, Ripert indicated. The Libyan draft does not
Hamas or rocket fire.
Ambassador John Sawers said he would comment later. A US spokesman
passed out a
statement by Scott McCormack and said, "That's our bottom line." Ban
Ki-moon's spokesperson went in with Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar,
was not yet seen.
Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann appeared at the stakeout,
back from Nicaragua, and denounced the ground offensive and the
"disfunctionality" of the Security Council. Inner City Press ask how
he would review the performance of the UN Secretariat, a question which
d'Escoto dodged by saying, "I do not speak for them." Then a
representative of Fox News repeatedly asked questions about why
targeting Israel. A self-described Jewish correspondent asked about the
in which Israelis live. A new columnist for the New York Post asked
"who invited you to the Security Council?"
France's Ripert feeds the press, fighting about
balance not shown
did not answer, but from the riser of TV cameras, an Arab journalist
"It's none of your business." Then the Postie debated an Arab cable
channel. The conflict had spread not only to the Security Council but
stakeout and press corps. The ground offensive had begun.
Update of 7:50 pm -- As d'Escoto
came out of the Council, he
approached Inner City Press. "I'm going to take a rest," he said
softly. Inner City Press asked him if he's spoken with UN rapporteur
Falk since he was barred from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "We
are in touch," d'Escoto said. "Do you know where he is?"
Brazil, d'Escoto whispered. And
then he was gone...
Update of 8:38 pm - Council goes
into recess to re-work the
Libyan draft, Presidency indicating that reference to rockets will go
that d'Escoto was not invited to the consultations, "which technically
spokesman tells Inner City Press, on the record, that as PGA d'Escoto
anywhere he wants in the UN, and that with 400 people dead and a
attack going on for one week, discussing whether to wait for an
invitation" is ridiculous. He added,"Nothing's going to come out of
the Security Council."
recess, two Western Council member spokesmen said a statement is coming
with extra issues to be included being arms smuggling, Palestinian
reconciliation, humanitarian access and border crossings. We'll see.
Update of 8:57 pm -- The Sudanese
Ambassador alleges, and
the US indirectly confirms, that even a press statement is too much for
Washington. All they want is for the French Ambassador to tell the
the Council's views. "That's the lowest form of Council action," says
Sudan's Ambassador. "It's no action at all." Call it, talking points
to which the US acquiesces. He adds that
tomorrow Sunday, the foreign ministers of Libya, Morocco and Palestine
On Monday, those of Saudia Arabia, Jordon, Yemen and Lebanon. Those of
and Qatar are no longer coming, he says. The lowest form of action...
Update of 9:18 p.m. -- during the
Council's redrafting lull
we can report: President of the General Assembly d'Escoto when he went
"uninvited" into the Council met with the Arab Group, which
"rehearsed him" for next week, when the Group will take Gaza to the
General Assembly if the Council does not act. They will meet again with
d'Escoto after tonight's proceedings, whenever they end...
Update of 9:53 pm -- As Council
drafts & Press in lull,
here's Inner City Press grassroots video of Sudan's Ambassador to UN,
on Gaza, US, Hamas - www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5V3FHGN2ZA
Update of 11:02 pm -- so the
Council "could not reach
agreement," President Ripert says, alluding to a "strong
convergence" for the bland points he read out. In the French version,
added that Nicolas Sarkozy is going to the region with an EU
City Press asked him, what *is* the EU position, since a Czech
called Israel's ground attack "defensive" and not offensive? Ripert
says to ask the Czechs for the EU position. Some way to run an
Update of 11:07 pm - US
Ambassador Wolff comes out to take
questions, emphasizes Hamas rocket fire. Inner City Press asks him,
UNRWA's Karen AbuZayd said the killed police cadets only went to work
government because they had no jobs, were they legitimate military
not going to get into specifics, Wolff says, blaming it all on Hamas.
is a legitimate target? To be continued. The Libyan Ambassador,
speaking mostly in Arabic, predicts an open Council meeting on Monday.
Update of 11:30 p.m. -- in the
interview of the night, Egypt's Ambassador denounces the UK for having
weapons smuggling from his country into Gaza. He says he will write a
UK Ambassador Sawers. Sudan's Ambassador speaks last, and only in
it's a wrap.
Update of 12:28 a.m. Sun Jan 4 --
and this, according to the French
mission, is what Council President Ripert said at the stakeout, the
"elements for the press," the only outcome of the meeting:
extensive talks on
the situation in Gaza. I must tell you that there was no formal
my capacity of President of the Council, I have noted very strong
convergences to express
serious concerns at the escalation and the deterioration of the
Gaza and southern Israel.
Serious convergences on a call for an
immediate, permanent and fully respected cease-fire.
convergences on a deep
concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the need to ensure
access for humanitarian supplies and on a call on all parties to
convergences on a full support for the
regional and international
diplomatic efforts underway to help resolve this crisis.
convergences on the
urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to continue negotiations for
comprehensive solution, as envisaged in Security Council resolution
meeting and the stakeouts ended, from within the Council came the sound
final plays of the US National Football League wild card game between
Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers. There was cheering, and then
spokesman emerged. He said to Inner City Press, "Chargers won." And
that just about sums it up.
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