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UNSC Statement Issued, Palestine Says More If Israel Doesn't Stop

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 12, more here -- The UN Security Council just past noon on July 12 issued a press statement on Gaza, after several rounds of back and forth.

  A half dozen media were present as the Security Council president for July, Rwandan Ambassador Gasana, read out the four paragraphs that Inner City Press first published on July 11.

  Afterward, Inner City Press asked the State of Palestine's Observer Riyad Mansour of the status of the (stronger) draft resolution, and if he expects US Secretary of State John Kerry to mediate or facilitate.

  Mansour said if Israel does not stop, other steps will be taken including in the Security Council.

  As Inner City Press reported on July 11, the press statement had initially been scheduled for 9:30 pm, then after a brief delay sources attributed to the US, was circulated to other Council members at 10:20 pm, under the "silence procedure" until 9 am on July 12. This was extended to noon.

   But at that time, the Security Council presidency, the Mission of Rwanda, told Inner City Press that the silence procedure was extended until 12 noon, when Rwandan ambassador Gasana would read the statement on-camera at the Council stakeout.

  Inner City Press asked, did any Council "break silence," and raise an issue? The Rwandan UN Security Council presidency replied, "Yes, very short silence procedure. Text put into silence Friday evening at 10:20 pm to expire Saturday morning at 9 am."

   It's true: the "other thirteen" in the Security Council, beyond the US and Jordan, shouldn't be taken for granted. They too have to check with their capitals.

  Another source said the final three hours delay was so the Security Council president could read it out on-camera. Afterward, a Gulf media demanded an explanation of the three hour delay, then asked another question to Mansour and the Saudi Ambassador beside him.

  There were four paragraphs, and three questions from two media. That was it.

  On July 11 after Inner City Press specified the timing -- and the stated theory that the US gave in after an emergency session of the Arab Group at the UN moved toward a resolution that the US would have to veto -- something changed.

  This month's Security Council president's Deputy Permanent Representative stepped forward at 9:43, on Twitter, to say that "No Council member has received any draft statement on Gaza this evening."

 And a quick check by Inner City Press resulted in a response that the US then delayed putting the draft under the "silence procedure" - and the four-paragraph draft, first published by Inner City Press here:

The Security Council expresses serious concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the protection and welfare of civilians on both sides.

The Security Council members called for de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire.

Security Council members further called for respect for International Humanitarian Law, including the protection of civilians.

Security Council members also expressed their support for resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on the two-state solution.”

  Informed sources told Inner City Press that while the US, or "Washington," initially said they would accept no Security Council action at this point, once an emergency meeting of the Arab Group moved for a draft resolution, the US changed tack.

  "The US doesn't want to have to veto, so they can continue to point the finger at Russia and China on Syria," as one source put it.  So the US agreed - or was said to agree -- to a press statement calling for a ceasefire.
  The source went on "If Israel disregards it and continues, what will the Council do?" What, indeed.

  Inside the Security Council on July 10, Israel's Ron Prosor told BanKi-moon that while he had given his speech, five rockets had been fired at Israel (Prosor played a rocket warning siren on his phone, to make his point.) At the stakeout, on-camera, Prosor raised the number of rockets to six.

  While Palestine's Riyad Mansour spoke on camera, the stakeout was nearly full with journalists. But when Prosor spoke there were far fewer -- one of whom told Inner City Press, “This is a question for FUNCA,” the Free UN Coalition for Access. Again Prosor played the rocket siren warning, and used the line “From Abuja to Falluja.”

  Inner City Press asked Prosor about those who say Hamas is not formally part of the unity government; he replied, “Hamas is Hamas.”

  On Palestine joining or complaining to the International Criminal Court, Inner City Press' question which Ban Ki-moon dodged on July 9, Prosor did not answer. Yet.

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