News / Middle East

UN Security Council Holds Emergency Session on Israeli Raid

Margaret Besheer

The U.N. Security Council met in emergency session Monday on how to respond after Israeli commandos intercepted a ship carrying humanitarian aid in international waters and killed at least nine pro-Palestinian activists.  

The 15-member council convened an emergency session at the request of members Lebanon and Turkey.  

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who traveled from South America for the meeting, criticized Israel, calling the Israeli Defense Forces' actions "tantamount to banditry and piracy."

"It is murder conducted by a state," said  Ahmet Davutoglu. "It has no excuses, no justification whatsoever.  A nation-state that follows this path has lost its legitimacy as a respectful member of the international community."

Davutoglu said Israel's explanation that its military acted in self-defense does not justify its actions.  He called Israeli use of force "inappropriate and disproportionate," and said the actions of protestors on the ship did not absolve Israel of its duties under international law.

"To treat humanitarian aid delivery as a hostile act and to treat the aid workers as combatants is a reflection of a dangerous state of mind with detrimental effects to regional and global peace," he said. "Therefore, the Israeli actions cannot be deemed legal or legitimate.  Any attempt to legitimize the attack is futile."

The aid ships, carrying about 700 pro-Palestinian activists and 10,000 tons of supplies, headed for Gaza on Sunday.  They defied several warnings from the Israeli navy not to approach the Palestinian territory by sea and instructions to deliver their cargo to the Israeli port of Ashdod where authorities would inspect it and deliver it to Gaza.

The flotilla of six ships was led by the Turkish vessel, Mavi Marmara, which was in international waters off of Israel when the commandos intercepted it, boarding it from helicopters.

At the open Security Council session, members strongly condemned the violence and called for an investigation into the events.  They also urged the immediate and unconditional release of the protesters who are citizens of 32 countries.  After the session, members moved to a closed meeting to consider possible action.

Nearly all of the council members called for an immediate lifting of the Israeli blockade that has prevented many goods from reaching Gaza's 1.5 million residents since Hamas took over the territory in 2007.

Israel's deputy U.N. Ambassador Daniel Carmon dismissed the situation in Gaza, telling the council that "no humanitarian crisis" exists there.  As for the incident aboard the ship, he said Israel regretted the loss of lives but he denounced the activists, saying they were not there to deliver humanitarian aid, but to make a political statement and that they tried to "lynch" the Israeli soldiers who intervened, using knives and clubs.

"The answer is clear," said Daniel Carmon. "There [sic] are not peace activists; they were not messengers of goodwill.  They cynically used the guise of humanitarian aid to send a message of hate and to implement violence."

Israel's staunch ally, the United States, said it was "deeply disturbed" by the violence and regretted the loss of life.  But Deputy U.N. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff also appeared to criticize the protesters, saying that there are other mechanisms for delivering aid to Gaza and that direct delivery by sea was neither "appropriate nor responsible" under the circumstances.

In comments in Africa, where he is traveling, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence and called for a full investigation to determine exactly how the events unfolded.

You May Like

Photogallery US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

NYC mayor says, 'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' yet blizzard warnings, travel bans remain for several East Coast states More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid