Tuesday March 19, 2019
Home Lead Story Israel Takes ...

Israel Takes Back Its Name From Security Council Election

Israel has never held a Council seat and would have been difficult for Israel to win against those to European nations, but it would have won by default if it was unopposed in the group.

0
//
U.S.
Israel Flag, Pixabay

Israel has withdrawn from the election for a two-year term on the Security Council that pitted it against Germany and Belgium.

Israel’s UN Mission announced the decision shortly before a debate between the three candidates was due to start at the UN on Friday afternoon.

“After consulting with our partners, including our good friends, the State of Israel has decided to postpone its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council,” the mission said.

The non-permanent seats in the Council are distributed regionally and Israel, which is in the Western European and Other Group (WEOG), had planned to contest one of the group’s two seats for the 2019-2020 term.

The failure to run unopposed for the WEOG seat is a diplomatic setback for Israel, which has never had a seat the Council, and, according to the US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, a broken promise by West European countries.

Israel has withdrawn from the election for a two-year term on the Security Council that pitted it against Germany and Belgium.
UN Security Council Chamber, wikimedia commons

He asserted in a tweet in March that Washington, which had brokered a deal for Israel to run unopposed for one of the WEOG seats, must ensure that the European nations kept their word.

Grenell said that the late Richard Holbrooke, a former assistant secretary of state, had arranged the deal..

Although Middle Eastern nations are in the Asia-Pacific Group, Israel has faced opposition from some members of the group and was taken in by the WEOG.

Israel has never held a Council seat and would have been difficult for Israel to win against those to European nations, but it would have won by default if it was unopposed in the group.

Also Read: Earthquake Then Volcano, There is No Relief For the Hawaii Residents 

There is one vacancy for the Asia-Pacific Group for 2019-2020 term and Indonesia and Maldives are contesting it.

They will participate in a candidates’ debate for the region organised by the World Federation of United Nations Associations on May 14.

All the 193 members of the UN will, however, vote for the non-permanent members of the Council, even though the seats are distributed by region.

The elections are scheduled for June 8. (IANS)

 

Next Story

Israeli Warplanes Struck 100 Hamas Targets in Gaza Strip After Rocket Attack

It was the first time the city had been targeted since a 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants

0
israel
Palestinians check a building belonging to Hamas ministry of prisoners destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, March 15, 2019. Israeli warplanes attacked militant targets in the southern Gaza Strip early Friday in response to a rare rocket attack on Tel Aviv. VOA

Israeli warplanes on Friday struck about 100 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to a rare rocket attack on Tel Aviv. Rocket fire persisted throughout the morning, setting the stage for possible additional reprisals.

The army said that its targets had included an office complex in Gaza City used to plan and command Hamas militant activities, an underground complex that served as Hamas’ main rocket-manufacturing site, and a center used for Hamas drone development. There were no reports of casualties.

The late-night attack on Tel Aviv, Israel’s densely populated commercial and cultural capital, marked a dramatic escalation in hostilities. It was the first time the city had been targeted since a 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants.

israel
An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen on Gaza City, March 15, 2019. VOA

Hamas denied responsibility for the initial rocket attack, saying it went against Palestinian interests. But after a preliminary investigation, Israel said it had concluded that the militant group was behind the attack.

Following the Israeli airstrike, several additional rounds of rocket fire were launched into Israel. The military said several rockets were intercepted by its air defense systems, and there were no reports of injuries.​

Egyptian mediators

The fighting broke out as Egyptian mediators were in Gaza trying to broker an expanded cease-fire deal between the bitter enemies.

The initial blasts from the Israeli airstrikes in southern Gaza were so powerful that smoke could be seen in Gaza City, 25 kilometers (15 miles) to the north. The Israeli warplanes could be heard roaring through the skies above Gaza City.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized power in Gaza in 2007. Smaller flare-ups have occurred sporadically since Israel and Hamas fought their last war, in 2014.

Israeli election, Hamas criticism

The sudden outburst of fighting comes at a sensitive time for both sides. Israel is holding national elections in less than a month. Netanyahu is locked in a tight fight for re-election and could face heavy criticism from his opponents if he is seen as ineffective against the militants.

Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett, a hard-line rival of Netanyahu’s, called on the prime minister to convene a gathering of his Security Cabinet and demand the army “present a plan to defeat Hamas.”

Likewise, Hamas has come under rare public criticism in Gaza for the harsh conditions in the territory. An Israeli-Egyptian blockade, combined with sanctions by the rival Palestinian Authority and mismanagement by the Hamas government, have fueled an economic crisis in the territory. Residents have little desire for another war with Israel.

Earlier Thursday, Hamas police violently broke up a small protest over the harsh living conditions.

israel
Smoke and flame are seen during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, March 15, 2019. VOA

Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the chief Israeli military spokesman, said the army had been caught off guard by Thursday night’s rocket barrage and had no advance intelligence.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all fire coming out of the territory. Hamas possesses a large arsenal of rockets and missiles capable of striking deep inside Israel.

But with Gaza’s economy in tatters, the group has been seeking to preserve calm.

Militants deny Tel Aviv attack

Hamas denied responsibility for the attack on Tel Aviv, saying the rockets were launched when the group’s military wing was meeting with the Egyptian mediators.

In an unusual step that indicated Hamas was attempting to prevent further escalation, the Hamas Interior Ministry said the rocket fire went “against the national consensus” and promised to take action against the perpetrators.

But Israel’s military concluded that Hamas was responsible. In a statement early Friday, the army said “we can confirm” that Hamas carried out the rocket attack.

ALSO READ: Terrorists Attack Two Mosques of New Zealand, Nearly 50 Killed

Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed militant group that also has a large rocket arsenal, also denied firing the rockets. Smaller factions inspired by the Islamic State group also sometimes fire rockets, though it is unclear whether they possess projectiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

Earlier this week, Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire on southern Israel, near the border. Late Thursday, local media said that Egyptian mediators left the territory. (VOA)