US, Israel Pushing to Clear UN Path for Escalation of Gaza Assault

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Common Dreams

US, Israel Pushing to Clear UN Path for Escalation of Gaza Assault

Jockeying comes amid reports of rising Palestinian death toll

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoken at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos Municipality, Graubünden Canton on January 29, 2009. (Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons / World Economic Forum)

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoken at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos Municipality, Graubünden Canton on January 29, 2009. (Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons / World Economic Forum)

As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges restraint, both the U.S. and Israel are attempting to clear the path at the UN for the escalation of Israel's assault on Gaza.

Speaking to the UN Security Council on Thursday, Ron Prosor—the Israeli envoy to the UN—dismissed calls for deescalation and ceasefire, comparing them to "asking a fire brigade to fight an inferno with a bucket of water," according to the Guardian. In a moment of high theatrics, Prosor played a recording of an air raid siren in Israel.

Riyad Mansour, Palestinian ambassador to the UN, simply listed off the name of Palestinians killed by Israeli air raids, including eight children. "I speak on behalf of the suffering and grieving Palestinian people, who are enduring yet another barrage of death, destruction, trauma and terror," he stated according to the Associated Press.

While the Palestinian death toll continues to rise, over 81 names are included on a list of the dead, provided by the Ministry of Health in Gaza and reported by Ma'an news agency. No Israelis have been killed in rocket fire during this latest escalation in violence.

The U.S., which backed Israel's military onslaught on Gaza as 'self defense,' has been jockeying for escalation at the UN. The Guardian reports that "American diplomats were working hard to water down the wording of any security council rebuke directed at Israel," referencing "reports from New York."

Citing diplomatic sources, the AP reports that Jordan is passing around a non-binding statement calling for a cease-fire, for consideration by the Security Council.

Ki-moon called for restraint on all sides, declaring, his "paramount concern is the safety and well-being of all civilians, no matter where they are," according to a UN statement.

However, he also appeared echoed Israel's justifications for the assault and a potential ground invasion by declaring a "threat of a ground offensive still palpable – and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing."

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