Venezuela UN envoy asks if Israel seeks 'final solution' against Palestinians
Don Emmert (AFP)
Venezuela's UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez inquired whether Israel sought a "final solution" against the Palestinians, referencing the Nazi's policy of systematically eliminating Jews, during his speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday.
While condemning Israel for "unlawful settlements," and "ongoing violence" against the Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reports, Ramirez asked Security Council members: "What does Israel plans do to with the Palestinians? Will they disappear? Does Israel seek probably to wage a final solution? The sort of solution that was perpetrated against the Jews?"
Ramirez's comments came during a meeting, called for last month by Venezuela, Egypt, Malaysia, and Senegal, of the informal UN mechanism known as the Arria-Formula on 'protection' for Palestinian civilians.
The comments were condemned by US, UK, and Israeli representatives.
"Whatever one’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, using language like ‘the final solution’ to describe Israeli policy is, in the United Kingdom’s view, both tactless and offensive," the UK's representitive Stephen Hickey said.
The US representative, the Jerusalem Post reports, called the meeting "unfortunately" one-sided.
"We reject completely any comparison between the actions of Israel and those of Nazi Germany, which we find deeply offensive," he said. "Israel has the right to defend itself in the face of terrorism."
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called Ramirez's comments "clear anti-Semitism."
"His remarks are a direct continuations to the Palestinian representative’s statement a few days ago comparing Israel to the Nazis," Danon said in a statement released by Israel's UN mission. "The Palestinians are bringing anti-Semitism into the halls of the UN and are legitimizing racists and crass language in the parliament of nations."
Last week, Palestinian representitive to the United Nations Riyad Mansour said that Israel labels its opponents terrorists in similar fashion to the Nazi regime's suppression of Warsaw Ghetto uprising fighters.
Ramirez also called the Security Council's failure to solve Israeli-Palestinian issues a "clear fiasco," and urged the Security Council to take action against Israeli settlement building.
"We cannot continue to let the People of Palestine suffer at the hands of an occupied power who continues to settle in their territory, demolish their homes, grab their lands, imprison their children and murder their women and children," the Post quotes Ramirez.
The Palestinian leadership recently put on hold its plans to put forth a resolution to the UN condeming Israeli settlement building following pressure from France — currently pursuing a multilateral approach for a renewed peace initiative.
A document presented to the council ahead of Friday's meeting claims "the international community, foremost the Security Council, continues to fail to hold Israel accountable and to compel a halt to its violations and compliance with its legal obligations," the Post reports.
Danon's office said the Venezuelan Ambassador apologized to the "Jewish people if they were offended by the remarks."
(Staff with agencies)
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