UNITED NATIONS — In a rare such protest, several western envoys walked out of the UN Security Council meeting on late Wednesday, April 23, after a Libyan colleague linked the Israeli aggressions in the sealed off Gaza Strip to the Nazi Holocaust and concentration camps.
"The Libyan ambassador compared the situation in Gaza to the Nazi Holocaust," a Western diplomat who was present at a council session on the Middle East told Reuters.
"Afterwards, the Western envoys stood up and left the room in protest."
The diplomats were discussing a draft statement proposed by Libya and some other countries that would have expressed serious concern about the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza.
When the Libyan envoy likened Gaza plight to the Holocaust, the ambassadors of France, US, UK, Belgium and Costa Rica, among others, walked out in a rare protest against fellow Security Council members.
In February, Deputy Israeli Defense Minister Matan Vilnai threatened to turn the Strip into a "bigger holocaust" for the Palestinians.
Shortly afterwards Israel unleashed an air and ground blitz against the sealed off coastal strip that claimed the lives of more than 129 people, including more than 40 children, toddlers and newborn babies, as well as 13 women.
"Unfortunately those who complain of being victims of genocide are repeating the same kind of genocide against the Palestinians," Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said after the meeting.
"The issue for us is to see the Security Council properly involved in finding solutions to the crisis, in particular the Israeli persecution of the Palestinians."
The rare protest came as the UN agency for Palestinian refugees warned it would be forced to halt food aid to the Gaza population over the lack of fuel.
"UNRWA will run out of diesel tomorrow, forcing it to shut down its food distribution," UNRWA chief John Ging told a press conference Wednesday.
"Neither UNRWA nor the World Food Program, who together feed over one million Gazans, will be able to resume food distribution until they receive diesel for the trucks involved in transporting the food."
Ging said local flour mills will run out of fuel starting on Friday and that farmers and fishermen were already hard-hit by the lack of fuel.
Israel has been closing the Gaza Strip’s exits to the outside world since Hamas took control of the territory last June.
It has completely locked down the area, home to 1.6 million Palestinians, since January, banning food and fuel shipment supplies.
The crippling siege has impaired Gaza’s health sector with 20 percent of ambulances out of commission and another 60 percent with less than a week’s worth of fuel.
"Laundry services at the largest hospital, Shifa, have been cut by 50 percent and we all know what that means in terms of public health," Ging said.
Trash collection has been halted in half of Gaza’s municipalities and water treatment plants have been forced to disgorge some 60,000 cubic meters (yards) of raw and partially treated sewage into the Mediterranean.
"The humanitarian conditions in Gaza are now quite simply appalling," said the UNRWA chief.
"Ten months of crushing sanctions is stripping the civilian population of a dignified existence."
(IslamOnline.net and agencies)