Arabs accuse US of blocking Gaza resolution

January 6, 2009 12:00 am

, CAIRO, Jan 6 – The Arab League accused the US on Tuesday of blocking a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, where 11 days of fighting have killed hundreds of Palestinians.

Arab foreign ministers who went to the UN’s New York headquarters to lobby for a resolution are "facing difficulties and obstacles because of the US supportive stance toward Israel," said Mohammed Subaih, Arab League deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs.

"(The US) wants more blood and wants to block a decision by the Security Council so Israel can continue its aggression and perform a cleansing operation" against the Islamist group Hamas, he told AFP.

The Security Council is due to meet again on Tuesday to weigh an Arab call for an immediate ceasefire and for protection of Palestinian civilians.

The US opposed a Libyan resolution calling for both sides to abide by a ceasefire because it did not explicitly mention Hamas rocket attacks.

A Western diplomat said France is working with Arab states to finalise a draft resolution that would call for an immediate ceasefire, specifically an end to the Israeli military assault as well as to rocket firing into Israel by Gaza-based militants.

The text would also urge the lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza to allow humanitarian access to the beleaguered Palestinian population, protection of Palestinian civilians, a resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and a mechanism to monitor the truce and the protection of civilians, diplomats said.

Israel says it launched its offensive, which has killed more than 600 Palestinians, to stop Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, from firing rockets into Israel.

Rockets fired by Hamas militants have killed four Israelis since it began its operations.


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