America’s ambassador to the United Nations emphasized at Monday’s U.N. Security Council meeting last week, the Biden administration designated a Hezbollah-linked group—one that purports to be an environmental organization—a terror group. Linda Thomas-Greenfield also stamped the “terror” label on two Israelis who have been charged, but not yet tried, in a deadly incident earlier this month.
“We strongly condemn the terror attacks by settlers in Burqa on August 4 that killed a 19-year-old Palestinian,” said the ambassador, noting also that there have been recent deadly Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis.
Speaking at the security council’s monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian file, Thomas-Greenfield referred to an incident in which a group of Israelis said it aided a shepherd who was attacked by a group of Arabs. A Palestinian was shot under unclear circumstances with the main suspect saying that he fired the deadly bullet in self-defense after being struck in the head with a rock.
In an unusual stance, the U.S. State Department decided not only that the accused were guilty until proven innocent prior to their trial, but it also labeled the incident a terror attack shortly after it occurred.
“We note Israel has made several arrests and expect accountability and justice to be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of violent extremism,” said Thomas-Greenfield, “whether the perpetrators are Palestinian militants or extremist Israeli settlers.”
The ambassador added that Washington “also remains deeply concerned by Hezbollah’s provocative actions” along the Israeli-Lebanon border, “which represent an increasing threat to Lebanon’s peace and security, as well as Israel’s.”
The U.S. Treasury Department last week designated the Hezbollah-aligned Green Without Borders—a supposed environmental protection organization—and its leader as terror supporters. An Israeli diplomatic source told JNS that the designation called attention to Hezbollah’s menacing activities, as the security council considered renewing the mandate held by U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL.
Russia: ‘Incessant, unilateral and illegitimate steps’
At the Aug. 21 meeting, Thomas-Greenfield noted last week’s appointment of Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairi, Saudi ambassador to Jordan, as non-resident ambassador to the Palestinians and consul general in Jerusalem.
“We stand ready to be supportive of any and all efforts that will bring us closer to a two-state solution,” she said of the appointment. That appeared to refer to discussions between Washington and Riyadh aiming in part to normalize Israeli-Saudi relations. The Saudis are expected to seek concessions from Israel on behalf of the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, France took aim at Israel during Monday’s session, with Isis Jaraud Darnault, France’s political coordinator to the United Nations, calling on Israel to “abandon the construction of new housing units in the settlements.”
“France will never recognize the illegal annexation of territories, nor the legalization of outposts,” Darnault said.
She also complained that the Israel Defense Forces recently demolished the European Union-funded, illegally built Ein Samiya school northeast of Ramallah, calling the razing “unacceptable.” The European Union has threatened to sue.
Having taken an increasingly antagonistic stance towards Israel at the United Nations since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia continued the pattern on Monday.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s U.N. chargé d’affaires, laid blame solely at the feet of Israel for the “protracted, years-long stagnation of the peace process.”
Polyanskiy referred to “the incessant, unilateral and illegitimate steps by Israel that create irreversible facts on the ground and basically reduce to a zero any prospects for recovering direct talks among Palestinians and Israelis on a universally recognized international legal basis, which has at its core a two-state formula, which we unfailingly support.”
He blasted “violent militarized raids” by Israeli counterterrorism forces in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory. The raids have led to dozens of deaths, overwhelmingly of Palestinian terrorists, which various terror groups and militias have publicly claimed as their adherents.
Few security council ambassadors made any note of ongoing clashes between Palestinian militants, including those of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group, in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh camp. The fighting has led to 13 deaths, dozens of injuries and millions of dollars’ worth of damage. Services were suspended in the camp late last week due to ongoing danger in the street.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which operates the Palestinian-controlled camp of more than 50,000 people, said on Aug. 18 that armed fighters are still present in its facilities, including schools.