US blocks UN Security Council statement on Israel-Palestine violence

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The US blocked the UN Security Council from issuing a statement regarding dramatically escalating violence in Israel and Palestine on Wednesday.

The nixed statement followed a second council briefing from the UN's Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Tor Wennesland.

It "expressed deep concern about the latest situation in Gaza, and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities," and further "expressed concern about the tensions and violence in East Jerusalem, especially in and around the holy sites."

"Council members demanded immediate cessation of all acts of violence, provocation, incitement and destruction. They called for respect for international law, including international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians," it said.

Diplomats who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity said the US blocked the statement because it said it would not "help de-escalate" the violence, and said Washington would not address the spiraling violence via a news statement.

Heavy bombardment in the Gaza Strip continued early Wednesday as Israeli forces carried out raids at various locations.

The Gaza Health Ministry reported 56 deaths, including 14 children and more than 330 wounded. Heavy damage to residential areas across Gaza has also been recorded, including the destruction of multiple multi-story residential buildings.

The Israeli military said 1,500 rockets have been fired from Gaza toward locations in Israel in which six Israelis have been killed and dozens injured.

*Betul Yuruk contributed to this story from the United Nations

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