The United Nations Security Council failed to agree on a statement that would condemn Israel over the death of Palestinians during the security operation to locate three missing settlers in the West Bank, Security Council President and Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.
Churkin told reporters that Security Council members were unable to find “common ground” for the statement as one member wanted stronger language and one didn’t want any reference to Israel. He said he proposed the press statement after listening to a Palestinian appeal for council action.
The Russian ambassador said: “The formula we prepared very carefully was unsatisfactory for any of the parties.”
In the meantime, a spokesman for the Israeli army said Israeli forces arrested 37 Palestinians and inspected 80 sites in the areas north-west of Hebron, south of the West Bank, and in Jenin, in the north of the West Bank.
The Israeli army also raided the offices of seven institutions affiliated to Hamas.
The military spokeswoman said: “Since the kidnapping 11 days ago, the army arrested 360 Palestinians including 250 from Hamas, 57 of them were released in the Shalit prisoner exchange deal.”
However, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club stressed that the number of people arrested since the operation amounted to 600 detainees. The Club said in a statement: “The Israeli army arrested 200 people in Hebron, 90 people in Nablus, 75 people in Bethlehem, 60 people in Jenin, 50 people in Ramallah, 60 people in Jerusalem, 40 people in Tulkarem, and 20 people in Qalqiliya as well as 30 people in Tubas and Salfit and 10 people from Jericho.”
Israel accuses the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas of kidnapping three settlers who disappeared last week near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc near Hebron.
The head of Hamas’ political bureau Khaled Meshaal said in an interview with Al-Jazeera news channel that he has no information about the settlers who were kidnapped. “We don’t have any information about the missing three soldier-settlers,” Meshaal said.
According to the channel’s website, Meshaal said that if the three settlers’ disappearance is a kidnapping operation, then it is a “logical response to the Israeli occupation authorities’ abuses”. He added: “We welcome all resistance against the Israeli occupation which has to pay the price for its arrogance.”
Meshaal stressed that hundreds of thousands of settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem “practice murder; break into Palestinian houses and burn mosques amid the international community’s silence.”