GAZA: Mourners stand by shrouded bodies of relatives killed following Zionist strikes at Khan Yunis' Nasser hospital in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec 9, 2023. - AFP
GAZA: Mourners stand by shrouded bodies of relatives killed following Zionist strikes at Khan Yunis' Nasser hospital in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec 9, 2023. - AFP
US vetoes Gaza ceasefire bid
Kuwait condemns veto, denounces extremists’ protest in occupied Jerusalem

GAZA: The Zionist entity bombarded targets in Gaza on Saturday after the United States blocked an extraordinary UN bid for a ceasefire in the war with Hamas. Washington’s veto was swiftly condemned by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, whose health ministry put the latest death toll in Gaza at 17,700, mostly women and children.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah on Saturday expressed Kuwait’s robust condemnation of applying the veto right at the UN Security Council against the draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. In a statement to KUNA, Sheikh Salem expressed deep concern at the UNSC’s failure to respond to the decision by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to refer to Provision 99 of the UN Charter to draw the international community’s attention to the situation in Gaza that constituted a threat to the global humanitarian order and signaled a prospected collapse of international security and peace.

“The ceasefire and protecting civilians in Gaza Strip are a pending humanitarian demand that must be heeded as soon as possible,” Sheikh Salem stated, also expressing concern that the failure to pass the resolutions would lead to granting a “new permit to the occupation forces to continue the operations of killing, annihilation and displacing the brotherly Palestinian people”.

He reiterated Kuwait’s unwavering stand that calls for pursuing all possible political and diplomatic efforts to meet the humanitarian needs for the unarmed Palestinian civilians who have been facing flagrant Zionist aggression, according to the responsibilities accorded to the UNSC with respect of safeguarding the globe’s security and peace

On Friday, the ministry of foreign affairs condemned and denounced the Zionist occupation authorities’ permission for extremists to organize a provocative march in occupied Jerusalem in a fresh shameful act that aims at changing the historical and legal status of the city and its holy sites, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The ministry said in a press release that Kuwait is opposed to such acts that reflect the absurdity, provocation and disrespect of the Zionist occupation and those extremists of Muslims’ sentiments, as well as their covert measures to carry out their mischievous schemes against these holy sites. The ministry warned of the consequences of such violations that defy international legitimacy resolutions and international law, underlining the significant role and responsibility of the UNSC and the international community in halting such unacceptable acts.

A Zionist strike on the southern city of Khan Yunis killed six people, while five others died in a separate attack in Rafah, the Gaza health ministry said Saturday. It added that, over a 24-hour period, 71 dead and 160 wounded had arrived at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah after persistent bombings. Gunfire was heard and flashes of light that silhouetted palm trees were seen overnight in the city’s Al-Zawaida district.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, said it fired rockets Saturday towards Reim in the Zionist entity. Vast areas of Gaza have been reduced to rubble and the UN says about 80 percent of the population has been displaced, with dire shortages of food, fuel, water and medicine reported. At Nasser hospital in the central city of Khan Yunis, an AFP correspondent saw a child on a makeshift stretcher and others simply sitting on the floor waiting to receive care. Outside, firefighters poured water onto the flames of a burning building partly destroyed by a Zionist strike.

Violence has also surged in the Zionist-occupied West Bank. Zionist forces shot dead six Palestinians Friday in a raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said. The ministry said those who lost their lives included a 14-year-old boy and an 18-year-old. It said they had been killed “by bullets from the occupation in the Al-Fara refugee camp” near Tubas.

Guterres triggered the rare Security Council vote by invoking a measure unused in decades. He sought the council’s endorsement of a ceasefire because, he said, rapidly deteriorating conditions make it “impossible for meaningful humanitarian operations”, with potentially irreversible implications for regional peace and security. The United States on Friday vetoed the Security Council resolution. US envoy Robert Wood said it was “divorced from reality” and “would leave Hamas in place able to repeat what it did on October 7”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he “holds the United States responsible for the bloodshed of Palestinian children, women and elderly people” in Gaza after the US veto. Avril Benoit, head of the Doctors Without Borders charity, described the US veto as a “sharp contrast to the values it professes to uphold”.

There was anger, too, at a residential area of Rafah destroyed in a Zionist strike. “What resolution did the Security Council ever approve and was implemented for our cause and Palestinian people?” Mohammed al-Khatib asked from among the rubble. Hamas denounced the veto as “a direct participation of the occupation in killing our people”. Iran, which backs Hamas, warned about the possible “uncontrollable explosion in the situation of the region” after US move.

Many of the 1.9 million Gazans displaced by the war have headed south, turning Rafah near the Egyptian border into a vast camp. One of only two partially operating hospitals in Gaza’s north, Al-Awda, “is surrounded by (Zionist) troops and tanks, and fighting is ongoing in its vicinity”, the UN said. Nearby in Jabalia district, the soil in front of shuttered shops has been dug up and turned into a cemetery where men buried more bodies.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated Washington’s calls for the Zionist entity to do more to protect civilians. “And we’re going to keep working with our (Zionist) counterparts to that end,” he said. Washington provides billions of dollars in military aid to the Zionist entity. The Zionist entity says 93 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza, and two others were severely injured in a failed bid to rescue hostages. Hamas said a hostage, 25-year-old Sahar Baruch, was killed in the operation, later confirmed by his kibbutz community in Beeri. – Agencies

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