UN Security Council set to vote on protecting Palestinians

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


The UN Security Council will vote Thursday on a draft resolution calling for the protection of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, but the measure is expected to be vetoed by the United States, diplomats said.

Kuwait presented the draft two weeks ago, initially calling for an international protection mission for the Palestinians as protests turned violent on the Israeli-Gaza border.

The final version however urges "the consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection" of Palestinian civilians and requests that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres present a report on a possible "international protection mechanism."

Kuwait's UN ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi told reporters that the vote is scheduled for 6:00 pm (2200 GMT). Kuwait represents Arab countries at the council.

At a Security Council meeting on Wednesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley signaled that Washington would oppose the proposals for Palestinian protection.

"The people of Gaza do not need protection from an external source. The people of Gaza need protection from Hamas," she said.

The vote comes after an exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip this week that was the worst flare-up since the 2014 war.

At least 122 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the unrest since the end of March. No Israelis have been killed.

Haley has been a strong supporter of Israel at the United Nations, arguing that Israel was resorting to legitimate defense against Hamas militants.

Diplomats have said the Palestinians may turn to the UN General Assembly if the draft resolution on protection is vetoed by the United States.