Palestinians asked the United Nations for assistance in halting Israel’s week-long campaign of arrests and airstrikes following the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.
Israeli Prime Minister bIBI Netanyahu also communicated with the UN, telling Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon he opposes efforts to help Hamas receive money from Qatar to pay its employees in the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman wants to expel UN envoy Robert Serry, Ban’s Middle East envoy from Israel over efforts to transfer $20 million to Hamas from Qatar, Channel 2 television reported, without saying where it got the information.
Serry, in a statement, rejected the allegations about the Qatari money. He said it was “disheartening” to have his integrity challenged.
“We view Serry’s behavior very severely,” ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, without addressing the content of the TV report. “Strong decisions will be called for.”
Israeli forces continued raids in the West Bank early yesterday, entering 146 homes and arresting 10 members of the Hamas movement, according to an army spokesman who spoke on condition of anonymity, required by military rules. Troops also shut down 15 social-welfare organizations that Israel says are being used as fronts for Hamas, which Netanyahu has accused of kidnapping the youths.
“The international community, including the Security Council, cannot continue to fail to act to hold Israel accountable for its flagrant breaches of the law,” Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour wrote in a letter to Ban that was e-mailed to reporters yesterday. Inaction by the UN has only emboldened Israel and “bolstered its impunity,” according to the letter.
Hamas, which agreed this month to resolve a seven-year rift with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by supporting a joint government, is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and European Union.
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