Libya compares Gaza to 'Nazi concentration camps'

France on Wednesday led a walkout of British and Belgian envoys from a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East after Libya compared the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip to Nazi "concentration camps," diplomats said.

Libya compares Gaza to 'Nazi concentration camps'
One diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said France's UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert took off his earpiece and walked out, followed by his British and Belgian colleagues, after his Libyan counterpart made the remarks.

Diplomats said the comments came in a speech by Libya's deputy permanent U.N. representative Ibrahim Dabbashi, who also holds the title of ambassador.

"The Libyan ambassador compared the situation in Gaza to the Nazi Holocaust," said a Western diplomat who was present at a council discussion on the Middle East.

Speaking to reporters after the debate, Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters: "Unfortunately those who complain of being victims of genocide (during World War II) are repeating the same kind of genocide against the Palestinians."

"The issue for us is to see the Security Council properly involved in finding solutions" to the crisis, in particular "the Israeli persecution of the Palestinians," he added.

The remark came during a discussion on a draft statement proposed by Libya and some other countries that would have expressed serious concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

South Africa's UN Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the council chairman this month, told reporters that members "could not agree" on the statement.

Kumalo closed the meeting after the walkout. He told reporters the council had again failed to reach an agreement and would return to the issue later.

In previous months, the council had several times tried and failed to agree on a statement regarding the crippling Israeli siege of Gaza – dubbed by much of the international community as "collective punishment".

Israel claims that its blockade is in response to rocket fire from Palestinian resistance fighters based in Gaza, while the Palestinian groups say those weak home made rockets are all they have against Israel's mighty and brutal illegal occupation of their territories.

The United Nations has warned this has resulted in a humanitarian crisis for the territory's 1.5 million people, most of whom depend on foreign aid.


Agencies
Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2008, 13:49
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