Arabs call for UN action over Gaza raids

By Mark Turner at the United Nations and Harvey Morris in Gaza

Financial Times

Published: October 4 2004

Arab countries called on the UN Security Council to demand the immediate cessation of military operations in northern Gaza, yesterday, in an emergency session convened to discuss escalating violence. But the US dismissed the move, calling it "one more step on the road to nowhere."

The draft Arab resolution called for the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces and unfettered access to medical and humanitarian aid workers.

Abdallah Baali, the Algerian ambassador, urged a Security Council decision by Wednesday. But John Danforth, the US ambassador to the UN, said the resolution did nothing to help restore peace.

"One side acts, the other side reacts, more reaction, more violence and round and round it goes," he told the Security Council.

In the West Bank, on Monday an Israeli policeman and two Palestinian militants were killed during an Israeli army raid in Ramallah. Palestinian officials reported a further seven people killed in the Gaza Strip as the Israeli army sent tanks into Beit Hanoun, the Palestinian town nearest to the border with Israel.

Tanks and armoured bulldozers were operating along a stretch of road that crosses dunes between the Erez border crossing and nearby Beit Lahiya, amid the sound of heavy machinegun fire from nearby Beit Hanoun.

Two soldiers were wounded when a Palestinian anti-tank missile struck an armoured bulldozer near the Jabalya refugee camp. Witnesses said a four-year-old Palestinian boy was killed by a stray Israeli bullet fired in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip after soldiers guarding army bulldozers fired warning shots.