Israel summons ambassadors over support for Palestine UN membership

Foreign Ministry says diplomats from France, Japan, South Korea and others will face 'strong protest'

The UN Security Council votes on a resolution allowing Palestinian UN membership at United Nations headquarters in New York. AFP
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Israel will summon several foreign envoys on Sunday over their countries' support for a UN resolution calling for Palestine to be given full UN membership, with its Foreign Ministry calling the move a “prize for terrorism”.

The ministry will summon the ambassadors of France, Japan, South Korea, Malta, Slovenia and Ecuador on Sunday after they supported a UN vote, vetoed by the US, calling for Palestine to be made a full member of the body.

The diplomats “will be summoned for a demarche, and a strong protest will be presented to them,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Oren Marmorstein.

“A political gesture to the Palestinians and a call to recognise a Palestinian state – six months after the October 7 massacre – is a prize for terrorism,” he said on X.

Growing support for full Palestinian representation at the UN comes amid a mounting death toll in Gaza, with more than 34,000 killed.

Sixteen people, including nine children, were killed in dawn strikes in the southern city of Rafah on Sunday morning.

Rafah was also hit by intense air strikes on Saturday, including a strike on a family home which killed a pregnant woman.

Doctors safely delivered the baby, who was the only survivor of the strike, according to the official Wafa news agency, which published photos of the infant being cradled by a doctor.

The city continues to brace for a full-scale invasion despite Israel receiving numerous warnings to spare Rafah, the last refuge for more than a million displaced Palestinians.

Tensions between Turkey and Israel have risen, with Ankara saying Israel should be “ashamed” of its killing in Gaza as it faced backlash for hosting Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Mr Haniyeh at Istanbul's Dolmabahce palace, speaking with him for more than two hours, according to Turkish media reports.

Mr Erdogan called for Palestinian unity following the talks, describing it as “the strongest response to Israel and the path to victory”.

The visit was condemned by Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who tweeted: “Muslim Brotherhood alliance: rape, murder, desecration of corpses and the burning of babies. Erdogan, shame on you.”

“It is the Israeli authorities who should be ashamed. They have massacred nearly 35,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Turkey has hosted Hamas leaders for several years and is one of several countries leading humanitarian efforts to get aid into Gaza.

Despite fraught relations with Israel, it is restructuring its foreign ministry to accommodate a future role as a mediator between Israel and Iran, senior Turkish officials have told The National.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Mr Haniyeh praised Turkey's and President Erdogan's support for Palestine and said the pair discussed Turkish restrictions on Israeli imports.

The increasingly acrimonius row between Israel and Turkey also comes ahead of a visit by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to Istanbul. Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry discussed the upcoming visit in a meeting with Mr Erdogan on Saturday, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said.

According to Ahram Online, Mr Shoukry noted that one part of Mr El Sisi's visit would be for the inaugural meeting of the High-Level Strategic Council between the two countries.

During the meeting, Mr Erdogan and Mr Shoukry stressed the necessity of achieving an immediate and permanent ceasefire and allowing unhindered humanitarian aid access, and reiterated the warning against any military operation in Rafah.

They also underscored the importance of continued coordination and joint action between Cairo and Ankara to prevent the conflict from spreading in the region.

Updated: April 21, 2024, 10:25 AM