US ignores Israel's illegal settlements and Gaza blockade, urges UN to blacklist 'terrorist' Hamas
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, on Tuesday absolved Israel of responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, calling instead for the Security Council to blacklist Hamas.
Gaza has been under a strict Israeli blockade for over a decade, limiting movement in and out of the territory and restricting all imports and exports.
The UN has predicted that Gaza will be "uninhabitable" by 2020 as a result of the economic blockade, with three military offensives in the past eight years decimating Gaza's infrastructure while killing and injuring thousands of Palestinians.
"Every ounce of what we do should be against Hamas. They are a dangerous actor who has no care for the Palestinians, no care for the Israelis, and they are determined to destroy everything in their path," Haley said.
"Make no mistake, Israel did not cause the problems in Gaza, even though it is often the usual suspect around here."
The Security Council must stand up to condemn Hamas and say "enough is enough", she added, urging the UN to issue statements and pass resolutions which target the group.
"Those who give Hamas the arms, money, and political support to operate must cease," she said, urging the UN to put pressure on supporters of the group.
Haley's remarks came as the UN envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, issued his second quarterly report on the implementation of a December resolution criticising Israeli settlement building.
The vote passed after the Obama administration abstained from voting in a rare departure from a policy which traditionally protects Israel at the UN.
"The policy of continued illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory contravenes resolution 2334," Mladenov said.
"The large number of settlement-related activities documented during this period undermine the chances for the establishment of a viable, continuous Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution," he added.
He also warned that Gaza was a "tinderbox", urging an end to the "crippling" Israeli blockade and Palestinian political divisions which exacerbate the crisis.