* Unclear if Security Council to meet on Gaza strikes
* Council has trouble reaching consensus on Mideast crisis
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 14 The Palestinian Authority
on Wednesday urged the U.N. Security Council to take a stand on
Israel's latest offensive in the Gaza Strip, which it said
amounted to "illegal criminal actions."
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor responded by calling on
the international community to condemn "indiscriminate rocket
fire against Israeli citizens - children, women." He was
referring to five days of escalating Palestinian rocket attacks
In a letter to Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri,
president of the 15-nation council this month, Palestinian envoy
Riyad Mansour said a "message must be sent to Israel to cease
its military campaign against the Palestinian people under its
occupation, including the cessation of extrajudicial killing."
"This escalation, which continues at this moment, demands
the attention of the international community, including the
Security Council, with the aim of averting the further
deterioration and destabilization of the situation on the ground
and the fueling by Israel of yet another deadly cycle of
violence and bloodshed," Mansour said.
Israel launched a new major offensive against Palestinian
Hamas militants in Gaza on Wednesday, killing Hamas' military
commander in an air strike and threatening an invasion of the
enclave that the Islamist group said would "open the gates of
Speaking to reporters, Prosor described the Hamas military
commander, Ahmed Al-Jaabari, as a "mass murderer" who had been
planning fresh attacks against Israeli citizens.
The U.N. press office said the Security C ouncil planned to
hold closed-door consultations on an Egyptian request for an
emergency meeting at 6:30 p.m. EST (2330 GMT).
"There is an expectation that ground forces might move into
the Gaza Strip very shortly," Mansour told reporters. "The
situation is escalating."
"We want the Security Council to act in accordance with its
responsibilities to stop this aggression against our people," he
said, without providing details of what action he wanted.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Hamas and
Israel to avoid escalating the Gaza fighting.
A new Gaza war has loomed for months as waves of Palestinian
rocket attacks and Israeli strikes have grown more intense and
EGYPT CONDEMNS RAIDS
Prosor said Israel's action in Gaza was "well-defined."
"This cannot continue," he said of the Hamas rocket fire.
"We have shown for a very long time a lot of restraint," he
said, noting that Israel is obliged to defend its citizens.
"We are not interested in escalation," he told a Security
It is the militant group Hamas, not the Palestinian
Authority, that controls Gaza.
Mansour said the Israeli action was intended to draw
attention away from the Palestinians' plan to seek an upgrade of
its observer status at the United Nations from that of an
"entity" to a "non-member state," implicitly recognizing
Israel and the United States have made clear they would
oppose the Palestinian upgrade, which would give it the right to
join international bodies like the International Criminal Court,
where it could file legal complaints against Israel.
U.N. diplomats said a vote on the Palestinian request was
tentatively scheduled for Nov. 29. A senior Western diplomat
said the Palestinians would easily secure 120 to 130 votes out
of the 193-nation General Assembly, which would ensure the
success of their upgraded status at the United Nations.