The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said that the Biden administration will “continue to fiercely advocate” for the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians held hostage by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Speaking at the UN Security Council’s monthly session on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Linda Thomas-Greenfield referred to her meeting last month with Leah Goldin, the mother of the late Hadar Goldin whose body is being held by Hamas in the Mediterranean enclave.
“For the last seven years, the Goldins have advocated endlessly for his return. When I met with her, I promised her I would do everything possible to support her efforts to have her son returned. No parent – no one – should have to endure such a wretched experience,” the U.S. ambassador said.
Thomas-Greenfield vowed that Washington would continue advocating peace between Israel and Palestinians.
“The United States will continue to fiercely advocate for the return of Israeli soldiers killed in action in Gaza, as well as the return of Israeli civilians held captive there,” she said. “And we will continue to push for decency, for humanity, for equality, and for peace for all.”
Turning to the situation in the West Bank, Thomas-Greenfield blasted the Palestinian Authority over recent reports that the PA “is acting to restrict Palestinian freedom of expression and harass civil society activists and organizations. That is unacceptable.”
The American ambassador also affirmed Washington’s commitment to a two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and simultaneously declared America’s opposition to the Israeli government’s settlement activity and “efforts to single out Israel unfairly in UN forums.”
Thomas-Greenfield also had a mixed message for the controversial Palestinian refugee organization, which has been accused of disseminating anti-Semitism and which the former President Donald Trump withdrew American financial support.
“UNRWA and its staff are tirelessly committed to serving the needs of Palestinian refugees – but the agency needs operational and managerial improvements,” she said. “The United States has zero tolerance for manifestations of anti-Semitism, racism, or other forms of hatred in UN agencies, and that includes UNRWA. This is why our framework of cooperation – the most robust to date – outlines expectations and include benchmarks to increase UNRWA’s transparency and accountability, consistent with UN principles, including neutrality.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met yesterday in the southern town Sderot with the heads of local Israeli councils adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Bennett promised that the Israeli government would work to strengthen the fragile Israeli Gaza border communities.
"I thank the mayor for hosting us and all the council heads for coming. Usually, people come here when there is a war or a round but it was important to me to come here now when there isn't, in time of routine, because the residents live here all the time. I am aware of the effect of these rounds, even in quiet moments it is not over," Bennett said. "The effects still exists – both mental and physical. You are very important to me personally and to the State of Israel. We are working to give the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and the communities of the south as much long-term quiet and calm as possible."
Meanwhile, Gaza’s ruling Hamas regime is once again threatening to resume rocket fire against the Jewish state unless Jerusalem allows Qatari funds to enter the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government is looking for a way to ensure that money earmarked for civilian aid to Gaza does not end up in Hamas pockets.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.