NEW YORK – During his briefing to the Security Council on Tuesday, former UN special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi quoted a Palestinian woman describing Gaza as a concentration camp, causing a reaction from Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon.
Brahimi, who was invited to brief the council in his capacity as a member of the peace advocacy group The Elders, made the comments as he was describing his trip to the Gaza Strip in 2010.
“The misery in that unhappy strip of land is difficult to describe and more difficult to endure,” he said. “A young woman stood and told us: ‘Israel put us in a concentration camp.
Those who call themselves our leaders are taking away the air we breath.’” Brahimi added: “Since 1967, Palestinians have endured grave acts of oppression, violence and collective punishment. Here, another dismal landmark, the tenth anniversary of the imposition of the blockade, which amounts to the collective punishment of 1.7 million people of Gaza, will be marked this year.”
Brahimi also stressed to the council members that “the Palestinian population is extremely vulnerable and desperately needs protection from the international community.”
Danon reacted harshly to the statement and accused the Security Council of providing a platform for “antisemitic comments and vicious blood libels.
“This obsession with Israel is beyond the pale. To accuse the Jewish state of using concentration camps is not only despicable, but it degrades the Security Council and the UN as a whole.
We demand that the council renounce Brahimi’s statement immediately,” Danon said.
The Israeli mission to the UN said in a separate statement: “Quoting a woman was his [Brahimi’s] attempt to distance himself, but the fact is that he deliberately chose to make this comparison in the Security Council.”