US denies Palestinians need international protection

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The U.S. on Wednesday sought to push back on an upcoming vote that would establish an international protection force for Palestinians.

"The people of Gaza don't need protection from an external source. The people of Gaza need protection from Hamas," Nikki Haley, the U.S.'s UN ambassador, told an emergency Security Council meeting.

"The Palestinian people deserve a better life. That can only happen if we acknowledge and reject the terrorist actions of Hamas and if we encourage more responsible Palestinian leadership."

The declaration comes as Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's Middle East peace envoy, warned the council that Gaza is on "the brink of war" after tensions mounted Tuesday following Israeli airstrikes on positions in the Gaza Strip in response to a volley of rockets fired at Israel from the blockaded coastal enclave.

The rocket barrages came one day after four Palestinians were killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes.

Since March 30, at least 118 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured by Israeli military gunfire in the east of the strip during mass demonstrations against the blockade and the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"No one in Gaza can afford another war," Mladenov said.

Kuwait submitted a draft resolution that would establish an international protection force for Palestinian civilians from Israeli forces.

A vote could take place as early as Thursday, but the U.S., which views the resolution as biased against Israel, is widely expected to veto the measure.

Mansour Al-Otaibi, Kuwait's UN ambassador, said, however, it is unacceptable for the august council to remain silent on Israel's continued occupation of Palestine and blockade of the Gaza Strip.

During Wednesday's emergency Security Council session, which was commenced at the request of the U.S., Kuwait blocked a U.S.-drafted statement condemning rocket fire from Gaza at Israel.

*Anadolu Agency correspondent Betul Yuruk contributed to this report from the United Nations

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