Friday, April 25, 2008

Libyan UN envoy: Gaza situation worse than Nazi camps

By Reuters, Apr 24, 2008, 19:00

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A Libyan envoy to the UN, whose colleague compared the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust, said on Thursday it was even worse than in Nazi concentration camps because of regular Israeli bomb attacks.

"It is more than what happened in the concentration camps," Libya's deputy permanent UN representative, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told reporters. "There is the bombing, daily bombing [by Israel] ... in Gaza. It was not in the concentration camps."

"It is worse than that," said Dabbashi, who holds the rank of ambassador.

U.S. envoy Alejandro Wolff rejected the Libyan statement. He was one of several Western envoys who walked out of a UN Security Council discussion on Gaza on Wednesday after Dabbashi compared the situation in the Gaza Strip to the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were systematically murdered by Nazi Germany.

Wolff told reporters the remarks "reflect a degree of historical ignorance and moral insensitivity that is one of the large reasons this council has been unable to act on Middle East issues and why peace in the Middle East is so difficult."

The French, British, Belgian and Costa Rican envoys also left the council on Wednesday after Dabbashi made his remarks. Such protests against fellow Security Council members are rare, diplomats said.

On Wednesday, Western envoys to the United Nations walked out of a Security Council discussion after Libya's ambassador likened the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to Nazi concentration camps.

"The Libyan ambassador [Giadalla Ettalhi] compared the situation in Gaza to the Nazi Holocaust," said a Western diplomat who was present at a council discussion on the Middle East. "Afterwards, the Western envoys stood up and left the room in protest."

Among the chief diplomats who left the council chamber were the U.S., French, British, Belgian and Costa Rican envoys, diplomats said. Some others remained.

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