June 2, 2010
Mexico warned Israel of possible United Nations Security Council action if they continued to block humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza only hours after assuming the UN body’s rotating presidency at midnight on June 1. In a carefully crafted statement released yesterday, the council president, Ambassador Claude Heller of Mexico, condemned Israel’s actions against the Turkish aid flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of at least nine civilians and dozens other injured, and called for an impartial investigation of the operation. The council also requested the immediate release of ships and civilians held by Israel.
More aid ships are expected to attempt to reach Gaza today while Israel remains steadfast to keep ships from crossing their blockade. Israel’s Defense Vice Minister Matan Vilnaí declared that the blockade would stand despite widespread condemnation of their actions on May 31. The aid ships have been docked in Ashdod Port in southern Israel and Israeli authorities began transporting the ship’s humanitarian cargo to Gaza as of Tuesday afternoon.
Mexico assumed the presidency of the 15-nation Security Council as it held closed door meetings to discuss a response to the Israeli action. The previous Council presidency was held by Lebanon, which called the meeting on May 31, just before the expiration of their month-long presidency term. The UN Security Council is charged with maintaining international peace and security in the world at large and this month marks Mexico’s second term as president since rotating into the council for its two-year term. Mexico last held the presidency of the Security Council in April 2009.