[R-G] U.S. vetos UN resolution on Gaza offensive
mstainsby at resist.ca
Sun Nov 12 05:06:38 MST 2006
In case the election broke any of our grips on reality...
U.S. vetos UN resolution on Gaza offensive
United Nations — The United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft
resolution Saturday that sought to condemn an Israeli military offensive
in the Gaza Strip and demand Israeli troops pull out of the territory.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the Arab-backed draft resolution was
"biased against Israel and politically motivated."
"This resolution does not display an evenhanded characterization of the
recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of
Israeli-Palestinian peace to which we aspire and for which we are
working assiduously," he told the Security Council.
"This decision by the U.S. government gives unlimited cover to commit
more massacres of innocent Palestinians," said Ghazi Hamad, spokesman
for the Hamas-led Palestinian government. "This is a shame on the
American administration, which says it is trying to promote human rights
and democracy in the Middle East."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, however, the draft
resolution would have aggravated the situation in Gaza because it
contained "inflammatory and unnecessary language."
"We do not believe the resolution was designed to contribute to the
cause of peace," she said in a statement.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev agreed the
draft was one-sided. "It's good that it wasn't accepted by the Security
Council," he said.
The draft received 10 votes in favour and four abstentions, along with
the U.S. vote against. Britain, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia all
abstained. The U.S. is one of five permanent members of the council that
have the power to veto resolutions.
It was the second U.S. veto this year of a Security Council draft
resolution concerning Israeli military operations in Gaza. The U.S.
blocked action on a document this summer after Israel launched its
offensive in response to the capture of an Israeli soldier by
Hamas-linked Palestinian militants.
Palestinians strengthened calls for Security Council action after an
early morning Israeli artillery barrage in the northern Gaza town of
Beit Hanoun killed 19 people Wednesday.
In an open session of the General Assembly on Thursday, Palestinian U.N.
observer Riyad Mansour called the attack "state terrorism" and said the
perpetrators should be held accountable under international law for war
Israel has expressed regret for the loss of life in Beit Hanoun but said
it will continue operations to stop militants from launching rockets
into Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to visit Washington
on Sunday to meet with President Bush.
Qatar's U.N. Ambassador Nassir Al-Nasser warned in the Security Council
meeting that the failure of the body to act on the draft would lead to
more Israeli violence against Palestinians.
"Any lukewarm reaction or response on our part gives the impression we
are shirking from our humanitarian responsibilities," said Al-Nasser,
who sponsored the resolution on behalf of the Palestinians. Qatar is the
only Arab nation on the council.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said the veto "will only
increase the anger" toward Israel, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed
Aboul Gheit accused the Security Council of "turning a blind eye to
Israeli acts in Gaza."
The Arab League was planning to hold an emergency meeting of foreign
ministers in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday to decide how to respond the latest
The draft resolution had been weakened slightly in recent days to help
improve its chances of passage. A section was added demanding the
Palestinian Authority take immediate action to bring an end to violence,
including the firing of rockets into Israel.
It also called for the U.N. secretary-general to establish a
"fact-finding mission" to probe Wednesday's attack in Beit Hanoun, a
step below ordering a full investigation.
In addition, it backed off calls for U.N. observers to be placed on the
Gaza-Israel border, asking instead for the "possible establishment of an
international mechanism for protection of the civilian populations."
In his remarks to the Security Council, Mr. Bolton said the draft was
still too one-sided. He said it compared legal Israeli military
operations with the firing of rockets into Israel — an act of terrorism.
He called the fact-finding mission unnecessary and said the text failed
to condemn the ruling Hamas party's refusal to renounce terrorism.
Both Mr. Bolton and Deputy British Ambassador Karen Pierce voiced
support for returning to the internationally backed "road map" peace
plan, which has been stalled for years.
But Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, said
the fact that the council allowed the draft to go to a vote showed the
world's frustration with the U.S. not involving other members of the
so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators in recent decisions on Israel.
The other members are the U.N., the European Union and Russia.
"They don't have a stake in the talks and they are more willing now to
force our hand," he said. "A lot of times the world has felt (the U.S.)
has been too pro-Israel, but in this case, people are just fed up."
In the contradiction lies the hope
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