U.N. Resolution on Palestinians Faces U.S. VetoBy SERGE SCHMEMANN
New York Times, December 15, 2001
UNITED NATIONS, Saturday, Dec. 15 - The United States used its veto power on the Security Council early this morning to block an Arab- sponsored resolution reaffirming the "essential role" of the Palestinian Authority in any Mideast peace negotiations.
The final vote on the Council was 12 in favor, including France and Ireland and 2 abstentions, Britain and Norway. The United States cast the only no vote.
The Palestinians and their Arab supporters had asked for an emergency meeting after Israel announced last week that it was severing relations with Yasir Arafat and his Palestinian Authority because of their failure to block terror attacks.
The Palestinian representative at the United Nations, Nasser al-Kidwa, said in his opening address that the severance of contacts effectively undermined all existing arrangements and precluded further negotiations. This, he declared, represented an "immense danger" that could "plunge the whole region into war."
Anticipating the American charge that the Council meeting ignored the recent suicide attacks, Mr. al-Kidwa said the Palestinians were clear in their condemnation of such acts. In an indirect accusation against the United States, he also asked "whether this Council is being used by some only when it's useful to them."
Explaining the veto of the resolution, the American representative, John Negroponte, argued that it "fails to address the dynamic at work in the region.
"Instead, its purpose is to isolate politically one of the parties to the conflict through an attempt to throw the weight of the Council behind the other party. One of the fundamental flaws of this resolution is that it never mentions the recent acts of terrorism against Israelis or those responsible for them."
In addition to describing the Palestinian Authority as "the indispensable and legitimate party for peace,"the proposed resolution demanded an "immediate cessation of all acts of violence, provocation and destruction."
U.S. Vetoes Mideast ResolutionBy Colum Lynch
The Washington Post, Dec. 15 2001
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 15 -- The Bush administration today vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian-controlled territory and condemning acts of terror against civilians, U.S. officials said.
John D. Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said council action would have complicated U.S. diplomatic efforts to obtain a cease-fire in the Middle East conflict. And he faulted the Arab-sponsored resolution because it failed to directly address a recent string of suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.
"No one is working harder than we are to end the terror, violence and suffering that has afflicted the Israeli and Palestinian people for too long," he told the council before the early morning vote on the resolution. "Unfortunately, the resolution before us fails to address the dynamic at work in the region. Instead, its purpose is to isolate politically one of the parties to the conflict through an attempt to throw the weight of the council behind the other party."
Twelve of the council's 15 members voted in favor of the resolution, while Britain and Norway abstained. The United States cast the lone veto, blocking the Palestinians' latest attempt to enlist the Security Council in their quest to halt Israel's military activities in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Palestinian-backed resolution called for an "immediate cessation of all acts of violence, provocation and destruction" in the Palestinian territories. It also underlined the "essential role" of the Palestinian Authority in the peace process and urged the establishment of an undefined "monitoring mechanism" to observe human rights violations in the region.
Israel has opposed previous Palestinian requests for the deployment of international monitors in the occupied territories. Israeli diplomats today portrayed the Palestinian initiative as especially offensive in light of recent suicide bombings. "It does not even refer to acts of terrorism by the Palestinians," said Aaron Jacob, Israel's deputy U.N. ambassador.
Palestinian U.N. representative Nasser Kidwa said he was forced to turn to the Security Council after Israel severed ties with Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority last week because Arafat had failed to halt attacks against civilians. Kidwa faulted the Bush administration for refusing to use its influence to restrain Israel's military.
"We are the little guys," Kidwa said. "We are the people under occupation and it is our right and a duty to come to the body responsible for international peace and security, to the United Nations, to the Security Council and try to help the situation."
It is the second time the United States has vetoed a resolution on the Middle East conflict since violence erupted in September 2000, imperiling the peace process and leaving at least 776 Palestinians and 233 Israelis dead. On March 27, the United States blocked another Palestinian resolution calling for the establishment of an international monitoring force.
The Palestinian resolution lacked some of the more overtly
anti-Israeli language that has graced earlier Palestinian texts. But
Washington's resistance to Security Council action on the Middle East
has hardened since the recent Palestinian militant attacks against
U.S. Vetoes U.N. Mideast ResolutionBy Edith M. Lederer
The Washington Post, Dec. 15 2001
UNITED NATIONS The United States vetoed a Palestinian-backed resolution on the Mideast conflict Saturday, but stressed that it has not abandoned the vision of a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel.
"That vision remains valid and my government is committed to doing all it can to make this vision a reality," U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte told the U.N. Security Council before casting the veto after a debate that dragged into the early hours.
Negroponte said "no one is working harder than we are to end the terror, violence, and suffering that has afflicted the Israeli and Palestinian people for far too long."
But violence has escalated despite a renewed American peace effort, and the Palestinians are frustrated by what they view as U.S. support for Israel. The United States is Israel's closest ally on the council.
The Security Council resolution Negroponte vetoed would have condemned "acts of terror" against Israelis and Palestinians, demanded an end to nearly 15 months of Mideast violence and established a "monitoring mechanism" to bring in observers, which Israel opposes.
Negroponte said the resolution was aimed at isolating Israel politically and that it made no mention of recent suicide bombings and attacks against Israel or the terrorist organizations responsible, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The resolution was supported by 12 of the 15 Security Council members, with Britain and Norway abstaining. The United States is one of the five permanent council members, which have veto power.
The Palestinian U.N. observer, Nasser Al-Kidwa, said the resolution failed "because of unreasonable American positions."
The Palestinians and their Arab supporters demanded an open council meeting and a resolution after Israel cut contacts with Yasser Arafat and launched military strikes against Palestinian Authority targets. The strikes followed suicide attacks against Israelis, which Jerusalem blames on Arafat's failure to crack down on militants.
In the last three weeks more than 60 Palestinians and over 40 Israelis have been killed despite an effort by U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni to arrange a truce. The Palestinian toll included 29 assailants who attacked Israel.
In an address at the United Nations in November, President Bush pleased the Palestinians and the Arab world by calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.
Amid the most recent violence, Bush has urged Arafat to act against those responsible for the attacks against Israel but has not called for restraint from Israel. Al-Kidwa suggested the United States was applying a double standard.
"Is there a difference between our blood and the blood of the Israelis?" he asked. Palestinians wonder, he said, "Why it is ... almost OK to kill Palestinians, including Palestinian children, and whenever an Israeli is dead, which we condemn, it's a different matter altogether."
Negroponte said Arafat must "take a strategic stand now against terrorism," but he also cautioned Israel to "focus very carefully on the repercussions of any actions it takes."
"Neither party should lose sight of the need to resume progress toward a lasting end to the violence and resumption of dialogue," he said.
Al-Kidwa said the Palestinians think the support of a dozen council members, including powerful Russia, China and France, "would send the appropriate message to both sides, and we hope will contribute in bringing about a better situation on the ground."
Israel's deputy U.N. Ambassador Aaron Jacob called the proposed
resolution "unbalanced and counterproductive" and said "it cannot help
the parties return to the negotiating table."