US Veto Condemns More To Death
By Selwyn Manning
The United States today vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning "acts of terror" against Israelis and Palestinians.
The UN resolution demanded an end to nearly 15 months of Mideast violence. The defeated resolution insisted "the immediate cessation of all acts of violence, provocation and destruction," a return to positions prior to September 2000 when the latest violence erupted, and "a final agreement on all issues."
It called for immediate implementation of recommendations of an international commission headed by former United States Sen. George Mitchell. These include a cooling-off period, confidence-building measures and a resumption of peace talks.
It also would have encouraged "all concerned to establish a monitoring mechanism to help the parties implement the (Mitchell) recommendations... and to help create a better situation in the occupied Palestinian territories."
But the United States veto put an end to the resolution that was designed to isolate Israel and pressurise the Israeli government to ease its aggression against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
United States Ambassador John Negroponte said the Palestinian-backed resolution failed to mention recent suicide bombings and attacks against Israel nor mention organizations responsible for the attacks, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The Palestinians agreed to a French amendment condemning "all acts of terror, in particular those targeting civilians. This made the resolution acceptable to the Russians and French.
But Negroponte said: "Terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are deliberately - and brutally - seeking to sabotage any potential there may be for Israelis to conclude a negotiated peace.”
The resolution was backed by 12 of the 15 Security Council member nations. Britain and Norway abstained from the vote.
Arab nations, concerned at increased intensity of military strikes by Israel against Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, requested the UN Security Council meeting after Israel’s Prime Minister Arial Sharon ordered ties be cut between his country and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Suicide bombings inside Israel, carried out by members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad extremists provided Israel’s Sharon to order increased military strikes inside the West Bank and Gaza. The killings have continued taking innocent victims in a senceless barrage of bullet ballet.
In the latter part of this past week, Sharon ordered his army to attack Palestinian security targets – obviously a calculated move to further pressurise Arafat by removing the very wing of his authority that the USA demands be used to quell violence of Palestinian extremists, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The US veto of the Security Council resolution simply heightens tensions throughout Israel, West Bank and Gaza – and sadly pressurises other Arab states in the region to consider options of escalating this tragedy.
What is essentially: superpower endorsed overkill by Israel against an occupied peoples, is fast becoming an Arab-Israeli war. Perhaps this reveals much – USA President Bush clearly has bought into the reasoning of US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, that the US war against terrorism much also move to finish business with Iraq. Should Arab nations polarise and form an aggressive pact against the USA and Israel – it paves the way for the US Military to drive on from Afghanistan down into the Persian Gulf and remove Saddam Hussein from the “terrorist” equation.
The result: more killings of innocent people.
Without the Arab nations becoming embroiled in hostilities, it appears unlikely at this time that the USA would gain support to strike into Iraq from current allied nations in the European Union. Russian diplomats have been busy appeasing Bagdad, as have Turkish diplomats and north African nations. Even here in New Zealand it would be unlikely that this Labour/Alliance Government would endorse such an operation. To do so would clearly drive a wedge between the coalition partners and collapse the Cabinet.
This UN Security Council veto, displays the latest moves by the United States to cajole Israel back into its fold. The two countries have consolidated ties after tensions frayed last month between Sharon and the US Bush Administration.
Sharon objected in a hostile outburst resisting US pressure for peace talks to resume between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. At that time the US wanted quiet between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, particularly while a tenuous allied pact was brokered in the early to mid-stages of its attacks inside Afghanistan.
Sharon’s outburst was a diplomatic slight that clearly riled Bush – but events of the last two weeks show the USA is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths, abandoning humanitarian ideals, to appease its natural Middle Eastern ally.
The losers here are clearly Palestinians.
United States envoy Anthony Zinni, tried and failed to negotiate a truce deal in the past three weeks. He left Friday [December 14] for Jordan and Egypt.
Bush said Zinni's job was made tougher because Arafat has been reluctant to round up "killers and people who would derail the peace process." A remarkable statement considering Israel yesterday singled out the Palestinian Authority’s security compounds and fired rockets at such sites.
United States officials in Jerusalem told AP news agency that Zinni's mission was also complicated by Israel's decision to cut ties with Arafat.
Zinni's mission saw
more attacks by Islamic militants on Israelis, followed by
Israeli reprisals. The escalation of violence saw 63
Palestinians and 44
Israelis killed. The Palestinian toll included 29 assailants.
Eight Palestinians were killed in gun battles with Israeli troops.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes dropped two bombs on a Palestinian security compound, injuring seven Palestinians. Israel said it was retaliating for Palestinian mortar fire.
Early Saturday, more than 15 Israeli tanks, accompanied by personnel carriers and jeeps, entered the Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip, witnesses said. The troops announced by loudspeaker that the town was under curfew. The army said it was checking the report.
A Palestinian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said President Bush called Arafat on Friday night and urged him to crack down on Islamic militants. The White House said Bush had not called Arafat.
The biggest raid Friday was carried out in the Palestinian-ruled village of Salfit, where Israeli troops killed six Palestinian policemen in a gun battle.
Army bulldozers also destroyed two houses in the village. After the raid, Israeli tanks drove out of Salfit in a convoy, and soldiers sitting on the armoured vehicles flashed victory signs.
In the West Bank town of Hebron, Israeli troops killed two Palestinians from the Islamic Jihad in a gunfight and wounded another, the army said. The army said troops identified and pursued four armed Palestinians, opened fire and killed two.
The latest round of reprisals was triggered by a bombing and shooting attack on an Israeli bus Wednesday, carried out by the Islamic militant group Hamas. Ten Israelis were killed and 30 wounded.
In response, Israeli warplanes and helicopter gunships have been blasting Palestinian Authority security buildings and police stations for three consecutive nights.
Israel's decision to cut ties with Arafat came early Thursday, in response to the bus attack. The Security Cabinet said Arafat "is no longer relevant to Israel, and Israel will no longer have any connection with him."
Peres, who negotiated interim peace deals with Arafat, said he told Sharon that the decision to shun the Palestinian Authority was shortsighted.
"I asked him (Sharon), 'Suppose Arafat disappears, what will happen then?"' Peres told the Yediot Ahronot daily. "If we chase Arafat out of here, we will get into problems with the Arab world, and Egypt and Jordan will sever ties with us."
Palestinian United Nations observer, Nasser Al-Kidwa said: "We are the little guys. 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."
The United States has effectively, with a single veto, inflicted the United Nations Security Council impotent. And that, is another domino fallen in the United States’ abandonment of the United Nations ideal, standing above all other nations in its pursuit toward becoming the Planet’s Police.