U.S. Vetoes U.N. Condemnation of Israel
Two thirds of the UN Security Council voted to condemn Israel’s attack on Gaza as “disproportionate” but the United States exercised its veto power to kill the resolution.
The United States blocked an Arab-backed resolution Thursday that would have demanded Israel halt its military offensive in the
Gaza Strip, the first U.N. Security Council veto in nearly two years. The draft, sponsored by Qatar on behalf of other Arab nations, accused Israel of a “disproportionate use of force” that endangered Palestinian civilians, and demanded Israel withdraw its troops from Gaza. The United States was alone in voting against the resolution. Ten of the 15 Security Council nations voted in favor, while Britain, Denmark, Peru and Slovakia abstained.
The U.S. has periodically used its veto to block resolutions critical of Israel. The last council veto, in October 2004, was cast when the United States blocked a resolution condemning another Israeli operation in Gaza. The draft was reworked repeatedly to address concerns that it was too biased against Israel. Language was added calling for the release of an abducted soldier and urging the Palestinians to stop firing rockets at Israel.
Nonetheless, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said it was still unacceptable because it had been overtaken by events in the region — including the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants on Wednesday — and was “unbalanced.” “It placed demands on one side in the Middle East conflict but not the other,” Bolton said. “This draft resolution would have exacerbated tensions in the region.”
This is doubly ironic. First, because a UN condemnation would have had zero impact on the situation. Second, because the Israeli operation is rather obviously “disproportionate.” Countries typically do not launch full scale war because of a kidnapping.