Algeria scuttles UN rebuke of Jihad attack

Israeli officials dismayed by failure to pass resolution condemning suicide bombing.

UN general assembly 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 1)
UN general assembly 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 1)
Israeli officials on Wednesday expressed dismay at the UN Security Council's failure to pass a resolution condemning the recent suicide bombing in Netanya, after Algeria opposed its wording. "We are very much disappointed that a terror attack wasn't condemned by the international community," said Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Eddie Shapiro, though he said Israel has no plans to take action on the issue. "We're not ready to go into negotiations or pay any price to [get] a more so-called balanced declaration," he said. US Ambassador John Bolton criticized Algeria for blocking the Security Council statement blaming Islamic Jihad for the bombing and urging Syria to shut the terrorist group's offices in Damascus. Algeria's UN Ambassador Abdullah Baali accused the American envoy of being "totally inaccurate and unfair." It was a rare outburst by Bolton against a fellow member of the Security Council and drew a strong rebuke from Baali, who complained Tuesday that the American envoy's "take it or leave it" approach went against the council's give-and-take tradition of doing business. The draft US press statement "unequivocally" condemned the terrorist attack, denounced all acts of terrorism and urged all parties to exercise restraint. It called on the Syrian government to take immediate action to close the offices of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to "prevent the use of its territory by armed groups engaged in terrorist acts" and support progress on the so-called road map to Middle East peace. "Algeria objected to the reference to Syria and to the reference to Palestinian Islamic Jihad," even though the group claimed responsibility for the attack and the Palestinians said the orders came from Damascus, according to Bolton. "We are simply not going to accept watering down of Security Council press statements, and failing to name the names of the people responsible, in this case for terrorist attacks," he said. Bolton said there was "nothing left to negotiate," so he decided to act alone and read the statement to reporters on behalf of the United States. Baali strongly disagreed with Bolton, saying the United States wanted the text adopted without any discussion. When Algeria, Russia and others proposed amendments and asked for a meeting of council experts to discuss the draft, he said, the United States withdrew it. "I think the attitude of the United States is take it or leave it," Baali said. He said Bolton's claim that Algeria opposed references to Syria and Islamic Jihad were "not true." "We didn't even have the opportunity to discuss it," Baali said. "We had no chance to express our views, and I am confident if we had had such a meeting we would have been able to come up with a balanced text. This is the way the Security Council ... has always functioned." The US stand that "you take it or you leave it is not helping the Security Council, and is not helping the cause of peace in the Middle East," he said.