US opposes UN condemnation of Israel

Statement meant to protest "excessive use of force" in IDF ops in Gaza Strip.

UN security council 298 (photo credit: Channel 1)
UN security council 298
(photo credit: Channel 1)
The UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement Thursday on a recent surge in violence between Israel and the Palestinians, after the United States said the proposed draft was unfairly critical of Israel. The Palestinian UN observer, Riyad Mansour, strongly suggested that the United States was the lone holdout against the statement, though he did not mention the US by name. He referred to "one member who is shielding and protecting the Israeli actions and aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza and in other parts of the occupied territory." Diplomats said Britain and Denmark also had problems with the draft, and US Ambassador John Bolton would not say if the United States was the only one opposed. "If I were the only holdout I'd be proud of that fact," Bolton said after the council could not agree on the text. The draft proposed by Qatar on behalf of the Palestinians would have expressed concern about the "indiscriminate shelling against the Gaza Strip, resulting in extensive human casualties." It would have called on Israel to halt "military operations and excessive use of force that endangers the Palestinian civilian populations." The United States had argued for its long-standing belief that any such statement mention both sides' obligations under the road map to Mideast peace and cite Palestinian attacks against Israel as well. "The balance of the text as it ended up was still not adequate in our view and we weren't prepared to support it," Bolton said afterward. "It was disproportionately critical of Israel, and unfairly so and needlessly so." The Palestinians had called on the UN Security Council Monday to take urgent action to stop what they called an escalating military campaign by Israeli forces. Mansour had said in a letter to the council that at least 18 Palestinians have been killed since last Friday and scores more have been wounded in a barrage of military attacks. Because the draft failed, the Security Council will hold an open meeting on Monday when any of the 191 member states of the United Nations can speak. The council will also hold a monthly meeting on the Middle East a week after that.