J'lem satisfied as IAEA resolution fails

Resolution called on Israel to join NPT; EU votes for Israel; Russia, China, Kazakhstan among those voting against.

IAEA 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
IAEA 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israel expressed satisfaction over the weekend that weeks of lobbying efforts succeeded and a resolution was narrowly defeated Friday at the International Atomic Energy Agency general assembly in Vienna calling for Israel to accede to the Non Proliferation Treaty and place its nuclear facilities under IAEA guidelines.
The resolution put forward by Arab states and viewed in Jerusalem as another example of anti- Israeli resolutions tabled regularly in international forums, was defeated by a vote of 51-46, with 23 abstentions and another 31 countries absent.
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Last year a similar resolution passed by a vote of 49-45. Among the countries who voted alongside Israel this time, as opposed to last year, were Haiti, Panama, Costa Rica, Palau and the Marshall Islands.
In addition, Thailand and Singapore, which voted against Israel in 2009, abstained this time around.
All of the European Union countries voted for Israel.
Among the other countries with whom Israel has good ties who voted against Israel were Russia, China, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Philippines.
Both Turkey and South Africa also voted against Israel.
Many of the African countries absented themselves from the vote, and some key Latin American countries, like Brazil and Argentina, abstained.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying he was satisfied by the vote and appreciated the US efforts on the issue.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who in recent days made dozens of phone calls to his counterparts around the world to defeat the resolution, said this was an “important victory for the moral position against an extreme and hypocritical one.” Lieberman’s office said the vote also showed that Lieberman’s policy of cultivating relations with a wide variety of countries around the world who were largely ignored in the past – such as countries in South America, Africa and eastern Europe – paid off.
Jeremy Issacharoff, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for Strategic Affairs who was intensely involved in efforts to defeat the resolution, said the vote showed that “Israel is not isolated on the issue, and there is a significant degree of understanding for Israel’s security position.” Issacharoff said the result of the vote indicates a growing frustration inside the IAEA “at being unable to deal with the real threats to international and regional security, like Iran and Syria.
Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission was also heavily involved in efforts to fight the resolution.
A statement by that agency said the goals of the resolution were to “isolate Israel. The Arab group ignored requests by the President of the United States to remove the resolution from the agenda so as not to harm the peace process.”
At a speech at the assembly last week, the head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, Shaul Chorev, said “I wish to remind all delegates that four Middle Eastern member states, parties to the NPT, namely, Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, have grossly violated their treaty obligations. These four cases make it absolutely clear, that the NPT is unable to adequately address the security challenges of the Middle East region, where the Treaty has been mostly abused.”
Chorev said that the true threat to the non-proliferation regime “is posed from within, by those states that pursue nuclear weapons, under the cover of their NPT membership.”
After the vote, US chief delegate Glyn Davies said it was significant in the context of continuing Israel- Palestinian peace talks and US-backed plans to stage a major conference in two years on a Mideast nuclear free zone.
“It preserves a chance for the movement eventually toward a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, once peace there is achieved,” Davies said.
“It sends the right positive signal to the peace process and really allows that process to go ahead.”
Iran, meanwhile, pledged that the resolution would be reintroduced at next year’s meeting.
“The US and Israeli allies have confronted... the whole world and this is a dark page in history for their foreign policy,” Iranian delegate Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters. “They put fuel in the fire.”
AP contributed to this report.