US vetoes Security Council resolution on violence in Gaza

Amb. Bolton of the US votes in the Council

13 July 2006 – The United Nations Security Council failed today to adopt a draft resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli soldier abducted by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza and for a halt to what it called a “disproportionate” military reaction by Israel, due to a veto by the United States, which called the text unbalanced and outdated.

Denmark, Peru, Slovakia and United Kingdom abstained from voting on the draft, which also called for the release of all Palestinian officials detained by Israel and called on the Palestinian Authority to take “immediate and sustained” action to bring and end the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.

The text would have explicitly condemned Israel’s current “military assault” in Gaza, which, it said, “has caused the killing and injury of dozens of Palestinian civilians” and destroyed Gaza’s main power station.

In addition, the draft called on the international community to provide emergency assistance to the Palestinian people to help alleviate the dire humanitarian situation, and on the Israeli Government to restore and maintain the continuous and uninterrupted supply of fuel to Gaza, and to “act expeditiously” to replace destroyed equipment at the power plant.

Explaining Washington’s negative vote, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States said the text did not reflect important new developments, including the fact that the Secretary-General is sending a team to the region.

Calling the draft “unbalanced,” Ambassador Bolton said it “placed demands on one side of the Middle East conflict but not the other.” If adopted, the text would have exacerbated tensions in the region while undermining the vision of a two-State solution as well as the credibility of the Security Council itself, he said, adding that the United States had worked to achieve a more balanced text, one which acknowledged that Israeli actions came in response to attacks, but no agreement had been reached.

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