Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
SECURITY COUNCIL FAILS TO ADOPT DRAFT RESOLUTION ON MIDDLE EAST,
OWING TO NEGATIVE VOTE BY UNITED STATES
Vote is 10 in Favour to 1 against,
With 4 Abstentions (United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan, Slovakia)
The Security Council this afternoon failed to adopt a resolution condemning Israeli military operations in Gaza “which have caused loss of civilian life”, as well as Palestinian rocket fire into Israel, while calling for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and a cessation of violence from both parties in the conflict.
The draft, which was not adopted owing to the negative vote of the United States, a permanent Member of the Council, would have also requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish a fact-finding mission within 30 days on the 8 November incident in Beit Hanoun, which resulted in the deaths of at least 18 civilians and sparked a day-long Council meeting on Thursday.
It would also have called on the diplomatic Quartet consisting of the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russian Federation to take immediate steps to stabilize the situation, including through the possible establishment of “an international mechanism for the protection of the civilian populations.”
Ten Council Members voted in favour of the draft, while four countries (United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan, Slovakia) abstained.
Speaking prior to action on the draft, the United States representative said that the text did not display an even-handed characterization of the events in Gaza and was politically motivated. Nor did it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace to which the United States aspired and for which it was working assiduously. While joining other Council members in deeply regretting the loss of life in Beit Hanoun, he noted that Israeli authorities had admitted that the incident had been a mistake and intended to conduct an investigation into the events there, which he hoped would be completed expeditiously.
He said, however, that he was disturbed by the language of the resolution that was in many places biased against Israel. For example, one of the preambular paragraphs of the text equated military operations of Israel that were legal with the firing of rockets into the territory of Israel that was terrorism.
At the same time, he said he was disturbed that the draft did not contain a single reference to terrorism or any condemnation of a recent statement by Hamas that Palestinians should resume terrorist attacks on a wide scale or strike against United States interests, he continued, maintaining that the Palestinian people deserved a Government that would become a legitimate partner in the peace process and work toward a two-State solution through the Quartet’s Road Map.
Following the vote, the representative of Qatar said that his country had submitted a balanced draft that reflected the views of the majority of Council members. Peoples and Member States should judge the objectivity of the draft for themselves. His delegation was trying to protect the civilians who desperately needed protection and any lukewarm reaction from the Council gave an impression that it was shirking its responsibilities.
The image of defenceless civilians killed mercilessly at Beit Hanoun, he said, would leave a lasting image in the minds of the people all over the world. The Council’s failure to put an end to Israel’s aggression would lead to the continuation of the cycle of violence which in turn leads to further deterioration of the situation in the Palestinian territories.
The representative of the Congo also expressed disappointment at the failure of the draft.
The Permanent Observer of Palestine thanked all those who had voted in favour of the “balanced text before the Council” and said that he was disappointed that the draft not been adopted. He said the Council had conveyed two wrong messages: for Israel, it had sent a message that it could continue to behave above international law; for Palestine –- that justice was not being dealt within an appropriate way by the Council. But his people, despite the disappointment, would never lose hope. Justice would prevail and the occupation would eventually come to an end.
Only through negotiations — and not massacres and aggression — would the solution to the conflict be found, he continued. His people would never lose faith of the great principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. “We will continue coming to you until justice prevails,” he said.
The four abstaining Members expressed deep sorrow over the incident at Beit Hanoun and other loss of life in Gaza but also claimed the draft was unbalanced, describing negotiations that had progressed toward more equity but had not achieved a text that would have been helpful in ending the violence.
The United Kingdom’s representative said she remained deeply concerned about the consequences of Israeli military action and the resulting loss of civilian lives, calling for restraint on the part of Israel while calling also on Syria and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to use their influence to stop the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel. She said it was absolutely right that the Council act on this issue, but that it was essential to act in a manner that was balanced.
Also looking for a more balanced text, the representative of Denmark said rocket attacks against Israel must stop, but at the same time, Israel must make sure that its security operations were conducted in accordance with international law and did not hamper finding a peaceful solution on the ground. A State’s response in the right to self-defence must be proportionate.
The representative of Japan said his delegation had participated constructively in the negotiations on the draft proposed by Qatar. He appreciated the efforts to reflect some of Japan’s concerns during discussions, but said that further improvement was needed.
Concurring, Slovakia’s representative said the text lacked recognition of the full complexity of the Middle East situation.
The meeting, which began at 12:19 p.m., adjourned at 12:47 p.m.
Following is the complete text of the draft resolution considered by the Council:
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For information media • not an official record
Document Type: Draft resolution, French text, Press Release, Vetoed draft resolution, Video, Webcast
Document Source: Department of Public Information (DPI), Security Council
Source Country: United States of America
Subject: Casualties, Gaza Strip, Incidents, Incursions, Palestine question, Peace proposals and efforts
Publication Date: 11/11/2006