- The United States vetoed an Arab-backed UN Security
resolution calling for a halt to Israeli military operations in
- Last night's vote in the 15-member Security Council was
11 in favour, one against, and three abstentions by Britain, Germany and
- The US called the resolution "lopsided and
but its veto was followed by a chorus of denunciations.
- Israel launched the operation six days ago after a
rocket killed two children in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. The
drive into Gaza has left at least 75 Palestinians dead.
- The US Ambassador John Danforth cast the veto after
and German efforts to find compromise language failed. He said of the
"It is dangerously disingenuous because of its many material
Because of this lack of balance, because of these omissions, the resolution
lacks credibility and deserves a 'no' vote."
- Mr Danforth said that while condemning Israeli acts of
violence, it did not mention that the Palestinians have fired more than
200 rockets against Israeli towns this year alone. He said: "There's
an old saying that silence means consent. The silence here is
- The resolution put the blame on Israel "and absolves
terrorists in the Middle East - people who shoot rockets into civilian
areas, people who are responsible for killing children."
- Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Palestinian representative, said
that "the council failed to take a stand against the bloodshed ...
by the Israeli forces" because of Washington's veto.
- He said the veto was the seventh by the Bush
on the Israeli-Palestinians conflict and the 29th since 1976. He heard
much talk about the two Israeli children killed in the rocket attack, but
none about a 13-year-old Palestinian girl that he said was riddled with
30 bullets as she walked to school.
- Citing the high casualty toll and extensive destruction
during the Israeli offensive, Algeria's UN Ambassador Abdallah Baali, the
only Arab member of the council, said, "It is a sad day for the
and it is a sad day for justice."
- The resolution would have condemned "the broad
incursion and attacks by the Israeli occupying forces in the area of
Gaza Strip, including in and around the Jabaliya refugee camp, resulting
in extensive human casualties and destruction and exacerbating the dire
- The defeated draft demanded "the immediate cessation
of all military operations in the area of northern Gaza and the withdrawal
of the Israeli occupying forces from that area."
- It called for a cessation of violence, adherence to
humanitarian law, and for Israel and the Palestinians to immediately
the long-stalled "road map" to peace backed by the United
the United States, the European Union and Russia.
- The Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman defended the Israeli
operation, saying Israel has a right to defend its citizens.
- "All we are trying to do in this operation is to
try to get those missiles out of the range of our cities and out of the
bodies of our children. And I think anything we do should be justified
because it is the clearest manifestation of self-defence."
- ©2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd. All rights