Abstaining is Not Good Enough
By a vote of 14-0, with the U.S. abstaining, the UN Security Council yesterday adopted Resolution 1435, declaring itself gravely concerned by the reoccupation of Arafat’s headquarters and alarmed by Israeli action in Ramallah, demanding a halt to Israeli activity and demanding an expeditious Israeli withdrawal.
By a vote of 14-0, with the U.S. abstaining, the UN Security Council yesterday adopted Resolution 1435, declaring itself gravely concerned by the reoccupation of Arafat’s headquarters and alarmed by Israeli action in Ramallah, demanding a halt to Israeli activity and demanding an expeditious Israeli withdrawal. Oh, by the way, it also called on the PA to “meet its expressed commitment to ensure that those responsible for terrorist acts are brought to justice by it.” And yes, it did condemn all terrorist attacks against any civilians, citing Israelis and Palestinians, but apparently didn’t find itself alarmed or gravely concerned by them.
According to the UN website, “After the vote, (U.S. representative) James B. Cunningham said the Resolution was flawed and failed to explicitly condemn terrorists or those who gave them safe haven. Those responsible for killing civilians obstructed the peace efforts of the Quartet and Palestinian reforms. The groups were well known: HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. The actions of those groups were aimed at the peace process. He had hoped for the Council to take a clear stand against the actions of the terrorist group. The Resolution had started that process but did not go far enough, and did not provide the clarity of context the United States draft resolution had provided. Therefore, the United States had abstained from voting.”
Not nearly good enough, and not what we said we’d do. In July, Amb. John Negroponte announced that the U.S. expected any future UN Security Council Resolution to contain four elements or face a veto:
- An explicit condemnation of terrorism;
- A condemnation by name of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the Islamic Jihad and Hamas groups;
- An appeal to all parties for a political settlement of the crisis;
- A demand for improvement of the security situation as a condition for any call for a withdrawal of the IDF to positions they held before September 2000.
One and three were there, although in weak form; two and four were not there at all. Where was the veto?
It cannot be that President Bush stands before the UN General Assembly demanding that the UN enforce its own Security Council Resolutions or be termed irrelevant, while our representatives to that body lay down conditions for our participation that they then fail to meet. Our representatives, responding no doubt to instructions from our State Department, undermined the President’s position on Iraq by failing to uphold its own conditions on Security Council resolutions.
The President was ill served in this and so was Israel.