A draft resolution which would have had the Security Council condemn recent Israeli acts, including the killing of several United Nations aid workers, was defeated today by the United States, which in casting a no vote effectively vetoed the text.
Twelve countries voted in favour of the Syria-sponsored draft, with Bulgaria and Cameroon abstaining. In addition to decrying Israel's recent killing of UN employees, the text noted that one had been an international staff member working in the Jenin refugee camp.
The draft also cited Israel's "deliberate destruction of a UN World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in Beit Lahiya in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in which 537 metric tons of donated food supplies intended for distribution to needy Palestinians had been stored."
The draft would have demanded that Israel comply fully with its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, and "refrain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force in the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
Explaining his country's position, US Ambassador John D. Negroponte said the recent incidents referred to in the text were serious and must be investigated. The draft, however, did not urge action by all concerned to minimize the threat to UN personnel and facilities. "The proponents of this resolution seem more intent on condemning Israeli occupation than on ensuring the safety of United Nations personnel," he said. "Mixing these two issues is inappropriate." Adoption of the resolution would not contribute to an environment in which both sides would move towards a roadmap leading to two States - Israel and Palestine - living side-by-side in peace and security, he said, and for that reason, the US opposed it.