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U.S. vetoes U.N. council ME resolution

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The United States has vetoed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Palestinian's firing of rockets from Gaza and Israel's "excessive" response.

Abstaining from the vote in an unusual Saturday session were Britain, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia. It was the 259th veto cast in the council and the 82nd by the United States. About half of Washington's vetoes were in support of Israel.

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The draft condemned Wednesday's shelling of Beit Hanoun which killed 18 civilians, including eight women and seven children. Israel said it was caused by a technical mistake.

"This resolution does not display an even handed characterization of the recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of the Israeli-Palestinian peace," said Ambassador John Bolton of the United States. "We are disturbed that there is not a single reference to terrorism in the proposed resolution, nor any condemnation of the Hamas leadership statement that Palestinians should resume terror attacks on a broad scale."

The defeated document expressed "Grave concern at the continued deterioration of the situation on the ground in the Palestinian territory ... particularly as a result of the excessive and disproportionate use of force by Israel ... which has caused extensive loss of civilian Palestinian life and injuries."

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It condemned "the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel" and called upon Israel to end military operations "that endanger the Palestinian civilian population," calls for an end "of all acts of violence and military activities between the Israel and Palestinian side," seeks the United Nations to investigate the Beit Hanoun shelling and calls on both sides to end hostilities and Israel to protect civilians.

The draft specifically called on the Palestinians "to take immediate and sustained action to bring and end to violence, including the firing of rockets on Israeli territory."

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