The US Has Killed 32 Security Council Resolutions Critical of Israel
by the Guardian staff
Thirty-two draft resolutions criticizing Israel since 1972 have never seen the light of day because the U.S. used its Security Council veto to block them, the British daily newspaper, the Guardian, reported Tuesday, September 24, exposing the double standards at the heart of U.S. President George W. Bushs rationale for action against Iraq.
In his speech to the United Nations earlier this month, the U.S. President emphasized the need for action rather than words, said the paper in an article entitled Nothing doing.
Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? [...] Right now those resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by the Iraqi regime, he said.
The same could be said of various other countries, most notably Israel, the Guardian said. Throughout its history, the Security Council has never once taken enforcement action over Israels flouting of UN resolutions or its violations of international law, it added.
Largely as a result of American pressure, criticisms of Israel in Security Council are much softer than the criticisms of other countries for similar offences, the paper said, adding that thirty-two draft resolutions criticizing Israel since 1972 have never seen the light of day because the U.S. used its Security Council veto to block them.
A report published by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)s negotiations affairs department looks at a series of UN resolutions relating to Israel, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Rwanda and Iraq, and compares the follow-up action taken in each case.
The report discusses existing resolutions in four categories: grave human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law; colonies and demographic manipulation; the right of return for refugees and displaced persons; and the withdrawal of forces from territories under armed occupation.
Throughout its history, the Security Council has never once taken enforcement action over Israels flouting of UN resolutions or its violations of international law
In the first category, the daily said, action taken by the Security Council on human rights violations included tribunals for the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity (in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda), an arms embargo (Kosovo), an international presence (Kosovo and East Timor), and all necessary means (i.e. military action) in the case of Iraq.
Not even the mildest of these remedies was adopted in the case of Israel, whose violationsassassinations, deportations, house demolitions, restrictions on freedom of movement, etcare well documented, it added.
In the second categorydemographic manipulationIsrael has sought to consolidate its occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories by changing the population balance in two ways.
One is to encourage Palestinian emigration through economic disruption and land expropriation, as well as direct expulsion in some cases. The other is through the establishment of illegal Jewish colonies whose population has risen, since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, from 200,000 to 400,000, the Guardian added.
In 1980, the Security Council issued a resolution saying that these activities had no legal validity and constituted a flagrant violation of the fourth Geneva convention. It decided to establish a commission to examine the situation.
Israel refused to co-operate with the commission and the Security Council responded with another resolution strongly deploring Israels refusal.
Elsewhere, it has been a different story. In Kosovo, for example, efforts to drive out the majority ethnic Albanian population and replace them with ethnic Serbs were denounced by the Security Council and backed up with international action.
Similarly in Bosnia and Rwanda, strong condemnation was followed by comprehensive sanctions and enforcement action.
In the third categorythe right of refugees and displaced persons to return to their homesthere is no relevant Security Council resolution about Palestinian refugees, though there have been resolutions regarding Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and Rwanda, said the Guardian.
In contrast with the compared cases where the right of return formed a key component of all peace settlements and was enforced by international operations, the PLO report says, no attempts have been made to enforce the Palestinian right of return and there have been attempts [by Israel] to declare the Palestinian refugee return issue a non-negotiable one.
There is no relevant Security Council resolution about Palestinian refugees
In the fourth categorywithdrawal of occupying forcesthe strongest action taken by the Security Council was against Iraq, following its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Member states were authorized to use all necessary means to end the occupation.
In the case of Bosnia, which in 1992 was occupied by Yugoslav and Croatian army units, the Security Council ordered a general and complete embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Yugoslavia.
In Kosovo, the Security Council backed up its withdrawal demand with action to deploy an international security presence. Unlike these rather short-lived occupations, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has continued for 35 years.
The only specific action taken by the Security Council during this long period, according to the report, was in 1968 when it sent a special representative to the occupied Palestinian territories and requested Israel to co-operate with him and to facilitate his work.
The trouble with this pussyfooting approach is not simply that it lets favored countries get away with things that others would be punished for. It also sends them a signal that in the future they can act as they please, the Guardian said.
We cannot stand by and do nothing, Bush told delegates to the UN. He was talking, of course, about Iraq. But in the case of Israel, we not only can do nothingwe do nothing.
The Guardian, London, September 25, 2002.