A United States veto against an Arab-backed draft UN Security Council resolution, demanding Israel to immediately end its running Gaza onslaught, drew flack Tuesday, October 5, for failing the Palestinian people once again.
"We regret that such a balanced and credible text that was merely calling upon Israel to end its military operation which causes so many human losses and so much damage has not gained unanimous endorsement by the council," Algerian Ambassador Abdalla Baali told Reuters news agency.
Baali, whose country is the council’s only Arab member, said the 15-nation body appeared to be effective only when it chastised Arab nations.
He recalled in this respect the recent US-drafted resolution demanding Syrian to pull out troops from Lebanon, though opposed by even Beirut.
"The Security Council has once again failed the Palestinian people," lamented the Algerian diplomat who tabled the draft on behalf of the UN Arab Group.
The draft resolution would have demanded "the immediate cessation of all military operations in the area of northern Gaza" and the withdrawal of Israeli forces.
A total of 11 nations voted in favor of Tuesday’s measure while Britain, Germany and Romania abstained.
The draft was killed stone dead by US Ambassador John Danforth who exercised his veto power.
Voting in favor of the resolution were Russia, France, China, Spain, Angola, Chile, Pakistan, Algeria, Benin, Brazil and the Philippines.
Britain, Germany and Russia attempted to get a last minute compromise by adding some amendments but the effort failed.
Palestinian UN observer Nasser Al-Kidwa said it was a "sad day" for the Arab world.
He regretted that some council members spoke only of Israeli deaths when in fact the Israeli army was trying to destroy "the entire Palestinian people -- the destruction of its life and its future."
"Israel has an official army committing war crimes and acts of state terrorism," said the diplomat.
Palestinian Minister of Negotiations Saeb Erekat chided Washington over its never ending bias towards Israel, accusing it of treating Arabs with scorn and ridicule.
French Ambassador to the UN Jean-Marc de la Sabliere regretted that the Security Council remained paralyzed to address such a central issue.
He said the draft was the only way for the Council to respond rapidly "to the steadily deteriorating situation" in Gaza.
Despite abstention, Britain's UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry agreed with most council members that the Israeli response was disproportionate.
"The current action undertaken by the Israeli defense forces is causing large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries in Gaza."
The veto was the 80th by the United States in 59 years, including 29 related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The last was on March 25 against Israel's assassination of Hamas spiritual leader 67-year-old wheelchair-bound Ahmed Yassin.
US Ambassador to the UN John Danforth claimed the draft was "lopsided and unbalanced."
"The United States has no problem with tough words, but only when they are accurate and there is balance," he said.
"When the rest of the world gangs up on Israel with insidious silence about terrorism, it does not advance the cause of peace," Danforth claimed.
"It encourages both sides to dig in. It makes Israel feel isolated and backed into a corner, and it discourages dialogue."
More Palestinians Killed
Hours after the US veto, Israeli tanks shelled the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Lahya, killing at least three Palestinians and injuring 12 others, including eight children.
A father and son were killed when a tank shell exploded in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, the sources said.
Earlier 17-year-old Attalah Qahman was killed and 10 other Palestinians, including eight children, were injured by Israeli tank fire in the nearby town of Beit Lahya, according to hospital sources.
A Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli gunfire also Wednesday, October 6, in the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem.
The bloody Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip’s Jabaliya refugee camp entered Wednesday, its eighth day, claiming the lives of some 85 Palestinians