The United States vetoed a Security Council resolution Friday strongly deploring Israel's actions in the occupied territories where hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in a 14-month-old uprising.
The vote on the resolution was 14 in favor and one against, with no abstentions. It was the first U.S. veto since the Bush administration took office.The latest draft would have strongly deplored Israel's "persistent policies and practices against the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territories" occupied by Israel since 1967.
It referred especially to the "violation of human rights, and in particular the opening of fire that has resulted in injuries and deaths of Palestinian civilians, including children."
Voting for the resolution were Algeria, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Malaysia, Nepal, Senegal, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.
Explaining the U.S. veto, ambassador Herbert Okun said his country continued to urge retraint on all sides and had made clear to Israel its opposition to certain practices, such as the expulsion of Palestinian residents, collective punishment and the use of live fire in non-life-threatening situations.
But he said the resolution was flawed, adding: "In severely criticizing Israeli policies and practices, it does not take into sufficient account the context in which they occur or the excesses of the other side."
The status quo in the territories was clearly unacceptable and the situation was inherently unstable and must be addressed. It could only be resolved in the context of an overall negotiated settlement of the Arab-Israel dispute, Okun stated.
The vetoed resolution would have strongly deplored the "continuing disregard by Israel" of past Council resolutions and called on it to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in time of war.