The Jordan Times (Opinion)
February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

The US veto of a draft resolution condemning Israel’s continued settlement programme on Palestinian lands is wrong and fraught with immeasurable dangers.

The resolution was sponsored by all Arab delegations at the UN headquarters in New York. It expresses complete Arab rejection of the Israeli construction of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, while fully supporting a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The unanimous Arab support for the draft stems from the Arab concern about the unbearable situation in the occupied Palestinian lands, and about the fact that Israel’s persistent flouting of international norms and UN resolutions needs to be checked, for it seems to know no boundaries.

The US veto is both wrong and makes a mockery of statements from the administration of President Barack Obama that said, just over a year ago: “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”

So much for now voting against stopping them!

No less ominous is the timing of the US veto, coming as it does in the midst of a political turmoil that has gripped many Arab countries.

Arab peoples everywhere are on edge and Washington’s playing such an unfair game at this time of Arab awakening projects the image of a hostile US which should, if anything, cheer Arabs on.

All the other 14 UN Security Council members supported the draft resolution, as did over two-thirds of the UN members from Europe, Africa and Asia. Not so the US, which since 1970, when it gave its first veto, used this prerogative 80 times; more than half, 42 times, it was to defend Israel from censure (since 2000, of the 11 US vetoes, 10 were related to Israel).

Israel has to be made to behave according to the norms universally set by the international community. It cannot consistently breach the law and get away with it just because it enjoys the protection of a toothless US administration cowed by the strong pro-Israel lobby.


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