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By Shlomo Shamir, Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid and Haaretz Service
Published 23:19 18.02.11
Latest update 23:19 18.02.11
The United States on Friday voted against a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as illegal. The veto by the U.S., a permanent council member, prevented the resolution from being adopted.
The other 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the draft resolution.
. . .
The U.S. opposes new Israeli settlements but says taking the issue to the UN will only complicate efforts to resume stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution.
The US-vetoed resolution, which had been sponsored by 130 countries, "reaffirms that the Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace."
It also reiterated its “demand that Israel, the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
The US veto brought swift critical reaction.
“On the contrary, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” Ambassador Rice said.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 446
. . .
Affirming once more that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 1/ is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,
1. Determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
2. Strongly deplores the failure of Israel to abide by Security Council resolutions 237 (1967) of 14 June 1967, 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968 and 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971 and the consensus statement by the President of the Security Council on 11 November 1976 2/ and General Assembly resolutions 2253 (ES-V) and 2254 (ES-V) of 4 and 14 July 1967, 32/5 of 28 October 1977 and 33/113 of 18 December 1978;
3. Calls once more upon Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories;
UN Press Release
Speaking before the vote, Lebanon’s representative surveyed the recent acceleration of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, following the end of the recent partial moratorium, and pointed out that the Security Council, the International Court of Justice and the General Assembly had all previously declared such settlement activity illegal, calling for a complete halt.
He said settlement activity was also barred by the Quartet “Road Map”, and maintained that Israel continued to challenge all those opinions, with the number of settlers now having exceeded 530,000. The purpose of the draft resolution had been to halt those illegal practices once and for all, allowing the Council to play its rightful role on the side of righteousness, he said, adding that Council action would continue to be demanded until there was a just peace, including a viable State of Palestine.
Israel and Palestine: A Brief History - Part I
History, and different perceptions of history, are perhaps the most important factors in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Accounts of history, interpreting history in different ways, are used to justify claims and to negate claims, to vilify the enemy and to glorify "our own" side. Dozens of accounts have been written. Most of the accounts on the Web are intended to convince rather than to inform.
This very brief account is intended as a balanced overview and introduction to Palestinian and Israeli history, and the history of the conflict. It is unlikely that anyone has written or will write an "objective" and definitive summary that would be accepted by everyone, but it is hoped that this document will provide a fair introduction.
Originally posted by pthena
When it comes to deciding right from wrong, I rely on legal decisions, such as the Nuremberg standards, such as, genocide will forever be condemned. Some things really must be held to standards of justice, and not left to political whim.
They will all stand condemned. When? I don't know. By whom? I don't know.
United Nations Security Council veto power
The veto does not apply to procedural votes, which is significant in that the Security Council's permanent membership can vote against a 'procedural' draft resolution, without necessarily blocking its adoption by the Council.
The veto is exercised when any permanent member — the so-called 'P5' — casts a "negative" vote on a 'substantive' draft resolution.
Here is a widely-reported summary of Negroponte's statement (an official transcript of these closed-session remarks does not appear to have been released):
For any resolution to go forward, the United States — which has a veto in the 15-nation council — would want it to have the following four elements:
A strong and explicit condemnation of all terrorism and incitement to terrorism;
A condemnation by name of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, groups that have claimed responsibility for suicide attacks on Israel;
An appeal to all parties for a political settlement of the crisis;
A demand for improvement of the security situation as a condition for any call for a withdrawal of Israeli armed forces to positions they held before the September 2000 start of the Second intifada Palestinian uprising.
2 Veto powers can use their veto to veto a veto effectively ordering the item to continue. This is in play so that no single nation can be bigger then the UN's legislative arm as a whole.
United Nations Charter, Chapter V
1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.
The Soviet Union had adopted an "empty chair" policy at the Security Council from January 1950, owing to its discontent over the UN's refusal to recognize the People's Republic of China's representatives as the legitimate representatives of China, and with the hope of preventing any future decisions by the Council on substantive matters. Despite the wording of the Charter (which makes no provisions for passing resolutions with the abstention or absence of a veto-bearing member), this was treated as a non-blocking abstention. This had in fact already become Council practice by that time, the Council having already adopted numerous draft resolutions despite the lack of an affirmative vote by each of its permanent members.
OK, if you insist on talking that way, but the point is they are right next door.
UNGA Resolution 377
"Uniting for Peace" resolution, states that, in cases where the United Nations Security Council fails to act in order to maintain international peace and security, owing to disagreement between its five permanent members, the matter shall be addressed immediately by the General Assembly, using the mechanism of the emergency special session.
The Uniting for Peace resolution—also known as the "Acheson Plan"—was adopted 3 November 1950, after fourteen days of Assembly discussions, by a vote of 52 to 5 (Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic), with 2 abstentions (India and Argentina).
In it, the General Assembly:
"Reaffirming the importance of the exercise by the Security Council of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and the duty of the permanent members to seek unanimity and to exercise restraint in the use of the veto," ...
"Recognizing in particular that such failure does not deprive the General Assembly of its rights or relieve it of its responsibilities under the Charter in regard to the maintenance of international peace and security," ...
"Resolves that if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace or act of aggression the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security."