United States backs Israeli position during meeting on Mideast crisis
ARIZONA DAILY WILDCAT
Tuesday August 21, 2001 |
UNITED NATIONS - Siding with Israel, the United States made clear yesterday it would not support Arab efforts to get Security Council endorsement for a resolution dealing with the Middle East crisis.
Without backing from the United States - a veto-wielding member of the council - it was unlikely that a draft resolution circulated by the Palestinians last week would go for a vote in the council.
The draft, backed by Arab and Muslim states, calls for an end to the Israeli takeover of Orient House - the unofficial Palestinian headquarters in east Jerusalem - an immediate cessation of violence, and the creation of a "monitoring mechanism," which Israel opposes.
Acting U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham said the gravity of events on the ground led the United States to "question the appropriateness and effectiveness of any action here in New York."
"What is required now is not rhetoric, not debate that polarizes an already volatile situation, and certainly not an effort to condemn one side with unbalanced charges or to impose unworkable ideas that will not change the reality on the ground," Cunningham said.
Security Council meetings are normally reserved for its 15 members, but at the request of Arab states, yesterday's session was open to any representative - including Israel and the Palestinians.
Palestinian representative Nasser al-Kidwa and Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Lancry sat at opposite ends of the Security Council table yesterday exchanging blame for 11 months of bloodshed.
Lancry lamented the "lost language of peace," and said Israel remained opposed to monitors that he argued would be "totally ineffective in preventing terror attacks."
Al-Kidwa said "there is no other mechanism or organized and sustained efforts to halt the violence."
The draft provides for monitors to help both sides take the steps to peace recommended by an international commission headed by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell. Those recommendations include a cooling-off period, confidence-building measures, and a resumption of peace talks.
The four other veto-wielding council members - Russia, China, France and Britain - all refrained yesterday from discussing the resolution.
Outside U.N. headquarters yesterday, New York Sen. Hilary Rodham-Clinton joined American Jewish leaders in a rally to support Israel, calling on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to take immediate action to end the violence.
"He must end incitement, stop the violence and do far more to crack down on terrorists," said Clinton, who was flanked by Shmuel Greenbaum, whose pregnant wife, Judith, was among 15 people killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Aug. 12.