A draft resolution which would have had the Security Council condemn recent Israeli acts, including the killing of several United Nations aid workers, was defeated today by the United States, which in casting a no vote effectively vetoed the text.
Twelve countries voted in favour of the Syria-sponsored draft, with Bulgaria and Cameroon abstaining. In addition to decrying Israel’s recent killing of UN employees, the text noted that one had been an international staff member working in the Jenin refugee camp.
The draft also cited Israel’s “deliberate destruction of a UN World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in Beit Lahiya in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in which 537 metric tons of donated food supplies intended for distribution to needy Palestinians had been stored.”
The draft would have demanded that Israel comply fully with its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, and “refrain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Explaining his country’s position, US Ambassador John D. Negroponte said the recent incidents referred to in the text were serious and must be investigated. The draft, however, did not urge action by all concerned to minimize the threat to UN personnel and facilities. “The proponents of this resolution seem more intent on condemning Israeli occupation than on ensuring the safety of United Nations personnel,” he said. “Mixing these two issues is inappropriate.” Adoption of the resolution would not contribute to an environment in which both sides would move towards a roadmap leading to two States - Israel and Palestine - living side-by-side in peace and security, he said, and for that reason, the US opposed it.
Text of draft resolution
19 December 2002
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, 1402 (2002) of 30 March 2002, 1403 (2002) of 4 April 2002 and 1435 (2002) of 24 September 2002, as well as the statements of its President, of 10 April 2002 and 18 July 2002,
Reiterating its grave concern at the tragic and violent events that have taken place since September 2000 and the continuous deterioration of the situation,
Expressing grave concern at the killing by the Israeli occupying forces of several United Nations employees, including the recent killing of one international staff member in the Jenin refugee camp,
Expressing deep concern at the deliberate destruction by the Israeli occupying forces of a United Nations World Food Programme warehouse in Beit Lahiya in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in which 537 metric tons of donated food supplies intended for distribution to needy Palestinians had been stored,
Recalling the protection accorded to such facilities under international humanitarian law,
1. Condemns the above-mentioned killings and destruction;
2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and refrain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to inform the Council on any developments in this regard.