It has become something of a sad and pathetic ritual at the UN Security Council. Other countries, including European ones, try to craft a resolution to try to get Israel to change its destructive and self-destructive course and the US uses its veto power, or the threat of using it, to make sure the resolution is never passed.
The scene has been played out so many times that it is fair to ask why anyone is even making a big deal about it this time. The Palestinians conferred with other countries, some on the Security Council, and pieced together a resolution which should be uncontroversial. It condemns Israeli settlement activity as illegal and calls for a halt of such activity and renewed efforts toward ending the occupation and creating a viable Palestinian state.
No country, including the United States though excepting Israel, disagrees with that stance in any measure. That, however, has been true of many resolutions the United States has vetoed in the past. And those vetoes have frequently employed the same, horribly weak excuse: “We do not feel the Security Council is the place to resolve these issues.”
That contention is absurd on its face, as MJ Rosenberg points out. The UNSC is precisely the place where violations of international law need to be dealt with, and it is also the body that bears the most responsibility for keeping the peace in the world. If this is not what the UNSC is for, then what purpose does it serve?
But this has all been true in the past. Yet there is something different in the air today as the US veto looms.
And loom it does. We hear that loud and clear in the testimony Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg gave to the House of Representatives on February 10: “We have made very clear that we do not think the Security Council is the right place to engage on these issues…We have had some success, at least for the moment, in not having that arise there. And we will continue to employ the tools that we have to make sure that continues to not happen.” Continue reading