US to protect Israel at UN session

The United States will seek to protect Israel from critical resolutions in the UN General Assembly during its September session.

    World opinion is against Israeli occupation of Palestinian land

    Senior US State Department officials on Friday said slight progress had already been made in stemming the number of such resolutions – mostly proposed by Arab nations and adopted with the support of many non-aligned countries.

    The US wants the resolutions to be balanced between Israel and the Palestinians or not be adopted at all.

    "It's very labour intensive but we can make some progress and we can build some alliances about trying to reduce what, is in our view, the clear skewed treatment of Israel in these resolutions," one State Department official said on condition of anonymity.

    However, he did not comment on the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) ruling in July

    that parts of the separation barrier wall Israel is building encroached on Palestinian territory and should be dismantled.

    The ICJ also ruled that Israel had to pay compensation for damage caused by the West Bank wall.

    "The wall … cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order," said Judge Shi Jiuyong of China.

    "The construction of such a wall accordingly constitutes breaches by Israel of its obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law."

    Peace roadmap

    The US drive at the UN will focus on winning full support from UN members for the so-called 'roadmap for peace which has stalled since its creation last year amid new violence and recrimination between Israel and the Palestinians.

    However, regional analysts believe the road map has been all but abandoned by recent Israeli initiatives, including expansion of existing settlements onto occupied Palestinian land, a clear violation of the text of the roadmap agreement.

    "We have couched this objective not in terms of the number of resolutions, though, but in terms of furthering the roadmap," the official said.

    "Where we think the focus in the United Nations system needs to be on is a furthering of the roadmap, not passing 21 resolutions that have zero impact or the impact, in our view, is negative impact in terms of advancing the cause of peace"

    US State Department official



    "Where we think the focus in the United Nations system needs to be on is a furthering of the roadmap, not passing 21 resolutions that have zero impact or the impact, in our view, is negative impact in terms of advancing the cause of peace," he said.

    Last year, the United States succeeded in reducing the number of anti-Israel resolutions, which it believed to be inflammatory and counter-productive to the Middle East peace efforts, from 21 to 20, the official said.

    The official, however, conceded that real success in stemming the number of resolutions would not come easily. Washington had been forced in the past to veto several UN Security Council resolutions that it believed were against Israel.

    "This is a tough one, this is not going to be one where you will see those lopsided vote counts turned around overnight," the official said.

    Unlike resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are not legally binding, but do reflect world opinion.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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