[QODLink]
Middle East
Olmert call 'behind US abstention'
Israeli PM says last-minute phone call stopped US from voting in UN for Gaza truce.
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2009 12:19 GMT
  Olmert, left, described Bush as "an
unparalleled friend" of Israel
[AFP]

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has said a last-minute telephone call to George Bush forced the US to abstain in a crucial UN vote on the Gaza war.

In a speech late on Monday, Olmert said Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, was left "pretty shamed" at the vote and had to abstain on a resolution she had personally arranged.

The Israeli prime minister narrated how he demanded to talk to Bush last Thursday, minutes before a vote in the UN Security Council on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

"When we saw that Rice, for reasons we did not really understand, wanted to vote in favour of the resolution ... I looked for President Bush," Olmert said.

Bush, who apparently was taken off a stage in Philadelphia where he was making a speech, said he was not informed on the resolution and was "not familiar with the phrasing."

"I'm familiar with it. You can't vote in favour." Olmert claimed telling the US president.

"He [Bush] gave an order to the secretary of state and she did not vote in favour of it, a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and manoeuvred for," Olmert said.

The Israeli PM described Bush as an "unparalleled friend" of Israel.

UN call

Fourteen of the Security Council's 15 members supported the resolution, which has until now failed to stop Israel's operation in Gaza.

Olmert criticised the UN resolution, saying that "no decision, present or future, will deny us our basic right to defend the residents of Israel".

Israel launched its offensive on December 27, in what it said was an attempt to stop Hamas firing rockets into southern Israel from Gaza.
 
After a first week of intense air campaign, Israel sent ground forces into Gaza in the second week of fighting and is now making its deepest push into the Strip. 

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
Residents count the cost of violence after black American teenager shot dead by white Missouri police officer.
EU's poorest member state is struggling to cope with an influx of mostly war-weary Syrian refugees.
Study says tipping point reached as poachers kill 7 percent of African elephants annually; birth rate is 5 percent.
Zimbabwe's leader given rotating chairmanship of 15-member nation bloc a year after he won disputed presidential polls.
join our mailing list