The United States on Thursday vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution which called for a condemnation of Israel for the killing of Hamas spiritual leader and founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Eleven nations, including France, Spain, Russia and China supported the resolution. Three nations, the UK, Germany and Romania abstained, and the U.S. used its veto power, and voted against the resolution.
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman said "the Security Council...would have committed an unforgivable act of hypocrisy had it come to the defense of a man whose life's work was the eradication of peace, a man who was nothing less than a mass murderer."
Algeria, the only Arab nation council, introduced a draft resolution late on Wednesday condemning "the most recent extrajudicial execution committed by Israel."
The measure also condemned "all attacks against any civilians as well as all acts of violence and destruction" in a bid to get European support.
"Israeli policies are not part of the battle against international terrorism; it's part of the problem of creating terrorism," said Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian representative.
Russia, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, wanted the resolution to pass unanimously. "We think this resolution has a sufficiently balanced character and appeal for it to reflect the positions of all Security Council members," Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov as saying.
The U.S. opposed the draft resolution because it did not mention Hamas as a group responsible for suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.
"If the Security Council is going to pronounce itself on this question, it must recognize the reality that Hamas has been responsible for numerous, extensive and very recent terrorist activities," U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said.
"This Security Council does nothing to contribute to a peaceful settlement when it condemns one party's actions and turns a blind eye to everything else occurring in the region," the U.S. Ambassador stated.
"The council should be focused on ways to advance the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," Negroponte said. "The one-sided resolution before the Council does not advance that goal."
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)