Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ooops, we forgot to brief the Israelis

Some times it´s comical the way things always stay the same. In this case it´s the less than perfect affection of Israel and the United States towards the UN, an Organization that was the brainchild of Franklin D Roosevelt(and Winston Churchil), and midwifed in San Francisco, and whose General Assembly resolution on the 29th of November 1947(60 years ago almost to the day)led the way in terms of the International law framework for the creation of the state of Israel less than 6 months later. Almost always during the past 40 years has voting on any resolution about Israel been a foregone conclusion. If a resolution is deemed negative in any form or shape towards Israel, then the U.S will use it´s veto power. And then came Annapolis, were consensus was found.

The UN Security council was about to take a resolution, backing the outcome of the Annapolis gathering(i don´t know if any of the words Conference or meeting are appropriate, mostly because the organizers seemed to have problems in deciding on which to use in the run up to Annapolis), so i choose the neutral word instead in order not to step on somebody´s toes. The resolution was introduced by the U.S Ambassador to the U.N, Khalilzad, and was endorsed by the council in it´s entirety. END OF STORY, or so it seemed....

In a sudden about face, the United States on Friday withdrew a United Nations resolution endorsing this week's agreement by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008, apparently after Israel objected.

Israel expressed opposition to the American initiative to pursue Security Council support for the proposed resolution because it does not consider most of the member states of the council to be friendly toward Israel.

U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff informed the Security Council that the United States was pulling the resolution from consideration less than 24 hours after U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad introduced it and welcomed the very positive response from council members.

It seems the Israelis were concerned about two things, the fact that they were not told about the resolution in advance. The other point is perhaps the important one. Israel want´s the security Council´s role and position to be as insignificant as possible. According to UN sources the Palestinians was not that keen on a resolution either.

"It's not the proper venue," Israel's deputy ambassador Daniel Carmon told reporters after Friday's council meeting. "We feel that the appreciation of Annapolis has other means of being expressed than in a resolution."

"We were not the only ones to object, Carmon added," saying the Americans had told the Israelis that the Palestinians also objected. UN sources also said that the Palestinian Authority said it wasn't interested in a resolution.

The UN has a role and a stake in this, because of their partnership in the Quartet, co-sponsors of the road map, which is still very much at the core of the process, although the UN human rights envoy for the Palestinian Territories, John Dugard could not see a reason for the U.N to stay the course as a partner in the Quartet if it fails to deal with Palestinian human rights. This was as recent as a month and a half ago and then only echoing his own words from the past.

So the UN are there to stay, and so are Israel, and they will probably keep on being like an old couple, always nagging at each other, but in the end they will be stuck with each other, regardless of the fact that the Annapolis process proves to be a happy ending, the beginning of the end or just another dead end.

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