The United States has vetoed a draft UN resolution condemning the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, turning a deaf ear to international calls and Palestinian appeals for an immediate stop.
The totally unjustified but foreseeable veto was another example of the double standards of the United States’ policy toward the Middle East.
Whatever the motives behind the veto were, domestic political pressure or maintaining the U.S. unprincipled shield of Israel, the Obama administration can do whatever it deems right but must accept the cost. This time, it took the risk of losing its credibility in the Mideast peace process.
The Washington meeting in September between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in addtion to President Obama’s commitment to achieving a framework agreement on core issues between the two sides within a year provided some dim rays of hope. But the Palestinians made it clear there would be no peace talks while settlement construction continued.
After the UN vote, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said Washington was “regrettably” blocking the draft resolution.
With the answer in its own hands, the Obama administration successfully ruined its earnestness and undid its past efforts that pretended to be impartial.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, said the U.S. veto was “unfortunate and affects the credibility of the American administration.”
As a result, the Palestinians would “re-evaluate the entire process of negotiations” toward peace in the Middle East, he said.
U.S. representatives were a little bit lonely at the UN this time. The draft resolution had garnered the approval of more than 130 UN members and, during the Friday vote, all the other 14 members of the Security Council said “Yes” except the United States.
After the draft was effectively killed by the U.S. veto, hundreds of Palestinians went to the streets in anger.
Abbas came out of his office to meet the protesters.
“What we have sought and what we are seeking is that the occupiers leave our country so that we can build our independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” he told them. “We will not accept settlements regardless of their shape.”
Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah said: “The American veto does not serve the peace process and encourages Israel to continue settlements, and to escape the obligations of the peace process.”
“This veto will complicate matters in the Middle East,” he said at the UN headquarters in New York.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Saturday said she regretted the deadlock in the UN.
If the shadow cast by the U.S. veto lingers, the stalled Mideast peace talks will be even more difficult to restart.
The United States, as an important party in the Mideast Quartet, has the responsibility of promoting peace in the volatile region.
It is highly expected that the United States could give up its partisan approach to the Mideast issue and make constructive efforts to promote peace and justice.
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