that the UN Security Council members sent a tough message to the US:
In a move which Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin (current Security Council president) called historic, diplomats from almost all regional blocs represented on the council stepped to the microphone Tuesday after closed council consultations on the Mideast to condemn the lack of progress toward a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The call for bilateral negotiations without preconditions would seem a normal thing to ask for,” he said.
But Churkin said the Palestinians are overwhelmed militarily and in every other way by the Israelis and without preconditions they would not get a fair shake in negotiations.
Britain’s UN Ambassador said Israeli security and Palestinian statehood are not mutually exclusive but mutually reinforcing.
The diplomats – including key U.S. allies in Europe – also criticized the council’s failure to take action against escalating violence by Israeli settlers and urged a speedy resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, also speaking for EU members France, Germany and Portugal, said “Israel’s security and the realization of the Palestinians’ right to statehood are not opposing goals.”
South Africa emphasized that Israeli settlement activity is the main obstacle to peace talks.
While the United States was not mentioned by name, the diplomats anger was clearly directed at Washington which vetoed a resolution in February backed by the 14 other council members that would have demanded an immediate halt to all settlement building.
It’s about time the Security Council had this debate. The US stands isolated in its ‘Israel: right or wrong’ positions that have set peace talk back years. Maybe the next move will be to censor one of its members. Especially significant was Churkin’s criticism of the false equivalency on what ‘no preconditions’ means for the Palestinians and Israel.