UNITED NATIONS (Feb. 9)
For the third time in the last four weeks the United States vetoed an anti-Israel resolution in the Security Council. The latest veto, last Thursday night, was on a resolution condemning Israel for its interception of a Libyan aircraft on February 4. The resolution termed the Israeli action an “act of aerial hijacking and piracy.” The 15-member Council voted 10-1 for the resolution. France, Britain, Australia and Denmark abstained.
Explaining the veto, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Vernon Walters, said: “My government cannot accept a resolution which implies that interception of an aircraft is wrongful per se, without regard to the possibility that the action may be justified. We must be clear that terrorist violence, and not the response to terrorist violence, is the cause of the cycle of violence which tragically mars the Middle East and the entire world.”
Adding that the resolution failed to uphold the right of countries to intercept planes under “exceptional circumstances,” Walters said, however, that the Israeli interception of the Libyan plane did not meet the criterion that a state has the “strongest and clearest evidence that the terrorists are on board.”
Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, told the Council: “We are witnessing a new kind of war — a regime that systematically conducts worldwide terrorism. What are we going to do about this kind of phenomenon? What are we going to do to prevent future Romes, Viennas and like,” referring to the recent terrorist attacks sponsored by Libya.
Netanyahu charged that Libya, Syria and Iran have supported many terrorist attacks. Some of the terrorist attacks were undertaken by the governments of these countries, Netanyahu said.
Thursday night’s veto followed two other American vetoes in recent weeks. The first was on a resolution condemning Israel for its actions in south Lebanon, the second was on a resolution condemning Israel for a confrontation between a group of Knesset members and an Arab crowd on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.