UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 14)
The United States cast the lone dissenting vote Wednesday in vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution deploring Israel’s commando raid deep into southern Lebanon last Friday.
The other 14 members of the council voted in favor of the measure.
The resolution, requested by Lebanon, calls on Israel to “cease immediately all attacks against Lebanese territory” and to “withdraw all its military forces forthwith and unconditionally to the internationally recognized boundaries.”
Since the end of the Lebanon war in 1985, Israel and the South Lebanon Army have controlled a 6-mile-wide “security zone” along the Lebanese side of the border.
The United States said it remains committed to supporting Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, as called for in the resolution.
But the United States opposed the resolution because “it criticizes the actions of one party while ignoring the attacks and reprisals that have originated on the other side of the border.
“Moreover, in requesting that Israel cease all attacks on Lebanese territory, regardless of provocation, this resolution would deny to Israel its inherent right to defend itself,” said Ambassador Patricia Byrne, deputy U.S. representative to the Security Council. “This we cannot accept.”
The target of Israel’s air, sea and land attack was the subterranean headquarters of Ahmed Jabril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, near Naameh, less than 20 miles south of Beirut.
The raid, in which 20 terrorists were believed killed and dozens wounded, was the deepest Israeli penetration into Lebanon since the war.
Israel’s deputy U.N. representative, Ambassador David Matnai, told the Security Council that Friday’s attack was a limited operation aimed at ammunition dumps and anti-aircraft batteries maintained by the Jabril group.
He said the terrorist group was responsible for the November 1987 hang-glider attack, in which six Israeli soldiers were killed.
“Simply put, Israel has no territorial claims whatsoever in regard to Lebanese territory — not one inch. Israel’s desire is to protect, defend and insure the security of its population from repeated attacks emanating from Lebanese territory,” said Matnai.