U.S. Refuses to Block Resolution Criticizing Israeli Deportations

The United States declined to exercise its veto Thursday to block a Security Council resolution criticizing Israel for deporting eight Palestinian activists from the West Bank and Gaza Strip on June 29.

The resolution, adopted by a vote of 14-0, says the Security Council “deeply regrets” the June 29 deportations and calls on Israel to discontinue the practice.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering said the American position on the issue is clear. The United States has spoken out numerous times against deportations. They were “deeply regrettable,” he said.

Pickering said the United States abstained because it did not think that raising the issue in the Security Council now would help reduce tensions or restore calm in the region.

“Neither more deportations nor more resolutions are likely to serve the efforts in which we all share our responsibility to bring the parties to the negotiating table,” the American envoy said.

Sources here said a U.S. veto was avoided by softening the language of the original draft resolution circulated to Security Council members.

The words “deeply regrets” were substituted for the word “deplores” contained in the earlier draft.

Israel’s acting Ambassador Johanan Bein defended the deportations on the grounds that they were necessary to prevent acts of violence.

“We are not advancing some abstract notion or concept divorced from reality. We are talking about the lives of Israeli citizens — men, women and children,” the Israeli ambassador stated.

Zehdi Terzi, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s observer at the United Nations, was invited to attend the Security Council session. He expressed satisfaction with the resolution.

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