New Attempt to Condemn Israel Fails in U.N. Security Council

Another U.N. effort to condemn Israel for the deportation of 415 Palestinians failed last week, after members of the non-aligned bloc who proposed the measure refused to soften it, as demanded by the United States.

The proposed measure would have had the president of the Security Council issue a letter condemning Israel for not abiding by the council’s Dec. 18 resolution. It strongly condemned the deportations and called on Israel to let the Palestinians return to the administered territories.

Such letters enable the Security Council to make its views known without the formal implications of a full-fledged resolution. They generally require unanimous support from council members.

But the United States maintained it would be inappropriate to condemn Israel for failing to abide by the resolution until the council heard a report from U.N. special envoy James Jonah.

Unwilling to be the only obstacle to the Security Council’s desire to address the issue, the United States did indicate its willingness to support a milder presidential letter.

This proposed letter would have simply reiterated the Dec. 18 resolution and called on both Israel and Lebanon to allow humanitarian aid to reach the deportees.

But after intensive informal meetings Dec. 30 and 31, the non-aligned nations refused to tone down their measure and it died.

The Security Council was expected to meet early this week to hear Jonah’s report.

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