WASHINGTON - The United States vetoed Saturday a UN Security Council draft resolution that sought to condemn an Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip in which 19 Palestinians were killed. The draft resolution also called for a UN "fact finding mission" to investigate the incident.
In addition to the US 'no' vote, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia abstained from voting on the draft resolution. The ten other members of the Security Council voted in favor.
Representatives from the abstaining nations explained that they believe that the phrasing of the draft was one-sided, unbalanced, and – according to Danish Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Loj - did not include "a more thorough recognition of the complexities on the ground."
The draft, introduced by Qatar and written in conjunction with France, appealed to the Quartet for "the possible establishment of an international mechanism" for the protection of Arab civilians in Gaza.
During the Security Council meeting that was convened to discuss the initiative last Thursday, French ambassador to the UN Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said that his nation would bring up Gaza civilian protection with the Quartet.
The text of the original draft resolution had been altered in recent days to help improve its chances of passage.
It backed off calls for UN observers to be placed on the Gaza-Israel border and a section was added demanding the Palestinian Authority take immediate action to bring an end to violence, including the firing of rockets into Israel from its territories.
US: Draft doesn't address terrorDespite the fact that the draft that was put to a vote was less extreme than the original Palestinian version submitted to the Security Council, the US remained unsatisfied.
US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, while expressing sorrow at the loss of civilian life, declared that "this resolution does not display an evenhanded characterization of the recent events in Gaza."
We know that Israel is investigating the matter and has stopped artillery fire because of this. We hope that the investigation will be completed quickly, he said.
Bolton stated the United States was "disturbed" that the Arab-backed draft resolution was "biased against Israel and politically motivated."
According to the ambassador, the draft's language was extreme and did not concede Israel's right to defend itself.
We are concerned that the draft contains no mention of terror or censure of Hamas' statement advocating continued Palestinian violence, including terror against American targets, he continued, explaining the veto.
Reuters and AP contributed to this report