France played the deciding role in the agreement reached between member countries of the European Union. France was prepared to back the original Palestinian draft, while other EU countries intended on refraining from the vote. Following France’s persuasive efforts, the EU countries agreed to a compromise on the proposal.
The French were furious with the United States' veto on the Qatari proposal to condemn Israel for the Beit Hanoun incident at the UN Security Council last Saturday.
In his speech at the council about one and a half weeks ago, France’s Ambassador to the UN Jean-Marc de la Sablière promised to bring the Palestinian population’s security issue up with the Quartet.
The fact that the US also has veto power in the Quartet pushed France to reach a decision at the UN Security Council, where there is an automatic majority of Muslim and third world countries.
European countries such as Germany, Holland, Denmark, and Britain intended on refraining from the vote at the general assembly, which would have lead to many other eastern European and South American countries refraining as well.
French diplomats, working closely with the Palestinians, Lebanon, and Qatar, pressured those countries and advised them to soften the proposal in order to bridge the gap with the EU.
Israel and France worked productively in the UN until recently. France had an important role in the Security Council’s resolution 1559 to remove foreign forces from Lebanon and to disassemble militia’s, as well as resolution 1701 to end the second Lebanon war and establish a UN force which it heads. France also plays an important and positive role in the UN on the Iranian nuclear issue.
It was for this reason the Israeli diplomats were especially disappointed, particularly Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman. He asked in his speech at the UN General Assembly if France would send flowers to terrorists that launched rockets towards its citizens.
‘France: An Arab extension’Following his speech, Gillerman walked past the French Ambassador without greeting him. The disregard was apparent even at lower echelons. Israeli diplomats have recently begun regarding France as a hostile force in the Security Council as well as the EU.
“It is truly and Arab extension,” one Israeli diplomatic source said.
While French diplomats negotiated with representatives of Arab countries and exchanged drafts of the proposal, they did not speak with any Israeli representative in order to present a softer version, or even bother to make a phone call for the sake of “balance”.
As far as is known, the French were prepared to vote in favor of the original Arab draft, which included condemnation of Israel, the establishment of an investigation committee, the establishment of a security system for the protection of the Palestinian population, and an internalization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.