Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bolton in extraordinary outburst against United Nations

"The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, launched a scathing attack on the United Nations Friday.

Bolton was furious over the adoption by the General Assembly of a resolution which said the assembly regretted the deaths of 19 civilians in an attack by the Israeli military in the town of Beit Hanoun last week.

Despite the resolution being significantly watered down at the behest of the United States, and being passing by 156 votes to seven, Bolton launched a blistering attack on the UN, and many of its members.

"Many of the sponsors of that resolution are notorious abusers of human rights themselves, and were seeking to deflect criticism of their own policies," he said.

"This type of resolution serves only to exacerbate tensions by serving the interests of elements hostile to Israel's inalienable and recognized right to exist."

"This deepens suspicions about the United Nations that will lead many to conclude that the organization is incapable of playing a helpful role in the region," Bolton continued.

"In a larger sense, the United Nations must confront a more significant question, that of its relevance and utility in confronting the challenges of the 21st century. We believe that the United Nations is ill served when its members seek to transform the organization into a forum that is a little more than a self-serving and a polemical attack against Israel or the United States," he said.

"The Human Rights Council has quickly fallen into the same trap and de-legitimized itself by focusing attention exclusively on Israel. Meanwhile, it has failed to address real human rights abuses in Burma, Darfur, the DPRK, and other countries," Bolton charged.

"The problem of anti-Israel bias is not unique to the Human Rights Council. It is endemic to the culture of the United Nations. It is a decades-old, systematic problem that transcends the whole panoply of the UN organizations and agencies," he continued.

The United States, and Australia joined Israel in voting against the motion, together with four small Pacific island nations. All countries in Europe, including Britain, voted to support the resolution.

The original text condemned Israel over the Beit Hanoun attack and its operations in Gaza, however the adopted resolution had the General Assembly expressing, "regret."

Rather than an outright investigation of the incident the assembly resolved to form a committee, "to look into the facts." The resolution also carried a demand that the Palestinian Authority take action to stop rocket attacks on Israel.

Bolton launched his attack despite gaining these concessions.

Equally critical was Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman who stormed out of the session after telling members, "I caution everyone who will support this resolution. By doing so, you will be an accomplice to terror. The blood of more innocents will be on your hands."

The resolution was taken to the General Assembly after the United States used its veto to squash a similar motion in the Security Council. It was the 31st time the U.S. had used its veto at the UN to stop resolutions concerning Israel and the Palestinians."

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