Analysis by Thalif Deen
"UNITED NATIONS, Dec 29 (IPS) - After an emergency closed-door session Sunday night, the 15-member Security Council issued a politically bland statement expressing "serious concern" over the devastating Israeli air strikes on Gaza and calling for an "immediate halt to all violence."
The statement was predictable because the United States, a traditionally loyal Israeli ally, would never agree to anything smacking of a "censure" or "condemnation" of Israel -- even as the death toll rose to more than 300 Palestinians, mostly civilians. A single Israeli was killed during the three-day attacks.
Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, points out that the Security Council "reflected the strategic goals and alliances of the most powerful veto- wielding countries, particularly that of the United States." "But other elected members of the Council, including sometimes principled non-aligned governments in South Africa, Indonesia, Libya and elsewhere, surrendered to U.S. pressure," Bennis told IPS.
Besides the five veto-wielding permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. -- the non-permanent members also include Belgium, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Italy, Panama and Vietnam.
"Clearly the Security Council has abdicated its responsibility; its statement rejected any acknowledgement of Israeli violations of international law, let alone anything to hold Israel accountable for those violations," said Bennis, author of several publications, including ‘Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN.’
At the time of going to press, there were no further scheduled meetings of the Security Council even though Israel continued air strikes, with a possible ground attack in the works........"