The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed criticism of the Obama Administration for the failure of the U.S. delegation to the United Nation Security Council to alter or oppose the critical statements about Israel following acts of Palestinian violence in Jerusalem last Friday. Israeli police were forced to put an end to Palestinian rioters threatening Jews at the Western Wall, beneath Temple Mount. The Jerusalem Post reported that Eighteen Israeli policemen were lightly wounded while attempting to restore order after Arab youths emerging from Friday prayers started hurling rocks down onto those worshiping at the Wall. Having restored calm by use of stun grenades and following helpful intervention by other Muslim worshipers to defuse the clash, police eventually withdrew in coordination with the Wakf Islamic trust to allow older worshipers to leave the Mount (Abe Selig, Israeli actions against intl law, Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2010).
Yet, at the Security Council, Israeli security and police measures became part of provocative acts by all sides, thus failing to name culprits and tarring legitimate Israeli security and police measures with the brush of acts worthy of criticism, which were also described in having occurred in Palestinian territories.
Gabons U.N. Ambassador Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet, president of the Security Council for March, said on behalf of a consensus of the Council that The members of the Security Council expressed their concern at the current tense situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem They urged all sides to show restraint and avoid provocative acts. The permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, welcomed the Council statement, saying that the apparent U.S. decision not to block it is a signal that the United States wants this effort to succeed and Israel to restrain itself.
The U.S. has generally prevented Council issuing non-binding statements that condemn Israel. In explanation as to why the U.S. had not done so on this occasion, an unnamed U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that that the American delegation had not agreed with the statement and said it was adopted due to what the official described as procedural confusion. Yet, as the Reuters news reports notes, It was not immediately clear what the confusion was Several council diplomats familiar with the negotiations on the statement, however, told Reuters that the U.S. delegation made no attempt to raise any objections to the final version of the text, which they said was adopted by consensus (Louis Charbonneau, U.S. repudiates U.N. council remarks on Mideast clash, Yahoo News, March 6, 2010).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We are frankly critical of the Obama Administrations failure to act. It should have had no hesitation opposing a Security Council statement that likens wholly legitimate Israeli police measures against acts of violence instigated by Palestinians as provocative acts. This failure means that Israel is labeled responsible for violence Palestinians start, which is both untrue and unwise. Such a Council statement is itself a form of encouragement of Palestinian violence, as it demonstrates that Palestinians can attack Jews without being condemned, merely cautioned, along with Israelis who attacked noone.
The words of the Palestinian observer, Riyad Mansour, show exactly why the Obama Administration should have opposed it. Mansour correctly sees in this statement world pressure on Israel, not on the Palestinian side, even after having resorted to violence.
It is obvious from what has been reported that the Obama Administration took no steps to modify or oppose this statement, despite the contrary statement of an unnamed American diplomat which does not tally with the known facts. The Obama Administration should put itself on record as opposing this statement and in condemning the Palestinian resort to violence. Failure to do so only increases the likelihood of further Palestinian assaults in the future.