By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
The western media is roundly condemning Russia for vetoing a Security Council resolution condemning tomorrow’s referendum on Crimean self-determination as illegal under international law. The US, as usual, is being extremely selective in their support for international law. Their own veto history reveals that they have vetoed 41 resolutions demanding that Israel respect international law in occupied Palestine.
According Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, “Russia has used its veto as an accomplice to unlawful military incursion.”
How ironic. Substitute “US” for “Russia,” and you could be describing US behavior as regards the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
The 41 US vetoes include numerous resolutions condemning the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine, which are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Obama administration last blocked Security Council efforts to force Israel to end settlement construction in February 18, 2011. You have to question the President’s sincerity in the current Middle East peace process. For peace negotiations to be fair, surely they must start with an absolute requirement that Israel abide by international law.
Other resolutions condemn Israeli for massive human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, their illegal war of aggression against Lebanon and Gaza, and their illegal expropriation of land in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. The US also vetoed a call for the UN to investigate Israel’s role in the murder of UN Food Program workers and countless Palestinian civilians
Any of the five permanent members of the Security Council (US, UK, Britain, France, Russia, China) have the power to veto a Security Council resolution. There have been 264 vetoes of Security Council resolutions. Approximately half were exercised by the Soviets prior to 1965, in most cases to oppose the admission of new pro-Western states to the UN.
Since 1972, the US has vetoed more Security Council resolutions than any other permanent member. In addition to vetoing resolutions on Palestine, it has vetoed fourteen resolutions condemning South Africa’s apartheid regime, one each condemning illegal US military aggression against Nicaragua and Panama and one condemning the illegal British war in the Falklands.