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If Bush is Having 'Visions', America Must Need Arab Support for Another War
14 mars 2002, 21:50  |   ARTIKLAR  

UN resolutions don’t disappear as fast as
presidential “visions” and the world now has the
idea ñ and it’s only an idea ñ embedded in a
serious UN document. Indeed, it’s probably the
first time the UN has had a “vision” about
anything. But it fails to address the far more
important point of UN Security Council resolution
242 of 1967, upon which the Oslo agreement was
supposed to have been founded. It calls for Israeli
withdrawal from territories it occupied in the Six
Day War. Yesterday’s UN resolution makes no
reference to the occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza (nor to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights) and
thus presents the world with an image, or “vision”,
of two sides fighting on level ground.

When it “demands immediate cessation of all acts of
violence, including all acts of terror,
provocation, incitement and destruction…”, it is
unclear whether the Security Council believes
Israel is occupying Palestinian land or whether it
thinks that the Palestinian Authority is occupying
Israel. Which is why the original Syrian draft
resolution, which specifically talked about Israel
as the “occupying power”, was withdrawn ñ along
with its call to Israel to respect the Geneva
Conventions protecting civilians under occupation.
Syria abstained from the vote. Israel’s UN
ambassador called the latest resolution “balanced”.

The only verbal connection between the new
resolution and the all-important 35-year-old 242,
which specifically refers to occupation, is the
vaguely worded call for the states to live “within
secure and recognized borders”. No mention of
Jewish settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab
land, no mention of east Jerusalem as a Palestinian
capital, or a right of return for any refugees.
Like the Oslo agreement, this latest resolution
leaves these critical issues out of the “vision”,
as presumably something to be resolved later.

It was left to the UN Secretary General, Kofi
Annan, to express his revulsion at the current
level of violence, to refer specifically to
Israel’s “illegal occupation” and to “morally
repugnant” Palestinian suicide bombings. This is
better than nothing but Mr Annan’s words are not
written into any resolution. The Security Council,
now that the US has weakened its new resolution,
makes no moral judgments at all, even though the
illegality of Israel’s occupation partly hinges on
the Council’s own 242 resolution calling upon
Israel to withdraw.

As always, the Arabs ñ anxious not to alienate the
Americans ñ had to clap their hands at the “vision”
bit, as if it contained the seeds of Palestinian
sovereignty. Yasser Abed Rabbo, the so-called
Palestinian Information Minister, said it
represented a “defeat” for the Israeli Prime
Minister, Ariel Sharon ñ which is nonsense because
the US would not have proposed the text unless it
met with Israel’s approval ñ and called for “direct
international intervention to implement this
resolution through ending the Israeli occupation
and evacuating all the Israeli settlements” from
Palestinian land. But there’s nothing about
international intervention in the UN text, nor
about settlements.

All in all, then, a pretty vision, to run alongside
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah’s own watered-down
version of resolution 242. Let’s see how much it
helps Mr Cheney as he seeks approval for yet
another Middle East war.