The United States Shows Its Hypocrisy

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The United States Shows Its Hypocrisy

Aref Assaf

The US-led attack on Iraq, which began in the early hours of 20 March 2003, provides yet another example of the double-standard that governs US foreign policy vis-à-vis the Palestinian/Arab-Israeli conflict.

The United States has emphasized the importance of upholding Security Council resolutions and international law in the months since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1441. They have stressed, moreover, that Iraq has failed to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions for more than one decade.

The US has criticized the French, in particular, for threatening to veto any subsequent Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force.

Since the beginning of the Palestinian/Arab- Israeli conflict, the UN Security Council has adopted more than 200 resolutions related to the conflict. If one disregards those resolutions related to the extension of UN peacekeeping mandates in the Middle East (over half of Security Council resolutions), one finds a long trail of unimplemented UN Security Council resolutions covering a wide range of issues.
These include Israel ‘s failure:

* to allow displaced Palestinians in the northern demilitarized zones to return to their homes; rescind all measures to change the status of Jerusalem ;

* to withdraw from the territories occupied in
1967;
* to cease construction of illegal Jewish colonies in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories;
* to cease deportation of Palestinians from the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories and allow their return;
* to abide by legal obligations and responsibilities set forth in the 4th Geneva Conventions; and, * to withdraw from all Palestinian cities and return to areas held pre-September 2000; and * to cooperate with the fact-finding mission established by the UN Secretary-General to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002.

Security Council resolutions illustrate the threat posed by Israel to its neighbors, as well as regional and international peace and stability. For more than fifty years the Security Council has condemned Israeli attacks on its Arab neighbors, including Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. This also includes UN condemnation of Israel ‘s preemptive military attack on Iraqi nuclear installations in June 1981. Security Council Resolution 487 condemned the attack as a violation of the UN Charter and norms of international law. The US voted in favor of this resolution.

Of further interest, particularly in light of the US criticism of the French threat to use its veto to scuttle a new UN resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq is the US record in using its veto to scuttle Security Council resolutions calling upon Israel to comply with its legal obligations and responsibilities under international law. Since 1949, the United States has used its veto power more than 50 times to block Security Council resolutions related to:

* International protection of Palestinian civilians in the 1967 occupied Palestinian
territories;
* Israel’s ongoing illegal colonization of the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories;
* Israel’s ongoing land confiscation in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories;
* Establishment of Security Council monitoring and investigation teams to examine Israel’s actions in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories;
* Israel’s deportation of Palestinian civilians from the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories;
* Israel’s violation of the human rights of the civilian population of the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories; and,

Israeli measures to change the character of Jerusalem, among other issues.

I am reminded by George Bush’s statement at the UN General Assembly on September 12, 2002, George W Bush said: ‘Are Security Council Resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant? …We want the resolutions of the world’s most important multilateral body to be enforced’.
George Bush tells us that failure to act on UN resolutions brings the UN into disrepute. Yet he does not do anything whilst Israel flouts resolution after resolution. No wonder there are accusations of double standards.
Israel ignores UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of its forces from the territory under armed occupation and the US ensures that no international action is taken. The UN recognizes that Israel has committed serious violations of international law; breached the Geneva Conventions; and refuses to implement Security Council Resolutions, yet the UN has taken no measures against Israel and the violations continue

Stability, security, and a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in the Middle East will continue to be elusive as long as key international actors apply double
standards to the role of international law and UN resolutions. The case of Israel permitted to conduct its foreign relations in a manner outside the UN Charter and above the basic principles of international law that govern state relations, and the case of the current US-led war against Iraq is the most recent example of such double standards.