More on the veto and the UN [Archives:2003/671/Opinion]

September 25 2003

Hassan Al-Haifi
Before posting last issue's Common Sense, this observer attempted to find out exactly how many times the US used the veto in the Security Council to kill any resolution that is not to the liking of Israel. In going through the Website of the United Nations, it was practically impossible to get any information by browsing the endless pages of the UNO and the Security Council. I would have had to go through all the resolutions passed by the UNSC from 1946 to the present to find out how the voting went on a year by year basis and then it would not be certain that one could get a clear idea of the voting. I found reference to a report issued by the United States Department of State through its Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which can be found in the Dag Hammarskjld Library, but in trying to retrieve the report, I was informed that only UN Delegations or UN staff had access to such reports. I wrote to the UN Webmaster to see if I could assistance in my quest. To this day, I have not received a response. I then tried to approach the US Department of State Website for the information or a copy of the report (or even a summary thereof). I also have yet to receive a response or even acknowledgement of receipt of my request.
I then remembered an American friend, who is waging his own advocacy campaign against the overtly strong influence of the Zionist lobby in the US (which should not be taken as an anti-Semitic stance), because there is much that is found in the current foreign policy orientations that has been shown by the current Administration in the White House that goes against what the founding fathers of the United States envisioned as a global role for the country (as well as the obvious mismanagement of domestic affairs). I asked Mr. Richard Melson if he could help me in this effort hopefully with a reply on the same day. Sure enough, Dick obliged with a response in four hours, detailing the voting behavior of the US in the Security Council since 1972 to the last resolution on Yassir Arafat. The full details will be printed elsewhere in this issue or in the following issue of YT. The astounding results analytically reveal the following:
1) the US used the veto 35 time on behalf of Israel over the past thirty years.
2) the US veto in almost all the cases killed these resolution, even though the majority, if not all the other members of the UNSC voted for these resolutions; i.e., the US vote was the only nay vote.
Even where these resolutions involved fundamental issues of human rights violations or international conventions, the US maintained its unabashed disposal of this restricted exclusive privilege to Israel's advantage, going against its own principles and declared visions of international legitimacy.
Perhaps, Mr. Kofi Annan was not off the mark, when he said that there needs to be many reforms instituted in the way the UN operates, and note that this was said right after the UNSC vote on the Yassir Arafat Resolution. The UNSC is still operating under the same rules that were effective upon the establishment of the UN. While the UN's picture and modus operandi have seen significant changes in many of the diverse organs, fields, and activities of the UNO. The UN membership has grown fourfold since its establishment and the attributes of power haves shifted to different welders, economically, politically and militarily over the last six decades or so. Yet the UNSC has not been made to adapt to any of these changes; the victors of WWII still dominate the Council's activities (the only significant change in the UNSC membership was the replacement of Nationalist China by the People's Republic of China, for obvious reasons and then only when the latter got a hold of the A Bomb). With the Security Council having the most important role of maintaining peace and stability in the world, it has surely become imperative to institute reforms that will help to enhance this role and restore the confidence of the UNO with the international community, which mostly sees the organization as falling under the dictates of the US, albeit for the benefit of another state. Needless to say, with the veto used so unabashedly to the advantage of Israel, in opposition to the general inclinations of the rest of the UNSC membership, the end result is an ineffective peacekeeping role in the most serious of issues facing the Council.
The reform that Mr. Annan was hinting at need not necessarily cut off some of the special voting privileges of the major powers, but might introduce mechanisms whereby there are avenues that are open for the international community to indicate the legitimate and rightful course that are in keeping with the true purpose is of the UNO. This is especially in case this privilege is used mainly to block any efforts to correct the misconduct of unruly states by the privileged few. This should lead to the enhancement of the UN as the true peacemaker it should be, and not the legitimizer of the mischief of renegade states that rely on others to shield them and even encourage them to carry out further mischief in keeping with their whims, and to get away even with murder, which is what Israel seems to enjoy thanks to the VETO, if not anything else.