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21 December 2017

US hypocrisy at the Security Council

By: Daoud Kuttab
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Since becoming the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, Nikky Haley has had plenty of words to say about everyone. Of special consideration in her rhetorical attacks has been Russia and China for vetoing Security Council resolutions against Syria. Here is a short compilation of what the Trump administration’s UN envoy said in regards to those who vetoed resolutions that the US had submitted:
“With its veto, Russia said ‘no’ to accountability.”
“Russia said ‘no’ to cooperation with the United Nations.”
“Russia said ‘no’ to a resolution that would have helped promote peace in Syria.”
“The days of your arrogance and disregard of humanity are over.”
“You have no friends in the world after your vote.”
“Russia is wasting our time.”
Russia’s vote is a “deep blow” to UN efforts.
One would expect that if a country had so much venom against a fellow permanent member who uses the veto, such a country would be embarrassed when it uses a veto.
While the United States has refrained in the last six years from casting a negative vote in the UN Security Council, the Trump Administration appears to have proudly vetoed a resolution when it came to its darling ally Israel. And while non of the resolutions that Russia vetoed had all 14 members vote in favour, the US did just that on Monday.
Instead of keeping quiet or downplaying its vote, the very same Nikki Halley that was lecturing Russia and the world about cooperating with the UN, helping promote peace and the importance of not wasting time, was just as arrogant about the rest of the world when the shoe was on the other foot.
“What we witnessed here today in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten.”
To call the votes of all 14 members of the UN Security Council who were defending the council’s own previous resolutions an insult is the very act of arrogance to which Halley has been attacking Russia for. And to threaten the world with the words “it won’t be forgotten” puts an American official at the level of high school revenge language.
Halley, of course, who had been lecturing Russia about UN accountability, suddenly is disgusted with the very same UN it was defending just a month ago. The US envoy had yet another statement about peace in the Middle East. “It’s one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Nikki Haley is also upset because not enough countries are giving financial support to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in comparison to what the US is giving. Americans have shown generosity towards Palestinian refugees but the rest of the world prefers that the refugees return home in accordance to UN resolutions rather than stay in their camps and be tended to by UN workers funded by America and others.
When the authors of the United Nations charter designed the veto power they were expecting that it would be used in major issues of war and peace and not in defending the violations of international humanitarian law and in protecting an administration that is more interested in pleasing its religious right than in upholding international law.
The UN charter has a clause 27-3 that forbids countries to use the veto power if they are part of a particular dispute. The world voted against the US for violating international law by recognising Jerusalem, part of which is occupied territories, as a capital of the occupying power. In such a case the dispute is with the US, and Washington should not have been allowed to cast a vote. The international community should have enough courage to trigger this clause when appropriate or better yet scrap the entire veto power that is unfairly given to five countries.
The time has come for the world to rethink this arrogant use by world powers whether they be Russia, China or the US in their abuse of this sacred vote at the UN Security Council.

* A Palestinian columnist based in Amman, Jordan. - dkuttab@ammannet.net

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