As Argentina assumes the UN Security Council presidency this month, President Cristina Fernandez condemned the misuse of veto by the five permanent members and reserved harshest criticism for the US, whose use of veto has shielded Israel from accountability throughout the decades of its illegal occupation of Palestine. Veto, Fernandez asserted, has undermined a multitude of UN resolutions which weaken the organisation’s authority and further conflict mismanagement.
Since 1972, the US has utilised veto more than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council in response to various condemnations and resolutions regarding Israel’s illegalities and atrocities. From calls to respect the rights of the Palestinian population, Israeli repressive measures, the invasion of Lebanon, application of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel’s policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as the more recent vetoes with regard to the targeted assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, calls to halt attacks on Gaza and settlement building, the US has proved to be a formidable ally in ensuring the stability of the state of Israel based upon a foundation of contempt for international law.
Since 2002, the US has utilised the Negroponte Doctrine to justify its use of veto against the various UN resolutions condemning Israel’s actions. On August 5 2002, the US permanent representative to the United Nations, John Negroponte delivered a speech which criticised the UN for its alleged lack of condemnations regarding militant operations carried out by Hamas and accusing the organisation of misrepresentation of ‘the context of the current violence in the Middle East’ by attempting to ‘write an alternative report’. The speech continues with references to the US as remaining the UNRWA’s largest financial contributor and states that the country emphasises the necessity of Israel taking ‘concrete steps’ to ensure Palestinian freedom. In conclusion, Negroponte states that UN resolutions should incorporate a condemnation of terrorism, the explicit naming of Palestinian militant factions, an appeal to both parties to solve the conflict and an improvement of security coordination.
There are various issues which the Negroponte Doctrine fails to address in order to complete its misrepresentation of violence. Primarily, the use of ‘conflict’ instead of illegal occupation enhances an erroneous assumption that violence takes place within a political vacuum, thus equating armed resistance with terrorism in order to shield Israel from its brutal tactics. Resistance is enshrined within international law, hence any deconstructing discourse should be interpreted within other parameters constructed by Israel and its ally; namely the intentional disregard for international law. The correlation between humanitarian aid and human rights abuses has been expounded upon by academics and activists, including Noam Chomsky and Guglielmo Verdirame, who maintain that humanitarian aid is supported by a system which thrives upon illegalities.
Further exhibiting the futility of the UN taking a stance against oppression, Ban Ki Moon’s reaction to Fernandez’s speech was a congratulatory tribute to the alleged cooperation in managing crisis and conflict, portraying an outright evasion of discussed themes while attempting to focus upon UN legitimacy in fostering understanding and cooperation, presumably while the international organisation’s limited power fades in comparison to the absolute authority wielded by the US and its allies.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.