Following US Veto, UN Presses For Mideast Monitors

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

Pacific Rim Bureau ( - The U.N. General Assembly Thursday voted in support of setting up an international presence to monitor the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, in a bid to show the extent of backing for such a move after the U.S. vetoed a similar measure in the Security Council at the weekend.

By a vote of 124-6, and with 25 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a monitoring mechanism to be set up.

The resolution also demanded that all violence, provocation and destruction of property stop, and it expressed support for the PA, saying the self-rule authority "remains the indispensable and legitimate party for peace and needs to be preserved fully."

In the wake of a spate of Palestinian attacks, Israel has accused the PA of sponsoring terrorism, and declared Chairman Yasser Arafat "irrelevant."

The Assembly resolution also urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to start the "comprehensive and immediate" implementations of the Mitchell Committee's report.

Headed by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, the report recommended a series of steps, beginning with a complete halt to violence, followed by a cooling-off period, confidence building measures and finally a return to negotiations.

Thursday's session was called by Egypt on behalf of the Arab League and by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Last Saturday, the U.S. vetoed a draft resolution which would have encouraged the establishment of a monitoring mechanism. Britain and Norway abstained.

Both Israel and the U.S. oppose the presence of outside observers, which Israel claims will merely monitor Palestinian terror attacks then try to prevent Israeli retaliation.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow