Israel Calls UN Resolution on Palestinian Children A 'Success'

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:14 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Israel views passage of a United Nations resolution on protecting Palestinian children as a "success" because Israel's efforts to reduce support for that proposal seem to have worked, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The Egyptian-sponsored proposal, which called on Israel to protect Palestinian children, was accepted by a U.N. General Assembly Committee on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Israel submitted its own draft resolution calling for protection of Israeli children -- a direct response to the Palestinian resolution. The Israeli resolution demanded that the Palestinian Authority fight terrorism and it noted the effects of terrorism on Israeli children.

Israel says there is no need for a separate resolution protecting Palestinian children, since the U.N. General Assembly has already passed a general resolution calling for protection of children all over the world. But Israel said that if the Palestinians proposed a resolution on child suffering, Israel would do the same.

The Palestinian resolution passed 88-4, with 58 abstentions. The U.S., Israel, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands opposed the proposal, and 15 European Union nations as well as Canada were among those abstaining. A vote on the Israeli resolution was postponed.

Israel's deputy U.N. Ambassador Arye Mekel said the Palestinian resolution was one-sided and said that Israel believes that "all the world's children are deserving of equal protection, including Israeli and Palestinian children."

But despite the passing of the resolution, Daniel Meron, director of the International Organizations and Human Rights Department in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, said that Israel was counting it as somewhat of a victory.

"We see it as a great success of Israel that we managed to bring down dramatically [the number of those who voted in favor of it]," Meron said on Friday.

Two weeks ago, 144 countries in the 191-member U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution condemning the construction of an Israeli security barrier between Israel and the West Bank, Meron noted. There were four votes against the resolution and 12 abstentions.

(In some places the barrier cuts deep into Palestinian territory, hampering freedom of movement. Palestinians claim it is a political move aimed at truncating a future Palestinian state but Israel argues that the fence is there to keep suicide bombers from slipping into Israel.)

"Less than half the number of the members of the UN [voted for this resolution]," Meron said.

According to Meron, Israel will now ask those countries that supported the Palestinian resolution how they can support it - but not the Israeli resolution.

He added that other delegates have admitted that Israel's counter-resolution gave them something to think about.

Israel is hoping its resolution will come up for a vote within two weeks, Meron said. He admitted it would be "very difficult" for it to pass because Israel does not have a significant number of supporters. But even so, he said, it sends a "strong message."

More U.N. resolutions have been directed against Israel than any other country. The Muslim, Arab and non-aligned countries in the U.N. give the Palestinians automatic majority backing in the General Assembly, where the U.S. does not have veto power, but the resolutions are non-binding.

Israel charged earlier this week that the Palestinian resolution -- which was submitted for the second straight year -- was aimed at furthering Palestinian political goals without mentioning "the destructive effects of Palestinian terrorism and suicide bombings on innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives."

Submitting an Israeli resolution was intended to expose the hypocrisy of many countries in dealing with Israel and the Palestinians, Meron said earlier.