WASHINGTON — Israel is making an urgent appeal to the Bush administration to block two Arab-initiated resolutions in the United Nations Security Council calling on Israel to stop building its West Bank security fence and authorizing the U.N. to press for the implementation of the “road map” peace plan.
Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Daniel Gillerman, met Wednesday with senior Bush administration officials in the White House and was to convey his concern to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Briefing Jewish community leaders on a conference call sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations just before leaving for Washington, Gillerman said Israel viewed the two initiatives with “very great concern.” He explained that the resolutions, which may end up being combined, “may change the rules of the game” by leveraging America’s stated objection to the fence and by “hijacking” the road map, which has been spearheaded by the United States, and placing it in the hands of America’s partners in the so-called Madrid Quartet — the U.N., the European Union and Russia. If the U.N. is authorized to pursue the implementation of the road map, Gillerman said, it will put Israel at risk of being accused of violating Security Council resolutions.
Gillerman said that Israel is concerned because “understanding the rules of the game at the U.N., we know that the Americans may feel that after two vetoes they may feel they have to give something to the Arab side.” Gillerman, who encouraged Jewish organizations and activists to join in and launch a campaign to “strengthen the resolve of the White House” in its support of Israel, said: “This is something we are fighting very, very hard.”
Gillerman said Israel was “outraged and dismayed” that the Security Council held its discussion of the Syrian resolution condemning Israel for its air strike north of Damascus on Yom Kippur eve. Gillerman said he was also disappointed that America’s ambassador to the U.N., John Negroponte, “succumbed” to it. He did point out, however, that Negroponte, who chairs the Security Council, made provisions for Gillerman to speak first, before he had to leave to observe the holiday. He also said that Negroponte explained to him that an American insistence on delaying the vote could result in a procedural debate at the Security Council in which the United States could not use its veto.