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Friday, July 30, 2004

The UN's Attack on Self-Defense

July 30, 2004
Palestinians have decided to delay, until after the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, bringing a resolution to the United Nations Security Council that would endorse the July 9th, non-binding ruling by the UN International Court of Justice that called on Israel to dismantle its security barrier. Nothing better demonstrates the tangled, hermetic politics of the Middle East,

Unlike the General Assembly's July 20th vote, endorsing the ICJ ruling against Israel, a Security Council vote would have real legal teeth and could be used as the basis for imposing South Africa-type sanctions if the security barrier is not removed. Predictably, members of the powerful Arab/Muslim bloc, with 54 of the 190 member state votes, support such a resolution.

An American veto is a given — but not for the reasons that most assume. ...

One commentator, Lori Lowenthal Marcus, has put forth the theory that the Palestinian delegation is planning to use a little known mechanism to override an American veto. It is 377(A)(V), the "Uniting for Peace" Resolution introduced by the U.S. in 1950 as a means of overcoming the Soviet veto of Security Council efforts to deploy UN troops when North Korea, using Soviet-supplied arms and equipment, invaded South Korea. The legal theory behind 377 was that, because the primary responsibility of the Security Council is international peace and security, a veto by a permanent member could be overridden by a super-majority of the Security Council to deal with an imminent threat.

The fact that the ICJ made a point of invoking Resolution 377 as a basis for rejecting Israel's argument, that the court had no jurisdiction over the barrier, may presage its use in a challenge to the U.S. veto. Those who hold this position also point to the delay in bringing the resolution before the UNSC, believing that the Arab/Muslim bloc is concerned that such an open challenge to the U.S. would assist the Bush reelection campaign. FR Reprint.

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