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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Why that UN Security Council resolution was really withdrawn

Earlier this evening I reported that the UN Security Council resolution that was meant to put the council behind the results of the Annapolis gang rape had been withdrawn. DEBKA reports that the resolution was far more nefarious than it even looked to me on Friday. If even half of this story is true, Israel should never allow Condi Rice back into this country.
This incident led also to the first real falling-out between President George W. Bush and his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. He blamed her for seeking to bolster the Annapolis declaration by Security Council endorsement, thereby exposing the hyped-up event to the world as a charade and his own declaration as too flimsy to stand up.

The head of the Israeli mission, Danny Gillerman, denied being fully briefed on the American text - a diplomatic figure of speech which applies equally to the situation of the Israeli delegation at the Middle East conference in Annapolis and since. But as soon as the Israeli ambassador heard that Khalilzad had obtained the consent of the five permanent members of the Security Council to a closed session for approving the US draft, he urgently alerted Olmert and Livni in Jerusalem.

Gillerman warned them that a closed session means that neither Israel nor the Palestinians would be present or given a hearing. And that was not the only undesirable aspect:

1. The Arab side, which is represented by Qatar, would use the opportunity to augment the Annapolis declaration with additional clauses detrimental to Israel, and possibly win US assent.

2. Security Council endorsement would obligate Israel and the Palestinians to bring negotiations to a conclusion by the end of 2008, less than a year hence, as demanded by Saudi Arabia. Either side could face being found in violation of a UN resolution.

3. The Security Council would become the overseer of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with authority to reconvene and weigh up progress. In other words, the bilateral Israel-Palestinian conflict would be relegated to international authority. Israel has always resisted this since the odds in the world body are traditionally weighted against the Jewish state.

Ambassador Gillerman alerted the Israeli prime minister and foreign minister to the short distance from UN sponsorship of the process to the dispatch of international troops to the region as a buffer between Israel’s counter-terror forces and the Palestinian terrorists ruling the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

In the Israeli ambassador’s opinion, the US initiative to bring the world body in as a party to the Annapolis declaration originated with Secretary Rice. She sought to punish Israel for not following her lead at the conference. He pointed out that the application to the UN directly contravened Rice’s own accords with the Israeli foreign minister.

Gillerman’s heads-up to Jerusalem sparked an urgent series of phone calls between the prime minister’s office and the White House. Olmert made no bones about threatening to pull out of the entire diplomatic track charted at Annapolis if the Security Council were to be brought in over its head.

After 36 hours of hammer and tongs, US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, was instructed to call off the Council session and withdraw the text.

But recriminations on the American side for an unprecedented loss of face were just as bitter.

The White House accused state department officials of egging Rice on to circumvent the agreements Bush and Olmert had concluded and running off half-cocked to the world body in a manner which left the administration red-faced.

Khalilzad was urgently recalled to Washington. When State Department officials pushed the blame for the shambles on him, accusing him of drafting the Security Council resolution without consulting the secretary of state, the US ambassador’s aides shot back with a strong denial.

This incident also brought to the surface the frustrations experienced by Israel’s delegation to the Annapolis conference, DEBKAfile’s political sources report.

US officials consistently neglected to inform Olmert or foreign and defense ministers Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak of steps pre-coordinated with the Palestinians and Arab ministers, presenting them as accomplished facts. When Israeli leaders flew out of Washington Wednesday night, Nov. 28, none had yet been informed that the White House had named Ret. Gen. James Jones to chair the “US-Israel-Palestinian mechanism” accompanying the Palestinian-Israel talks. When they read about it in the media, Olmert protested the general's role, and it was downgraded to liaison officer.

Neither did the Americans bother to inform Israel about consultations with the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov for a follow-up conference in Moscow at the beginning of 2008. There, Israel will be required to agree to the return of the Golan to Syria.
Let's just hope that Olmert is at least smart enough not to go to Moscow - even if it means he's indicted for corruption.


At 6:07 AM, Blogger Rob said...

How reliable is DEBKA though? I've seen some fairly extreme stuff at their site. They come over as having sources in government or the intelligence services, but do they really?

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


They're inconsistent. But in this case it's clear that there's a lot we're not being told by the MSM and DEBKA's explanation sounds plausible which is why I went with it.

At 5:20 AM, Blogger Freedom Fighter said...

Actually, there were several plausible sources on this story aside from Debka. I agree, with them you have to separate the wheat from the chaff and verify, verify.

The part I think they're interpolating is that there was a `fall out' between Bush and Condi, which I doubt, but I am pretty sure that Olmert probably had some pretty strong words either with either Bush or Condi to get Khalilizad to pull the resolution.

I also fail to see where Olmert and Livni didn't follow Condi's orders. Especially when you read the link and see how they were treated at the conference.

Another tip off was that there was a WAPO story about Condi Rices minions in the State Dept. accusing Khalilizad of the screwup, which he vehemently denied.

Not too hard to put the basics together...


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