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UN Council Passes Compromise Gaza Resolution, US Abstains, Withdrawal Unclear

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 8 -- Twelve days after Israel's air strikes on Gaza began, a watered-down resolution calling "leading to a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza" was passed by the UN Security Council, with the United States abstaining.  They gave away everything, a diplomat said of the Arab Group, and still the US abstained. One on-camera expression of this view came from Sudan's Ambassador, who called the draft weak, subject to interpretation -- and irony. Inner City Press video at

     Ironically, a compromise in the past 24 hours by Libya to include a reference to Hamas in the text, which in turn put some pressure on the US to agree not to veto a resolution, was followed by a resolution without the word Hamas anywhere in it.

            In the Chamber, after Condi Rice surreally said the resolution she had just abstained on provides a good road map, Costa Rica's Jorge Urbina thanked France's Bernard Kouchner for erroneously promoting him to Foreign Minister in his introduction. The speakers' list included Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- but initially not Israel. 

The foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority put the number of dead at 760, "forty percent of them women and children." In the balcony of the Security Council, nearly every ear piece was broken. 

UN's Ban and France's Kouchner, withdrawal not shown

  Afterwards the UK's David Miliband floated by the stakeout out. A few words? "I've said so many words," he said and was gone. Condi Rice did not even pass the area. Amre Moussa spoke, and Inner City Press asked him for his interpretation of the line "leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza."  Fast, he said. Then that he had to get to the airport. Japan's Permanent Representative Takasu, asked the same question, noted that the Arab Group had wanted an immediate withdrawal, but the adopted text was different. Still it should be fast, he said. How fast? He wouldn't answer.

   The Palestinian Authority's foreign minister predicted at least two more days of bloodshed, that Israel will claim it can't implement the ceasefire portion of the resolution over the Sabbath. The Israeli mission handed out one copy of Ambassador Shalev's short statement, but she did not come to the stakeout. The soda machine was sold out, the coffee machine had run out of cups. The lights were turned off and the vacuum cleaners started.

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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