Bush Ordered US to Abstain From Gaza Vote

US Threatened to Veto Ultimately Fruitless Ceasefire Vote if Libya Proposed It

Last night’s United Nations Security Council vote calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip passed with universal support, except from the United States who abstained from voting. The resolution was a watered-down version of two previous UN resolutions which would have demanded an immediate ceasefire, but which the United States vetoed.

The final vote came as a result of days of negotiations, and the United States threatened to veto the third bill if it was proposed by Libya, though it eventually decided that it might allow the bill to move forward if it was proposed, as the final one was, by Britain.

With Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the United Nations and the vote taking place, she received a final call from President Bush instructing her to allow the bill to go through, but not to vote for it. Rice explained that while the United States supported the text, they could not vote for it because of their special relationship with Israel.

Not that the bill meant much. Hours later Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that Israel would not respect the call, saying he did not believe the “murderous Palestinian organizations” would do so. Hamas said it was studying the bill, but since Israel isn’t going to follow through on it and there is no enforcement mechanism in the bill, the question of Hamas support is really moot.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.