UNITED NATIONS — The United States on Friday vetoed a Security Council resolution urging Israel to halt deportations of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The vote in the 15-member council was 14 to 1.
In casting the veto, U.S. Ambassador Herbert S. Okun said the resolution's "broad and sweeping condemnation of Israel contains not a scintilla of balance. It contains no appeal or request for calm."
Okun said the resolution "neither contributes to easing tensions in the occupied territories, nor promotes the cause of peace."
The Palestine Liberation Organization envoy, Zehdi L. Terzi, condemned the U.S. veto as shielding Israel from international criticism.
"The United States has chosen to single itself out," he said. "There's always a rotten apple in the box."
Ambassador Okun said it was the fifth time since December that the council considered the Middle East situation. "We do not regard this recurrent recourse to the Security Council as befitting its authority and prestige," he said.
The resolution, prompted by Israel's deportation of eight Palestinian civilians earlier this week, urged Israel to halt such deportations and condemned violations of human rights in the occupied territories.
The vetoed resolution was supported by Britain, France, West Germany and all other council members. It had been watered down considerably from its initial form in an unsuccessful effort to avert a veto by the United States, which often kills resolutions critical of Israel.