Govt Submits UN Text over Israeli Raids

UNITED NATIONS ~ Indonesia, which joined the UN Security Council early this month, submitted a statement on Tuesday expressing “great concern” over recent Israeli military incursions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The non-binding statement, which requires a consensus among all 15 members of the council for approval, said the raids “caused deplorable civilian casualties and … are in contradiction to the spirit” of a recent accord between Israel and the Palestinians.

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks in Egypt to try to revive the stalled Middle East peace process.

But their meeting was overshadowed by an Israeli incursion in the West Bank political capital of Ramallah that left four Palestinians dead and 20 others wounded.

The Indonesian text stressed that “there can be no military solutions … and negotiation is the only viable way to bring peace and prosperity to peoples throughout the Middle East.”

US acting Ambassador Alejandro Wolff told reporters after council consultations that he did not have a chance to read the Indonesian text in detail.

But he said he conveyed the well-known US view that “initiatives designed to single out one party provides an unfair, illegitimate snapshot of the situation that (does not) take into account the context.”

“Such unhelpful, unbalanced statements, initiatives do not contribute to peace in the region and we made those views clear,” Wolff said.

Last November, the United States vetoed an Arab-sponsored UN draft resolution that would have condemned the Israeli shelling that killed 19 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, in the Gaza town of Beit Hanun, calling the text “unbalanced” and “biased.”

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who chairs the council for January, said some council members had expressed “positive” views on the Indonesian text while views from others “were not so positive.”

He said council experts were expected to review the statement at an as-yet unspecified date.

“We are very supportive (of the Indonesian text),” said South Africa’s UN ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo. “It’s time to address the situation in Palestine.”

Indonesia and South Africa are among the five new non-permanent members of the council that joined on January 1 for a two-year term.

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