UN Security Council must condemn Israeli nuclear weapons


THE Iranian Ambassador to the UN urged the UN Security Council (UNSC) to address international demands that Israel be condemned for its nuclear weapons, it was reported on Wednesday.

The ambassador, Mohammad Khazaei said: ‘The adoption of a resolution at the committees of the UN General Assembly in condemnation of nuclear weapons of the Zionist regime shows the international community’s call that the Security Council should pay heed to it.

‘Officials of the Zionist regime are not committed to any international regulations. This has led to an international consensus against measures of the regime,’ Khazaei added.

He commented on ‘US unilateral support for Israel,’ saying the adoption of the resolution by the UN was a ‘serious alarm’ to Israel and its allies to stop ignoring ‘world public opinion.’

The international community reached an agreement in May to pressure Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A statement put out by the 189 NPT signatories stressed, ‘the importance of Israel’s accession to the treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards’.

Despite being a signatory to the agreement, the United States has criticised mentioning Israel in the statement.

‘We strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel and will oppose actions that jeopardise Israel’s national security,’ US President Barack Obama said in May.

Meanwhile, the UN human rights chief and other experts have called for fresh probes into the conduct of the United States after launching its so-called ‘war on terror’ nine years ago.

On Tuesday, Manfred Novak, UN special rapporteur on torture called for a ‘full investigation’ into all practices by the US military, intelligence and private companies since the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Separately, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged Washington to look into allegations of torture and unlawful killings in the Iraq conflict.

She said those responsible for the crimes and serious human rights abuses should be brought to justice.

The demands come days after Wikileaks released 40,000 fresh reports about the US-led invasion of Iraq dating from January 2004 to the end of 2009.

The classified documents have shed light on a spate of crimes and offences committed in war-ravaged Iraq over the past few years, including rape, assassinations and murders.

Other UN experts have brought to light the plight of Omar Khadr, a former child detainee at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Novak called Monday’s US military hearing against Khadr at the camp in Cuba ‘a disgrace and a shame for the United States’.

UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights Martin Scheinin also stressed that he believes none of the charges made against Khadr fit the international notion of a war crime.

The remarks come only a day after Khadr was forced to accept a plea deal and plead guilty to five ‘war crime’ charges against him at a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay.

The 24-year-old is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier during a July 2002 raid on an al-Qaeda compound in Afghanistan.

He was only 15 years old when he was wounded and captured by US troops in Afghanistan.

Khadr now faces charges of murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy, providing material assistance to a ‘terrorist organisation’ and espionage.

This is while many critics say that the Canadian citizen should not be prosecuted because killing a soldier during a firefight does not amount to ‘war crime’.

Another senior UN official condemned attacks by Jewish ‘settler extremists’ on Palestinians’ olive trees in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to combat violence and terror by Israelis.

Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, also said he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers in the occupied territory since the end of Israel’s settlement freeze last month.

Serry was speaking to journalists on Tuesday while olive-picking with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the village of Tormos Ayya north of Ramallah. He said settlers had destroyed hundreds of trees in the village in recent weeks.

Palestinians began harvesting olives across the West Bank this month.

‘I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians,’ Serry said.

‘Israel states its condemnation of attacks, which I welcome, but its record in imposing the rule of law on settlers is lamentable,’ he said.

‘Israel must combat violence and terror by Israelis, as is expected of the Palestinian Authority in the case of violence and terror by Palestinians,’ he added.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected Serry’s use of the term ‘terror’ in reference to Israelis and said he should have chosen his words more carefully.

‘We understand that he decries acts of violence by certain settlers, but the Israeli government has been the first to condemn them and to instruct law enforcement agencies to crack down on the perpetrators – but when he speaks of terror by Israelis, does he mean Israeli suicide bombers on Palestinian buses?’ spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted pressure from the United States and the European Union to extend a freeze he had imposed on new home building in settlements in the West Bank. His government is dominated by parties which support the settlers, including his own Likud.

Serry said new building was illegal under international law ‘and will only serve to undermine our efforts for a negotiated solution’.

The Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem has recorded almost one incident a day and in some cases more against Palestinians and their olive trees since the start of the harvest, spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said.

‘But this is their obligation … the Israeli authorities have failed miserably in enforcing law on settlers attacking Palestinians and their property,’ she said.

Settler leaders complained that building would soon come to a grinding halt in nine of the largest settlements unless the relevant government ministries immediately authorise 4,321 planned units.