US blocks any Security Council censure of Israel's killing of UN peacekeepers

"The UN Security Council has passed a statement expressing shock at Israel's attack on a UN observer post in Lebanon on Tuesday which killed four peacekeepers, but made no condemnation of the action. The United States had refused to allow any criticism of Israel in the statement.

"China's envoy to the UN complained that the final version was 'watered down'. The statement, passed unanimously by the 15-nation council, said: 'The security council is deeply shocked and distressed by the firing by the Israeli Defense Forces on a United Nations observer post in southern Lebanon on July 25.'

"After the meeting, Dan Gillerman, Israel's UN ambassador, said the resolution was 'a very fair and balanced statement' about what he called 'a tragic accident'. Large parts of the original Chinese draft text were taken out in order to get the 'presidential statement' passed.

"A paragraph which said 'the Security Council condemns any deliberate attack against UN personnel' was deleted, along with a phrase which would have called on the UN to be involved in any Israeli inquiry."

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