Defending Israel's massive incursion into the northern Gaza Strip, the US called an Arab-backed resolution demanding that the Jewish state immediately end military operations "lopsided and unbalanced" and vetoed it. \nTuesday's vote in the 15-member Security Council was 11 in favor, one against, and three abstentions by Britain, Germany and Romania. It was followed by a chorus of denunciations of the US vote, saying that its vetoes paralyze action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. \nIsrael launched the operation six days ago after a Palestinian rocket killed two children in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. The drive into Gaza has left at least 75 Palestinians dead. \nUS Ambassador John Danforth cast the US veto after British and German efforts to find compromise language failed. "Once again, the resolution is lopsided and unbalanced," Danforth said. \n"It is dangerously disingenuous because of its many material omissions. Because of this lack of balance, because of these omissions, the resolution lacks credibility and deserves a `no' vote," he said. \nDanforth said that while condemning Israeli acts of violence, it did not mention that the Palestinians have fired more than 200 rockets against Israeli towns this year alone. \n"There's an old saying that silence means consent. The silence here is deafening," he said. \nThe resolution put the blame on Israel "and absolves terrorists in the Middle East -- people who shoot rockets into civilian areas, people who are responsible for killing children," Danforth said. \nNasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian representative, charged that "the council failed to take a stand against the bloodshed ... by the Israeli forces" because of Washington's veto. \nHe said the veto was the seventh by the Bush administration on the Israeli-Palestinians conflict and the 29th since 1976. \nAl-Kidwa said he heard much talk about the two Israeli children killed in the rocket attack, but not a 13-year-old Palestinian girl that he said was riddled with 30 bullets as she walked to school. \n"That doesn't count," he sneered. \nAl-Kidwa mocked the US and its calls for unity of the council in the resolutions. \n"This is not a normal situation, frankly. Any sane person can see. You can't advocate unity of council on all issues, but then exercise your seventh veto or your 29th veto." \nStill the veto was a bit of a turnaround for the US. \nIn May, with the tacit support of the US, the council criticized an Israeli operation in Gaza that has killed dozens of people, and demanded that Israel stop destroying Palestinian homes. That decision by the US, Israel's closest ally, to abstain reflected the Bush administration's deep displeasure at the Israeli incursion. \nCiting the high casualty toll and extensive destruction during the Israeli offensive, Algeria's UN Ambassador Abdallah Baali, the only Arab member of the council, said, "It is a sad day for the Palestinians and it is a sad day for justice." \nIsraeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman defended the Israeli operation, saying Israel has a right to defend its citizens.
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