WASHINGTON -- The United States failed yesterday to derail a United Nations Security Council resolution deploring Israel's refusal to accept a U.N. mission to probe the Oct. 8 killings in Jerusalem and explore ways to enhance the safety of Palestinians.
After an inconclusive debate, the matter was put off until today, further frustrating U.S. efforts to focus Security Council attention once again on the Persian Gulf crisis.
At issue is whether to have the Security Council adopt a resolution, as supporters of the Palestinians are seeking, or agree to a statement from the council president, which would carry less force.
The United States is pushing for a statement, fearing that a resolution would merely harden Israel's refusal to cooperate with a mission, dispatched by Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, to probe the deaths of 21 Palestinians and the overall safety of Palestinians.
Israel blamed an Oct. 12 resolution, which condemned Israeli authorities in connection with the killings and endorsed the mission, for Sunday's slaying of three Israelis by a Palestinian.
An added problem for the United States is that the resolution, as worded, is not so hostile to Israel as to compel a U.S. veto, putting a further strain on U.S.-Israeli relations.
Both the resolution and the statement deplore Israel's refusal to accept the investigative mission and call on it to comply with the Oct. 12 resolution.
Meanwhile yesterday, the State Department condemned the fatal stabbings of three Israelis in Jerusalem.