NEW YORK - Israel holds the record for ignoring United Nations Security Council resolutions, according to a study by San Francisco University political science professor Steven Zunes.

On the eve of a possible U.S.-British assault on Iraq, Zunes decided to examine in depth one of the main arguments used by the Bush administration to justify changing the Baghdad regime - Iraq's deliberate refusal to implement UN Security Council resolutions. He systematically went through all the states given instructions by the security council to find out how common a phenomenon it was. His results were somewhat surprising: "Some of the countries are considered and are known to be friendly to the U.S.," he told Ha'aretz yesterday. "In the vast majority of cases I examined, the governments violating UN Security Council resolutions are countries that receive significant military, diplomatic and financial aid from the U.S."

Israel leads the list. Since 1968, Israel has violated 32 resolutions that included condemnation or criticism of the governments' policies and actions. Turkey is in second place, with 24 violations since 1974, and Morocco is third with 17 resolutions it ignored.

Newsday newspaper published the ranking yesterday, but Zunes said that he did not rank the states and claimed it was newspaper that came up with the grades. According to Zunes, out of some 1,500 UN Security Resolutions passed since 1947, 90 were openly, blatantly, and continually violated without the governments being held accountable for their actions.

Zunes specifically avoided counting resolutions that are vague or unclear so that governments could claim different interpretations to the meaning of the resolutions. Thus, the famous UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 are not included in his study. He also did not count resolutions that only included condemnations. Instead, he focused on those that included specific calls for changes in the subject governments' policies.

The resolutions Israel violated were either about its annexation of East Jerusalem or settlements in the territories. Israel also ignored UN Security Council resolutions that called for Israel to cease using harsh measures against the Palestinian population and to cease expelling Palestinians.

In response, Israel's deputy chief of mission at the UN, Aharon Yaakov, said yesterday that there are big differences between the decisions that refer to Israel and those that refer to Iraq. "Israel is the only democracy in the region and is fighting for its existence, while Iraq is a brutal dictatorship that attacked its neighbors and violates human rights, including the use of chemical weapons against its own citizens," he said.