Security Council Discusses Palestinian Protection Force
The Security Council on Tuesday began to discuss a draft resolution calling for some 2,000 unarmed UN observers to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli forces, diplomats said.
Seven non-aligned nations holding rotating seats on the council pressed for a vote on the text by the end of the week, they said.
The resolution was drafted by the Palestinian observer to the United Nations, Nasser Al-Kidwa, and brought to the council by Mali.
A senior US diplomat, Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, told the council that her government would not support any resolution, which did not have the backing of Israel, diplomats said.
But it was unclear whether the United States would use its power of veto to defeat the draft resolution. It has not used its veto since March 1997.
Al-Kidwa first circulated his draft as a working paper five weeks ago, when the death toll from violence, which broke out in the Palestinian territories in late September, stood at just over 150.
The toll has since doubled the great majority of the casualties being stone-throwing Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces.
Israel has continually expressed its opposition to any international presence, saying it prefers to deal with the Palestinians through direct, bilateral negotiations.
The Palestinian draft has been diluted since it was first circulated, and now refers to "approximately" 2,000 observers and specifies that they should be unarmed.
France told other members of the Security Council it would like to see a decision in principle made this week, the size and scope of the force being determined later -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP)
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