UN General Assembly condemns Israel
An Arab-sponsored attempt to condemn Israel at an emergency session of the UN General Assembly partially backfired after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least 15 people near Tel Aviv.
The assembly voted by 74 to four Tuesday in favor of a draft resolution condemning Israel's refusal to cooperate with a UN fact-finding mission into its military assault on the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin last month, AFP reported. Sponsored by Sudan on behalf of the Arab group of UN member-nations, the resolution "condemns the attacks committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people in several Palestinian cities, particularly in the Jenin refugee camp."
But another 54 countries abstained, many of them criticizing the failure of the resolution to also condemn suicide attacks on Israeli civilians.
"Canada is revolted by today's terrorist attack in Rishon Letzion," deputy ambassador Michel Duval said after the vote. His words were echoed by other speakers. Palestinian UN observer Nasser al-Kidwa said he was not concerned by Tuesday's high number of abstentions. "It doesn't matter," he told Reuters. "It came down to a matter of principle, and we prevailed."
At the suggestion of Russia, a separate vote was also taken on each of the resolution's 24 paragraphs, and much larger majorities were obtained on two of those.
One, requesting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to prepare a report on events in Jenin, was adopted by 120 votes to four with six abstentions.
The other paragraph, adopted by 123 votes to one with six abstentions, demanded the immediate and full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1402, which called on Israelis and Palestinians to cease fire and on Israel to withdraw its forces from the West Bank. Resolution 1402 was adopted March 30 and predated the onslaught on Jenin.
The United States, which sided with Israel on all but one of the paragraphs, had earlier dismissed the resolution because it contained "one-sided rhetoric condemning one party to this two-party conflict." (Albawaba.com)
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