U.N. General Assembly vote on West Bank wall: Palestinians hail, Israel ignores
The U.N. General Assembly demanded Israel implement a World Court ruling and diamantle its West Bank wall, with European states contributing to an overwhelming favorable vote on Tuesday (Wednesday Middle East time).
The result was 150 to 6 with 10 abstentions on the resolution aimed at dismantling the wall.
Voting "no" were the United States, Israel and Australia and the Pacific island states of Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Canada, Uruguay, Cameroon, Tonga, Vanuatu, El Salvador, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and the Solomon Islands abstained.
All 25 European Union countries supported the Palestinian-drafted measure after its Arab sponsors included a series of EU changes over days of intense negotiations.
The resolution also demands that Israel pay reparations for damages caused by construction of the wall. Palestinian UN observer Nasser al-Kidwa termed the vote as "a historic development."
"This indeed could be the most important resolution of the General Assembly since the adoption of Resolution 181 of 1947," he said. That measure called for the partition of British-ruled Palestine into independent Jewish and Arab states.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Ereikat said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority is highly appreciating "this tremendous wide support of the world on the High Court of Justice's decision that called on Israel to tear down the Wall." "It is a hot and overwhelming voting of world's countries for international legal resolutions calling on Israel to remove the Wall," Ereikat said.
On his part, Israel vowed to press on with construction of despite the UN vote. "The building of the fence will go on," Ra'anan Gissin, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said Wednesday morning. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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