US vetoes resolution to bar Israel from building West Bank fence, backs demolitions of houses in Rafah
The United States on early Wednesday vetoed a Palestinian-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution seeking to bar Israel from extending the West Bank fence. The measure would also have denounced plans to construct some 600 new housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The US veto came after Washington suggested a different draft that would have called on all parties in the Middle East to dismantle "terrorist" groups.
The United States was the only country to vote against the resolution, using its veto as one of five permanent members of the council. Four of the 15 members of the Security Council abstained: Bulgaria, Cameroon, Germany and Britain.
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said the resolution "was unbalanced" and "did not further the goals of peace and security in the region."
Earlier, the United States said that Israeli house demolitions in a Gaza Strip refugee camp were self-defense against "terrorism."
Israeli forces have razed some 120 homes in the Rafah camp near the Egyptian border, making some 2,000 Palestinian refugees homeless.
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, asked to comment on Israeli operations at Rafah, said: "We continue to be very concerned about terrorism. We understand Israel's need to defend itself. We've always said that Israel needs to consider the consequences of its actions and that's all we have to say about those particular events."
"The question of demolishing houses in an extrajudicial manner has been dealt with by Israeli courts," said a senior State Department official who asked not to be identified. "Our understanding of this incursion is their objective is to blow up tunnels that have been used to smuggle arms." (Albawaba.com)
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