Israel vowed on Wednesday to continue building a West Bank barrier despite a U.N. resolution condemning the project as a violation of international law and demanding it be halted. "The fence will continue being built and we will go on taking care of the security of Israel's citizens," Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israel Radio.
Earlier, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution demanding that Israel halt construction of the barrier and dismantle the section already built. It raised the possibility of further U.N. action if Israel doesn't comply, The AP reported.
Agreement on the final text was reached after extraordinary public negotiations on the final text between the European Union and the Palestinians and Arab and Islamic nations.
The United States, which vetoed a Security Council resolution last week that would have declared the barrier illegal, voted against it along with Israel, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.
Palestinians argue the barrier is a land grab ahead of any possible talks about the borders of a future Palestinian state.
In return for EU support, the Palestinians and their supporters agreed to drop a second resolution that would have asked the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands, for an advisory opinion on the legality of the fence.
The resolution requests Secretary-General Kofi Annan to report on Israel's compliance with the demand to tear down the barrier periodically, with the first report to be submitted within one month. Once the report is presented, it says, "further actions should be considered, if necessary, within the United Nations system."
The resolution "demands that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is in departure of the Armistice Line of 1949 and is in contradiction to relevant provisions of international law." (Albawaba.com)
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