The UN General Assembly passed a resolution late on Tuesday demanding that Israel "stop and reverse" construction of its controversial separation barrier. 

The 144-4 vote said the wall contradicted international law. The United States and Israel were joined by Micronesia and the Marshall Islands in voting against the resolution. Twelve nations abstained.

Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saib Uraiqat said on Wednesday that the vote was "a great victory for peace."

"We favourably welcome the General Assembly resolution. This is a very important resolution; politically, juridically and morally."

Uraiqat, who is also a minister without portfolio in Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya's emergency government, said the vote was a "complete rejection of the arrogance of might". 

Israel says the wall is designed to prevent infiltration of Palestinian bombers into the Jewish state. 

UN member-states were particularly concerned that the route chosen by Israel for the wall "could prejudge future negotiations and make the two-state solution physically impossible to implement and would cause further humanitarian hardship for the Palestinians".

Undermining trust

The resolution calls on both Israel and the Palestinians to fulfil their obligations under the roadmap, a US and European-sponsored three-stage peace plan that provides for creating a Palestinian state by 2005.

The apartheid wall violates articles 53 and 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention

Matthew Jackson,
CAABU

It condemns the recent intensification of bomb attacks and urges the Palestinian Authority to "take visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks" against Israel.

Israel, for its part, is called upon not to take any action "undermining trust, including deportations and attacks on civilians and extra-judicial killings".

The vote was taken on the same day Aljazeera.net revealed that more than 100 British MPs had signed an early day motion calling for the apartheid wall to be destroyed.

The motion was drawn up by the UK-based Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understand (CAABU).

Most early day motions rarely attract as many signatures but critics point out it violates articles 53 and 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, says Matthew Jackson of CAABU.