US vetoes apartheid wall resolution

The United States has vetoed a Palestinian-drafted UN Security Council resolution seeking to bar Israel from extending its aparthied wall deep into the West Bank.

    The Apartheid Wall cuts deep into the West Bank

    The resolution, which would also have denounced plans to build

    600 new homes in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian

    territories, won the support of 10 of the council's 15 members.

    Mean

    while, four others - Britain, Germany, Bulgaria and

    Cameroon - abstained.

    But the "No" vote from Washington, one of the council's

    five permanent members with veto power, was enough to kill the

    resolution.

    Earlier US veto

    The veto follows by less than a month the US veto of an

    earlier Palestinian resolution, demanding Israel should back away

    from a threat to "remove" Palestinian President Yasir Arafat.

    Palestinian UN envoy Nasir al-Qudwa said Arab states

    would now take the wall resolution to the UN

    General Assembly, where the United States

    has no veto and the Palestinians enjoy strong support.

    While Security Council texts can carry the force of

    international law, assembly resolutions simply represent the

    will of the international community.

    "We have seen tonight the second US veto in less than a

    month that again casts a large shadow on the possibility for

    the United States to exercise the role of a mediator or a

    broker of the Middle East peace process," al-Qudwa said.

    “The apartheid wall is illegal as Israel is building it in the Palestinian territories.” 

    Human bombings

    "We have seen tonight the second US veto in less than a

    month that again casts a large shadow on the possibility for

    the United States to exercise the role of a mediator or a

    broker of the Middle East peace process"

    Nasir al-Qudwa,
    Palestininan envoy to the UN

     

    US Ambassador, John Negroponte, said the resolution would

    have had to denounce the main groups that had taken

    responsibility for human bombings in Israel, and also condemned the

    recent deadly attack in Haifa to avoid a veto.

    However,

    the Palestinians rejected the conditions as unacceptable.

    The Security Council vote followed a six-hour public

    meeting at which ambassadors from dozens of nations lined up to

    denounce Israeli plans to prolong the barrier, already 150km long.

     

    The US joined in the criticism of the wall 

    plans, but argued a Security Council resolution was not the way

    to pursue the debate.

    Land grab

    "US officials are engaging directly with Israeli

    officials on the matter of the fence," Negroponte said, adding

    Washington remained committed to the vision of a

    Palestinian state.

    But al-Qudwa argued the Israeli wall plan was a land grab,

    aimed at colonisation rather than an "anti-terrorism" measure and

    would derail hopes for a Palestinian state.

    He said the wall would at some point reach more than

    22km into Palestinian territory, disrupting the lives

    of hundreds of thousands in dozens of towns and villages.

    But Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the wall was

    meant solely to keep out "suicide" bombers and argued

    completing it would increase Palestinians' freedom of movement

    by enabling the dismantlement of

    roadblocks.

    "Many Palestinians who oppose the fence simply want to

    continue killing Israelis. The Israelis building the fence

    simply want to live," Gillerman said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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