Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israeli public radio: “Israel does not feel that it is bound by the resolution."

However, Olmert added it was still possible for the government to hold talks with the new Palestinian government on the basis of the road map.

Despite serious lobbying and initial opposition from the US, the council voted unanimously for the Russian-backed resolution that puts a stamp of approval on a plan which envisages a Palestinian state by 2005.
  
Welcome decision

Palestinian chief negotiator Saib Uraiqat said he welcomed the resolution passed late on Wednesday.
  
"The international community must push through the deployment of an international force to apply the peace plan without conditions and without waiting until the Israeli government tries to impose facts on the ground." 
  
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has already spoken out against any intervention by the United Nations in applying the road map, while its deputy ambassador to the UN condemned the passing of the resolution. 
  
Among the terms laid down in the road map, Israel is obliged to end and dismantle settlements in the occupied territories – all of which are illegal under international law.  
  
Criticism

US President George Bush also demonstrated growing exasperation with Tel Aviv.

Bush's speech made some rare
criticism of Israeli policy

In a keynote speech, Bush called on Sharon's government on Wednesday "to freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorised outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people and not prejudice final negotiations with the placement of walls and fences."
  
His criticism comes after Israel's infrastructure ministry invited tenders for the building of 323 new apartments in the occupied West Bank.
  
Daily humiliation

Scores of heavily armed Israeli soldiers and military vehicles surrounded a Palestinian refugee camp in a fruitless search for resistance fighters just hours after Bush’s speech.

Refugees at the Jenin refugee camp were woken by house to house searches and the sound of Israeli heavy gunfire on Thursday morning, according to Aljazeera’s correspondent.

Ali al-Sumudi reports that soldiers have focused attention in Jarat al-Dhahab and the very centre of the camp, forcing many residents out of their make-shift homes.

“Many citizens were prevented from praying in the mosques, and violent clashes erupted soon after between Israeli soldiers and fighters of al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades,” the correspondent added. 

Two arrests

One brigades member said no activist was arrested in the camp, although a Palestinian who worked for the municipality was taken.

A member of the Palestine Liberation Front, Muhammad al-Taj, was also arrested at the nearby town of Tobas.

Numerous refugees said they saw at least one Israeli soldier seriously wounded during the clashes. He was immediately transferred to the hospital by an Israeli military ambulance.

However, the Israeli Army had denied any casualties when contacted by Aljazeera.net. Troops had since pulled out of Jenin.