Issue of West Bank fence to be reviewed by International Court of Justice; Hamas vows to resume attacks
The United Nations General Assembly voted90 - 8Monday to refer the issue of the West Bank separation fence to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague. Seventy-four states abstained.
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom decided prior to the vote that Israel would cooperate with the international court should the resolution pass and that Israel will argue that the decision to build the barrier was based on self-defense.
Palestinian observer to the UN Nasser al-Kidwa said at the debate Monday evening that the separation fence destroys all possibility of negotiations, and that Israel must choose between the fence and the U.S.-backed road map. He also said that Israel's "fascist-colonialist occupation" has transformed the Palestinians into a nation of slaves.
Israel's ambassador to the UN Daniel Gillerman said the fence will contribute to negotiations by causing a decrease in the amount of soldiers assigned to the West Bank, Israel Radio reported. Gillerman also blamed Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat for creating the situation that led Israel to consider it necessary to establish a fence.
Meanwhile, a top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said the Palestinian suicide bombing attacks against Israel will be resumed soon. "The martyrdom operations come as waves so there are gaps between the waves," Dr. Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi told Reuters in an interview published on Monday. "We are just in the period of a gap between waves." (Albawaba.com)