U.N. Approves 6 Resolutions on Israel
By EDITH M. LEDERER,
UNITED NATIONS (AP - 3 Dec) -- Over U.S. and Israeli objections, the U.N.
General Assembly overwhelmingly approved six resolutions Tuesday
criticizing Israeli policies and calling for new efforts to bring
peace to the Middle East.
In an annual ritual, the 191-member world body ended a three-day
Mideast debate with lopsided votes demanding a speedy resumption of
the peace process, a final settlement between the Israelis and
Palestinians, and an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
The resolutions are not legally binding -- as Security Council
resolutions are -- but they are a reflection of world opinion. Each
resolution received over 100 "yes" votes, with some 160 nations
The key resolution called on the parties and major international
players, including the United States, the United Nations, the European
Union and Russia to exert greater efforts to halt the deteriorating
situation between Israel and the Palestinians, reverse all measures
taken on the ground since the latest violence began in September 2000,
and push for a peace agreement.
It was approved by a vote of 160-4 with three abstentions, the highest
"yes" vote of the half-dozen resolutions. In addition to the United
States and Israel, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia voted "no."
For the past two years, the United States abstained on a resolution
objecting to Israel's administration of Jerusalem because the city's
final status is subject to negotiations between the Israelis and
Palestinians. But this year Washington voted "no" on the resolution,
which was approved 154-5 with six abstentions.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it
a few days later. The Palestinians want to set up a state in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Palestinian U.N. observer, said he was pleased
with the results of the voting, but "shocked" at the U.S. "no" vote on
the Jerusalem resolution, which he called "a slap in the face" to all
Arabs, all Muslims, and Christian believers.
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte told the General Assembly that the
United States is working with the United Nations, the EU and Russia --
the so-called Quartet -- as well as the parties to achieve "a just and
lasting peace in the Middle East."
"We believe a negotiated final settlement can be accomplished in three
years," he said.
Negroponte said the United States would welcome a resolution
reflecting the Quartet's "balanced and pragmatic approach" which
includes promoting Palestinian reforms, improving the humanitarian
situation for Palestinians, ending violence and terror, and restoring
political dialogue that would lead to two states living side-by-side
in peace and security.
But he said the resolutions prejudged key issues in a final
settlement, including the question of Jerusalem, which must be
resolved through negotiations between the parties.
Israel's deputy U.N. ambassador Aaron Jacob also said only a
negotiated settlement could bring peace to the region.