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U.N. Assembly passes resolution condemning Israel's use of force, Israel rejects as biased
October 21, 2000

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- In an emergency session Friday night, the United Nations General Assembly approved 92-6 a resolution critical of Israel's role in the latest Middle East violence.

Both the United States and Israel voted against the resolution, and 46 countries abstained.

"It was a mistake to bring this kind of resolution to the floor in the middle of a world crisis," Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Friday night.

The resolution "condemns acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians." It also condemns Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, calling them "illegal" and an "obstacle to peace."

The resolution also called for an "immediate cessation of violence and use of force" and a resumption of peace talks between the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships.

Yehuda Lancry, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, said the resolution was "useless," and that his country rejected the measure.

"(The resolution) doesn't say anything about the savage destruction of the military in Ramallah, the Israeli soldiers mutilated in Ramallah," he said. "This resolution is certainly a negative message to the will of the Israeli people to move toward peace."

Israelis and Palestinians blame each other for the recent fighting in which more than 100 people -- all but a handful of them Palestinians or Israeli Arabs -- have died since September 28.

Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian observer in the United Nations, praised on Friday the countries that supported the "very important" resolution. He said the measure's timing was important.

"Today, 10 more martyrs have fallen in the occupied territories, two of them children under 18," al-Kidwa said.

"We strongly hope that the current tragedy will end, that the killing and wounding of our people will cease. We are doing our utmost for that end, including implementation of the Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) understandings," al-Kidwa said.

Arab and Islamic states had proposed a resolution expressing "deep concern" about "violence, including police brutality, that took place in Israel resulting in many deaths," but that wording was deleted from the final draft after intense negotiations with representatives from the European Union.

Compared to a resolution adopted Thursday in Geneva by the U.N.'s Commission on Human Rights, which fiercely condemned Israel for "crimes against humanity," the language of the General Assembly's resolution is mild.

Holbrooke told reporters earlier Friday that the United States preferred not to have a resolution, but that it was willing to support a simple two-part statement commending U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's efforts to negotiate a truce and expressing support for the agreement between the two sides made at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, earlier this week.

Holbrooke said, with the resolution having been dealt with, that it was time for the Israelis and Palestinians to work through the crisis.

"It's a signal to the Palestinians that it's time to get back to talking to Israel, rather than try to isolate Israel by diplomatic means while the West Bank is aflame," Holbrooke said.

Israel rejects UN condemnation as biased

©Reuters Oct.21.2000

Israel rejected on Saturday a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly condemning it for using "excessive force" against Palestinians during a wave of clashes that have been the bloodiest in years. Ninety-two countries voted in favor, six against and 46 abstained in a Friday night vote on the resolution, which was drawn up by Palestinian delegates and sponsored by Arab and Islamic nations as well as Cuba.

Israel's foreign ministry said it categorically rejected the resolution, calling it "completely one sided." The foreign ministry also complained that the UN had turned a blind eye to the lynching of two Israeli soldiers under Palestinian police protection and the desecration of Jewish holy sites by Palestinian mobs earlier this month. "The resolution avoids the fact that the Palestinian Authority arranged and initiated the bloody events," it said.

"The decision taken yesterday by less than half of the United Nations members does not help efforts to calm the situation and to end the violence by the Palestinians as required by the Sharm al-Sheikh agreement," the foreign ministry said. "The Israeli government will do all it can to calm the situation and expects Palestinian leaders to act the same."

UN General Assembly Voting Details - Resolution Against Israel 20 October 2000

The Assembly adopted the resolution on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory (document A/ES-10/L.6) by a recorded vote of 92 in favour to 6 against, with 46 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, United States.

Abstain: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Benin, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, United Kingdom.

Absent: Afghanistan, Angola, Bahamas, Belarus, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Honduras, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

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