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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

US vetoes Security Council Resolution condemning security fence

Israel accused of "overreaction" to terrorism
For the second time in a month, the United States last night exercised its veto power in the UN Security Council to nullify a draft resolution condemning Israel. This time the proposed resolution condemned Israel's construction of the security fence and called for its immediate dismantlement. "We voted against it because it was very unbalanced and didn't condemn the terrorist acts," explained U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte. The Palestinians plan to bring the resolution to the UN General Assembly.

In last night's vote, the U.S. was the only country to vote against the resolution, which was prepared by the UN's Palestinian representative and introduced by Syria, which is a Security Council member. The United Kingdom, Germany, Bulgaria and Cameroon abstained in the vote.

Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said in response, "The Palestinian observer should stop for once looking for someone else to blame, stop for once this charade, that the United Nations where high minded rhetoric is matched with resolutions designed to malign and distort, when all the while the Palestinian side refuses to do the one thing it is required to do, fight terrorism."

The vote followed a fierce debate that saw many countries labeling Israel's fence as "racist," "colonialist," a "blatant land-grab," "worse than the Berlin Wall," "a crime against humanity", and an overreaction that would turn some parts of the Palestinian territories into "open-air prisons."

Gillerman said that if the Palestinians would fight terrorism, there would be no need for a security fence. "Those that allow terrorism to exist are the real factor behind the fence's construction," he said.