UN General Assembly urges Israel to stop aggression on Gaza
Palestine-Israel-UN, Politics, 11/18/2006
The UN General Assembly called for an end to Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, overwhelmingly passing a resolution in an emergency special session.
The Arab League had asked for the session after the United States vetoed a similar UN Security Council draft resolution against Israel's actions last weekend, its second veto on the matter this year.
The resolution passed Friday by a vote of 156 to 7, with six abstentions. The US, Israel and Australia voted against the document, along with four Pacific island nations.
All the European Union members supported the resolution after last-minute changes were made to soften the tone of the text.
There are no vetoes in the 192-member General Assembly considered more a reflection of international opinion.
The Palestinian UN observer, Riyad Mansour, said earlier that Israel had committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians in its nearly five-month offensive.
Mansour said 82 Palestinians were killed during a six-day Israeli assault on the town of Beit Hanoun this month, including 19 members of an extended family who died in an early-morning artillery attack on November 8.
"What is required is serious and firm action in response to these crimes, especially the massacre in Beit Hanoun, as well as putting an end to this rampant Israeli campaign, which intends to destroy an entire people," Mansour told the General Assembly.
Iranian UN Ambassador Javad Zarif accused Israel and the United States of repeating "baseless and tired allegations." He also told the General Assembly immediately after Bolton spoke that the US was "protecting the Israeli regime and providing it with cover" to continue its "dangerous criminal behavior with total impunity." The resolution "deeply deplores" the Israeli offensive, in particular the Beit Hanoun killings, and calls on Israel to immediately halt its operation and pull its troops out of the Gaza Strip.
It also requests the secretary-general establish a fact-finding mission on the Beit Hanoun incident and seeks international efforts to restart the peace process.
Egypt Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit on Friday had appealed Security Council to protect Palestinian civilians, who were being subjected to continuous killing and destruction by the hands of the Israeli occupation.
In statements to diplomatic reporters, Abul-Gheit reiterated Egypt's full denunciation of the Israeli army practices against the Palestinian people, the latest of which was the Israeli carnage in Beit Hanoun.
Abul-Gheit made it clear that vetoing a UNSC draft resolution by a permanent member should not be interpreted as a license for Israel to continue aggression against the Palestinian people.
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