Israel rejects the UN General Assembly's resolution of Friday night, which condemns terrorism-besieged Israel and demands that it not deport Yasser Arafat.
Prime Minister Sharon said he would not conduct policy based on votes in the United Nations. Israeli Foreign Ministry and government sources reacted, "The Palestinians are advised to use their energies to fight terrorism instead of passing hollow resolutions... The resolution is not relevant, and grants legitimacy to a known terrorist."
The UN vote passed by a 133-4 margin. Led by the United States, those opposed also included the Marshall Islands, Macronesia, and of course Israel. Even Germany and Britain, which had voted against virtually the same resolution in the Security Council, voted for it in the General Assembly - because of a single word change. Instead of condemning Palestinian mass-murderers and Israeli targeted killings equally, the new resolution "condemns" suicide bombings and "deplores" the Israeli killings. Russia, a member of the Quartet that is to oversee the Road Map peace plan, voted against Israel both times.
The 15 abstentions were of countries of South America and the Pacific Islands.
The non-binding resolution follows U.S. President George Bush's statement on Thursday that Arafat "has failed as leader" of the Palestinian Authority. "If the PA wants peace," Bush said, "it must have a leadership that is 100% committed to a war on terrorism." Israel and the U.S. agree that there will be no negotiations with an Arafat-led P.A. leadership.
The United States vetoed the Security Council text on Tuesday because it said it failed to explicitly condemn "Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigade as organizations responsible for acts of terrorism." Neither did the resolution call for the dismantlement of terrorist infrastructures, the U.S. said.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom is leaving for the United States today, to attend the UN General Assembly in New York City.
Dov Weisglass, who heads the Prime Minister's Bureau, is also on his way to Washington, for high-level talks regarding the counter-terrorism partition wall. The U.S. is threatening to subtract the costs of the wall from the Americans' promised $9 billion in loan guarantees to Israel. The government has not yet determined a final route for the partition - an issue that is at the heart of the matter. The U.S. demands that the city of Ariel and neighboring Jewish communities not be included on the "Israeli" side of the wall.