UN votes against Israel barrier

The vote, which was passed 150-6 with 10 abstentions, backs a previous non-binding ruling by the International Court of Justice which stated the barrier illegally cuts into Palestinian land.

All European Union states voted in favour after spending days haggling with Arab nations over changes to the resolution.

Australia joined the United States and Israel in rejecting the measure, along with the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

Israel immediately condemned the vote, saying the incomplete barrier has already cut terrorist attacks by 90 percent.

“Thank God that the fate of Israel and of the Jewish people is not decided in this hall,” Israeli ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman said after the vote.

But Palestinian representative Nasser al-Kidwa said it could be the General Assembly’s most important resolution since it adoption Resolution 181 of 1947, which split Palestine into Jewish and Arab lands.

“It’s time now, we believe, for implementation, for compliance and at a later stage for additional measures” if Israel does not obey, said Mr Kidwa.

Assembly resolutions have no legal force but represent the majority of world opinion, and the Palestinians scored a victory in getting the European Union to unite behind the measure.

The issue could now be taken to the UN Security Council, which in theory has the power to impose economic sanctions.

But the US has UNSC veto power.

The Palestinian Authority has said it will delay pushing for a Security Council resolution until after the November US presidential elections.

Mr Gillerman said the world body has been duped by Palestinian propaganda.

“This is not a recipe for progress, it is a recipe for failure,” he said.

“It is simply outrageous to respond with such vigour to a measure that saves lives and responds with such casual indifference and apathy to the ongoing campaign of Palestinian terrorism that takes lives.”

But Mr Kidwa said it is time for Israel to comply.

The ICJ said the barrier contravenes international law.

Israel began construction of the barrier in 2002, claiming it would stop suicide bombers.

But the Palestinians say it is a unilateral attempt by Israel to draw the boundaries between Israeli and Palestinian land.

The Israeli Court ordered the 640 kilometre barrier to be re-routed around Jerusalem.

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