General Assembly demands Israel not deport Arafat

19 September 2003
General Assembly votes on resolution

The United Nations General Assembly today demanded that Israel not deport or threaten the safety of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, approving overwhelmingly a resolution by Arab and Non-Aligned countries after the United States vetoed of a similar text in the Security Council earlier this week.

The United Nations General Assembly today demanded that Israel not deport or threaten the safety of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, approving overwhelmingly a resolution by Arab and Non-Aligned countries after the United States veto of a similar text in the Security Council earlier this week.

But unlike Council resolutions, Assembly decisions have no legally binding force.

Today's resolution, approved by 133 votes with four against and 15 abstentions in a special emergency session of the Assembly, also demanded "the complete cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction," and expressed full support for the Road Map peace plan.

The Road Map put forward by the so-called diplomatic Quartet - UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States - calls for parallel and reciprocal steps by Israel and the Palestinians leading to two states living side by side in peace by 2005.

The four negative votes were Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and the United States.

The specific clause on Mr. Arafat, which follows Israel's decision last week to remove him "in a manner and at a time of its choosing" - with one cabinet member speaking of possibly killing him - "demands that Israel, the occupying power, desist from any act of deportation and cease any threat to the safety of the elected President of the Palestinian Authority."

In its preamble, the resolution reiterated the Assembly's "grave concern at the tragic and violent events that have taken place since September 2000 which have caused enormous suffering and many innocent victims throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel."

It condemned the recent intensification of suicide bombings, recalling "in that regard that in the framework of the Road Map the Palestinian Authority has to take all necessary measures to end violence and terror." It also deplored the recent escalation of extrajudicial killing as a violation of international law and international humanitarian law. Extrajudicial killings is the term used to refer to what Israel calls its targeted attacks on Palestinian militant leaders.

The United States vetoed the 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" and call for the dismantlement of "an infrastructure, which supports these terror operations wherever located."

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Opening

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Afternoon Session

 

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