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THE WORLD

U.N. Calls on Israel to Stop Building Wall

October 22, 2003|From Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday demanding that Israel halt construction of a barrier intended to cut it off from the West Bank and that it dismantle the portion already built.

The barrier, which Israel argues is needed as protection from attackers, has been harshly criticized because it dips into the West Bank and cuts through Palestinian villages.

The vote was 144 in favor, 4 opposed -- including the United States -- and 12 abstentions. General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but are considered a gauge of world opinion.

The backers of the resolution agreed to add a condemnation of Palestinian suicide bombings, so-called extrajudicial killings by Israel and last Wednesday's bomb attack in the Gaza Strip that killed three American security officers.

The resolution says the barrier violates the Armistice Line of 1949 and demands that Israel halt construction and dismantle the part completed.

Palestinian representatives went to the General Assembly after the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution last week that would have declared the barrier illegal.

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