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Palestinians to seek emergency U.N. session

Seeking advisory resolution on barrier


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This aerial view shows part of the barrier separating the outskirts of Jerusalem, top, from the West Bank.
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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Palestinians will seek an emergency session of the U.N. General Assembly to consider an advisory resolution calling for Israel to comply with a court ruling that the West Bank barrier is illegal, the Palestinian representative to the United Nations said Monday.

However, Ambassador Nasser al Kidwa said the Palestinian people will stop short of going to the U.N. Security Council, at least for now, to seek a binding resolution, which would likely be stopped by a U.S. veto.

"At a later stage we will go to the Security Council," he told reporters. Under questioning from reporters, he denied the Palestinians were waiting until after the U.S. presidential elections in November.

What the Palestinians want is "as broad an international consensus as possible of acceptance of that advisory opinion and on the call for compliance. ... That is the aim now," he said.

The request for the emergency session will be presented by Arab states, said al Kidwa, with the expectation a session will be held Friday.

Friday's ruling by the International Court of Justice is an advisory opinion that was originally sought by the U.N. General Assembly.

Sunday bombing in Tel Aviv

Even if the Palestinians succeed in winning a new General Assembly resolution calling for Israel to comply, that resolution will also be non-binding.

The court said that Israel's West Bank barrier is "contrary to international law" because it infringes on the rights of Palestinians. The court urged the Israelis remove it from occupied land. (Full story)

The court also said that Israel is obligated to return confiscated land or make reparations for the destruction or damage to homes, businesses, and farms affected by the barrier's construction.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered construction of the barrier to continue despite the ruling. (Full story)

On Sunday a bomb went off near a bus stop in Tel Aviv killing one Israeli and injuring 20 others. Israel blamed "criminal Palestinian terrorists" and said the attack showed the need for the West Bank barrier.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack. The U.S. State Department designated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades a terrorist organization

Israel has argued that the barrier is "temporary" and its "sole purpose is to enable it effectively to combat terrorist attacks launched from the West Bank," the court noted.

The court said that while Israel is entitled to protect its citizens, there is no persuasive evidence that the barrier is necessary to attain Israel's "security objectives."

In the past, said al Kidwa, Israel could expect "automatic protection" from the United States, which has vetoed resolutions it considered harmful to Israel. However, he said, this time he had heard no U.S. official discuss automatically casting a veto of any new resolution on the ruling.


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