Israeli Assassinations Not Part of Battle Against Terrorism
EU, Russia and Philippines Disappointed by US Veto
Sharon is hoping to kick off a war to get out of his corruption scandal. That's why he whacked an old man in a wheelchair in the most bloody way possible.
Palestine Media Center - PMC
European Union leaders repeated their condemnation of Israel for extra-judicially killing Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, hours after a US veto killed a UN Security Council draft resolution on Thursday condemning the assassination, which Palestinian officials say gives the Jewish state a "license to kill."
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) shot dead four more Palestinians on Thursday and Friday, including a teenage protester, who was hit live rounds in the back.
The United States on Thursday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution by Arab nations to condemn Israel for assassinating the founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement "Hamas" Sheikh Ahmad Yasin.
The vote was 11 in favor, 3 abstentions and a lonely US veto.
EU leaders have repeated their condemnation of Israel for extra-judicially killing Sheikh Yasin, hours after the US veto.
In a statement issued at the end of a summit in Brussels, the leaders of the EU's 25 current and future states said the bloc had "consistently opposed extra-judicial killings."
"The present cycle of retaliatory violence has... inflamed the situation and is taking the parties even further from a negotiated settlement," they said.
Russia "regretted" the US veto.
"We regret the failure to reach consensus at the UN Security Council in connection with a dangerous outbreak of violence in the Middle East," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov said, according to the Interfax news agency. "There was a chance to reach consensus if the consultations continued."
Similarly on Friday Philippines expressed disappointment at the US veto.
"It was our hope that this resolution would have helped to encourage the parties to exert every effort to prevent an escalation of violence in the Middle East. We joined 10 other members of the council in hoping that this resolution would pass," Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Rafael Seguis said in a statement.
Palestinians Denounce, Israelis Welcome Veto
The Palestine National Authority (PNA) denounced and regretted the US veto.
"I'm afraid this US veto will be taken by Israel as encouragement to continue on the path of violence and escalation, assassinations and reoccupation (of Palestinian territory)," Palestinian minister for negotiations Sa'eb Erekat told Reuters.
President Yaser Arafat's media adviser Nabil Abu Rudeinah said the US veto "is a regrettable decision." Israeli "assassinations crime" should be condemned by all, he added.
At the United Nations, the Palestinian representative Nasser al-Kidwa said, "The American position was beyond any ability to reach agreement on a text."
"Israeli policies are not part of the battle against international terrorism; it's part of the problem of creating terrorism," said al-Kidwa.
Asked whether the Palestinians would take the issue to the 191-member UN General Assembly, al-Kidwa said, "Let's see if the occupying power will make this the end of its extra-judicial executions or not. We have not made any decisions."
Hamas political leader Mohammad Nazzal, calling the United States the "chairman of the axis of evil in the world," said the veto was "Israel's green light to carry out assaults and crimes."
An Israeli government official in Jerusalem welcomed the US veto but expressed disappointment that Washington had been left no other option. "We are troubled by this cynical attempt to condemn those who are fighting terrorism without denouncing the terrorists themselves," he said.
Washington's "no" vote killed the resolution because it is one of the five permanent members of the council with veto power.
Britain, Germany and Romania abstained after Algeria, negotiating for Arab nations, rejected an amendment they wanted that would have condemned "atrocities" against Israelis.
China, Russia, France, Angola, Chile, Pakistan, Spain, Algeria, Benin, Brazil and the Philippines supported the measure.
The vetoed resolution condemned Yasin's death and called for a "complete cessation of extra-judicial executions."
It also condemned "all terrorist attacks against any civilians as well as all acts of violence and destruction."
A US draft proposal would have deleted all condemnation of "extra-judicial executions." That issue is a touchy one for the Americans, because the United States has marked "suspected terrorists" for death in the past, Reuters reported.
However, the US criticized Israel's "action" and said the council was "deeply shocked."
"Israel's action has escalated tensions in Gaza and the region, and could set back our effort to resume progress toward peace," US Ambassador John Negroponte said in a statement before the vote.
"This Security Council does nothing to contribute to a peaceful settlement when it condemns one party's actions and turns a blind eye to everything else occurring in the region," Negroponte said.
The US veto was Washington's 79th in the Security Council since it first convened in 1946 -- more than any other country except the former Soviet Union. The Soviet Union and Russia have cast the most Security Council vetoes over the years, 121. Britain has cast 32, France 18 and China, 5, AP reported.
Veto Hurts US Image
Abdel-Raouf el-Reedy, Egypt's former ambassador to Washington, said the United States was hurting its image in the Arab and Muslim world by "continually using its veto to protect Israel from any kind of condemnation."
Anyone who has traveled in the Muslim world knows that, unlike the days of US President George W. Bush's father when America could be seen as an Israeli ally but sympathetic to the Palestinians, the US today "has forfeited its credibility in the Arab world because of its willingness to endorse almost anything Israel does," the British Financial Times said.
The fallout from Yasin's assassination is spilling over into the wider world. As far away as the Khyber Pass in Pakistan, there have been demonstrations against the extra-judicial killing. It caused Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, to denounce what he said was an "ugly crime," calling upon "the sons of the Arab and Islamic nations to close ranks, unite and work hard for the liberation of the usurped land and restore rights."
Denunciations in mosques from Morocco to Mindanao echoed anger against the US as much as Israel.
"Green Light" for Further Israeli Killings
When the Arab leaders meet in Tunis this week, Israel's extra-judicial killing is expected to cast a long shadow over US goals for the region.
Arab League Secretary General Amre Mousa warned Friday that the US veto might be interpreted by Israel as a "green light" for further Israeli killing of Palestinians.
On Friday, IOF hit 21-year-old Mahmud Omar Alzghari in the back with live rounds, killing him instantly. Alzghari was among dozens of teenagers protesting Yasin's assassination, north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Separately, three more Palestinians were killed in angry reactions to Yasin's killing.
IOF soldiers on Friday shot dead Zakaria Abu Zour, 18, and Ishaq Nassar, 18, claiming they were armed and attempted to infiltrate the illegal Gaza Strip Jewish settlement of "Tel Katif" from the coast.
In the West Bank, 22-year-old Ahmad al-Abed was killed in a car explosion in the northern city of Nablus Friday, about 500 yards from an IOF military roadblock.
IOF on Friday banned access to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Palestinian Muslim worshippers not holding Israeli ID or under the age of 45, thus depriving Palestinians in the occupied territory from their religious right to pray in Islam's third holiest site.
Meanwhile, Israeli detention sprees continued.
IOF detained 19 Palestinians in the West Bank on Thursday and Friday: Eight in Qabatya, three in Salfit, four in Balata refugee camp, one man and two boys in Bethlehem and one man in Qalqilya.
Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians poured out of Friday Muslim prayers to stage mass commemorations for slain Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yasin.
Palestinian Intellectuals, Officials Urge Peaceful Protests
A group of 70 Palestinian intellectuals, lawmakers and officials tried to contain violent reaction to Israel's crime by urging "restraint" and peaceful protests.
In a half-page advertisement in the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam daily on Thursday, the signatories called on Palestinians to lay down their arms and turn to peaceful means of protest toward ending Israel's 37-year-old occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The signatories included member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organizatin (PLO), former culture and information minister and co-author of the unofficial Geneva Initiative Yaser Abd Rabbo.
They also included former peace negotiator and lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi, leading member of President Yaser Arafat's ruling Fatah movement Abbas Zaki, head of Fatah in the Gaza Strip Ahmad Hilles, and peace advocate Sari Nuseibeh.
"We feel (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon has dictated his agenda on both sides ... We want to expose Sharon's policy and prevent the Palestinians from reacting constantly, and to say that there is a way to resist occupation through non-violent means," Ashrawi said.
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