WASHINGTON - Another anti-Israel decision in UN? The United Nations General Assembly passed a decision Friday evening to set up an official registry to receive complaints from Palestinian citizens regarding damages incurred as a result of the security fence route.
162 nations voted in favor of the registry. Seven voted against and seven abstained.
It is not yet clear when such a registry would go into effect. Thus far it has been agreed that it would be located in Vienna and would receive complaints via the mail.
Two and a half years ago the International Court of Justice at the Hague gave an advisory ruling stating that the fence violates international law because its route fails to take sufficient account of damage caused to Palestinians.
Following the ruling, the UN called an emergency meeting in which they called on Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan to establish a registry to receive complaints about the fence. Annan filed his report one month ago.
At a forum entitled “Israel’s illegal activities in East Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories,” the group of Palestinians who proposed the registry suggested that a large-scale system be set up to receive Palestinian complaints on damages caused “by the Israeli occupation.” European pressures led the proposal to be reduced to a smaller registry solely against the fence.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Gillerman addressed the GA saying that the move would cause great damage. He noted that the Israeli High Court of Justice discusses the fence route and hears Palestinian complaints on the matter, and the Vienna registry would be a wasted effort.
According to Gillerman, the registry would damage the GA’s credibility as well as chances of direct dialogue. “The registry would not help the Palestinian people. Allow me to say clearly: No Palestinian who is hurt by the security barrier will be aided by this mechanism,” he said.
Gillerman noted that the security fence was constructed to prevent terror attacks. If there was no Palestinian terrorism, there would be no need for the fence, he declared. The Palestinian strategy to encourage terror hurts Israel and its citizens and damages the Palestinians' own interests, he said.
The ambassador reminded the assembly that in the early years of the intifada, Palestinian terrorists carried out 121 attacks in Israel, killing over 1,000 Israelis. He quoted French Foreign Minister Phillipe Douste-Blazy who admitted that the fence reduced terror attacks by 80 percent. He also quoted an Islamic Jihad leader who said the fence was an obstruction to Palestinian resistance.
Gillerman noted that Israeli courts deal with Palestinian complaints on the matter, and thus far Israel has examined 140 complaints and paid over USD 1.5 million in reparations.