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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 06:18 GMT 07:18 UK
UN condemns Israel over Jenin
Palestinians in Jenin
The UN called for a report into Israel's campaign
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By Rob Watson
BBC Washington correspondent

The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution condemning Israel's military action in the West Bank's Jenin refugee camp.

The assembly also called on Secretary General Kofi Annan to resurrect his report into the Israeli offensive.

Israeli UN Ambassador Yehuda Lancry
Lancry said the vote ignored Palestinian attacks
Fewer states than expected supported the move, which passed by 74 votes to four, with 54 abstentions, hours after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 15 people in an attack in Israel.

The vote followed a typical General Assembly debate, with Arab and many other nations lining up to criticise Israel and its American backers.

The Palestinian representative said Israel was guilty of wilful killing of civilians and the US of shielding the Jewish state from any serious UN action.

South Africa's ambassador accused Israel of eroding the credibility of the UN through its defiance of international law.

Resolution 'offensive'

Speaking just before the late-night vote, Israel's representative said the General Assembly would be offending the memories of those killed by Palestinian suicide bombers, including the latest victims in the attack near Tel Aviv.

Earlier, the US ambassador had warned that one-sided resolutions and rhetoric would only harm the Palestinian cause.

After a complex vote the resolution was adopted, though with many abstentions, reflecting the concerns of European and other nations at the resolution's failure to condemn suicide bombings.

Although General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, the secretary general is likely to comply in some way with its request for a report.

In the end though, the debate changed little - the arguments on both sides already well rehearsed and well known.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond
"The pressure grows for a regional conference"
See also:

04 May 02 | Middle East
Arabs press UN over Jenin 'massacre'
03 May 02 | Middle East
Call for permanent Jenin presence
03 May 02 | Middle East
'No Jenin massacre' says rights group
02 May 02 | Middle East
UN abandons Jenin probe
29 Apr 02 | Middle East
Expert weighs up Jenin 'massacre'
20 Apr 02 | Middle East
In pictures: Return to Jenin
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