SLUG: 2-310327 U-N/Israel/Barrier (L)
TITLE=U-N / ISRAEL / BARRIER (L-O)
INTRO: U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan says in a report (released Friday) that Israel is in violation of a General Assembly resolution demanding that it halt construction on and remove a barrier that extends into the West Bank. Correspondent Jenny Falcon reports from New York.
TEXT: In a report to the General Assembly, Mr. Annan says Israel's barrier, part of which goes through Palestinian land, damages future prospects for peace.
In the written report, the secretary general says he recognizes Israel's right to protect its people from terrorist attacks. But he calls the barrier's construction "a deeply counter-productive act" at a time when each party should be making confidence-building gestures, according to the international road map peace plan.
United Nations spokesman Fred Ekhard:
/// FIRST EKHARD AC T ///
He points out that this right should not be carried out in a way that is in contradiction to international law, that can damage the longer-term prospects for peace by making the creation of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state more difficult, or that increases suffering among the Palestinian people.
/// END ACT ///
The General Assembly requested the Secretary General's report when it overwhelmingly adopted a resolution condemning the barrier last month. Resolutions by the 191-nation body are not legally binding. But the measure does not rule out future United Nations action.
Citing evidence by United Nations staff on the ground, spokesman Fred Ekhard says Mr. Annan discussed the impact of the barrier on the Palestinian people.
/// SECOND EKHARD ACT ///
His findings include the following: Approximately 56-thousand Palestinians already live in enclaves created by the barrier, most notably the town of Qalqilya, in which access to land, markets, jobs and services is seriously impeded.
/// END ACT ///
The General Assembly is scheduled to discuss the report on Monday.
/// REST OPT ///
In addition to releasing his report, Mr. Annan issued a message for International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians, which is observed on Saturday.
Mr. Annan welcomed recent moves by Palestinian and Israeli civil society to promote peace. But he said these efforts cannot replace official action. He called on the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to act to meet their commitments.
In expressing his solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Secretary General also urged the international community to prepare to take bold action to advance the peace process. (SIGNED)
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|