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UN Human Rights Council: Condemns Israel for Killing Hamas Leader

(March 24, 2004)

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights voted 31-to-2 on March 23, 2004, to condemn Israel's killing of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin. The resolution submitted by Pakistan criticized Israel for "targeted assassinations, liquidation and murder of political leadership." Only the United States and Australia voted against it, and 18 countries, including the European Union states, abstained. The United States said the resolution, which is nonbinding, lacked balance because it made no mention of Palestinian terror attacks. Yaakov Levy, the Israeli envoy, dismissed it as "Israel bashing."

In the Security Council, Algeria submitted a redrafted resolution after an earlier attempt to obtain a statement against Israel from the 15-member Council failed to win support. The United States ambassador, John Negroponte, said the United States had opposed it because it made no mention of "terrorism conducted by Hamas."

The new draft, which condemns "the most recent extrajudicial execution committed by Israel," adds a paragraph condemning "also all terrorist attacks against any civilians as well as all acts of violence and destruction." Negroponte indicated that the American objection to not singling out Hamas would continue. "If the Security Council is going to pronounce itself on this question," he said, "it must recognize the reality that Hamas has been responsible for numerous, extensive and very recent terrorist activities."

The new draft was voted on March 26, and the United States vetoed it.

Sources: New York Times, (March 25, 2004)