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UN body backs Palestinian state
By Aluf Benn Ha'aretz Diplomatic Correspondent
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights passed a resolution on Friday supporting the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state based on the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. The resolution went through by a majority of 48-2 (with the U.S. and Guatemala opposing), and two abstentions (Canada and Romania). The European Union supported the resolution.
Israeli ambassador to Geneva, Yaakov Levy, said that this was a diplomatic issue better left to negotiations between the parties involved. PLO ambassador Nabil Ramlawi said that the Palestinian right to self-determination was "the heart of the problem in the Middle East."
The commission began its debate of the situation in the territories on March 28 and found that Israel was using force disproportional to the threat posed to it. According to the committee chair, John Dugard, the attacks against Israel were perpetrated by individuals and "sparsely organized" forces, while Israel was attacking the Palestinians with a highly superior military force.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson said that the continued occupation was causing "extensive physical and emotional damage" to the Palestinians, but recognized the fact that numerous Israelis felt the Intifada posed an existential danger.
-- meg davis (email@example.com), April 09, 2001