EU Opposed to More Talks on Fence at UN

NEW YORK - Senior diplomats of major European Union countries are expressing their opposition to renewing the deliberations over the separation fence in the 59th United Nations General Assembly, which opened officially yesterday.

The diplomats have made it clear to PLO representative Nasser Al Kidwa that they oppose his plans to raise the issue as a major subject for discussion in the General Assembly.

Reliable sources in New York said yesterday that Arab diplomats at the UN also expressed in private conversations their opposition to the resumption of the discussion on the separation fence.

In behind the scenes discussions between Al Kidwa and European diplomats, the Europeans argued that the issue of the separation fence in the UN forum has been exhausted, and must now move on to the political level in discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

"We are not interested to continue dealing with the issue of the separation fence within the parameters of the United Nations," and EU diplomat said. "The opinion on the fence given by the International Court of Justice in the Hague is advisory and does not require that deliberations on the issue continue in the General Assembly."

For their part, Arab diplomats urging Al Kidwa to cease pushing for further discussion of the separation fence are motivated by other concerns.

According to their argument, the Palestinians should not endanger their significant diplomatic achievement in the General Assembly in July by pressing the issue beyond its usefulness. In July, 150 member states including the European Union's 25 supported a resolution calling on Israel to abide by the ruling of the International Court of Justice and raze the separation fence.

Israel was also asked to compensate the Palestinians whose property was damaged as a result of the construction of the separation fence.

Sources close to the PLO delegation say that Al Kidwa is planning to propose a resolution that will threaten Israel with sanctions if it continues to ignore the ruling of the ICJ.

However, there is a growing dissatisfaction among EU diplomats over what they regard as the almost automatic opposition to Israel that is evident in the General Assembly and in many of its resolutions.

Haaretz has also learned that India has expressed its official disagreement with the content of a document approved at a conference of foreign ministers of non-aligned countries, held on August 19 in Durban, South Africa.

The document calls on member states of the UN to "adopt measures in order to strip the residents of the settlements of visas to non-aligned countries."

Similarly, the document calls for international sanctions for those involved in "illegal" activities in the territories, including the construction of the fence.

India's opposition to the document was expressed in an official letter to the Malaysian representative in the UN, who is serving as the chairman of the non-aligned bloc.