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Palestinians Seek UN Resolution on Yassin Killing - 2004-03-24


The Palestinian permanent representative at the United Nations is expected to push today (Wednesday) for a new Security Council resolution that would condemn Israel's killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Council members were deadlocked after nearly four hours of open debate late Tuesday, with the United States insisting it will not support any resolution that does not also condemn Palestinian terrorism.

Palestinian Ambassador Nasser al-Kidwa says he can not accept mentioning any Palestinian group by name. During the debate, Mr. al-Kidwa called the assassination of the Hamas leader a "war crime," and described Israel as an outlaw state that routinely violates the UN charter and international law.

Israeli ambassador Dan Gillerman described Sheikh Yassin as a "godfather of terrorism." He accused the United Nations of singling out Israel instead of the suicide attacks that have killed hundreds of Israelis since September 2000, when the Palestinians launched their second intifada -- or uprising.

Earlier, dozens of delegates from mostly Islamic countries, as well as Japan and four of the five permanent members of the Security Council joined in condemning the Israeli action.

The United States refrained from condemnation, saying Sheikh Yassin preached hatred and glorified suicide bombings.

European nations condemned what they describe as Israel's extra-judicial killings, but also actions by Hamas as well.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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