As expected the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's West Bank apartheid wall on Wednesday. In a day-long Security Council meeting, 44 speakers raised concerns regarding the wall being built by Israel in the West Bank. Opening the meeting, which had been requested by Syria on behalf of the Arab League, Nasser al-Kidwa, the Permanent Observer for Palestine said Israel was committing a war crime against the Palestinians by building an expansionist wall within occupied Palestinian territory. Along with settlement activities, the construction of the wall involves the illegal, de facto annexation of expansive areas of occupied land that will effectively transfer a large number of Palestinian civilians and constrict the rest in several walled Bantustans. Nasser al-Kidwa said Israel's claim that the wall was a security measure was incredulous and Israel could build protective walls along the armistice line if that were the case. But the US representative and Council President, John Negroponte, said a Council resolution focused on the fence would not further the goal of peace in the region. The USA was the only country to vote against the resolution, using its veto as one of five permanent members of the council. Four of the 15 members of the Security Council abstained including Great Britain, despite a foreign office declaration from London on October 1 stating that "any fence built should be on the Green Line or in Israeli territory. Breaking up the West Bank with the fence, and settlements like Ariel are an obstacle to the two state solution..." Israel's UN ambassador Dan Gillerman absurdly insisted the wall has no political significance. He said: "it does not annex territories to the state of Israel, nor does it change the status of the land, its ownership, or the legal status of the residents of these areas". Mr Gillerman obviously has not read the October 2, Israeli military order declaring all occupied West Bank land between the "security" wall and Israel's pre-occupation 1967 border a "Closed Zone". The order states that "no person will enter the Closed Zone and no one will remain there." Free access to the Closed Zone will only be granted to "Israelis" (defined as Israeli citizens, Israeli residents and anyone who is Jewish). The order requires Palestinian residents of the Closed Zone to obtain permits to live in their houses, farm their land and travel. Palestinians not residing in the in this zone but whose agricultural lands lie within the Closed Zone will also be required to apply for a permit to farm their land. Nothing in the order guarantees that the permits will be respected if they are indeed granted. This order clearly represents the latest Israeli attempts to rid more and more areas of Palestinian land of its inhabitants. Israel is openly adopting, and treating the Closed Zone as part of Israel, unashamedly annexing all illegal Jewish settlements, which lie within in the zone, to the state of Israel. The political significance of the wall is therefore colossal. Israel is using the Wall to redraw Israel's geo-political border and in doing so is destroying any chance of peace by flagrantly devastating any possibility of the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Sister Mary is an Ursuline nun working in Jerusalem. This report was also published by the Palestinian Monitor.
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