Seeking an end to escalating Mideast violence, the United States won approval for a U.N. Security Council resolution that endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state for the first time and demanded an immediate cease-fire.

Paul Wong
Peace activists attend beside coffins covered by Israeli and Palestinian flags among hundreds of coffins set up by an Israeli peace activist group in Tel Aviv yesterday. The coffins represent the Israelis (white coffins) and Palestinians (black coffins) k

The United States introduced a resolution that avoided references to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory and other terms critical of Israel. After years of Washington blocking measures it considered biased against its close ally, the U.S. move surprised the council, which quickly passed it.

“Passing such a resolution is a great first step to attempting to end the extremely vicious cycle of violence in the region,” Paul Saba, president of the Ann Arbor chapter of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, said. “The Palestinians have suffered for too long for the international community not to keep a blind eye.”

The 14-0 vote, cautiously welcomed by Israel and the Palestinians, came after Israeli forces took control of the key West Bank city of Ramallah and several Palestinian refugee camps, in Israel’s biggest military operations in two decades. Syria abstained in the vote.

“I think that the U.N. Security Council calling for a Palestinian state has been a long-awaited event and should have happened a long time ago,” Fadi Kiblawi, political chair of ADC, said. “The creation of a Palestinian state has never been offered before … (this) could lead to future peace talks.”

But Saba noted that “words are just words. The U.N. has had several resolutions for the past decades that have advocated for the creation of a Palestinian state as well as calling Israel to withdraw from its illegally occupied territories in Palestine.” He said that “until Israel is willing to accept a U.N. peacekeeping force within its borders, any resolution henceforth will remain as just words.”

Jewish students on campus said they hope the resolution offers peace to Israeli citizens as well.

Samantha Rollinger, LSA junior and co-chair of the American Movement for Israel, said this “must be a peace that offers Israeli citizens calm and comfort … this cannot simply be a peace that is written on a piece of paper, filed away in U.N. books.”

LSA sophomore Jessica Goldberg agreed, stating that “some Jewish students think the formation of a Palestinian state might be the only way to peace.”

Rollinger added that the U.N. “has also proven itself to be Pro-Arab/Palestinian and anti-Israel over the past few decades and while many Israelis actually concur with the U.N. on this statement, the idea is perfectly inline with the anti-Israel stance that the U.N. has adopted over the past few decades,” she said.

LSA sophomore Julia Shershavin said she believed “Israel should withdraw only in return for secure borders. In the past, every time Israel withdrew from any parts of the West Bank, groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad only stepped up their suicide bombings and attacks.”

Diplomats said the timing of the resolution was important, with Vice President Dick Cheney in the region and U.S. peace envoy Anthony Zinni heading there today.

– The Associated Press

contributed to this report.

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