UN demands an immediate halt to Israeli settlements

New York (16 December 2006) - THE UNITED NATIONS has demanded that Israel immediately halt its controversial settlement policy, it was reported Saturday. "Settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights (are) illegal and an obstacle to peace as well as economic and social development," a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly with 162 votes in favour late Friday in New York said.

Eight countries, including Israel and the United States, voted against the resolution, while 10 abstained.

The UN also called on Israel to guarantee the security of aid organizations working in the Palestinian Territories.

The 15-member Security Council renewed the mandate of the UN observer force in the Golan Heights for another cycle. The UN force that has observed the truce between Israel and Syria since 1974 is now due to remain in the area until the middle of 2007 at least.

There are 1,000 soldiers in the Golan Heights force from countries like Austria, Canada and India.

2006 dpa German Press Agency

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