Israel said Saturday that a U.N. resolution condemning it for the deaths of 19 Palestinians was unfair, and the Palestine Liberation Organization said it didn't go far enough.
The predictable reactions came a day after a rare unanimous vote against Israel by the 15-member Security Council. The United States, long a defender of Israel, departed from its usual stance to join in the censure."This is an incident which never should have happened," U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering said Saturday of Monday's killings on the Temple Mount.
Malaysia's ambassador, Rasali Ismail, predicted that "beginning from now, Israel's protective umbrella will begin to be steadily removed."
In the resolution, which was passed just before midnight Friday, the council also asked Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar to send a team of envoys to Israel to investigate the slayings.
The compromise resolution was worked out after five days of marathon negotiations that pitted the United States against the non-aligned members of the council, who supported the PLO.
The PLO urged its allies to support a resolution that would have sent a council team to investigate the killings, as a first step toward giving the council a direct role in protecting Palestinians in the occupied territories.But the United States let it be known it would veto that resolution.
A U.S. veto would have shattered America's fragile coalition with moderate Arab states that support the U.N. economic embargo on Iraq and have joined the multinational military effort to counter new aggression by Baghdad.
Moderate Arabs told the council in speeches last week that Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which it seized in the 1967 Middle East war, is as illegal as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.
Some Western diplomats said privately that they believed the PLO aimed to force a veto from the United States and thus split the anti-Saddam alliance.
"The Security Council tonight grieves for those lost and injured, condemns the acts of violence - both provocative and reactive - and reaffirms the obligations and responsibilities," that Israel has to protect the safety and rights of Palestinians, Pickering said Saturday.
The U.N. resolution "condemns especially the acts of violence committed by the Israeli security forces resulting in injuries and loss of human life."
It also refers to the injury of "innocent worshipers" in an implied criticism of the Palestinian rock-throwers. The PLO had fought to have that phrase removed.
In Tunisia, a member of the PLO's executive committee, Yasser Abd Rabou, said Saturday the resolution was "insufficient" even though it condemned the actions of Israeli police.
"Unfortunately, we are expecting Israel to continue oppressing the Palestinian people," said the PLO's U.N. observer, M. Nasser al-Kidwa.
A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Israel's Cabinet would have to decide whether to accept a U.N. investigating team, which is to report back to the Security Council by Oct. 24.
The spokesman, Avi Pazner, said the U.N. action was "without any reason or justification" since the police opened fire only after the stoning.
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Johanan Bein, said the resolution "fails to condemn the cause of the tragic events in Jerusalem - an unprovoked Arab attack on Jewish worshipers."