Coverage of UN VoteDecember 9, 2003 21:27 by ManagingTeam
Most of today’s Israel coverage centered on the UN vote to refer the security fence question to the International Court of Justice (a.k.a. the Hague). In the General Assembly, 90 countries voted in favor, 8 voted against, and a whopping 74 countries abstained. 19 other countries didn’t even vote. So the proposal didn’t muster a legitimate majority of the General Assembly.
Reuters buries the abstentions in the 14th paragraph and you have to do the math yourself to figure out the truth behind the meager majority. Moreover, two paragraphs beforehand, reporter Megan Goldin writes that only eight countries voted against the resolution without mentioning the 74 abstentions.
For contrast, AFP prominently noted an Israeli reaction to the vote:
The Arab-backed resolution was passed with 90 votes for, eight against and 74 abstentions.
Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the near-even split between the yes votes and the no votes and abstentions was a kind of win for Israel, which is regularly criticised by assembly resolutions.
“Israel regards this vote as a moral victory and so should this chamber,” he said, branding those nations which voted in favour of it “mostly tyrannical dictatorships, corrupt and human-rights defying regimes.”
For further contrast, the BBC attributed the abstentions to ambivalence:
The BBC’s correspondent at the United Nations, Greg Barrow, says the abstentions were a clear sign of the ambivalence felt about taking this contentious issue to the court, which could find itself compromised politically if it finds in favour of the Israeli or the Palestinian side.