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    Israel circulates first resolution ever on Mideast crisis

    By The Associated Press

    Israel, which has seen hundreds of UN resolutions
    passed against its policies over the years, circulated its first resolution ever to the General Assembly as part of a new effort to engage the United Nations and to test whether the organization is capable of taking a balanced
    approach to the Middle East.

    The Israeli resolution, a copy of which was given to The
    Associated Press on Monday, calls for the protection of
    Israeli children victimized by Palestinian terrorism. It
    closely mirrors a similar draft submitted by Egypt last
    week highlighting the plight of Palestinian children
    affected by more than three years of bloody conflict in the region.

    Israeli diplomats said they would be happy if the General Assembly decided to drop the two drafts or adopt them both.

    "The test will be if they pass the Palestinian
    one but not ours,"
    said deputy Israeli
    Ambassador Arye Meckel in an interview with The
    Associated Press.

    For years, Israel has refused to take seriously the hundreds of resolutions Arab states sponsor, all of which condemn Israel's actions against the Palestinians while making little, if any, mention of Palestinian attacks against Jews.

    But Meckel said the pattern of dismissal only led to mounting anti-Israel resolutions. Twenty such resolutions passed in the General Assembly in 2002. The United States vetoed several that were brought to the Security Council, arguing that they were unbalanced and didn't condemn Palestinian groups responsible for suicide bombings against Israelis.

    "It's time to stop being passive," Meckel said.

    Meckel will send a letter later this week to 155
    ambassadors at the United Nations asking for their support for Israel's first resolution. Israeli diplomats will also lobby world capitals.

    Both the Israeli and the Egyptian resolutions are expected to come up for a vote in the UN's human rights committee within the next two weeks, he said. If either one passes, it will go to the full General Assembly for a final vote in December.

    For most of its history, Israel has found itself nearly alone at the United Nations, supported only by the United States and a few other countries, when facing dozens of Arab and Muslim states which have pushed anti-Israel resolutions.

    It was in the wake of the Holocaust, when Europe's Jews were nearly wiped out by Nazi Germany in World War II, that the United Nations voted in 1947 to carve out two countries in Palestine, one Jewish, the other
    Arab. The Palestinians' share was lost, however, in the 1948 Mideast war with parts divvied up among Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

    In its younger years, Israel was an active member of the United Nations. But after the 1967 and 1973 Mideast wars, a coalition of developing nations in the Mideast, Africa and Asia began concerted attacks on Israel.

    In 1975, the General Assembly voted to equate Zionism with racism, a move that all but shattered relations. It was repealed in the 1990s but "even so, deep and painful scars remain," for both sides, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said.
 
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