Israeli Settlements Condemned by U.N.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission (search) on Thursday passed a resolution condemning Israel's settlement of the Palestinian territories, saying that Israel should reverse the policy.

Delegations passed the resolution by a 39-2 vote, with 12 abstentions, demanding that Israel should "prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories."

The resolution also called for Israel to take measures to guarantee the safety of Palestinian civilians.

Censure by the U.N. watchdog brings no penalties but spotlights a government's record, and delegations lobby hard in an effort to avoid it.

Israel's Ambassador Itzhak Levanon (search) said that it was a one-sided resolution that brought shame on the United Nations.

Mohammad Abu-Koash (search), the Palestinian ambassador, said that listening to Levanon, one could imagine that "Palestinians are the occupiers and the Israeli's are the occupied."

"I urge all members ... to judge Israel by what it does and not by what it talks," Abu-Koash told delegates.

Former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz (search), head of the U.S. delegation, said it was unfair to single out Israel.

Since capturing the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war, Israel has built numerous settlements in the two territories, in which Palestinians hope to form a future state. As part of the internationally-backed "road map" peace plan, Israel is to freeze construction in settlements.