UN approves resolution criticizing Israel for shunning nuclear weapons treaty

The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved an Arab-backed resolution criticizing Israel for refusing to join an international treaty against nuclear proliferation.

The resolution notes that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that is not party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It called on Israel to join the treaty and put its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.

The General Assembly approved the resolution in a 161-5 vote, with 18 countries abstaining. The United States and Canada were among four countries that joined Israel in opposing the resolution.

Israel is widely considered to possess nuclear arms but declines to confirm it.