GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority condemned the United States on Wednesday for killing a United Nations Security Council resolution to create an international force to protect civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, a senior aide to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, said the United States was "biased."
The United States vetoed the resolution in the 15-member body shortly before midnight on Tuesday after five days of marathon negotiations failed. Nine countries favoured the resolution, one voted against and four abstained. Ukraine did not vote.
"We condemn the U.S. veto which contradicted the will of Arabs and the international community to provide protection to the Palestinian people," Abdel-Rahim told Reuters.
"The United States stands alone beside Israel in its aggression against the Palestinian people," he added.
Palestinians have demanded an unarmed force be sent to the West Bank and Gaza during a six-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.
Another senior Arafat aide, Nabil Abu Rdainah, told reporters on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Amman that the U.S. veto was "very unfortunate."
"We hope the world community will support the Palestinians in their grave and very dangerous situation. The Palestinians are under a complete siege and need protection," he said.
Israel, which has vehemently opposed the move, welcomed the veto. A European attempt to reach a compromise failed.
"I think it's the right moral decision at this time," said Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"There's no doubt that any introduction of international troops, of international observers, at this time, when there is such high tension would only add more friction and bring in an intensification of the problem rather than solve it," he said.
James Cunningham, the chief American representative to the United Nations, said the United States had vetoed the resolution because "it is unbalanced and unworkable and hence unwise."
Another Palestinian Authority official, Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, said the U.S. decision was a "great shock" to the Palestinians who had expected a more far stance from the new American administration under President George W. Bush.
"We have been waiting to see the U.S. administration dealing with more objectivity and neutrality to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," Abdel-Rahman said.
Abdel-Rahman said the veto would lead to a further deterioration in the region, where at least 351 Palestinians, 69 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed in the uprising.
The Palestinian Authority said it would not give up its appeals to the U.N. Security Council to send an international force to the West Bank and Gaza.
"Solving the conflict will only be through the implementation of international legitimacy," Abdel-Rahim said.