Shorts: Mideast

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Israel’s barrier goes to the Hague

jerusalem (jta) | The U.N. General Assembly voted to send the issue of Israel’s security fence to the International Court of Justice.

The General Assembly voted 90-8 on Monday to have the court, based in The Hague, address whether international law requires that Israel halt construction of its West Bank fence.

The United States opposed the measure, and most European countries abstained from the vote.

Israel has said it is prepared to present its case before the court, arguing that the fence is justified on grounds of self-defense.

Hamas leader: Jews, move to Europe

jerusalem (jta) | The spiritual leader of Hamas said that if there must be a Jewish state, it should be in Europe.

Speaking to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Sheik Ahmed Yassin said he opposes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the recent Geneva accords peace proposal. “The plan is worse than the Oslo one, because it abandons the right of return for the refugees,” he said.

In fact, the Oslo accords, signed in 1993, did not deal specifically with the refugee issue, and the Geneva proposal leaves the issue ambiguous.

Israelis arrested in international drug ring

jerusalem (jta) | Fourteen Israelis were arrested around the world for being members of an illegal drug ring.

The Israelis, who were arrested in Holland, Brazil, Peru, New Zealand and Austria, are believed to be have smuggled Ecstasy tablets from Holland to other countries, primarily in the Far East.

They are also believed to have smuggled cocaine to Europe from South America.

The arrests were made following an international investigation involving police from around the world.