Yasser Arafat was struggling to maintain control over the Palestinian Authority as new turmoil erupted around him. In a rare display of independence, members of its parliament voted 43-4 to insist that he accept the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and appoint a new cabinet "capable of carrying out its responsibilities" - words that analysts said were code for the power to enforce law and order. The legislators are expected to meet Thursday to plan additional moves, such as a strike to protest Arafat's unwillingness to yield any of his power. Qureia, whose resignation Arafat has rejected, said he couldn't continue in the post without enforcement of order. He cited as an example the wounding of an outspoken Arafat critic in his own home by gunmen Tuesday night. Arafat ordered an investigation of the incident, but analysts saw it as an attempt by his supporters to silence opposition. The victim, now hospitalized, vowed that the attack would not cause him to keep quiet.
In another blow to Israel, the UN General Assembly voted 150-6 to demand that it abide by the July 9 World Court order to tear down completed sections of its security barrier in the West Bank. The US and Australia were among the dissenting votes. The Jerusalem government summoned ambassadors of three European Union members that voted for the nonbinding measure to protest their support and said construction would not stop.
Three members of the coalition in Iraq rejected new terrorist demands that they withdraw their forces or become targets for attack themselves. Poland, Bulgaria, and Japan have a combined 3,355 troops there, some of them in noncombat roles. The Philippines pulled its 51 military and police personnel out of Iraq Monday in response to a terrorist threat, but President Gloria Arroyo's spokesman said Wednesday: "We will maintain our strong stand against terrorism in the face of this isolated event."
Despite a Security Council vote six weeks ago authorizing a new protective mission in Iraq, the UN has been unable to put together such a force because member states are hesitating, The Los Angeles Times reported. The anticipated 1,000-man unit would guard other UN personnel sent to organize Iraq's elections and to help with reconstruction. UN members that pledged cash for rebuilding Iraq also have been slow to provide it, the Times reported.