Magazine article UN Chronicle

Assembly Says Israeli Breaches of Geneva Convention Constitute 'War Crimes.' (United Nations General Assembly)

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Assembly Says Israeli Breaches of Geneva Convention Constitute 'War Crimes.' (United Nations General Assembly)

Article excerpt

The General Assembly on 3 December declared that Israel's "grave breaches" of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War were "war crimes and an affront to humanity".

The Assembly also condemned "the continued and persistent violation" by Israel of the 1949 Geneva Convention and other applicable international instruments, and it strongly condemned 19 specific examples of Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories, including what it termed Israel's "iron-fist policy" against the inhabitants of the occupied territories since 4 August 1985, ill-treatment and torture of children and minors under detention and/or imprisonment, and interference with the freedom of the press.

The Assembly demanded that Israel desist forthwith from those policies and practices.

Six other resolutions were adopted under the agenda item entitled "Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population of the occupied territories". The texts were recommended for adoption by the Special Political Committee.

Resolution 41/63 D on the 1949 Convention was adopted by 114 votes to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 36 abstentions.

In other provisions of the resolution, the Assembly:

* Strongly condemned the arming of Israeli settlers in the occupied territories to commit acts of violence against Arab civilians and the perpetration of acts of violence by those armed settlers against individuals, causing injury and death and widescale damage to Arab property;

* Called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to take immediate steps for the return of all displaced Arab and Palestinian inhabitants to their homes or former places of residence in the occupied territories;

* Requested the Security Council to ensure Israel's respect for and compliance with all the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention in the occupied territories, and to initiate measures to halt Israeli policies an practices in those territories; and

* Called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to allow the reopening of the Roman Catholic Medical Facility Hospice in Jerusalem to provide needed health and medical services to the city's Arab population.

By other resolutions approved, the Assembly:

* Called upon Israel to release all Arabs arbitrarily detained and imprisoned as a result of their struggle for self-determination and for the liberation of their territories, and demanded that Israel rescind its action against the detainees and imprisoned Palestinians and release them immediately (The vote on resolution 41/36 A was 108-2 (Israel, United States) -34.);

* Demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, desist forthwith from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status, geographical nature or demographic composition of the occupied territories, including Jerusalem; and determined that all such measures and actions taken by Israel in those territories had no legal validity (The vote on resolution 41/63 C was 145-1 (Israel) -5 (Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, St. Lucia, United States.);

* Demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, rescind the illegal measures taken by the Israel military occupation authorities in expelling the Mayor of Halhul, the Sharia Judge of Hebron and other Palestinian leaders expelled in 1985 and 1986, and that it facilitate the immediate return of the expelled Palestinians; and strongly condemned Israel, the occupying Power, "for its persistent refusal to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly" (The vote on resolution 41/63 E was 131-1 (Israel) -21.);

* Strongly condemned Israel, the occupying Power, for its refusal to comply with the relevant Assembly and Security Council resolutions, particularly Council resolution 497 (1981), in which it had decided that Israel's decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights was null and void and without international legal effect and had demanded that Israel rescind it; and condemned Israel's persistence in changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, as well as Israel's attempts and measures to impose forcibly Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights (The vote on resolution 41/63 F was 142-1 (Israel) -11. …

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