Magazine article UN Chronicle

Palestinian Rights; Crucial to a Middle East Settlement

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Palestinian Rights; Crucial to a Middle East Settlement

Article excerpt

The General Assembly over the years has cited the question of Palestine as "the core of the conflict i the Middle East", and stated that one important element of a comprehensive peace settlement for the region involved securing the rights of the Palestinian people. Between April and June 1988, the Security Council and other United Nations bodies dealt with a number of matters concerning the Middle East, many of them touching on the crucial issue of Palestinian rights.

15 April Security Council text on Palestinian rights vetoed.

25 April Security Council condemns 'aggression' against Tunisia after assassination of PLO

official.

10 May Text condemning 'Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon vetoed.

Israel says it only wants to prevent 'terrorism'.

13 May United States called on by General Assembly to arbitrate dispute over PLO mission.

31 May Mandate of UN Golan Heights force renewed.

1 June Three-man UN Committee completes mission to area to investigate rights situations

of Palestinians in occupied territories,

A draft resolution condemning Israeli policies and practices violating the human

rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories, in partictular the "killing and wounding of defenceless Palestinian civilians, was vetoed in the Security Council on 15 April. The vote was 14 in favour to 1 against (United States).

The text (S/19780)- proposed by Algeria, Argentina, Nepal, Senegal, Yugoslavia and Zambia-would have urged Israel to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection ofCivilian Persons in Time of War and to desist forthwith from policies and practices violating that Convention.

Israel would also have been urged to rescind its order to deport Palestinian civilians and to ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied territories of those already deported. The draft also contained a call for a "comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Arab/Israeli conflict, an integral part of which is the Palestinian problem".

The United States, in explaining its vote, expressed opposition in principle to deportations. It wanted Council support for its major diplomatic effort to foster direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbours, The United States felt the Council should "desist from rhetorical exercises , , and unproductive draft resolutions which cut across the objective of seeking peace in the Middle East.

Secretary-General Javier Pdrez de Cuellar on 12 April also expressed concern over deportations and other forms of collective punishment, such as the recent demolition of village homes, which could aggravate tensions in the area.

Lebanon on 20 April Informed the Secretary-General that Israel had deported eight more Palestinians to Lebanon, "thereby exploiting its unlawful occupation of a portion of Lebanese territory which it terms the 'security zone"'. Lebanon protested Israel's violation of international agreements.

Debate

The Council met three times between 30 March and 15 April to debate the matter.

Algeria, speaking for the League of Arab States Ministerial Committee of Seven on the Occupied Territories, said that by their uprising, Palestinians were rejecting foreign domination. Israel's "ferocious repression" of these people followed "basically hegemonistic and annexationist policy". Their struggle would end only through the emergence of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State.

The representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization said Israeli leaders had chosen the path of territorial expansion and military superiority, having material and political support from the United States. The Palestinian uprising had proved the hypocrisy of the democracy that Israel claimed and its alleged respect for human rights.

Israel said it controlled Judea, Samaria and Gaza only because of the aggression of its neighbours. …

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