WASHINGTON (Jan. 5)
The State Department on Tuesday termed Israel’s deportations of Palestinians a violation of international law.
“We consider them a violation of that Fourth Geneva Convention,” Redman said, referring to the 1949 treaty setting international standards for treating civilians in occupied areas.
The State Department has previously taken that position. In its February 1987 report on human rights practices, it stated, “The United States holds the view that Israel is an occupying power in these territories and, therefore, that its administration is subject to The Hague regulations of 1907 and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention concerning the protection of civilian populations under military occupation.”
Reacting to Tuesday’s killing of a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip by Israeli soldiers, Redman said the United States “deeply regrets” the incident.
“People on both sides should pull back and consider the impact of confrontations, violence and the use of deadly force on the chances for a just and lasting peace in the region,” he added.
In a separate briefing Tuesday, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater contested press reports Monday that the State Department has become less critical of Israel.
The New York Times and the Washington Post reported Tuesday that the State Department had “muted” its public criticism of Israel.
The papers apparently based their reports on Redman’s decision not to deliver a lengthy statement in reaction to Israel’s decision Sunday to deport nine Palestinians from the administered territories and the killing the same day of a Palestinian woman on the West Bank.
Fitzwater said Tuesday that Redman’s statement “was misinterpreted a little bit, because the language was almost the same as it has been the previous days.”
He reiterated the administration objections to deportations of Palestinians, as well as Israel’s use of lethal force.
The State Department official said it is not necessary for the United States to publicly criticize Israel on a “daily basis.”
In a separate development, Fitzwater announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would meet with President Reagan in Washington on Jan. 28.
Mubarak, who last visited the United States in September 1985, will arrive in the United States Jan. 26 and will leave Jan. 30.