UNITED NATIONS (Jan. 25)
The Security Council will convene Wednesday to consider the report of Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar on the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it was decided here Monday.
The decision followed consultations among members of the council at which the secretary general was present.
Perez de Cuellar said here Friday that the problems in the territories under Israel’s control could be solved only through a political settlement negotiated by an international conference for peace under United Nations auspices.
“The underlying problem can only be resolved through a political settlement which responds both to the refusal of the Palestinian population of the territories to accept a future under Israel’s occupation and to Israel’s determination to ensure its security and the well-being of its people,” the secretary general said.
His statement was contained in his 16-page report, which was requested by the Security Council in its Dec. 22 resolution condemning Israel’s handling of the riots in the territories.
The report criticizes Israel for the actions its has been using to quell the demonstrations in the territories. The secretary general said Israel must be persuaded to accept the application to the territories of the Geneva Convention on the safety and protection of civilians in time of war.
He said that there was evidence that in dealing with the unrest, the Israeli Defense Force had used disproportionate force, leading to fatal casualties, which could be a voided if less-harsh measures were employed.
At least 38 Palestinian Arabs have died in clashes in the last six weeks between Israeli troops and rioters in the territories.
The secretary general’s report included information provided by Undersecretary General Marrack Goulding, who returned last week from a nine-day visit to the territories and Israel. In his talks with Palestinians, the secretary general said, Goulding heard complaints of the practices of the Israeli security forces, the lack of outlets for political activity and of economic discrimination.
Israeli leaders told Goulding that the complaints of the Palestinians were mostly “politically motivated exaggerations or distortions,” Perez de Cuellar reported.
Goulding came away from his visit convinced that the unrest in the territories is a reaction to 20 years of occupation and the feeling among the Palestinians that their situation is hopeless, the secretary general said.
Perez de Cuellar also said that the idea of sending U.N. observers to the territories to oversee the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israel is not attainable, because of Israeli objections.