GENEVA (Jun. 19)
An Arab-sponsored resolution introduced at the annual conference of the International Labor Organization is reminiscent of the “blood libels raised against Jews in the past,” an Israeli diplomat charged here.
Pinchas Eliav, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, denounced the measure in the course of debate Friday. The ILO, currently meeting here, is a U.N. agency.
The draft resolution, submitted by the bloc of Arab states, accuses Israel of brutal practices against Palestinian workers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It calls for establishment of a permanent ILO committee to monitor labor developments in the territories.
That would make Israel the only country other than South Africa subject to international scrutiny with respect to its labor practices.
By charging that Israel has deliberately prevented Palestinians from working, “the draft stands the situation of the workers in the territories on its head,” Eliav declared.
“It is precisely those engaged in fanning the recent unrest in the West Bank and Gaza who have used incitement, intimidation and physical violence against more than 100,000 workers there, in an attempt to deny them their elementary right to work and earn their livelihood,” Eliav said.
The Arab resolution, he said, “reminds us of blood libels raised against Jews in the past” when it charges that Israelis deliberately break the arms and legs of Palestinian children to make them life-long invalids incapable of working.
Last week, the United States expressed reservations about the Arab resolution and what U.S. Labor Secretary Ann McLaughlin called “the politicization of the ILO.”