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Shamir, Rabin Reject Proposal to Incorporate Geneva Convention

A proposal to incorporate the Fourth Geneva Convention into Israeli law has been rejected by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Al Hamishmar reported Wednesday.

The 1949 convention provides for the protection of civilians in occupied areas in time of war.

Rabin maintained that enacting it into law would pre-determine the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the territories Israel has administered since it captured them in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Shamir expressed doubt such a measure was necessary and questioned its timing.

The two ministers were responding to legislation suggested by Amnon Rubinstein, a Knesset member of the opposition Center-Shinui Movement.

Rabin, in a written reply, said that “the Israel government’s stand with regard to the areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is that their final status will be determined only through political negotiations, and that Israel does not consider itself to be an occupier of these territories.”

He said passage of such a bill by the Knesset would require the courts to decide the question of Israeli sovereignty in the territories, thus removing it from the political forum where it should be decided.

According to Rabin, the rights of residents of the territories are guaranteed by Israel’s policy of abiding by all of the humanitarian provisions of the Geneva Convention.

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