UNITED NATIONS (Apr. 25)
Israeli and American officials here have expressed disappointment with the General Assembly’s adoption last week of a resolution condemning Israel for human rights violations in the administered territories.
The resolution singled out the April 13 raid by Israeli border police on the West Bank village of Nahalin, in which five Palestinians died. It also condemned restrictions placed by Israel on Palestinian worshipers in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The General Assembly adopted the resolution by a vote of 129-2 on Thursday, the first day of Passover. Only Israel and the United States opposed the resolution, which urged the Security Council to provide international protection to Palestinians. Liberia abstained.
The General Assembly also rejected an amendment to the resolution, proposed by Iceland. It was a more evenhanded statement that would have called on both Israelis and Palestinians to refrain from violence. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 95-23, with 10 abstentions.
The General Assembly, after two days of debate, condemned “the killing and wounding of defenseless Palestinian civilians, and specifically the latest action of members of the Israeli armed forces against the defenseless civilians in the Palestinian town of Nahalin.”
It demanded that Israel immediately halt its policies in the territories and reiterated the General Assembly’s call for an international peace conference on the Middle East.
‘POINTLESS AND UNPRODUCTIVE’
Ambassador Johanan Bein, Israel’s acting representative to the United Nations, called the resolution “pointless and unproductive.”
“The General Assembly sees fit to convene and discuss an incident whose basic facts remain unclear, while 10,000 Syrian shells rain down daily on Beirut,” Bein said in a statement.
Hundreds have died in the Lebanese capital since March 14, when a new cycle in its ongoing civil war began.
U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering called the resolution divisive and said it would only succeed in driving the Israelis and Palestinians further apart.
But while rejecting it and noting that Israel was conducting a thorough investigation into the Nahalin incident, Pickering urged Israel to make every effort to avoid the unwarranted use of lethal force in the territories.
Countries usually friendly to Israel, including Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, qualified their support of the resolution.
Spain, speaking on behalf of the 12 nations of the European Community, said that the level of force used by Israeli troops had been excessive. But Spanish Ambassador Rafael Spottorno was careful to “reject all violence from whatever quarter it came.”
Meanwhile, an American Zionist leader has denounced the possibility that the Palestine Liberation Organization will be admitted to full membership in the World Health Organization as the representative of the Palestinian state declared by the PLO last fall.
“This is a cynical attempt by the terrorist PLO to use a humanitarian agency of the United Nations to gain political advantages,” Bernice Tannenbaum, chairwoman of the World Zionist Organization-American Section, said in a statement.