GENEVA (Aug. 30)
A Soviet-backed draft resolution condemning Israel for war crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip seems likely to be adopted by a U.N. human rights panel here later this week.
Amendments to soften the harsh language are expected from Western delegates on the 26-member U.N. Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.
The subcommission, which reports to the full U.N. Human Rights Commission, will end its annual four-week session here on Monday.
Some delegates have expressed surprise that the Israeli Mission to the United Nations in Geneva seems to have paid little attention to the subcommission’s proceedings.
The head of the Israeli delegation, Rafael Walden, has taken the floor only to reply to some of the more egregious charges against Israel.
The draft resolution condemning Israel was circulated in the subcommission Monday. Besides the Soviet Union, countries sponsoring the resolution include Cuba, Somalia, Egypt, Algeria and Jordan.
The measure accuses Israel of torture, inhumane behavior, collective punishment, expulsions, detention without trial and destruction of property, which are war crimes under international law.
The resolution upholds the right of the Palestinians to forcefully oppose Israeli measures in the territories. It also calls for Israel’s withdrawal from those areas and supports an international conference for Middle East peace.
During the subcommission hearings, David Littman, representing the World Union for Progressive Judaism, read the names of Jews kidnapped in Syria and Lebanon, some of whom may have been killed.
He said the group that hanged U.S. Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins, which calls itself the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth also has kidnapped 11 Lebanese Jews and has announced their execution.
The bodies of four of the Jews have been recovered, but seven are still missing.