Israel Censured by Human-rights Panel, Turned Down for Membership in Another

A U.N. human-rights panel wound up a four-week session here last week by accusing Israel of war crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The anti-Israel resolution, backed by the Soviet Union, Cuba and Somalia, as well as the Arab countries, was adopted Aug. 31 by the U.N. Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

The vote by secret ballot was 15-5, with two abstentions.

The resolution accused Israel of torture, expulsions, collective punishment, detention with out trial and other violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Israeli observer, Rafael Walden, called the resolution one-sided and charged that it gave the Palestinians “carte blanche” for terrorism.

The 26-member subcommission, which reports to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, also condemned South Africa by affirming past statements that apartheid is a crime against humanity.

But a resolution dealing with Iraqi atrocities against its Kurdish population was shelved.

The U.N. disarmament conference meeting here also concluded its final session of the year last week, unable to agree on Israel’s request for admission as an observer state.

Conference regulations require a consensus among the member countries to admit an observer. There are presently 26 observers, including Iran, Iraq and Libya, who obtained the status this year.

The Western powers are known to want Israel’s participation in the discussions, which have focused on chemical warfare. But pressure from the United States and several European countries failed to budge Algeria, which held out against Israel, thereby blocking a consensus.

Nevertheless, the Israeli diplomatic mission to the United Nations in Geneva is optimistic that Israel will be accepted in a few months. The disarmament conference reconvenes early in 1990.

NEXT STORY