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Israel Rejects U.N. Proposal on Protection of Palestinians

Israeli officials voiced objections Sunday to a new U.N. proposal to take measures to ensure the protection of Palestinians living in areas captured by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem.

The proposal, contained in a report issued last Thursday by U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, would have signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 convene to discuss potential protective measures.

Foreign Minister David Levy, speaking to reporters, said the report “posed a question mark” over the sovereignty of Jerusalem, which Israel views as its undivided capital. He called the report a “shameful exploitation of a tragic event.”

Perez de Cuellar drew up the report in response to a request contained in the Oct. 12 U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for the fatal shooting of at least 17 Arabs by Israeli police on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount four days earlier.

The resolution, adopted unanimously, called for a U.N. mission to be sent to Israel to investigate the killings. The Israeli Cabinet refused to receive the mission, but the secretary-general was still required under the resolution to submit a report concerning the shootings, as reaffirmed in a second resolution Oct. 24.

An official statement released by the Israeli Foreign Ministry after Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting termed the secretary-general’s report “disappointing” and “one-sided.” It criticized the report for focusing solely on Israel and not calling on the Palestinians to cease violent actions.

HOLDING ISRAEL TO DOUBLE STANDARD

The statement pointed out that in 1967, Israel announced that although it did formally accept the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the administered territories, it would informally act under the humanitarian provisions of the convention, which addresses the rights of civilians living in occupied territories.

Government sources said Sunday’s statement was intended to be “polite but firm.”

In New York, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, representing 46 national Jewish groups, criticized the United Nations for holding Israel to a double standard and for attempting to interfere in Israel’s internal affairs.

“The secretary-general’s proposal that the Security Council involve itself directly in efforts for ‘protection’ of Palestinians living under Israeli rule goes far beyond the scope of the Oct. 12 resolution,” the conference said in a statement released Friday.

Meanwhile, the government on Sunday introduced the first step in its plan to reorganize the police in the wake of an Israeli investigation into the Temple Mount violence.

The report was critical of the way police top brass handled the incident, though it said the use of live ammunition by police was justified.

Above all, the move affects the structure of the Jerusalem police force, which was ill prepared to contend with the violence that ensued when some 3,000 Arabs converged on the Temple Mount and threw stones at Jews worshiping at the Western Wall.

Police Minister Ronni Milo announced that the Jerusalem police force would soon be turned into a separate regional command, one of five in the country.

MINISTERIAL PANEL APPOINTED

As an immediate result of the decision, some 350 police will be added to the local force. A special command will be set up to deal with the Old City and Temple Mount, and a special, highly trained commando-like unit, known as the Gideonites, will soon start operating in its special capacity to deal with the Palestinian uprising in Jerusalem.

A senior officer will command the new police region. His name was still unknown Sunday, but it was already clear that the present police chief, Arye Bibi, who until October was considered the main candidate for the job, would not receive it. He will be reassigned to a different post, probably outside Jerusalem.

The police reorganization is expected to go into effect within several weeks. The plans reportedly have been in existence for quite some time, but their implementation was expedited due to the events on the Temple Mount.

In a related development, the Cabinet appointed a special ministerial committee to deal with the Temple Mount affair. It is headed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and includes Shamir’s two deputies, David Levy and Moshe Nissim, and the ministers of police, religious affairs, interior and justice.

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