U.N. to Begin Discussing Resolution Calling for Observer Force in Israel

The U.N. Security Council was to begin discussions this week on a new resolution calling for a U.N. observer force to be sent to Jerusalem and the Israeli-administered territories, to monitor Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian population.

The resolution, sponsored by the Palestine Liberation Organization, also demands that Israel accept the legal applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which requires nations that occupy foreign territory to protect the civilian populations there.

Although the Security Council was to start informal consultations Wednesday, U.N. observers said it was unlikely the resolution would be formally debated for a few days. The general expectation here is that the final resolution that emerges from those consultations will be substantially weaker than the original draft submitted by the PLO.

Still, Israel has been battered recently by two U.S.-backed Security Council resolutions condemning its handling of last month’s riots on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel refused to receive a U.N. mission called for in the first resolution to investigate the Oct. 8 incident, in which Israeli police fatally shot at least 17 Arabs.

This latest resolution follows a report submitted last week by U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, in which he asked the Security Council to convene a meeting to discuss what practical steps could be taken to ensure the safety of Palestinian civilians living under Israeli administration.

Israel has stated repeatedly that it does not formally accept the convention’s applicability to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, although Israeli officials say they uphold the humanitarian provisions of the convention and act accordingly. East Jerusalem was annexed shortly after the Six-Day War of 1967, and Israel now considers Jerusalem its undivided, sovereign, capital.

According to a draft of the PLO resolution, the Security Council is asked to “establish immediately under its authority a United Nations Observer Force, and to dispatch it to the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem, for the purpose of confirming the compliance of the occupying power with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the provisions of relevant Security Council resolutions.”

The proposed resolution also condemns Israel’s refusal to comply with previous resolutions concerning the Temple Mount riots and reaffirms the need for a lasting peace in the Middle East.

“We in every way oppose this resolution,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “We trust and will do everything to see that the United States will veto this resolution.”

NEXT STORY