UNITED NATIONS (May. 27)
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations had little more than contempt for a resolution adopted by the Security Council last Friday evening that criticizes Israel’s recent deportation of four Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.
In a sharply worded rebuke to the Security Council, the ambassador, Yoram Aridor, charged that the resolution was being promoted at the expense of tragedies worldwide.
“The council is made to brush aside its pressing responsibilities in favor of the surrealistic agenda” of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Aridor told the 15-member body shortly before it voted unanimously to deplore Israel’s actions.
“The council is being convened precipitously, at a critically sensitive juncture in Middle East diplomacy, at the urging of a discredited terrorist group, the ally of Saddam Hussein,” Aridor said, referring to the PLO’s weakened global standing after backing Iraq in the Persian Gulf War.
The resolution was introduced after the PLO sent a letter to Security Council members, criticizing the Israeli deportations and asking that actions be taken to stop them.
The four Palestinians were deported to southern Lebanon on May 18, after exhausting the legal appeal process. Israel had charged that the four were responsible for instigating the recent wave of violence against Israeli citizens.
Although they were not held directly responsible for the violence, Israel said the four were members of terrorist organizations and had previous convictions connected to violent attacks against civilians.
U.S. REQUESTED WORDING
The resolution, the third leveled against Israel in the past six months to have U.S. support, calls on Israel to halt further deportations and “to ensure the safe and immediate return of all those deported.”
It brands the Israeli action a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which, it says, “is applicable to all Palestinians territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem.”
The resolution also states that the deportations were carried out “to the detriment of efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Sources here said this wording was inserted at the request of the United States, which has grown increasingly impatient with Israeli actions it perceives to be counterproductive to the peace process.
Last week, Secretary of State James Baker criticized Israel for disrupting the peace process by continuing to build new settlements in the West Bank. He said he could think of no greater “obstacle to peace” than the settlements.
In his remarks to the council, Aridor referred to the deportations as a “moderate administrative measure” and said there was “no general policy of expulsions.”
“They are carried out, if at all, only in extreme cases, when all other measures prove ineffective,” the ambassador said.
“Israel, as opposed to some other states in the Middle East, has no intention of becoming a safe haven for terrorists,” he added pointedly.