Israel Rejects U.N. Reporting Role for Unrwa and Jerusalem Consulates
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Israel Rejects U.N. Reporting Role for Unrwa and Jerusalem Consulates

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Israel has made clear it will not countenance a political role for U.N. agencies or foreign legations in Israel.

“We are totally opposed to any changes in any of the international agencies,” Avi Pazner, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s spokesman, declared Sunday.

That was the sharp reaction in official quarters here to reports that U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar plans to use personnel of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, to implement provisions of the resolution adopted Dec. 20 by the U.N. Security Council.

Among other things, the resolution calls on the secretary-general to “monitor and observe the situation of Palestinians under Israeli occupation,” making use of “United Nations and other personnel and resources present there in the area and elsewhere.”

The secretary-general was instructed to report to the Security Council every four months on the status of human rights in the territories.

According to reports from New York over the weekend, Perez de Cuellar has informally advised the Security Council that he plans to use both UNRWA and consulates in East Jerusalem to discharge its mandate.

Israel has rejected the resolution as “biased” and “unbalanced” and said it would not contribute to peace. Shamir predicted it would gather dust in the U.N. archives.

But observers here said Israel’s diplomatic stance would escalate tension between Jerusalem and U.N. observers in the region.


Israeli officials explained that UNRWA’s role, with which Israel has never interfered, has always been to administer to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population. They stressed that Israel would not accept a change in that role that would give UNRWA a political function.

As in the case of UNRWA, Israel considers the consulates in East Jerusalem to share the Palestinian viewpoint because they are chiefly concerned with the situation of Palestinians in the administered territories.

Israel rejects the notion of them furnishing the secretary-general material for his periodic reports, to which the government objects in any event.

The seven consulates in East Jerusalem are not officially accredited to Israel, because its sovereignty over Jerusalem is not recognized by the international community.

The consuls general formally submit their credentials to an official of the Interior Ministry who bears the title of district officer, an inheritance from the British Mandate.

In practice, some of the consuls maintain ties with the Foreign Ministry, though they regard their main task as maintaining contact with the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The United States, for instance, maintains a consulate in western Jerusalem, which services Israelis and Americans in Israel, and a consulate in East Jerusalem, which functions as a quasimission to the West Bank.

In addition to UNRWA, other U.N. agencies in the region include UNTSO, the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization, which was established during the 1948 War for Independence. UNTSO still maintains a presence here, though it has long been rendered obsolete by U.N. observer forces established in the aftermath of later wars.

The 10-nation Multinational Force monitors the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty concluded in 1979. The Israeli-Syrian disengagement agreement of 1974 is monitored by the 1,250 troops of UNDOF, the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force, and the nine-nation UNIFIL, or United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, has been deployed in southern Lebanon since 1978.

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