UNITED NATIONS (Jan. 14)
A new draft resolution under consideration by the Security Council would criticize Israel for resuming deportations of Palestinians accused of supporting terrorist activities in the administered territories and Israel proper.
The Security Council was to convene Monday night to discuss and possibly vote on the proposed resolution, which was introduced by the seven non-aligned members of the council.
The draft declares that Israel’s expulsion of four Palestinians from the Gaza Strip last week was a violation of previous Security Council resolutions and demands that Israel “desist forthwith from deporting other Palestinian civilians from the occupied territories.”
It also reaffirms that Israel is “under the obligation to ensure the safe and immediate return of all those deported.”
The draft, like the non-binding statement issued by the council on Jan. 3, after an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, refers to the “Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem.”
Israel is also called upon to adhere to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which protects the rights of civilians living under occupation. Israeli officials have said the convention does not apply to the administered territories, although they say its humanitarian principles are upheld.
In the wake of sharp criticism from the United States, Israel stopped deporting Palestinians from the administered territories more than a year ago. But the practice was resumed Jan. 8, when the four Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were flown to Israel’s southern Lebanon security zone.
U.S. SEEKING DELAY OR REVISION
The four were accused of being members of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement based in the Gaza Strip, and of having incited others to commit violence.
They were arrested after two Palestinians from the Gaza Strip fatally stabbed three Jewish factory workers in Jaffa in December. Although the four were not accused of committing the murders, they were charged with issuing guidelines that resulted in escalating violence, including the three slayings.
This draft resolution, introduced Jan. 10 by Cuba, Ecuador, India, Ivory Coast, Yemen, Zaire and Zimbabwe, is the first resolution to be dealt with by the council since Jan. 1, when five of its members were replaced in the annual rotation.
Austria, Belgium, Ecuador, India and Zimbabwe replaced Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, Finland and Malaysia, which had completed their two-year terms.
Colombia and Malaysia had been at the forefront of many of the recent resolutions highly critical of Israel, but it seems that the two were replaced by three new members likely to take harsh positions on Israeli actions.
The United States, which has supported four Security Council moves in the past four months to censure Israel for its treatment of Palestinians in the administered territories, is expected to try to delay, if not kill, discussion of the resolution.
The United States would prefer the council to focus on Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.