3652nd Meeting of Security Council: Situation in Palestine and Lebanon - Part 2

Preview Language:   English
15-Apr-1996 01:11:31
Security Council meets in response to security measures imposed by Israel on West Bank, Gaza at the 3652nd meeting.

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Thirty-eight Speakers Address Council; Measures Called 'Collective Punishment' That Threaten Peace Process.

In a meeting called in response to the security measures recently imposed by Israel on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 38 speakers addressed the Security Council today, with most calling for an end to the harsh measures and describing them as a form of collective punishment that threatened the Middle East peace process.

Several speakers said that such measures as the demolition of houses, the confiscation of land and restrictions on the movement of people and goods strengthened the hands of extremists on both sides calling for violence to undermine peace. Moreover, they violated portions of international law, such as the Fourth Geneva protocol, relevant Security Council resolutions and Israel's commitments to its agreements with the Palestinians.

Acknowledging Israel's right to protect its citizens, speakers said measures taken to combat terrorism could not justify the punishment of an entire people for the actions of a few. The economic hardships in the territories should be eliminated to ensure Palestinian support for the peace process. Donor States should assist economic and social development in the territories and the international community should help the parties to combat terrorism.

The representative of the United States said the discussion of Israel's closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip could not help the peace process and would only polarize that already difficult situation. The international community had responded aggressively to the challenges in the Middle East at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit by agreeing to develop a plan to fight terrorism. The Summit and the follow-up conference of experts on terrorism in Washington were more concrete ways to counter terrorism and promote peace.

The representative of Israel said that his Government had imposed a closure on residents of the West Bank and Gaza to restore a sense of security and to prevent armed terrorists from infiltrating his country to derail the peace process. The closure was not a form of collective punishment against Palestinians and in recent days Israel had eased it. The Palestinian Authority was responsible for rooting out terrorists and Israel was encouraged by recent efforts to curb terrorist groups. Israel would continue working to enhance the peace process and to implement the agreements reached with the Palestinians. Additional Security Council resolutions would merely complicate the peace process.

The Permanent Observer for Palestine said that the Israeli measures had absolutely no relation to security considerations and some of them were in practice before the recent bombings in Israel. Security should be for all. No party should take unilateral measures and impose them by force. "We cannot accept that the suffering of our people has become a commodity in the fever of the Israeli election", he added. The Security Council had a responsibility towards the Middle East and Palestine as part of its permanent responsibility for international peace and security. It should be allowed to express an official position on the Palestinian situation.

The representative of Egypt said, "demolishing homes and starving Palestinians would not prevent terrorism and peace would be achieved by raising living standards". The Council should not be silent on the matter. Otherwise, it would raise the question of double standards being applied to the actions of various countries, which might call into question the Council's legitimacy.

The representative of Italy, on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia called on Israel to allow humanitarian assistance and materials for the internationally financed reconstruction programme into the territories.

The Permanent Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference said that Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978) should be implemented. Israeli should withdraw from all Palestinian and Arab territories, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif and immediately halt its military actions in Lebanon. It should not carry out demographic or geographic changes in Al-Quds Al-Sharif during the interim phase of the Agreement, which might jeopardize the outcome of the negotiations on that city's final status. The representative of the United Kingdom said access to the city's holy sites should have been guaranteed during the last Easter celebrations.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Botswana, Republic of Korea, China, Russian Federation, France, Germany, Honduras, Poland, Guinea- Bissau, Indonesia, Chile, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Malaysia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia, Colombia, Cuba, Pakistan, Japan, Algeria, Yemen, Morocco and Senegal.

For further details please see official record:
S/PV.3652

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