Scientology Crime Syndicate


Israel refuses to cooperate with U.N. rights investigators
October 20, 2000
Web posted at: 7:16 AM EDT (1116 GMT)

GENEVA (AP) -- Israel on Friday refused to cooperate with a United Nations inquiry into alleged human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza after the U.N. Human Rights Commission condemned it over Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement rejecting a resolution passed Thursday by the commission, which set up the inquiry and blamed Israel "widespread, systematic and gross violation of human rights" during the violence that has raged since Sept. 28.

The resolution, which described some of Israel's actions as "war crimes," was passed by 19 votes to 16, even though the United States and European nations voted against.

"The resolution, accepted by a slight majority of Arab countries and their supporters, is hostile, unbalanced and unnecessary," the foreign ministry said. "Israel will not cooperate in the implementation of the operative part of this resolution."

Clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem has left more than 100 dead, almost all Palestinians.

The commission's vote mandates Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, to lead a team to the area urgently to take stock of rights violations "by the Israeli occupying power."

The United States and European countries had claimed that passing the resolution could endanger the progress made earlier this week at the Sharm el-Sheik summit.

"Its language is one-sided and vituperative. Its prescriptions are at variance and in conflict with those agreed to by the parties themselves," said U.S. representative Nancy Rubin.

But Palestinian spokesman Nabil Ramlawi rejected the suggestion that the move would damage the work of the summit.

"I believe the Israelis themselves do not want peace," Ramlawi said. "Any action from the international community in supporting the Palestinians in their struggle against the Israeli occupation can only help."

The Palestinians were also hoping for condemnation of Israel from the General Assembly. At U.N. headquarters in New York, European Union diplomats were trying to persuade the Palestinians to soften language in their draft of an assembly resolution.

The resolution is expected to be adopted at the conclusion of a special emergency session of the 189-member assembly that began on Wednesday and was expected to continue Friday.

The United States has refused to even negotiate with the Palestinians on the General Assembly resolution, which would single out Israel for condemnation for the violence that followed the Sept. 28 visit to a site holy to Muslims and Jews by hawkish Israeli politician Ariel Sharon and the "excessive use of force" by Israeli forces.

The Palestinian draft would pass even without the EU votes, since a majority of countries would likely vote in favor and there is no veto in the assembly. But Arab nations appeared willing to at least discuss certain amendments with the Europeans in hopes of winning wider support for the resolution, which unlike a Security Council resolution is not legally binding.

Earlier this month, Israel came under heated criticism at the Security Council. In the end, the council condemned the "excessive use of force" against Palestinians. The United States abstained from the vote after trying to weaken the text.


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