30 June 1998


Press Release
SC/6541



SECURITY COUNCIL, IN DEBATE ON OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES, HEARS CALL FOR REPEAL OF DECISION ON JERUSALEM BOUNDARIES

19980630
Action Said to Impair Peace Process; Israel Contends Aim Is Just to Coordinate Public Services for Neighbouring Communities

The Security Council today held a debate on the situation in the occupied Arab territories, in particular the 21 June decision by the Government of Israel to expand the border of Jerusalem and extend the municipal authority over some Jewish settlements in the West Bank through the creation of an "umbrella authority".

Meeting at the request of the Sudan, the Council heard a number of speakers call on the Israeli Government to rescind its decision to expand the boundaries of the holy city and cease its expansionist policies. By initiating, encouraging and endorsing settlement activity in the occupied territories, the Israeli Government was in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, they said. Israel should recognize the right of the Palestinians to exercise self-determination, without excluding the option of a State. Other speakers called on the Palestinian leadership to reaffirm its commitment to the legitimate right of Israel to live within safe, recognized borders.

The Observer for Palestine said that throughout the years Israel had undertaken a number of illegal and immoral policies and measures to annex occupied territories, confiscate lands and expand municipal boundaries, and to isolate East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. Palestine hoped the Security Council would finally undertake the necessary measures to guarantee the rescinding of the plan, and to prevent Israel from undertaking any further illegal actions in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories. The Council was under obligation to do that in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law.

The representative of Israel said the "umbrella municipality" was merely a coordination mechanism between Jerusalem and surrounding communities. It did not entail a shift of municipal boundaries, nor did it involve the extension of municipal authority over any Israeli settlements. It simply allowed neighbouring communities to coordinate services -- such as public works, sanitation, water, public health clinics and education -- with the purpose of creating economies of scale to reduce costs. The greatest problems facing Jerusalem were terrorism and preventing violence, and did not originate from Israel's efforts to preserve and protect the city.


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The representative of the Sudan, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said the Israeli action in expanding the boundaries of Jerusalem was a flagrant violation of international law and the Madrid and Oslo peace accords. The Arab League had called upon the United States to get Israel to abide by the accords already achieved. The Security Council must condemn the Israeli action and declare it null and void. Any Council measure must reaffirm its principled position. A wrong message should not be sent to Israel.

The representative of the United States said all parties to the Middle East process should refrain from any unilateral action which could prejudge the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. The Palestinians had agreed in principle with ideas his Government had put forward, and the United States was working with Israel to determine whether they could also accept a proposal that would allow both sides to return to permanent status negotiations. The Council could not and should not interject itself into issues that the parties themselves had decided would be dealt with in face-to-face negotiations.

Statements were also made by Bahrain, Russian Federation, Costa Rica, Brazil, China, United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Japan, Gambia, Kenya, France, Gabon, Slovenia, Sweden, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco, Norway, Qatar, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Mauritania, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Colombia, Cuba and Peru.

Representatives of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and the Permanent Observers for the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference also spoke.

The meeting, which began at 10:20 a.m., was suspended at 1:12 p.m. It resumed at 3:39 p.m. and adjourned at 6:35 p.m.


Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this morning at the request of the Sudan to consider the situation in the occupied Arab territories

The Council had before it a 22 June letter (document A/52/963-S/1998/557) to the Secretary-General from the Permanent Observer for Palestine, Nasser Al-Kidwa, which requests that the Council meet to consider recent illegal Israeli settlement activity.

That request, states Mr. Al-Kidwa, was in response to the decision by the Government of Israel, the occupying Power, to expand the border of Jerusalem and extend the municipal authority over some Jewish settlements in the West Bank, establishing an "umbrella authority". The plan included accelerated construction of roads for those settlements, a multi-year housing investment plan and new infrastructure. It was a step towards the annexation of more occupied Palestinian land to the already illegally expanded Jerusalem municipality and ensure a greater Jewish majority in the demographic composition of occupied Jerusalem.

In an 18 June letter (document A/52/958-S/1998/535) to the Secretary- General, the Permanent Observer for Palestine noted a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel announcing the "umbrella municipality." Regarding Israel's attempt to build a new settlement at Jabal Abu Ghneim to the south of occupied East Jerusalem, Mr. Al-Kidwa quotes the Prime Minister as saying: "You will see houses at `Har Homa', many houses, by the year 2000."

In a 15 June letter (document A/52/949-S/1998/511), the Permanent Observer for Palestine states that the Israeli army issued an order on 11 June which allowed for the establishment of the civil guards in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. In practice, the civil guards could serve as a private army or as an occupying army within the occupied territory. On the same day, the Israeli army issued another order granting the settlement "Ariel" the formal status of a city, implicitly indicating that it is not a part of the occupied territory anymore.

By a letter dated 9 June (document A/52/948-S/1998/487), Mr. Al-Kidwa informed the Council that the Interior Ministry of Israel approved the construction of 58 housing units for Jewish settlers in the area of the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem.

Statements

NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, said the issue of Jerusalem was of great importance to Palestine, the Arab and Muslim worlds and to the international community as a whole. The United Nations had adopted a


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special regime (corpus separatum) for the city, and at a later stage refrained from recognizing the de facto situation resulting from the war of 1948. It had then effectively dealt with the occupation resulting from the 1967 war, with the aim of preventing Israel, the occupying Power, from carrying out any measures to change the legal status or demographic composition of East Jerusalem, as an integral part of the territories occupied since 1967, and to which the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 was applicable. The Security Council had adopted 16 resolutions on Jerusalem, 10 of which were adopted after the occupation of 1967. The Council had reaffirmed in those resolutions its rejection of all the Israeli measures, considering them null and void, and had called upon Member States not to recognize them and not to move their embassies there. There existed, therefore, a clear international consensus concerning the issue of Jerusalem.

Throughout the years, Israel had undertaken a number of illegal and immoral policies and measures to annex occupied territories, confiscate lands and expand municipal boundaries and to isolate East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. Some 150,000 settlers had been brought in, in an attempt to create a specific demographic composition. Those Israeli measures were creating a situation that might lead to the explosion of the whole region at any moment. On 21 June, the Israeli Government had decided to approve a plan aimed at strengthening the illegal hold of Israel on Jerusalem. The plan would expand the municipal boundaries of the city and would establish an "umbrella city" to include a number of illegal settlements in the West Bank. That represented a concrete step towards the illegal annexation of more occupied Palestinian lands to the already illegally expanded Jerusalem municipality, and towards maintaining a specific demographic composition with the aim of further "Judaization" of the city.

The plan constituted a flagrant violation of international law and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as of several Security Council resolutions and those of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly. He said Palestine hoped the Security Council would have the will to finally undertake the necessary measures to guarantee the rescinding of the plan, and to prevent Israel from undertaking any further illegal actions in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories, beginning with the adoption of a draft resolution sponsored by the Arab Group. Palestine believed the Council was under obligation to do that in accordance with the Charter and international law. The Palestinian people could not give up Jerusalem, he said. That was a reality which must be understood.

DORE GOLD (Israel) said that 50 years ago the Jewish inhabitants were expelled from the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Free access of the Jewish people to their holy places, particulary the Western Wall, was denied. From 1948 to 1967, the Council did not meet once to consider the denial of Jewish rights in Jerusalem. With Jerusalem's reunification, Israel was determined never to let that happen again. Israel's position in Jerusalem


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was not a product of recent events alone. It emanated from a continuous historical link between the Jewish people and their eternal capital. In addition, the Jewish people's majority in the city was not a present-day demographic development, but it had been established in 1864, when Jerusalem was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

He said his Government had a special responsibility to preserve and protect Jerusalem as a city that was holy to each of the three great faiths: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In the 1994 Washington Declaration, Israel pledged to respect the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem and give priority to that historical role in permanent status negotiations. Israel had sought to ensure the development of Jerusalem for all its people, and was determined to protect the city for all its residents. That consisted of a municipal blueprint for bolstering the city's economy and infrastructure. His Government's actions to preserve and protect Jerusalem were fully in accordance with the Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which provided that the city remain under exclusive Israeli jurisdiction, while remaining an issue for permanent status negotiations.

Despite what Israel's critics claimed, he said, the "umbrella municipality" was nothing more than a coordination mechanism between Jerusalem and surrounding communities. It did not entail a shift of municipal boundaries, nor did it involve the extension of municipal authority over any Israeli settlements. It simply allowed neighbouring communities to coordinate services -- such as public works, sanitation, water, public health clinics and education -- with the purpose of creating economies of scale to reduce costs. Such patterns of regional coordination existed between Jerusalem and Palestinian cities in the West Bank that were under the complete jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. Israel did not believe that they were part of a conspiracy to erode its status in northern Jerusalem. They were practical solutions to local problems.

The greatest problem facing Jerusalem did not originate in Israel's efforts to preserve and protect the city, he said. Israel faced Palestinian non-compliance in fighting terrorism and preventing violence. In the last year, it was disclosed that bomb factories belonging to Hamas were operating in Ramallah and Bethlehem outside of Jerusalem. The bulk of the infrastructure used for repeated suicide bus bombings in the heart of Jerusalem remained intact. Israel was determined to make the peace process work. The international community had an enormous responsibility in that regard. It could support the existing framework for direct negotiations between the parties or undermine it with sterile political resolutions that had little factual basis.

JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said the recent decisions by the Israeli Government were intended to increase its stranglehold on Jerusalem and to eradicate its Arab character by changing the demographic and population


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make up. Those actions were also contrary to all Council resolutions on the subject. The Israeli Government had taken a "u-turn" in face of all its commitments, and it had turned its back on the peace agreement contracted with the Palestinian people. The peace process in the Middle East was now facing an impasse, despite the intense efforts made by the United States and the Russian Federation, as well as the States of the European Union, to put the peace process back on the right course. By taking a number of illegal actions this month, Israel had flouted all agreements it had signed with the Arab side that were based on the principle of land for peace.

The plan of the Israeli Government included the building of roads and the expansion of services between Jewish settlements and Jerusalem, as well as increasing the number of settlements, he said. The expansion plan was intended to change the demographic composition of the holy city and to expand the number of Jewish inhabitants in order to create a Jewish majority. Such acts were in breach of the framework of the Madrid peace conference and all General Assembly and Council resolutions, particulary resolution 252 (1968) which provided that such actions by Israel were null and void. The international community and the co-sponsors of the peace process must put pressure on Israel to push it to cease its consolidation policies. The international community should supervise and prevent settlements in Jerusalem and the occupied territories. The countries that provided economic and other financial assistance to Israel should cease such actions because it only allowed the Israeli Government to continue its illegal actions.

SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said his country shared the negative reaction of the international community to recent pronouncements by Israel. Those Israeli actions further complicated the Middle East peace process. Unilateral actions aimed at changing the demographic composition and borders of Jerusalem in violations of the status quo ran counter to agreements already reached between the parties. The Russian Federation, as a co-sponsor of the Middle East peace process, believed that the Israeli actions could cast a pall on the negotiations.

MELVIN SAENZ-BIOLLEY (Costa Rica) said his country maintained deep friendship with Israel, while, at the same time, believing that the Palestinian people had a right to self-determination and independence. Costa Rica was concerned by the negative effects on the peace process of the Israeli plans announced by its Prime Minister. The final status of Jerusalem had to be determined in negotiations. Costa Rica appealed to the parties to fulfil their obligations under the Oslo peace process. He hoped Israel would not carry out those plans.

CELSO L.N. AMORIM (Brazil) said his country remained convinced that, despite the setbacks suffered by the peace process, the great majority of the people in the Middle Eastern were committed to honouring the religious traditions that had sprung from their region to enlighten the world, by living


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together in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect. At the same time, he said, the international community could not fail to express its disquiet as agreements freely entered into seemed to be taken lightly, and disenchantment was allowed to spread among those who had not only invested their political and diplomatic resources in the peace process, but had also placed their honest faith in its viability.

To those who remained attached to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, it was simply unacceptable to contemplate a scenario in which mutual confidence was being eroded by episodes that were being perceived as an expression of lack of commitment to the peace process.

QIN HUASUN (China) said the Israeli Government's recent decisions had raised concern among the international community because they had occurred at a time when all sides concerned were trying to revive the Middle East peace process. Changing the status quo in Jerusalem ran counter to the peace process and would lead to further complications. China believed that the settlement of the question of Jerusalem should be carried out through peaceful negotiations, according to the relevant Council resolutions. The principle of land for peace and the effective implementation of all agreements reached between Israel and Arab countries should guide those negotiations. The Middle East peace process had come to a sensitive and crucial moment. The parties involved should strictly abide by the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Oslo agreements. The parties should also cease all actions that might lead to the deterioration of the situation in order to allow the peace process to come out of its deadlock as soon as possible, with a view to reaching a lasting and just settlement to the situation in the Middle East.

BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said his Government had worked intensively on behalf of a just, comprehensive and durable Israeli-Arab peace. The international community was all too aware of the consequences that specific actions could have on the peace process, particularly those that involved an issue of permanent status. Jerusalem represented one of the most sensitive and emotionally charged issues. The United States regretted the announcement by Israel that it intended to create an umbrella municipality and to broaden the jurisdiction and planning boundaries of Jerusalem. That decision was unhelpful at the current stage of negotiations. All parties should refrain from any unilateral action which could prejudge the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. In that context, his Government welcomed Israel's statement that there would be no change in the political status of Jerusalem pending the outcome of permanent status negotiations.

He said the Middle East peace process had faced severe difficulties, and had been mired in a prolonged stalemate for many months. Yet, the parties managed to keep alive the possibility of negotiating their differences rather than confronting each other. The Palestinians had agreed in principle with ideas his Government had put forward, and the United States Administration was


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now working with the Israeli Government to determine whether they could also accept the outline that would allow both sides to return to permanent status negotiations. Only negotiation could resolve the issues. The United States called on Israel, as well as the Palestinians, not to take action that would make those negotiations harder to begin and to conclude. The Council could not and should not interject itself into issues that the parties themselves had decided would be dealt with in face-to-face negotiations. Yet, the Council should continue to offer the parties its unqualified support and encouragement, as they sought to bring an end to the bitterness and pain that had divided them for so long.

Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Cyprus, Iceland and Liechtenstein, said the Union was deeply concerned by the Israeli Government's endorsement of plans to extend the municipal authority of Jerusalem in ways that would alter the demographic balance in the city area and tended to pre-empt the final status of occupied land. The European Union had consistently called on Israel to recognize that the Fourth Geneva Convention applied de facto and de jure to those territories and to comply fully with its provisions. By initiating, encouraging and endorsing settlement activity in the occupied territories, the Israeli Government was in violation of that Convention.

East Jerusalem was subject to the principles set out in Council resolution 242 (1967), he said. Its provisions stated the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and, therefore, East Jerusalem was not under Israeli sovereignty. The final status of Jerusalem should be determined in final status talks, and neither side should take actions which sought to pre-empt that.

The European Union supported the efforts of the United States to gain the agreement of the parties to a package of ideas which, if accepted, would open the way to implementation of existing agreements and the relaunching of final status talks. The Union called on Israel to recognize the right of the Palestinians to exercise self-determination, without excluding the option of a State. At the same time, it called on the Palestinian people to reaffirm their commitment to the legitimate right of Israel to live within safe, recognized borders.

HISASHI OWADA (Japan) said his country was concerned that unilateral actions of Israel could lead to the destruction of the very basis of the Middle East peace process. Japan had expressed its official concern in a press statement from the Foreign Ministry on 27 June, saying the country was watching with close attention how Israel proceeded with its plans on Jerusalem. The Israeli action, he said, was unwise provocation. Mutual trust between the parties involved in the peace process was essential.


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It was of primary importance that the parties summoned wisdom to implement commitments they had entered into, he said. Japan believed that open debate served useful purpose. The international community had to be on guard to ensure that the situation did not get out of hand. Its reaction should, however, serve to advance the goal of peace in the region. BABOUCARR-BLAISE ISMAILA JAGNE (Gambia) said he was concerned about recent developments aimed at extending the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. The present stage of the peace process, which was in a state of near paralysis, had already given rise to feelings of frustration and fatigue. In that context, it would be ill-advised to do anything that would complicate matters unnecessarily and increase tension in an already volatile situation.

He said Jerusalem was home to all three revealed religions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- and, therefore, it should not be transformed into a theatre of conflict, but a terrain for cooperation. In these difficult times, practical ways must be found to reactivate the peace process, as there seemed no credible alternative to the Oslo accords, which constituted a reasonable modus vivendi for Israelis and Palestinians, who needed to live in peace alongside with each other.

He said he had faith in the ability of the United States, in its indefatigable efforts as the principal peace-broker, to give fresh impetus to the peace process -- with the support of the parties concerned.

NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) called upon the parties to respect Security Council resolutions on the status of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The question of the final status of Jerusalem must be decided through negotiation by the parties directly involved. The international community could not allow the establishment of new facts on the ground that would prejudge the final status negotiations. Kenya urged the parties to reactivate their political will and resolve their differences through dialogue. It strongly encouraged the facilitators of the peace process to continue to mediate a mutually acceptable solution to the whole Middle East problem and, specifically, the Palestinian question. Kenya would continue to support the parties in their search for a durable, comprehensive, just and lasting peace. It urged them to resume discussions on the issue before the Council.

ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said all legislative and administrative measure taken by Israel that changed the character and status of Jerusalem were null and void and should be revoked immediately. France had long supported the Middle East peace process and had reaffirmed periodically its support for endeavours by the United States to secure the agreement of the parties to its reasonable proposals. The international community had heard too frequently that the peace process was going through a crucial stage and warranted patience. Patience was warranted when a process was going in the right direction, and there must be time allowed for attitudes to evolve. Yet, the process was now witnessing a reverse trend. There had been no response to the


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United States proposals, and Israeli policies in Jerusalem were creating an irreversible situation there that would strip the city's status of any real meaning. It would also alter the boundaries of the city and create a new municipal structure that would clearly alter the existing status quo. Israeli actions would also constitute a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and disregard the relevant resolutions of the Council. France appealed to Israel to abandon that approach.

Jerusalem was a sacred place for three major religions, he said. Only an agreement between the parties could break the deadlock that was profoundly disappointing and saddening to all those who admired the courage and vision of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders who initiated it. The security of Israel was a legitimate concern and was recognized by the international community and also by Palestinians. Genuine security only lay in the resolve of peoples and their leaders to opt for coexistence and cooperation. The parties must choose once and for all to put their efforts into good faith discussions. France appealed to Israeli leaders to opt for negotiation.

CHARLES ESSONGHE (Gabon) said the expectations raised by discussion on the peace process in the Middle East had proven to be illusory. Once again, the international community was witnessing a fresh increase in tension between the parties. Gabon was perturbed by the precarious nature of the situation in the region in light of recent developments. The Madrid agreements, as well as agreements that followed, had established a framework that would allow the building of a lasting and just peace in the region. Yet, there had been a net slippage backward in the process. All the parties should fulfil their obligations and refrain from any measures that would damage the process. The United Nations had a major role to play in the Middle East in view of the deadlock which existed at present. Gabon believed that only dialogue would enable the parties to eliminate the remaining areas under dispute.

DANILO TÜRK (Slovenia) said the peace process, launched in Madrid and Oslo, proved that peace was a realistic possibility. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders should live up to their responsibility and commitments to their own people, and continue further steps towards peace and security for the benefit and well-being of the people of the Middle East.

There was a wide degree of consensus in the international community about settlement activities, which were illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. That Convention was applicable in the present situation. Activities and plans altering the demographic balance in the Jerusalem area blocked the peace process. Jerusalem was a holy city for three religions. The question of its status was emotional and potentially explosive. It should be solved in negotiations between the two parties, but until then the status established by Security Council resolution 242 (1967) continued to apply. All sides should refrain from any action that could have negative implications for the peace process.


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He commended the efforts of the co-sponsors of the peace process, especially the United States, whose determination and commitment to the success of the process gave hope that the difficulties could be overcome. The right of Palestinians to self-determination and the right of Israel to live within safe borders would have to be fully recognized and articulated in specific arrangements.

HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said his Government deplored the recent decision by the Israeli Government to extend the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipal authority. It was yet another in a succession of measures by Israel to change the demographics of Jerusalem, and to strengthen the position of the occupying Power. All Israeli settlements in the occupied territory were illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. That included settlements in East Jerusalem. The Israeli settlement policy endangered the Middle East peace process. The Israeli Government must rescind all actions which changed the status of Jerusalem, including the latest action which was the reason for today's meeting.

Sweden urged Israel to accept the proposals of the United States on a further withdrawal from the areas on the West Bank, he said. At present, that course was the only way to regain the momentum of the peace process and resume final status negotiations. In 1993, Israel and the PLO agreed that true and lasting security for the two peoples could be achieved only through a political process, at the negotiating table. Only such a process could pave the way for a comprehensive and just settlement that could lead to lasting peace in the Middle East.

ANTONIO MONEIRO (Portugal) said the recent plan of Israel to extend the municipal authority of Jerusalem contravened the terms of reference of the peace process and the spirit of the Oslo accords. It came after a sequence of unacceptable actions by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian population in Jerusalem. It violated the Fourth Geneva Convention which applied to the occupied territories, including Jerusalem. The measures not only increased the frustration of all those supporting the peace process, but encouraged those on both sides opposed to it.

Portugal appealed to the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision on the municipality of Jerusalem, since it would only derail the peace talks. It also appealed to Israel to accept the current United States initiative so that the peace process could resume. Portugal believed that there was no alternative to the peace process in the Middle East. The Security Council must urge the parties to live up to their commitments and to comply with their obligations under international law and the agreements they had reached.

ELFATIH MOHAMED ERWA (Sudan), speaking for the Arab Group, said the Israeli action in expanding the boundaries of Jerusalem came in the context of its expansionist policies over Palestinian territories. Relevant General Assembly resolutions had reaffirmed the special status of Jerusalem. The


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Israeli action also violated Security Council resolutions. It was a flagrant violation of international law and the Madrid and Oslo peace accords. It was an effort to pre-empt the outcome of the negotiations. Israel was following a policy of fait accompli, he said.

He noted a statement adopted by the Arab League at an emergency special session last week, in which it had stated that the Israeli action was a serious violation of international law and "wreaked of racism". The Arab League had called upon the United States to get Israel to abide by the accords already achieved. It had welcomed the position of the Russian Federation, a co-sponsor of the peace accords, as well as that of the European Union. The Security Council must condemn the Israeli action and declare it null and void. Any Council measure must reafffirm its principled position. A wrong message should not be sent to Israel.

MOHAMMAD J. SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates) said the Council was meeting to consider the recent decision by the Israeli Government pertaining to the expansion of the municipal borders of Jerusalem, to include neighbouring and other illegal settlements on the West Bank. That decision aimed at changing the demographic, institutional, and legal framework of that holy Arab city. The ultimate Israeli aim was to isolate the city from the other cities of the West Bank, the Gaza strip and the other occupied Arab territories. The recent decision by Israel was a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and the basic principles of the peace process. Its policies would gain the Israeli Government no legal or legitimate right to those lands. The international community had condemned similar Israeli actions in numerous resolutions.

He said recent decisions by Israel had coincided with its call for a second peace conference in Madrid. Those actions clearly unmasked the aggressive intentions of the Israeli Government and explained the obstacles Israel put in the way of a resumption of the peace process. The arming of its settlers, the demolition of homes and the confiscation of lands were also part of Israeli policy. All those measures were aimed at annexing the eastern part of the holy city of Jerusalem. That policy had grave consequences for the well-being of the Palestinian people and the peace process in the Middle East. The international community should hold Israel responsible for any negative repercussions caused by its illegal actions.

ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said that for several weeks Israel had been taking a series of measures to tighten its grip on the occupied territories. The recent plan to expand the municipality of Al Qods (Jerusalem) manifestly defied international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel's latest decision was not in keeping with the basic principle of the peace process -- land for peace. It was a flagrant violation of the agreements reached by the parties. He noted that the future of the Holy City was to be discussed in the final status negotiations. Israeli action was in anticipation of events, and as a fait accompli to bring pressure to bear on the Palestinians. It was an


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outright threat to international peace and security because of the tensions it had generated which could lead to an explosion.

Algeria expected the Security Council to fulfil its mandate and have Israel rescind its plans. Failure to do so would lead to extremism. The Council must shoulder its responsibilities.

AHMED SNOUSSI (Morocco) said the Israeli Government's recent decision to expand the municipal authority of Al Qods was another in a series of challenges that it had placed before the international community. Israel was reiterating its contempt for previous Council resolutions, which had emphasized that all measures that changed the geographic and demographic nature of Al Qods were null and void. Israel's actions demonstrated its arrogance, and its refusal to undertake the international agreements it had pledge to uphold. The Israeli Government had signed the Oslo agreements and had committed to establishing a bridge of confidence and respect with international community. Yet, its actions were in contradiction to international legal instruments and United Nations resolutions. It involved a long-term strategy of totally changing the make-up of the holy city.

Morocco had always supported a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The latest acts of aggression by Israel only strengthened the beliefs of those who had thought that there would never be peace with Israel. The international community had launched numerous appeals to Israel to put aside its aggressive policies, but those appeals had been made in vain. There was no longer any suspicions about Israel's intentions or its sense of justice. The Muslim community had affirmed that the city was an integral part of the land occupied by Israel since 1967, and the Council should act by reminding the Israeli Government to honour its previous commitments.

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said his Government was concerned about the recent approval by the Israeli Government of a plan which would alter the demographic balance in the Jerusalem area. The plan was not conducive to creating trust between the parties in the Middle East peace process, which was essential to move the process out of the present stalemate. The decision might actually increase tension between the parties and might pre-empt the outcome of final status talks.

Israel should recognize the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and to other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and comply fully with its provisions. Norway also appealed to the parties to respect the letter and spirit of the Oslo accords. In addition, his Government urged the parties to intensify their bilateral consultations at the highest possible level, to implement the outstanding issues in the interim agreements, and move as fast as possible to the final status negotiations.


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NASSER BIN HAMAD AL-KHALIFA (Qatar) said Israel was attempting to impose a fait accompli on the Palestinian people through its actions, including the attempt to change the demographic composition of Jerusalem. Israel had refused to implement Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem and had turned its back on the peace process. The Israeli Government was attempting to stand the fundamental principles of the peace process on their heads by a number of unilateral acts. Its actions seemed to indicate that Israel was not subject to any international law. Its settlement policies and attempts to change the demographic composition of Jerusalem all violated the Fourth Geneva Convention. Security Council resolutions had described as null and void any actions to change the demography of Jerusalem.

He called on the Security Council to uphold its previous resolutions and to demand that Israel rescind its plans. The international community must compel Israel to stop its policies, he added.

NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt) said Israel's expansionist policy aimed to prejudge the outcome of the legal status and demographic composition of Jerusalem, while isolating it from the other cities of the West Bank. It was part of a plan to obstruct the peace process to which the previous Israeli Government had committed itself. Jerusalem represented a spiritual and historic heritage; it was a city that was a source of profound religious feeling in the Arab world. Any measures that altered the status of Jerusalem were null and void, and Egypt rejected them in form and in substance. Such measures ran counter to international legal instruments and United Nations resolutions. Israel's decision aimed at annexing settlements ran counter to its commitments with the Palestinian Authority designed to defer decisions on that territory until the final status negotiations.

Previously, the international community had categorically rejected the illegal measures taken by successive Israeli governments to annex eastern Jerusalem. The city of East Jerusalem was an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories. Those territories, including East Jerusalem, were subject to rules of The Hague and the Fourth Geneva Conventions, which prohibited the occupying Power from annexing any territory.

The General Assembly, in numerous resolutions, had stated that the Fourth Geneva Convention was fully applicable to the occupied Arab territories. In addition, the States parties to that Convention had a responsibility to ensure the Convention's applicability. Unfortunately, Israel had trampled all the provisions of those resolutions, as well as all relevant Council resolutions. The provisions of the Middle East peace agreements must be applied by both sides, and neither party should take unilateral actions that would prejudge the outcome of the final status negotiations. If that happened, all commitments and agreements lost their value.

The PRESIDENT then suspended the meeting of the Council.


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When the Council resumed its meeting at 3:39 p.m., MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said Israel's provocative decision to expand the municipality of Jerusalem was aimed at erasing the Arab character of the city, and into completing its total Judaization. It was an aggression against the Palestinian people which Syria totally rejected. Furthermore, the plan was a flagrant violation of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention. Syria considered the decision null and void and of no legal consequence.

The Israeli action was aimed at destroying the peace process, he said. It was a practical embodiment of ethnic cleansing, which had led to the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and forced many more into exile. Palestinians who had always owned their land now controlled only 5 per cent of it.

Scores of Assembly and Council resolutions had demanded that Israel cease actions that might alter the character of Jerusalem and to withdraw from occupied Palestinian and Arab lands, but Israel had totally refused to comply. Why had no sanctions been imposed on Israel for non-compliance with Security Council decisions? he asked. The policies of the Israeli Government had led to the total paralysis of the peace process. Israeli action was an explosive issue. Syria would not give up its lands. It was for a lasting peace based on the relevant resolutions of the Security Council which demanded Israeli withdrawal from Syrian Golan, and to the borders existing before the 1967 war.

Syria urged the co-sponsors of the peace process, European Union member States and peace-loving countries to urge Israel to resume the peace negotiations. The Security Council must demand compliance of its resolutions by Israel. It should call upon Israel to rescind its decision. Syria supported the Palestinian people and urged the international community to continue to offer them all the necessary assistance. A mere expression of concern and denunciation of Israel for its plan was not enough. The Council must move effectively and firmly to have Israel resume its negotiations with the parties. The Council must avoid a double standard in upholding international peace and security.

ABDALLA SALEH AL-ASHTAL (Yemen) said the Israeli expansionist policy would alter the demographic composition of Jerusalem and destroy the legal, natural and ethnic status of the city, which belonged to all three major religions. Yemen condemned the expansionist policy of the Israeli Government as it was a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, international law and numerous Assembly and Council resolutions. The Council had affirmed numerous times that the Fourth Geneva Convention was applicable to all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including Jerusalem.

The Council should adopt practical concrete measures to prevent the repeated violation by Israel of its previously adopted resolutions, he said.


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Ever since the current extremist Israeli Government came to power, it had relentlessly renounced the Oslo agreements and undermined the peace process with new ploys. The peace process must not be stopped. Yemen invited the Council to assume its role in accordance with resolution 242, which was the essential framework for achieving a just and lasting peace settlement in the Middle East.

SAMIR MOUBARAK (Lebanon) said the recent Israeli programme aimed to tighten the Government's illegal grip on Jerusalem by expanding the size of the settlements. It was a concrete, illegal step aimed at annexing more occupied territories. Lebanon had hoped that there would be a new dawn in the region and that a just, lasting and permanent peace would prevail. Yet, Israel's expansionist policies had dealt a blow to those hopes. Israel had declared openly that it was reneging on its commitments to the peace process and had made settlements a basic political priority. The Council was once again forced to concentrate on the Israeli measures in the occupied East Jerusalem that aimed at changing the legal status and demographic composition of that city.

The Council had adopted 16 resolutions on Jerusalem, among those were texts that declared that all actions that aimed at changing the legal and demographic status of the city were null and void and had no legal basis. The Fourth Geneva Convention applied to all of the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem. Despite the stated pretexts, all illegal Israeli actions had always led to an escalation of violence and an increase in the tensions among Arabs and Israelis. What peace could come from such measures? The current failure in the peace process was a result of Israeli actions. The provisions of international law stated that the land seized by Israel in 1967 must be returned to their rightful owners. In addition, Israel, as the occupying Power, must not make any change in those territories. In many of its resolutions, the Council had demanded that Israel respect its commitments and obligations as occupying Power. Lebanon called on the co-sponsors of the peace process and the international community to persuade Israel to implement its commitments. Israel should not be free of the pressures of public opinion so it could continue its expansionist settlement policies.

IBRA DEGUENE KA, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said the Committee firmly condemned the Israeli Government's decision to expand the borders of Jerusalem. Israel through its policy of faits accomplis had set about to modify the historical characteristics and the Arab-Jewish make-up of the city. For more than 18 months, the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem had been taking place. The expelled Palestinians were not immigrants; their families had lived there. A recent introduction of a quota system into a plan for Jerusalem aimed for a target in which 70 per cent of the population of Jerusalem would be Jews and 30 per cent Arabs by the year 2000. Such unilateral decisions were not only a provocation for the


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Palestinian people, but represented major setbacks in the peace process that had been on hold for more than a year.

The Committee expressed its profound concern about the Israeli action which it considered null and void. The Committee urged Member States to call upon the Israeli Government to rescind its decision and to refrain from establishing a fait accompli on the ground which might predetermine the outcome of the final status talks. Israel must desist from any action that would alter the physical character, demographic composition and the institutional structure of Jerusalem and the status of Palestinian and Arab lands. Israel must implement quickly and comprehensively the agreements already concluded with the PLO in order to create the necessary conditions for a just and lasting settlement on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). Jerusalem belonged to all faiths and peoples, and must remain the city of peace. It must be the cradle for peace and harmony for all peoples.

HASAN ABU-NIMAH (Jordan) said the Israeli Government's decision contravened to the Fourth Geneva Convention, several Council resolutions and international law. It also ran counter to the 1993 agreement that stated that the status of Jerusalem would be decided in the final stage negotiations of the Middle East peace process. Jordan was pleased to see that all the speakers that previously had taken the floor had confirmed the position that Israel's expansionist policies should be considered null and void and without any legal justification. They were destructive to the peace process and to the work of preceding Israeli leaders who had made worthy progress. Jordan condemned all Israeli attempts to alter the Arab nature of Jerusalem and especially Israel's expansionist policies.

The Israeli decision was one link in a chain of measures that had been brought to the attention of the Council in recent years, he said. Jordan had warned against Israeli policies that infringed upon the rights of Palestinians and had nefarious effects on the peace process. All of those acts had inherent dangers and constituted a threat to security in the region. Israel's Prime Minister had stated publicly that he wanted to keep the Arab population under 30 per cent of the total for Jerusalem and had hinted at other expansionist moves. His Government appealed to Israel to continue along the road that had started in Madrid. The States in the region must support one another and not deprive the inhabitants of hope and opportunity.

ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) said the Israeli decision on Jerusalem was one of the most dangerous acts as far as the holy city was concerned. It was aimed at changing the city's demographic nature and erasing its Arab identity. It was a provocation for the Palestinian people and a challenge to the international community. It was also a clear violation of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations. Furthermore, it violated Security Council resolutions,


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particularly resolution 242. Israel still violated the will of the international community and refused to comply with resolutions.

The Council must adopt firm measures to get Israel to rescind its decision and to return to the peace negotiations. The world was looking at the Council to see what resolution it would adopt to uphold its credibility.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said the situation in the occupied territory was a matter of grave concern to the international community. One country's continued defiance of international law and United Nations resolutions, and systematic violations of human rights in the occupied territories, were unfortunate. Israel had paid only scant attention to the international community's demands. It had continued its illegal measures and actions which violated the territorial integrity of the occupied territories and imposed restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods. Israel's recent programme to strengthen its illegal hold on Jerusalem would expand the border of that city and extend the municipal authority over some Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Bangladesh called on the Council and the international community to demand that Israel refrain from that gross violation of international law and relevant Council resolutions.

He said his Government was concerned by Israel's flagrant violation of human rights and its imposition of the instrument of oppression against the Palestinian people, under the pretext of security considerations. The Israeli Government was retaliating against violations by individuals with collective punishments such as blockades, the demolition of houses, the confiscation of property and mass deportations. Bangladesh called on the international community to reinject momentum into the peace process and to exert all the necessary efforts and initiatives to ensure its continuity and success. It was necessary to end all illegal measures and actions by Israel in order to restore mutual confidence and promote peace. The peace process could be effectively advanced by the withdrawal of all troops from the occupied territories, ceasing settlement activities in those areas and allowing the Palestinian diaspora to return to their homeland.

ABDULRAHMAN S. AL-AHMED (Saudi Arabia) said his country was gravely concerned about the continuing acts of the Israeli authorities to change the demographic and structural character of Jerusalem, as well as its legal, historical, religious and cultural identity. It was a violation of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention and The Hague Convention of 1907. The Israeli action would also influence negotiations on the future of Jerusalem, and result in the total control of the city by Israel and the city's isolation from the rest of the West Bank. Permanent peace in the Middle East would not be achieved without a just solution to the issue of Holy Jerusalem. The future of the region was in the hands of the international community which must take the necessary steps to stop Israel's illegal practices. The Israeli plan would shatter the peace process. The expansion of Jerusalem was unacceptable and


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contravened international treaties and resolutions and would not be accepted by the Muslim world.

He said the Israeli Government would lose its credibility in the peace process. The Security Council must demand that Israel stop any illegal practices in Arab Jerusalem. The Council must assume its responsibilities and take the necessary measures to stop Israeli violations.

NIZAR HAMDOON (Iraq) said the measures that aimed to eliminate Jerusalem's Arab identity were part of Israel's plan to control that city by expanding the municipal boundaries. Those measures were in clear violation of resolutions of the Security Council. The Council should give sufficient attention to that issue and stop the Judaization of that sacred city. The Council must confront the fact that Israel's policies since 1967 had involved using the machinery of the Council to achieve its narrow self-interest. One permanent member of the Council still insisted that the question of Palestine and Jerusalem had no place on the agenda of the Council. That country had matched its words with deeds and had prevented the Council from looking into the question of Palestine and Jerusalem. In the instances when the Council had looked into that issue, that country had used its veto to abort resolutions that held Israel accountable for its actions.

The international community had met with anger and resolution the Israeli Government's decision to expand the boundaries of Jerusalem, he said. Those actions represented a clear physical violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Council should adopt a resolution that condemned the recently adopted Israeli law and enforced measures to prevent the occupation authority from establishing additional settlements. If the Council did not do so, it would only weaken its credibility, which was currently in a pitiful state.

MOHAMMAD ABULHASAN (Kuwait) said the Council and the Assembly had already adopted many resolution on the issue, but they had gone unimplemented and neglected by Israel, the occupying Power. Israel had also challenged those resolutions and adopted provocative policies to erase the Arab character of Jerusalem and change the city's demographic and geographic nature. The decision taken to expand the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to include the surrounding settlements was yet another testimony to Israel's lack of commitment to the bilateral agreements signed with the Palestinian Authority, as part of the peace process. The present Israeli Government had not left any room for doubt that its practices and policies would undoubtedly lead to a failure of the peace process and plunge the region into a state of increased tension and instability. A lack of confidence was prevailing among the parties concerned with the peace process.

Kuwait strongly condemned Israel's decision to expand the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, he said, and also demanded that Israel recommit itself to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and apply those


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provisions to all the territories it had occupied since 1967. Israel must commit itself to the agreements it had made with the Palestinian Authority. Unconditional Israeli withdrawal from the occupied lands was the only guarantee for peace and security for all the countries in the region. The Council should stand firmly in the face of Israeli policies and practice in order to force that country's Government to be committed to international law and all bilateral agreements of the peace process.

MOHAMMED ABDULLAH SALIM AL-SAMEEN (Oman) said the Israeli decision on Jerusalem would enable it to strengthen its hold on the city and to change its demographic character. The measures taken by Israel to expand Jerusalem's municipal boundaries represented a flagrant violation of the peace process, as well as international resolutions. It jeopardized the peace process. Oman was disturbed to see the peace process threatened. Israel continued to pursue settlement policies and had not fulfilled its obligations, thus bringing the peace process to a deadlock. The decision on Jerusalem was yet another step in a long acts of violations. Oman urged the co-sponsors of the peace process and the European Union to bring pressure to bear on Israel to resume the process. The collapse of the peace process would have profound consequences.

The Security Council should ensure that Israel rescinded its decision. Oman would support the draft resolution that would be brought before the Council. The draft would not be confrontational, and he hoped it would be adopted by consensus.

AULD DEDDACH (Mauritania) said the new Israeli plan to expand the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem proved once again that the United Nations and the Security Council must assume responsibility to maintain peace and security in that sensitive part of the world. The Israeli policy would alter the status of Jerusalem and tighten that Government's grip on the city. It also represented a violation of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the resolutions of the Council and the Assembly.

Israel's refusal to implement the relevant resolutions forced the international community to adopt new measures that would force Israel to respect and adhere to international law, he said. Mauritania called for the convening of an international conference of the States parties to the Geneva Conventions to discuss the forceful application of those Conventions in the occupied territories. The actions of the Israeli Government threatened to destroy the efforts of others to establish a just, permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. His Government called on the co-sponsors of the peace process to resume their responsibility and prevail upon the Israeli Government to work towards progress in the peace process on all tracks, within the agreements made at Oslo and Madrid.

MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said the Security Council could not remain indifferent and passive to the series of Israeli onslaughts on the peace


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process. It should ensure that the region did not lapse into a crisis with far-reaching consequences. The peace process must move forward. Israel must fully observe the agreements already reached, and negotiate in good faith on the remaining key issues and on the basis of a recognition of the right of the Palestinians to an independent State with Al Quds Al Sharif as their capital.

He reiterated that the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people was an essential pre-requisite for a durable and comprehensive peace in the region. The Security Council must ensure the unconditional withdrawal of Israel from all occupied territories in accordance with its resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978). The Council must send a clear and unambiguous message to Israel to end its illegal policies and actions.

RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia) said the Israeli Government, through its unilateral actions, placed into serious question its own commitment to the peace process. His delegation called upon Israel to join the Palestinians and other concerned parties to make every effort to revive the peace process. It also called upon Israel to build effective partnerships with Palestinians, as well as with its neighbours at all levels. The Security Council must take immediate steps to ensure the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, as well as to promote efforts to encourage the immediate resumption of the Palestinian- Israeli peace process. Malaysia also urged the co-sponsors of the peace process to earnestly encourage the Israeli Government to honour its obligations and commitments to the peace agreements. Security for all countries in the Middle East could be assured only by the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region.

HADI NEJAD-HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said Israel robbed the Palestinian people of their land some 50 years ago. Now the Israeli Government was in the process of robbing Palestinian and the entire Muslim nation of their heritage and what they held to be divine and sacred. The current Israeli programme aimed to strengthen and perpetuate its illegal occupation of Jerusalem. It included the creation of an "umbrella municipality", and it included the construction of roads and other infrastructure in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. That programme was a practical move to illegally annex more of the Palestinian occupied territories to the municipality covering Jerusalem. That municipality had already been expanded illegally and in violation of the rules of international law and the relevant resolutions of the Council and the Assembly.

The announcement of the programme by the highest-level Israeli official clearly illustrated that country's total defiance of the international community, he said. There was little doubt about the disdain that the Israeli leaders had for the principles of international law and the decisions of the United Nations. It was commonly acknowledged, deplored and condemned, but very little was done about it. The present meeting was a test for the Council


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to discharge its obligations on behalf of the general membership of the Organization and thus gain the credibility it deserved. The international community expected the Council to condemn the Israeli decision of 21 June, demand that the decision be rescinded and adopt measures to counter the organized Israeli steps to alter the historic and demographic status of Jerusalem.

MARTA GALINDO (Colombia) said that at a ministerial meeting of non- aligned countries in New Delhi last year, all resolutions on Jerusalem had been reaffirmed as being an integral part of Palestine. Measures to change its demographic character were deemed null and void. The movement's Coordinating Committee at a meeting in Colombia last May had reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and their right to an independent State of their own with Jerusalem as capital. The ministers and heads of delegations of the Coordinating Committee had also reaffirmed their position on the illegal occupation of all Palestinian and Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and urged compliance all by Israel with General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. They had also endorsed the resolutions of the tenth special session of the General Assembly, which also called for a meeting of the contracting parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said the General Assembly, at its last (fifty-second) session and its tenth emergency session, had dealt with the question of Palestine and Jerusalem. The Council also examined the issue last year, and only the veto of one permanent member prevented it from adopting a resolution in March 1997. The situation was deteriorating alarmingly, particularly in the context of increased Israeli settlements and the continuation of blockades. More settlements were being built and roads were being constructed to link them. The recent Israeli programme was a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant Assembly and Council resolutions. It lacked any legal value and clearly flouted the will of the international community.

He said the holding of an open debate demonstrated the duty of the Council to deal with the status of the occupied Arab territories, and it should not be subjected to any conditions or terms. How long would States have to witness a double standard adopted by some Council permanent members that took care of national interests and blocked action through the use of their veto? he asked. The Council had before it an opportunity to enhance its credibility and defend the principles of the Charter. The Council should adopt specific measures to impede Israeli actions that violated international law and the will of the Council itself. Cuba stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the achievement of their inalienable rights.

ALI AL-SALAFI, Chargé d'affaires ad interim of the Office of the Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, said the question of Jerusalem was deferred to the final status negotiations between the


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Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government. The decision by Israel to annex settlements to the municipality of Jerusalem represented a clear violation of the peace accords. The expansion of the holy city also violated international legitimacy, including 16 Security Council resolutions. Those clearly stated that legislative and administrative measures that changed the status of Jerusalem were null and void and could not change the status of that city. Israel was trying to surround Jerusalem with settlement belts which would lead to a decrease in the percentage of Arab citizens, which now comprised a clear minority.

Israel had seized most of its territory in Jerusalem by force, he said. The recent Israeli expansionist plan aimed to tighten the grip of the municipal authority and dominate the city. The League of Arab States called upon the co-sponsors of the peace process to take a stand before the Israeli measures. The United States should maintain a positive response in the wake of Israel's recent settlement plan. Momentum in the peace process must be recaptured in order to maintain peace and security for all the countries in the region. The Israeli policies, if unchallenged, would return the Middle East to a state of conflict once again. All parties should avoid unilateral measures that would increase tension and make negotiations more difficult. The League of Arab States called for support of Arab rights in the face of Israeli provocations.

MOKHTAR LAMANI, Permanent Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said previous Security Council resolutions had, among other things, urged Israel to stop changing the demographic character of Jerusalem. Israel had continued to confiscate Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, filling them with Jewish settlers. Religious sites had not been spared. Repeated condemnation of those Israeli acts had not led to any tangible results. He reiterated that the international community considered international guarantees for Jerusalem and that its future should be determined in future talks. The peace process was suffering from total collapse. The Security Council must take a firm position now commensurate with the challenges posed by Israel. Any complacency on the Council's part would be tantamount to encouraging Israel to continue with its policies.

FERNANDO GUILLEN (Peru) said there should be a special status and international guarantees for the city of Jerusalem. Two resolutions submitted on the subject in the past had been vetoed. At the tenth special session of the General Assembly, resolutions adopted had been supported by a vast majority of the membership. It had been clearly established that the status of Jerusalem was nothing that should be settled by bilateral negotiations between two parties. It had been also established that there should be international guarantees for Jerusalem. Peru believed it was indispensable for the Security Council to adopt decisions firmly on the matter of Jerusalem.

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