20/08/2001
Press Release
SC/7122



Security Council

4357th Meeting (AM & PM)


IMPLEMENTATION OF MITCHELL RECOMMENDATIONS STRESSED AS ONLY HOPE


FOR RETURN TO MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS


Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee -- otherwise known as the Mitchell report

-- was overwhelmingly stressed today in the Security Council as the only viable path towards ending the violence in the Middle East and reviving the peace process.  The Council was meeting on the situation in the Middle East at the request of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. 


The Mitchell Committee, led by former United States Senator George Mitchell, was established after an October 2000 summit at the Egyptian resort of

Sharm el-Sheikh.  At that time, the clashes between Israel and the Palestinians had just begun.


The report, which was issued on 21 May, included:  a call for an immediate ceasefire, a renunciation of terrorism and a resumption of peace talks; rebuilding confidence and trust between Israel and the Palestinian Authority; a resumption of talks between Israeli and Palestinian security officials; a freeze on construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza; a call for Israel to lift economic restraints on Palestinian areas; calls for the Palestinian Authority to prevent Palestinian attacks on Israelis, and for Israel to limit its use of lethal force against Palestinians.


As the Council heard from close to 40 speakers today, many of them supported the establishment of an international observer force in the Middle East.  Others decried the further escalation of violence, targeted Israeli extrajudicial assassinations, the occupation by Israeli authorities of Orient House and other Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, as well as deliberately “provocative acts”.


A number of speakers also called on the Council to act swiftly and urgently to protect the Palestinian people.  One speaker urged that course on the Council instead of “standing by while television screens daily portrayed the spectacle of the systematic killing of innocent Palestinian civilians”.  The Palestinian Authority was also to make a 100 per cent effort to prevent terrorist actions by extremist groups.


Speaking first this morning, the Observer for Palestine said one issue which he did not approve of was the suicide bombings that had taken place in Israel.  Palestine did not condone the bombings, and had clearly condemned such acts.  Turning to the Mitchell report, he said that after the issuance of the report, Israel claimed to have accepted it, but had invented the idea of separate stages of implementation and a seven-day period of “quiet” preceding implementation. 


How could the days of quiet be achieved without joint implementation of the recommendations by the two sides, asked the Observer.  The Israeli position was at best unrealistic and impractical.  He called for the immediate, comprehensive and scrupulous implementation of the recommendations made in the report.  He also called on the parties, particularly those which had participated in its formulation, to adhere to it. 


Addressing the situation on the ground in an effective and speedy way should take place within a political context, he said.  One could not separate security, or the actual situation, from political vision and the future.  Dealing with the situation on the ground could not be achieved by putting the burden on the Palestinian side.  His side had declared acceptance of the Mitchell report and had called for the comprehensive implementation of its recommendations.


Israel's representative said his country had accepted the Mitchell report and all its sequential aspects as a road-map leading back to the negotiating table, and remained committed to it.  The draft resolution before the Council, however, was a biased and one-sided document that sought to place blame for the present crisis squarely on one party.  It required virtually nothing of the Palestinian side.


He said the draft used veiled language that freed the Palestinians from their own obligations to end the violence.  There was no “call on the two sides”, but rather a semantic procedure which explicitly designated Israel as the unique source of violence, and implicitly absolved the Palestinian side.  The draft’s supposed fidelity to the recommendations of the Mitchell report was also disingenuous. 


He said the Palestinians who had called for implementation of the Mitchell recommendations seemed to have forgotten exactly what they were.  The recommendations of the Committee must be fully implemented without delay, including the immediate cessation of hostilities.  There was nothing that must be discussed or negotiated.  That was a straightforward necessity that required concerted action, not meaningless proclamations.


The representatives of Mali, Jamaica, United States, Russian Federation, China, United Kingdom, France, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Singapore, Mauritius, Ireland, Norway, Ukraine and Colombia all made statements this morning.


Interventions were also made by the representatives of Qatar, Algeria, Jordan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, South Africa, Iran, Pakistan, Bahrain, Morocco, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Yemen, Japan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Malaysia, Egypt, Iraq, Oman and Libya.


The representative of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People also addressed the Council today. 


The meeting, which began at 10:20 a.m., was suspended at 1:20 p.m., resumed at 3:17 p.m. and suspended at 6:50 p.m.  It will resume tomorrow at 3 p.m.


Background


The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.  It did so following a request by the Islamic Group, contained in a letter dated 15 August from the representatives of Mali and Qatar addressed to the President of the Security Council (document S/2001/797).  The letter states that recent actions by Israel, including its illegal seizure of Orient House and its forceful occupation of other Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem, are severely undermining the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to lend stability to its administration and threatening the peace process in the region.


Statements


NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, noted that the Council was meeting five months after it voted on 27 March on the draft resolution submitted by the members of the Non-Aligned Movement.  That draft resolution had not been adopted due to the use of the veto by a Permanent Member of the Council.  Had the Council been able to take specific measures, matters might have been different.  It was impossible to justify the fact that the Council had not succeeded in taking any measures since the adoption of resolution 1322 of 7 October 2000 concerning the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem.  He called upon Council members to consider the issue as a matter of principle and called upon them to adhere to their role in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The urgent reason for the meeting was the continuing deterioration of the situation to a dangerous level.


He said the past period had undermined the only available plan embodied in the recommendations of the report of the Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, also known as the Mitchell Committee.  The visit of Ariel Sharon to Al-Haram Al-Sharif in September 2000, the collective resistance of the Palestinian people to the aggression against sacred sites, and their rejection of the continuation of Israeli occupation had ignited the second intifada and the unprecedented Israeli bloody military campaign.  The Israeli occupying forces had killed 572 Palestinians, many of them children.  Only yesterday the forces of occupation murdered a father, his son and daughter by shelling their house.  A teenager was also murdered yesterday, as was a man in Nablus.  Another man, who was carrying school supplies he had bought in the city, had been murdered in his attempt to circumvent an Israeli checkpoint.  Some 20,000 Palestinians had also been injured and many were permanently disabled.  The Israeli occupying forces had also caused extensive destruction to economic establishments and vast agricultural areas.  In many instances, they had used heavy weaponry, including tanks, helicopter gunships and even F-16 warplanes to destroy a large number of sites belonging to the Palestinian Authority.  Their forces had also imposed external and internal closures leading to the complete dismemberment of Palestinian territory.  Their forces had committed assassinations or extrajudicial killings against identified persons. 


The Israeli occupying forces had committed many atrocities against the Palestinian people, some of which were undoubtedly war crimes according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, he said.  The result of the Israeli military campaign was the transformation of the lives of an entire people into a veritable hell.  Israel had recently taken another illegal step by closing down Orient House, the Palestinian political centre in occupied East Jerusalem, in addition to nine other buildings belonging to Palestinian institutions.  That Israeli step constituted a dangerous escalation and assault on Palestinian national dignity and rights in the Holy City.  It also denoted a reversal by force of an important part of the agreements reached between the two sides, and a flagrant violation of the explicit commitment made in a letter of the Israeli Foreign Minister to the Foreign Minister of Norway in October 1996 regarding Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem. 


He said the origin of the whole conflict was the existence of the Israeli occupation and the practices linked to the occupation, including settler colonialism and the illegal transfer of Israelis to the occupied territory.  The current deterioration was basically an outcome of Israeli actions.  Tension was not due to Palestinian attempts to invade Israel but to expanded Israeli occupying forces in Palestinian populated areas.  One issue which he did not approve of was the bombings that had taken place in Israel.  Palestine did not condone the bombings, which had been clearly condemned. 


Dealing with the situation on the ground in an effective and speedy way should take place within a political context, he said.  One could not separate security, or the actual situation, from political vision and the future.  Dealing with the situation on the ground could not be achieved by an attempt to put the burden on the Palestinian side.  They had clearly declared acceptance of the Mitchell Committee recommendations and had called for their comprehensive implementation.  Israel had frequently expressed its animosity towards the Committee.  After the issuance of the report, the Israeli Government said that it did not accept its recommendations for the cessation of settlement activity. 


Although the Israeli Government had said that it accepted the report, it had invented the idea of separate stages of implementation and the seven-day period of “quiet” that should precede implementation.  How could the days of quiet be achieved without the joint implementation of the recommendations by the two sides?  The Israeli position was at best unrealistic and impractical.  He called for the immediate, comprehensive and scrupulous implementation of the recommendations made in the report.  He also called upon the parties, particularly those which had participated in its formulation, to adhere to it.  The present situation, which threatened the entire region, had arisen after the parties had nearly reached a final settlement.  He believed that there was an existing solution to the conflict.  While it was both clear and achievable, the assistance of the international community was needed.


YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel) said his country sought peace and believed in the vital, urgent need to end the current Israeli-Palestinian impasse in the Middle East.  In that spirit, Israel had accepted the Mitchell report and all its sequential aspects as a road-map leading back to the negotiating table, and remained committed to it. 


He said the unprecedented escalation of Palestinian terrorist attacks was not a new phenomenon in his country, which had now been facing a calculated and orchestrated campaign of terror for more than 10 months.  What would any government do in the face of ongoing daily acts of terrorism that spilled blood on the streets and denied its citizens a sense of security? 


He underscored that prior to the Jerusalem suicide bombing by a Palestinian 10 days ago, his country had provided the Palestinian Authority with a list of terrorists engaged in planning impending attacks against Israel. The Authority had ignored the information on the list and, in flagrant violation of signed agreements, took no action whatsoever.  On that list was Abdullah Bargouti, the mastermind of the Jerusalem bombing.  Obviously, terrorism had become the Palestinian Authority’s preferred way to deal with the peace process.  Chairman Yasser Arafat must receive a clear an unequivocal message from the Security Council and the international community that terrorism was unacceptable.


He said that in light of the security situation, Israel was forced to take action in defence of its citizens.  Those were not actions that it wished to take, but rather actions that were forced upon it, and ones that were indispensable.  “In this regard we should be treated like any other nation that faces armed aggression, let alone continuous violence directed specifically at innocent civilians, seeking to cut them down as they go about the most banal aspects of their lives”, he said. 


The use of human beings as bombs was an alarming phenomenon that had no obvious response, he continued.  Individuals who were willing to sacrifice their lives in such a gruesome manner would not be deterred by ordinary means.  “Our response must therefore be adapted and geared towards cutting off terror at its source because once it is unleashed, it is virtually impossible to stop”, he stressed.  Suicide bombers constituted a unique challenge that required adapted responses. 


He said that in the fight against Palestinian terror, no one was more obligated than Chairman Arafat and no one was better positioned to contain terrorism at its source.  But instead of doing as he had promised, Arafat had himself become a party to terrorism.  As long as the Palestinians maintained that policy, Israel would continue to take the necessary steps to keep the Palestinian killing machine off its streets.


Israel’s actions were intended to achieve what Chairman Arafat had thus far failed to achieve –- the prevention of violence.  Similarly, his country’s seizure of Orient House and the Abu Dis compound was not a takeover, neither was it an occupation or an act of revenge, but one of self-defence.  “What we have done is take the necessary control of buildings that were being used by Palestinian forces to assist terrorists in carrying out their murderous attacks.”


He said the draft resolution before the Council was a biased and one-sided document that sought to place blame for the present crisis squarely on one party.  In fact, it required virtually nothing of the Palestinian side.  It did not call for a commitment to resolutely fight terror, nor did it call for the re-arrest of terrorists currently planning future attacks on Israel.  With regard to the violence itself, the draft used veiled language that freed the Palestinians from their own obligations to end the violence.  There was no “call on the two sides”, but rather a semantic procedure which explicitly designated Israel as the unique source of violence, and implicitly absolved the Palestinian side from its killing of 156 Israelis and the injuring of hundreds of others.


Even more, he continued, the draft’s supposed fidelity to the recommendations of the Mitchell report was disingenuous.  The Palestinians who had called for implementation of the Mitchell recommendations seemed to have forgotten exactly what they were.  The recommendations of the Committee must be fully implemented without delay, including first and foremost an immediate cessation of hostilities.  There was nothing that must be discussed or negotiated.  That was a straightforward necessity that required concerted action, not meaningless proclamations.  ”We find the current draft resolution totally unacceptable and we thoroughly reject it.  I invite our Palestinian partners to join us in implementing a true and genuine ceasefire”, he said.  “Let us lay down our arms and reach out once more to the process of building a future based on respect, coexistence, cooperation and peace.”


ISSOUF O. MAIGA (Mali) thanked the President for responding to his request for an urgent meeting of the Council.  He offered his condolences to the Palestinian martyrs.  The overall situation had deteriorated with a further escalation of violence, targeted assassinations, permanent closure of territories, the occupation by Israeli authorities of Orient House and an armed incursion into the city of Jenin.  Acts of provocation reflected a worrisome downturn in events.  The commitment of the Council was needed to redress matters. 


On 7 October 2000, he said, the Council adopted resolution 1322, which condemned the excessive use of force by Israel.  He was compelled to acknowledge that Israel had continued to have recourse to the use of force, including tank incursions and a targeted assassination campaign.  Mali, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and Palestinians condemned the excessive use of force.  Mali also condemned measures to restrict the circulation of peoples and goods, and all measures of collective punishment, which had a disastrous consequence on the Palestinian people.  The situation would not have deteriorated had the Council acted favourably to the call for the deployment of observers in the field.  Deploying observers would be a positive step and would create a favourable climate for the resumption of negotiations.  Such an action fell clearly under the Council’s current debate on conflict prevention.  The Council could not adopt different standards in the case of Palestinian civilians. 


Inaction would increase tension and the impunity that Israeli authorities enjoyed in promoting the spiral of violence, he added.  He hoped that today’s meeting would lead to clear-cut decisions and immediate action.  The Council owed it to itself to shoulder the burden of responsibility.  He reiterated his support for the peace initiatives of Egypt and Jordan as well as the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee. 


CURTIS WARD (Jamaica) said that the provisions of the Sharm El-Sheikh agreement and the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee remained the best basis to move the peace process forward.  Specifically, the parties need to undertake the following four key steps.  First, the parties should unequivocally end all violence.  Second, both parties should resume confidence-building measures.  Third, the Israeli Government must freeze all settlement activity and both sides should undertake to protect holy sites sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians.  Fourth, Israelis and Palestinians should resume negotiations on the basis of previous agreements. 


In March, Jamaica supported sending an observer team to the Palestinian territories -- a position which did not receive the necessary support from the Council, he said.  He still believed that the deployment of such a force could act as a deterrent to further violence and as a confidence-building measure between the parties.  He asked “had we exercised the political will and approved sending observers into the field several months ago, how many lives could have been saved and how far could the peace process have advanced?”.  Since then, the issue of a monitoring mechanism had received the support of important regional and multilateral organizations, which had concluded that under the current circumstances, third-party monitoring should be accepted by both parties. 


JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States) said it was critical that the terror and violence end.  It was imperative that everything possible be done to preempt terror, arrest those responsible for terrorism, bring them to justice, and end the incitement that created an environment for their actions.  Those horrific attacks had killed and wounded Israelis indiscriminately and had claimed American lives as well.  The Palestinian Authority must act, and make unmistakably clear by its own actions that it would not tolerate such activities.  Without such action, the situation would only deteriorate further. 


At the same time, he continued, Israel should also avoid actions that might escalate the situation, and take economic and security measures on the ground that would alleviate pressure on Palestinians and transform the reality of their daily lives.  There was no magic wand to accomplish those objectives, no statement, resolution, or action by the Council that could remedy the tragic situation.  Implementation of the Mitchell Committee’s recommendations, however difficult, remained the only viable path forward.  The Committee’s recommendations rightly called initially for an unconditional end to the violence.  Indeed, there could be no progress, let alone meaningful negotiations, without it.


GENNADY M. GATILOV (Russian Federation) said it was regrettable that the Middle East peace process had been jettisoned.  From the outbreak of the conflict, his country had made active efforts to help end the violence and resume the quest for a comprehensive settlement in the region.  The Middle East crisis was in fact an area of intense focus by his President, Vladimir Putin.  Efforts encompassed implementation of agreements made, including the recommendations of the Mitchell plan which had been agreed to by both sides. 


He said the Mitchell plan was a road-map that charted the way from ceasefire through to measures to build trust and dialogue.  What was now crucial was the time factor, since daily bloodshed was increasing mutual distrust.  The inevitable logic of confrontation must not take hold in the region.  The leaders of both sides must begin direct dialogue to take concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and resume the negotiating process.  Political will must be demonstrated and both sides must step back from the harsh legacies of the past.  He hoped that such an understanding existed on both sides, and reminded them that history rewarded political courage.


The Palestinians, he said, must end the activities of extremists while Israel must refrain from using repressive methods, such as extrajudicial reprisals and seizure of Palestinian institutions.  There must also be cooperation in the area of security and dialogue, based on Council resolutions 242 and 338.  The Russian Federation would continue to maintain its contacts with the leaders of both sides in an effort to halt the conflict in the region.


WANG YINGFAN (China) appealed strongly to both sides to exercise restraint and stop all forms of violence.  He called on the Israeli Government to return Orient House and other occupied Palestinian buildings to the Palestinians immediately.  Both sides should, with help from the international community, implement as soon as possible relevant recommendations of the Mitchell report and create favorable conditions for the resumption of peace talks.  The members of the Council should put aside differences and work to achieve a consensus as soon as possible, so as to send a strong message to both sides of the conflict and the entire international community that violence must be stopped and tensions eased.


The Council had already carried out many discussions on the issue of sending international observers to the region, he said.  The idea had gained more support from the international community.  He hoped that Israel would respond positively and take that recommendation into earnest consideration.  Considering that the situation is getting worse and worse, efforts from a third party were indispensable to make the two sides cool down, stop the violence and come back to the negotiating table.  That was clear to every outsider.  


STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said that the first priority for all involved must be the implementation, without further delay, of the recommendations of the Mitchell report.  That integral package offered a road-map, endorsed by the international community and accepted by both parties, for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to return to negotiations.  He called on both parties to take immediate action to de-escalate the current crisis.  Both parties must tackle incitement to violence and must bring to justice those who commit violent acts.  The Palestinian Authority must make a 100 per cent effort to reduce violence, including sustained and greater efforts to pre-empt bombings by extremists and bringing those responsible to justice.


He also called on Israel to show the utmost restraint in its use of force and to lift the closures that crippled the Palestinian economy and prevented Palestinians from going about their daily lives.  In addition, he called on Israel to transfer to the Palestinian Authority all revenues owed, to freeze all settlement activity and to fulfil its other obligations under the Mitchell report, without delay.  Further, he was concerned at the continuing closure of Orient House and other institutions in Jerusalem and called on Israel to reverse the closure.  He also called on Israel to refrain from the demolition of Palestinian homes, which risked inflaming an already volatile situation. 


YVES DOUTRIAUX (France) said the escalation of violence had further increased since the Council’s last meeting on the issue.  More children had died yesterday and it seemed that history was going backward.  The spirit of peace must take the upper hand.  It was high time to break with the sterile logic of force and violence.  A way to guide the efforts of the parties to ease tensions must be established.  The Council could be heard and could bring its weight to bear if it were unified.  A common basis was needed, and already existed in the recommendations of the Mitchell report. 


The Palestinians must make a 100 per cent effort to prevent shootings, he said.  By agreeing to the Mitchell recommendations, the Palestinians had committed themselves to preventing shootings from areas under their control.  By agreeing to the recommendations, Israel had committed -- unconditionally -- to the cessation of violence.  Israel was mistaken if it thought destroying houses and crops, executions, and the closure of institutions such as Orient House would allow for a return to calm.   Unilateral measures of oppression were grave violations of international law, Security Council resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Those illegal actions must end.  Orient House must be restored without delay to the Palestinians. 


Security and peace went together, he said.  Only courageous action would one day penetrate the shadows of vengeance and hatred.  The path to peace required a return to calm and the resumption of negotiations based on the principles of past Security Council resolutions and the principle of land for peace.  A monitoring mechanism on the ground could help efforts to reduce tensions. 


SHAMEEM AHSAN (Bangladesh) said that the current volatile situation called for continued and intensified involvement by the international community.  He strongly endorsed the idea of establishing a monitoring mechanism to help the parties implement the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee.  The parties needed help in achieving what they had failed to achieve so far on their own.  Both sides had agreed to the full and comprehensive implementation of the Committee’s recommendations.  The Council should do its part to help them achieve that objective by establishing a monitoring mechanism of an international character.  Such a mechanism would monitor the efforts of the parties to honour the recommendations and exert the much-needed calming influence on the situation.


The reality of the current situation, he said, demanded concerted action by the Council.  Lack of unanimity, however, should not be used as an argument for Council inaction on the issue.  The Council had a responsibility to call for immediate implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations and for launching a viable political process.  The current situation, if left to the momentum that it had generated, was unlikely to lead to any fruitful outcome.  The language of force must be replaced with the language of reason.  The painful reality remained that no such possibility existed as long as the policy of systematic, unilateral, military action was in place, in contravention of international humanitarian law and human rights.  


OTHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia) said the condition of the Palestinian people had reached a frightening level.  Because the Security Council had not been able to shoulder the full burden of its responsibility, it had sent a wrong message to the Israeli authorities, enabling them to continue their practices against the Palestinian people.  Today’s meeting reflected the urgent need to end the serious deterioration of events, which had become, through the presence of Israeli occupying troops, a policy of reaction to events.  The Israeli Government was systematically carrying out retaliation, which ran counter to the standards of international law and human dignity. 


The Israeli Government refused to conform to Council resolutions and international law, not to mention the peace processes from Madrid to Sharm el-Sheikh, he said.  How could Israel’s deception be accepted when its war machine had been dedicated to the goal of striking Palestinian cities and people, violating their rights and holy cities, and even occupying Orient House?  Israel’s goal was to usurp the international rights of the Palestinian people and pursue the occupation of their territory.  The Council must react to end the Israeli policy of circumventing Council resolutions and to pressure Israel to opt for dialogue and peace.  Whatever the might of the Israeli war machine, the rights of the Palestinian people would not fade away. 


Peace was the only way, he said.  The Arab States, at their special meeting in Cairo and in their regular session in Amman, had voiced their firm attachment to peace.  The international community must adopt a non-selective approach.  International observers must be sent to protect Palestinian civilians, to whom the Fourth Geneva Convention applied.  The recommendations of the Mitchell Committee could end the cycle of violence.  The occupation of Orient House was a serious setback to the peace process.  There could be no fair peace in the region without the creation of a Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital.  The Council should take up its responsibility to protect the rights of the Palestinian people.


CHRISTINE LEE (Singapore) said that now more than ever, the parties needed outside help to climb down from the cycle of violence.  She believed that the Mitchell report represented the best hope by providing the parties with a common framework for reciprocal steps to ease tensions and cease hostilities.  Unfortunately, the glimmer of hope provided by the report had waned as violence became more entrenched.  What was needed was an urgent and renewed effort to kick-start its full and immediate implementation. 


For the Council to make a real and constructive impact on the volatile situation, she strongly believed that it was important for it to act in a unified manner.  The credibility of the Council was at stake.  An unequivocal and unified message from the Council would exert the strongest possible influence on the parties involved.  At the end of the day, it was the parties involved that must make their own strategic decision to eschew violence and return to the peace process.  “The faster we help the two sides implement the Mitchell report, the sooner we can stop the violence and end the senseless loss of life.”


JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) said the Security Council needed to assume its responsibilities and take appropriate steps to ensure that the Middle East situation did not degenerate into a full-scale war.  He urged Israel to put an end to all acts of violence and targeted assassinations and strongly condemned the excessive and indiscriminate use of force and violence against the Palestinian people.  He also strongly condemned the Israeli occupation of Orient House in East Jerusalem and the closure of other buildings belonging to the Palestinian Authority.  Unless such practices were immediately ended, there would be further radicalization of the Palestinians.  All acts of provocation should therefore stop.  In addition, both Israel and Palestine should exercise the highest degree of restraint and act responsibly in order not to exacerbate the situation even further.


He said that since November of last year, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Caucus of the Council had relentlessly urged members to establish a United Nations observer force to provide protection to the Palestinian people.  “We are convinced that had the Council agreed to the deployment of such a force, we should not have come to such a situation”, he said.  The acceptance of the Mitchell report four months ago by both sides created expectations which unfortunately had not been met. The report nevertheless offered a sensible and coherent foundation for resolving the crisis and resuming meaningful negotiations.


He encouraged the Secretary-General and the leaders of the region, as well as the European Union, the United States and the Russian Federation to pursue their efforts to break the current Middle East deadlock.


GERARD CORR (Ireland) said obstacles to implementation of the recommendations of the Mitchell report must be removed.  The report set out clearly what was required of the Palestinian Authority in that regard.  It was not, however, helpful to impose unilateral conditions for the commencement of the implementation of the Mitchell recommendations that supported efforts of those who were bent on wrecking the peace process.  Neither was it helpful for one party to commit itself only to part of the process.  He emphasized that the current phase of violence arose primarily out of the frustration which long years of occupation had caused. 


He said the report referred to the “humiliation and frustration that the Palestinians must endure every day as a result of living with the continuing effects of occupation”. In such conditions, without a prospect for a fair and honourable settlement at the end of the process, the calm necessary for the resumption of dialogue was unlikely to be achieved.  The report also underlined the difficulties that Israeli settlements in the occupied territories –- which the entire international community considered illegal -- presented to the peace process.  The Israeli authorities must unambiguously commit themselves to a freeze on settlement construction.


He said his country was concerned at the closure of Orient House.  While it was accepted that the Israeli authorities had a right to protect the public, any action against Palestinian institutions, and against symbols of nationhood that were important to Palestinians, was a strike against a people as whole -- not just against their leadership and terrorists.  It was becoming increasingly difficult to understand why the international community, which was ready to intervene quickly and effectively in other issues of international peace and security, was apparently helpless to do anything effective in response to the growing crisis in the Middle East.  Recent events underlined the need for a third-party monitoring mechanism, which at this critical time would serve the interests of both parties. 


WEGGER CHRISTIAN STROMMEN (Norway) urged the leaders in the Middle East to carry out a very hard task in political terms -- to lead without knowing how many would follow.  The Mitchell Committee described the road back to negotiations very clearly.  The principal message to the Middle East leaders was that they must end the violence, rebuild confidence and resume negotiations.  Both Israel and the Palestinians must follow up the recommendations of the Mitchell report, and implement them as they were.  Both parties must also do their utmost to show maximum restraint and de-escalate the situation.  In particular, it was important to avoid and rectify all unilateral acts that had a negative impact on agreements previously entered into by the parties. 


He supported the idea of establishing a third-party presence that could monitor and facilitate the implementation of the Mitchell report recommendations, and called on the parties to avail themselves of such a mechanism.  He also strongly supported the Tenet security agreement, which aimed at securing a comprehensive ceasefire and re-establishing serious cooperation on security issues.  However, a ceasefire could not be sustained unless there was also a political process leading to the resumption of negotiations.  The principal task facing the international community today must be to encourage the parties to end the violence, implement the ceasefire and start rebuilding trust.


MARKIYAN KULYK (Ukraine) called on both sides to undertake resolute and immediate measures to achieve a ceasefire and stop bloodshed, to prevent the further escalation of violence and create the necessary favourable preconditions for returning to the negotiating table.  The recommendations of the Mitchell Committee constituted a solid basis for finding a way out of the ongoing crisis and for resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process.  The current situation required that the Israeli and Palestinian leadership act with redoubled prudence, flexibility and realism.  It was necessary for them to demonstrate the utmost restraint, political resolve and will to reach mutually acceptable and constructive decisions. 


He was convinced that the earliest resumption of effective cooperation between the two parties in the field of security, as well as their broad contacts at all levels in general, would substantially help in bringing the violence down and resuming final status talks.  Under the current circumstances, he saw merit in the idea of the establishment of an international monitoring mechanism to assist the parties in implementing the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee.  It deserved further careful consideration and could contribute to protecting civilians.


ALFONSO VALDIVIESO, President of the Security Council, speaking as representative of Colombia, said he had always maintained that the Council could and must act when there were threats to international peace and security.  The Middle East was caught in a spiral of violence.  The excessive use of force by Israel and selective assassinations did not contribute to peace.  Terrorist acts were also not acceptable.  The occupation of Orient House in Jerusalem deserved international condemnation.  Such acts had significant political meaning which could further delay the construction of confidence.  He called upon Israel to withdraw from those installations.  He also called upon the international community to financially help the Palestinians and for Israel to end the blockades, which were stifling the Palestinian community.  More than one third of Palestinians lived below the poverty level.  The recommendations of the Mitchell report must be supported and fully implemented, particularly the implementation of confidence-building measures.  The international community must not desist from its efforts. 


He noted that there had been scant results since September 2000.  The Council must shoulder its responsibility to prevent greater polarization and to help the parties find alternative solutions.  Its efforts must complement actions by other parties.  The Council had welcomed the Mitchell report of 22 May.  The recommendations it contained could not be implemented unless the Council acted in unison, with a solid political consensus among its members.


NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar), Chair of the Ninth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, said the daily raids launched by Israel against Palestinian buildings and institutions, as well as the arrogant force used by that country in targeting unarmed Palestinian people, would only make those people more determined to continue their struggle to end their occupation.  As current Chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Qatar had condemned and denounced Israel’s occupation of Orient House.  It considered such acts an absolute breach and flagrant violation of all the agreements signed by the Palestinian and Israeli parties, which had now brought the peace process to the verge of total collapse.


He said that in an official statement dated 30 July, Qatar expressed its disapproval and condemnation of the dangerous decision by an Israeli extremist group to lay a cornerstone for an alleged temple at the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.  That action provoked religious sentiments and was an affront to the sanctity of Islamic holy places.  It was also an affront to the sentiments of the Arab and Muslim peoples of the world and could ignite the situation in the region.  It represented a violation of international law and custom as well.


He reiterated the need to provide international protection for the Palestinian people.  At the same time, he condemned the acts of violence committed by Israeli troops, as well as the excessive use of force that had resulted in a high number of casualties and extensive damage to property.  Qatar called on Israel, as an occupying Power, to comply with its legally binding responsibilities.  He stressed that there could be no peace in the Middle East unless and until the Palestinian people were granted their legitimate rights, including the right to an independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.


ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said that in recent weeks, the existing peace process had become less realistic.  The Palestinian people, who had suffered

untold repression, now suffered from the attacks by tanks and fighter helicopters.  There had been appeals for moderation from capitals around the world, but Israeli leaders continued their course without second thoughts.  Palestinian homes were pillaged.  The Palestinian Authority was threatened.  No public or private place had been spared.  Sites of the Palestinian Authority had been attacked, closed or occupied.  Everything had become a pretext for aggression and incursions.  A number of cities were now in a state of siege. 


The situation, which was alarming, could bring about broader, more dangerous conflagrations, he said.  The logic of confrontation could be reversed, however, should the international community, namely the Security Council, decide to act promptly and firmly.  The Council should call for the urgent implementation of the Mitchell report recommendations.  It should also send international observers to ensure the security and protection of the Palestinian population.  The Orient House and other Palestinian Authority offices should be restored without delay to their owners.  Israel must comply with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Greater involvement from the Secretary-General might be useful and timely, and would help to reduce tensions in the region.  The credibility of the Council depended on its ability to act quickly.


The PRESIDENT of the Council then suspended the meeting, to be resumed in the afternoon.


When the meeting resumed, RAMEZ Z. GOUSSOUS (Jordan) expressed serious concern at the developments which had taken place in the occupied Palestinian territories as a result of Israeli aggression.  Israel’s policy of assassination, house demolition and economic blockade were all flagrant violations of international agreements signed.  He condemned the policies of the Israeli Government and its invasion and occupation of East Jerusalem.  The occupation of Orient House was a flagrant violation of international law.  The policy pursued by the Israeli Government could not provide any security for the Israeli people, but would only lead to further victims and threaten the future of the peace process.  The only way to provide security was to deal with the issues facing each side.  


He reiterated that the military option was not an option to deal with the crisis, as it would only increase violence which could inflame the entire region.  He appealed to the Israeli Government to respond favourably to international efforts.  The Mitchell report was the way to resolve the crisis and restore peace between the two parties, to resume negotiations and restore confidence.  He appealed to the Council to shoulder its responsibility, under the Charter, by sending international observers to the occupied Palestinian territories in keeping with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee.  He also appealed to the Council to urge Israel to implement international agreements, particularly resolutions 242 and 338.


ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) said despite the meeting on the Middle East a few months ago, the situation in the occupied territories had worsened in the most disturbing way.  He hoped the Security Council would have been able to halt the organized murder of Palestinians by Israelis and address the war crimes being committed.  The Council had instead stood by while television screens daily portrayed the spectacle of the systematic killing of innocent Palestinian civilians.


In the past, he continued, the Council had failed to adopt a draft resolution that might provide protection to Palestinians against their day-to-day aggression.  The Council was invested with a special responsibility to deter Israel, which had exceeded all possible limits in its aggression and had assumed the right to disregard resolutions of the Council and the rules of international law.  Accordingly, the United Nations was now faced with major challenges, especially the Council, which must prove itself able to discharge its responsibilities, halt the targeting of innocents and provide them with protection.


Failure by the Council to do that, he continued, and Israel’s persistence in conducting its bloody campaign, would lead to an explosion in the region with unforeseeable consequences for and threats to international security.  The Arab Group thus called on the Council to act swiftly and urgently to protect the Palestinian people.


FAWZI BIN ABDUL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia) said that as a result of the bloody military campaign against the Palestinian people, hundreds had been killed, thousands wounded and the Palestinian economy eroded.  It would have been possible to save those victims, put an end to the violations of human rights and to calm the situation, had the Council assumed its responsibility to maintain peace and security.  It was sad that the Council continued to be a helpless spectator while Israel continued to violate the human rights of the Palestinians.  Did the Council not see that which would cause it to act?  Did it not see the need to intervene?


The Israeli pursuit of aggression against Palestinians was the result of the international community’s unwillingness to interfere and the Council’s inability to counter the inhuman practices of Israel, he said.  The policy of murder and assassination only underlined the terrorist nature of the current Israeli Government.  Those who committed such crimes and were responsible for them must be held responsible.  Any reluctance would only lead to more crimes.  The occupation of Orient House was a clear violation of the Oslo Accords.  Saudi Arabia condemned the escalating campaign against the Palestinians by Israel.  He appealed to all peace-loving countries to do all they could to put an end to the aggression against the Palestinian people.  


ROBLE OLHAYE (Djibouti) said the world was witnessing a war of attrition which, without immediate intervention, might grow into a regional war.  The brutal aggression by Israel indicated the determination of the occupying Power to paralyse Palestinian institutions.  The insistence by Israel on a ceasefire from the Palestinians, while offering nothing in return, made a mockery of its desire for peace and security.  Israel's large-scale military campaign was intended to coerce the Palestinians into submission.  But relying on repressive measures alone could not bring enhanced security to Israel.  Israel was trapped in a vicious cycle of violence, leaving no room for diplomacy. 


The economic effects of the Israeli blockade on the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip were alarming, he continued.  The restrictions in and out of Palestinian areas were having dire consequences on all economic activities and on the livelihood of the people.  The claim that Israel was the only democracy in the Middle East was fast becoming a myth.  The lack of legal or moral basis for the continued colonization of the Palestinian people, coupled with the growth in illegal settlements, placed Israel outside the self-proclaimed democratic and ethical norms at the centre of its existence.  Moreover, while much attention was focused on the current situation, the larger problem -- occupation -- was often forgotten.  Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory had long been condemned by the international community as a serious obstruction to a lasting peace. 


The question was, would Israel ever relinquish its illegal settlements to pave the way for a lasting peace with the Palestinians? he continued.  The more Israel employed an excessive power of repression, the more radical the Palestinian response became.  Against the backdrop of such an explosive situation, the Council needed to be pro-active and take necessary steps to de-escalate the violence.  Immediate steps included a call for the immediate cessation of hostilities, the demand that Israel relinquish Orient House and other Palestinian offices in and around Jerusalem and the urgent resumption of peace talks.  


GRAHAM MAITLAND (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the situation in the Middle East had deteriorated so dramatically since the Council's last open meeting on the matter, that it was essential for the Council to reassess its efforts.  The occupation by Israel of Orient House and other symbols of Palestinian national identity constituted a flagrant violation of formal commitments made by Israel as part of the Oslo process.  Israel's recent provocations threatened the very basis on which the parties had searched for peace for the last eight years.  The question of Palestine remained the permanent responsibility of the United Nations until it was effectively resolved, and it was the Council's duty to ensure the Palestinian flag flew once again over East Jerusalem.


The Movement again drew the Council's attention to the dangerously high levels of frustration and violence fomented by Israel's policy of closures, blockades and restrictions on movement of people, goods and resources, he said.  As the Council knew, the Fourth Geneva Convention expressly forbade collective punishment of a civilian population.  The Non-Aligned Movement also reiterated its call on Israel to respect international humanitarian law and to cease its acts of military aggression against the civilian population of Palestine.  The present situation necessitated the reconvening of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions.


The question of Palestine constituted the core of the Middle East conflict, he said, as the Non-Aligned Movement had stated before.  The achievement of Palestinian self-determination and an independent State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, was pivotal to the achievement of a sustainable and comprehensive peace.  The framework for the resumption of negotiations between Israel and Palestine already existed in the form of the Egyptian-Jordanian proposals, the recommendations of the Mitchell report, and the understandings regarding a ceasefire facilitated by United States Central Intelligence Agency Director, George Tenet.  What was lacking was a credible multi-national presence on the ground to monitor any ceasefire that might be called, and to serve as a visible symbol of international concern.  The Security Council must demonstrate its commitment to upholding international peace and security by setting up such a credible international monitoring mechanism.


NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) expressed grave concern over the further escalation by Israel and its “inhuman” practice of repression against the Palestinian people.  The seizure of Orient House, along with other offices in the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, was in line with the Israeli policy of negating Palestinian rights and distorting the Islamic character of the city.  The extra-judicial killing of Palestinians was a flagrant violation of key tenets of natural justice and provisions of international humanitarian law.  Such killings amounted to organized acts of terrorism by a government.  The international community should not turn a blind eye to them.  Incursions by heavily armed Israeli forces into Palestinian areas constituted another heavy-handed criminal act.  Israel's approach ran counter to its empty claims of seeking peace.  It was the principal cause of the tension and instability in the region.


Occupation was at the centre of the Palestinian conflict, he said.  Israel continued to reject the call to freeze all settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  The significant increase in the population of and the areas under unlawful Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip attested to the fact that the Israelis had never been serious about the principle of land for peace.  Without ending the Zionist policy of occupying other's territories, the crisis in the Middle East could not be brought to an end. 


Now more than ever, he continued, the Council needed to take necessary actions to redress the situation in occupied Palestine.  Recent events had demonstrated the need for an international intervention, protection and observer force to protect Palestinian civilians.  The veto last December of a draft resolution to authorize such a force was a disservice to the volatile situation in the area.  The presence of such a force on the ground could have forestalled more violence and bloodshed.  The time was ripe for the international community to contemplate the possibility of denying the occupying Power access to sources of armaments and military equipment. 


SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said that it had been five months since the Council had discussed Palestine in a public meeting and twice that long since it had passed a resolution on the issue.  In that time the situation had deteriorated.  It was now explosive, having escalated with the intensification of coercive measures against Palestinians.  He asked if the Council was ready to genuinely play the role assigned to it by the Charter.


Any attempt at resistance by a people living under foreign occupation was branded as terrorism, but the world watched silently while occupying States used massive force and violence to deny those people their inalienable rights, he said.  Peace could not be achieved through subjugation, but only through the realization of a people's inalienable rights.  The international community must take immediate steps to facilitate the resumption of the Middle Eastern peace process and to end the violence, heavy-handedness and coercion in the occupied territories.  A durable peace could not be established by binding a weaker party to agreements which allowed the stronger a free hand.  Active intervention by the international community was required to oversee implementation of commitments made and agreements signed.


Pakistan respected the wishes of the Palestinian people reflected in the draft resolution presented to the Council, he said.  It supported full implementation of the Mitchell report recommendations.  The Council could also deploy an observer protection force to the occupied territories, including Jerusalem, which would cool the situation and facilitate resumption of the peace process.  The status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif remained central to any comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  The legitimate rights of Palestinians included the right to establish an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital and full sovereignty over Al-Haram Al-Sharif.  Last year's dream of peace had been derailed, but hope must not be lost.


JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said Israel’s aggressive policies were clear to all as the media showed them day and night.  That country’s aggressive practices inevitably attracted Security Council attention, since Israel’s methodical actions threatened to erode all agreements made on the Middle East so far.


He said today was a special and dangerous situation that required the international community, specifically the Security Council, to assume responsibilities under the Charter.  The Council was not expected to deliver miracles, he stressed, just be an impartial judge and have credibility.  He therefore hoped that the Council would restore its credibility, play its role and cast off the hesitancy and inertia it had been demonstrating for the longest while.


As the author of resolutions 242 and 338, he concluded, he felt that the establishment of a just and lasting settlement in the Middle East was in urgent need of implementation by the Council.


BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARILLA, Acting Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said the Committee was worried by the dramatic escalation of tensions in and around East Jerusalem and in areas under full Palestinian control.  It appeared that Israel had no intention of abiding by agreements signed with the Palestinian side, and had decided on wide-scale military operations in the occupied Palestinian territory.  The most striking incidents included the taking of Orient House and other Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem and Abu Dis.  Three days later, in a massive operation, the Israeli Defence Force invaded the West Bank town of Jenin and was now apparently set to do the same in Beit Jalla and Bethlehem.  The death toll was rising, the Palestinian economy was decimated and the infrastructure of the occupied Palestinian territory was further eroded.


The excuse was that these measures were being taken in response to the continuing violence on the part of the Palestinians, including suicide bombings in Israeli cities, he added.  The Committee was strongly opposed to any actions resulting in the loss of life -- Israeli or Palestinian.  However, with the promises for a peace settlement shattered, the Palestinian people remained completely defenceless.  Just a couple of months ago, the Mitchell Committee recommendations had seemed to offer a way out of the impasse.  However, the unrealistic Israeli requirement that the violence should cease before negotiations resumed had brought about the current situation.  The recent violations by Israel of international law and the provisions of its agreement with the Palestinian side proved that it had not been able to embrace the fundamental principle of "land for peace" or to implement the obligations it made at Madrid and Oslo.


The two sides to the conflict, already left to their devices for too long, needed the assistance of the international community, he said.  The Council had on numerous occasions failed to take any tangible action.  The recommendations of the Mitchell Committee report should be implemented it their entirety.  Negotiations on security, as well as the interim and permanent status issues, should be revived as a matter of urgency.  A permanent status agreement, long overdue, should be reached on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1972).  Only once there was a sovereign Palestinian State, with guaranteed and safe borders, would there be peace.  The core of the problem was the continuing illegal occupation by Israel of the Palestinian territory.  He called upon Israel to respect the principles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the provisions of all relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.


MOHAMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said that barely a few months ago there had been hope for the possibility of some progress.  Commendable efforts had been made at that time to resolve all difficulties.  After that, the region found itself in a spiral of violence.  Israeli forces found themselves reinforcing the economic blockade, destroying houses and violating the territorial integrity of Palestinians.  Due to the inability of the international community to put a stop to such actions, Israel had pursued its policies with a vengeance.  The international community and the Council could not remain bystanders, could not deny human values and allow the region to become entrenched in a spiral of violence.  That would only feed feelings of hatred.  That policy could not lead to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.


He was absolutely convinced that the situation would not have come to this point had the Council, in March, adopted a draft resolution on the dispatch of international observers.  He hoped that the Council would be able to live up to the aspirations of the people of the region and the international community.  He appealed to the Council and the Secretary-General to act robustly and in a responsible fashion in light of the seriousness of the situation.  Measures must be adopted to implement the recommendations of the Mitchell report.  He asked the Council to shoulder its responsibilities, and was convinced that peace in the Middle East would continue to depend on the implementation of Council resolutions 242 and 338. 


JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, expressed his deep concern over the violent events that had taken place in the Middle East in the last months and weeks.  The Union rejected all forms of violence and called on all parties to shun violence in favour of dialogue and negotiation.  There was no alternative to a political solution.  The escalation of violence was intolerable.  The Union condemned in the strongest terms the recent suicide bombings.  Those acts, in particular those targeted at Israeli civilians, were hateful and odious in the extreme.  Terrorism was a serious threat to the stability of the region and must be resisted with the utmost rigour.  The Union condemned any assistance to organizations that engaged in terrorism.  It called upon the Palestinian Authority to do its utmost to stop the violence by arresting and bringing to justice the perpetrators, instigators and sponsors of acts of terror. 


The Israeli decision to close Orient House and other institutions in Jerusalem did not serve the interests of peace and could only weaken the Palestinian leadership at a time when it was called upon to show resolve in the fight against terrorism, he added.  Unilateral acts could do nothing to alter the international community's long-standing position on the status of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.  The Union wished to see the closure reversed at the earliest possible date and the archives returned.  Israel should demonstrate a maximum degree of restraint by avoiding any act that could be considered as provocative.  Extrajudicial killings were not only illegal and unacceptable but also obstacles to peace. 


He said the basis of negotiations must be Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as well as other resolutions, and the principle of land for peace.  The only way to restore security was to return to the route mapped out by the Madrid Summit, the Oslo Accords and the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee.  Those recommendations must be immediately and fully implemented.  Delay would only perpetuate violence.  A third-party monitoring mechanism was needed to overcome any obstacles that might impede the implementation of the recommendations.  The Union urged the two sides to immediately open a sustained political dialogue to break the deadlock.  It expressed its support for initiatives along those lines, including the one taken by the Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, and it expected the Council to contribute in a constructive manner towards the implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations.


ABDALLA SALEH AL-ASHTAL (Yemen) said the Security Council of late had shown great reluctance to convene meetings to discuss the situation in the occupied territories.  It was clear that Israel was implementing a well-considered plan aimed at blowing away the peace process and thus relinquishing all its obligations.  The recent series of events clearly showed a Zionist plan.


He said the Security Council had a special responsibility to end the displacement of the Palestinian people.  It was therefore regrettable that it had failed to adopt a resolution that would lead to the protection of the Palestinian people.  It was the opinion of the Arab States that the Council dealt with issues in a selective manner and exhibited double standards.  


The peace process was at a standstill, he said, and there was a danger that the Middle East situation could deteriorate into an all-out war.  The occupation of Orient House and other Palestinian institutions by Israel was another dangerous escalation and flagrant violation.  The Council had to stand firm to abolish all measures taken by Israel.


KIYOTAKA AKASAKA (Japan) said the current situation in the occupied territories was the worst crisis of the post-1993 peace process.  The vicious circle of violence decreased opportunities for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, which could only be brought about through negotiations based on mutual trust.  Japan called on all parties to put an immediate end to violence and to exert maximum self-restraint.  It also called on Israel to put an end to use of excessive force, entry into Palestinian-controlled territory, and seizure of Palestinian Authority properties.  The Palestinian Authority should exert its utmost efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, which could never be justified.


The recommendations of the Mitchell report should be fully implemented as soon as possible, he said.  He recalled, in that context, that the G-8 Summit statement issued on 21 July stated that "third-party monitoring, accepted by both parties, would serve their interest in implementing the Mitchell report".  The serious deterioration of the Palestinian economy was also a grave concern to Japan.  The economic closure must be lifted and tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority resumed.  Economic difficulties had a negative effect on the peace process.  He noted that Japan had made contributions to the Palestinians of some $21 million since the end of last September, when the current violence broke out.


The crisis could only be resolved through serious efforts by both parties, he said, and the international community must stand by such efforts.  Japan remained ready to extend every possible political and economic support for the resolution of the current crisis, in cooperation with the international community.


MANSOUR AYYAD AL-OTAIBI (Kuwait) said that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories posed a real threat to peace and security in the region.  The Israeli authorities were launching full-scale aggression against the Palestinian people, violating international humanitarian law and leading to the deaths of hundreds and wounding of thousands.  Israel was ignoring the calls of the international community to desist from such abominable practices as the demolition of homes.  The Israeli Government was clearly trying to shake off the responsibilities which it had entered into with the Palestinian Authority.  He called on the co-sponsors of the peace process to exert maximum pressure on Israel to respect its commitments and the agreements it had entered into. 


The Israeli Government had to know that its practices would not bring it the security it was seeking as long as it ignored its commitments, and would only lead to increased violence, he said.  For peace to be permanent it had to be based on international legitimacy and the principle of “land for peace”.  He reiterated his country’s position in supporting the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.


FAWZI BIN ABDUL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia) said that as a result of the bloody military campaign against the Palestinian people,  hundreds had been killed, thousands wounded and the Palestinian economy eroded. It would have been possible to save those victims, put an end to the violations of human rights and to calm the situation, had the Council assumed its responsibility to maintain peace and security.  It was sad that the Council continued to be a helpless spectator while Israel continued to violate the human rights of the Palestinians.  Did the Council not see that which would cause it to act?  Did it not see the need to intervene?


The Israeli pursuit of aggression against Palestinians was the result of the international community’s unwillingness to interfere and the Council’s inability to counter the inhuman practices of Israel, he said.  The policy of murder and assassination only underlined the terrorist nature of the current Israeli Government.  Those who committed such crimes and were responsible for them must be held responsible.  Any reluctance would only lead to more crimes. The occupation of Orient House was a clear violation of the Oslo Accords.  Saudi Arabia condemned the escalating campaign against the Palestinians by Israel.  He appealed to all peace-loving countries to do all they could to put an end to the aggression against the Palestinian people.  


DJIBRIL MAME LY (Mauritania) said he deplored and condemned the recent events in the occupied Palestinian territories, namely the illegal occupation of Orient House and other premises in East Jerusalem.  The deplorable situation had led to considerable loss of life.  In light of those events, the international community was required to play a very positive role in order to restore peace and security in the Middle East region.


He said the Security Council had the principle responsibility for peace and security.  The dispatch of an international observer force to provide protection had therefore become a major necessity that was now incumbent on the Council. 


He added that the implementation of the Mitchell report would also help restore an appropriate framework for talks to continue.  Peace in the Middle East was still attainable, despite setbacks and obstacles.  His delegation reiterated its commitment to the peace process started in Madrid.


HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that 10 months of uninterrupted violence following the provocation of September 2000 had taken a heavy toll in human lives and injuries.  Over 600 people had died, an overwhelming number of whom were Palestinians.  The cycle of violence had continued unabated and promised to get worse unless the international community intervened to end it.  The measures taken by Israel in the name of security had reached dangerous and untenable proportions.  The forceful seizure of Orient House in East Jerusalem struck at the very basis of the peace process.  The takeover of Orient House, along with other Palestinian institutions, coupled with assassinations of targeted Palestinian officials, were among the most provocative of the actions by the Israeli authorities.  Clearly, such action was not likely to cow the Palestinian people but was certain to heighten Palestinian anger, frustration and despair. 


In addressing the issue, the Council must address two facts, he said.  The first was the continued Israeli occupation; the second was the continued violation of the human rights of Palestinians and other Arabs living in the occupied territories.  Both must come to an end.  Israel, like other Members of the Organization, must be made to fulfil its obligations under the Charter.  Failure to do so was tantamount to treating Israel as a special case, a privileged member of the Organization, which was somehow exempt from complying with the requirements of international law.  Israel had no special status in the community of nations and must fulfil all of its obligations.  Non-action by the Council, in the face of continued provocation by Israel, would be a gross dereliction of its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.


The peace process was, to all intents and purposes, dead, thanks to the policies and practices of the new Israeli Government, he added.  It was incumbent upon the Council to exert every effort to revive the process on an urgent basis.  The Mitchell report must be given strong and unqualified support as it provided a viable basis to end the cycle of violence.  Malaysia believed that the co-sponsors of the peace process, the United States and the Russian Federation, as well as the European Union and the larger international community must play a more active role in defusing the current tense situation and encouraging the parties, particularly Israel, to return to negotiations. 


REDA BEBARS (Egypt) said that the hope of peace faced an acute crisis.  Since September, Palestinians had been subjected to violent and aggressive acts by the Israelis, which had led to feelings of frustration and despair.  The crux of the problem faced by the Palestinian territories was occupation by Israel, whose practices in maintaining that occupation constituted grave violations of international legitimacy.  It was inconceivable and unacceptable that the United Nations, especially the Security Council, should turn a blind eye when the circumstances called for action.  Security was the desire for all people.  However, the security of one population could not be realized at the expense of the security of another population.  Security could only be realized in a situation based on legitimacy.  Egypt called on the international community to act, and to act quickly. 


Egypt had emphasized the need to send observers to cool down the situation and create an environment for implementing the recommendations of the Mitchell report, he continued.  The present crisis had been triggered by the provocation which took place at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  He emphasized that recent bloody events confirmed that occupation had no future.  He hoped that a just, lasting comprehensive peace could be realized, despite the setbacks faced in past months. 


MOHAMMED A. ALDOURI (Iraq) said the United States supplied Israel with the sophisticated weaponry that was put into action against helpless civilians.  Despite the gravity of Israel’s daily crimes and despite the fact that 63 letters of protests had been sent to the Security Council during the last few months requesting prompt intervention to end Zionist terrorism, the Council was powerless to intervene and alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.  Its power was hindered by the United States, an imperialist tyrannical force, and a country that provided military cover for the crimes committed by the Zionist entity against Palestinians.


He said the double standard displayed by the Security Council in dealing with the problem that affected the Islamic and Arab world was a flagrant example of the injustice suffered by the people of the third world, and Muslims in particular.  Israel’s death machines had not even been able to tear from the Council one single timid condemnation of Zionist terrorism or neo-Nazi activities.  Those neo-Nazis instead enjoyed the blessing of the United States authorities.


The United States, he said, loved to give morality lessons to others and claimed a devotion to protecting human rights.  Yet at the same time it shamelessly supported Zionist criminals.  The United States spoke frequently about saving the peace process.  What peace process was it speaking about?  Palestinian resistance was a right that could not be confiscated.  It was protected by the Charter and enshrined in international law.  True peace could not be established by whitewashing the occupier –- it could only be established at the price of a bitter struggle and torn from hands of the occupier.


MOHAMED AL-HASSAN (Oman) said that the time had come, after many previous attempts, to have the Council positively respond to the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people by providing them with the necessary protection.  Israel’s occupation of Orient House and its readiness to escalate the situation by using its military arsenal were flagrant violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law.  Israel had done its utmost to prevent the protection of Palestinian civilians.  Therefore, the Council must take the necessary action to provide protection to them.  Israel was not concerned by the criticism of the international community and disregarded its commitments entered into with the Palestinians.  The Council must not remain a spectator.  Was Israel obligated by international agreements as other Member States were, or was it exempt from the application of international instruments?


Oman had been in the forefront of those countries which believed in the peace process, he said.  There was still a glimmer of hope of returning to the negotiating table, but that could only be achieved if the necessary political will was displayed.  The Palestinian people today needed international protection more than at any other time, due to the escalation of Israel military force. 


ISA AYAD BABAA (Libya) said the core of the Palestinian problem was not the implementation of the Mitchell plan but the continued occupation of Palestinian territory that was started 34 years ago by the Zionists.  Palestinians, nevertheless, continued to hold tenaciously to their land and to express their just demands for freedom and independence.  Stone-throwing children, nevertheless, were responded to by Apache helicopters, planes and tanks.  The occupying force had been trained very well to shoot its victims between the eyes and bulldoze houses, farms and factories, as well as to seize lands and give them to new settlers.


He said the policy of regular assassinations and liquidations was a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Yet death squads, sent by the occupying Power, committed their acts in broad daylight.  All Palestinian prisoners were treated as guilty, while all forms of torture were carried out against them.  The occupying Power had recently seized Orient House and other

places.  If the Security Council did not take action against that latest move it would be giving a green light to the occupying Power to seize other property and finally all of Jerusalem. 


Zionists, he said, had also added another element to their racial practice

 -- contempt and dislike of Arabs and Palestinians.  They described Arabs as cattle on two legs, cockroaches, crocodiles, scorpions, snakes, serpents, apes, pigs and ants that should all be exterminated.  Not even apartheid South Africa had dared to publicly describe blacks with such racial epitaphs.  The Zionists, however, did.  Also, if a Zionist killed 20 Palestinians he was described as mentally disturbed and a memorial was established.  If a Palestinian did the same, he was considered a terrorist.  To end the volatile situation the international community must intervene quickly to save the Palestinians from their butchers.


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