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U.N. General Assembly Condemns Israeli Actions in West Bank

Contender Ministries


On May 7, 2002, an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly was called to vote on a resolution condemning Israel for its “illegal” actions in Palestinian-controlled areas, and its refusal to accept a UN “fact-finding” team to the Jenin refugee camp.  This refusal was based on the fact that a member of the team had previously made very anti-Israeli comments, and Israel felt he could not be impartial.  The following are excerpts of the plenary of this session. 

Approving the resolution on “Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” as amended, the Assembly's resumed tenth emergency special session also condemned Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team to the Jenin refugee camp, in disregard of Security Council resolution 1405 (2002).

By a recorded vote of 74 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 54 abstentions, the Assembly, emphasizing the importance of civilian safety and well-being in the whole Middle East region, condemned in particular all acts of violence and terror resulting in deaths and injuries among Palestinian and Israeli civilians.

Introducing the text, South Africa's representative noted that the Assembly was meeting amid a deadlock within the Security Council, which had not taken the necessary action regarding Israeli incursions into Palestinian towns.  The Assembly must now stand against Israel's defiance of international humanitarian law.  That country seemed to have developed a culture of acting with impunity in its relations with the United Nations.  Through its own action, Israel had led the world to assume that it had something to hide, he said.

Sudan's representative, said that despite the broad support that the Secretary-General’s initiative had garnered in the Security Council, Israel had been intransigent and disrespectful of the fact-finding team's mandate, publicly criticizing its make-up and obstructing its work.  Those actions were disturbing, since that nation had itself been created under a Security Council resolution.  In light of such disrespect, the Assembly must condemn Israel's scorn for Council resolutions, human rights and international humanitarian law.

Israel's representative noted that the South African delegate had blamed Israel for developing a culture of impunity, while failing even to mention Palestinian terrorism.  Today's resolution, rather than helping to reduce Palestinian terrorism, would only further remove Israel from the only course of action that would address the rights and needs of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.  The emergency special session was an unnecessary waste of delegates’ time, serving only to indulge the Palestinian appetite for endless United Nations resolutions, he added.

The representative of the United States, emphasizing his country's friendship with both Israel and the Palestinian people, said the resolution condemned only one party in what was a two-party conflict.  The United States would vote against the resolution, believing that condemnatory rhetoric against Israel would not contribute to the international community’s efforts.  It undermined the credibility of the Palestinian cause, deepening the divide between the Palestinians and a neighbour with whom they must one day live in peace.

We have included the text of the resolution below.  Note that the Israeli and U.S. ambassadors were correct – there is no condemnation of the Palestinian homicide bombings.  Furthermore, it has since been established that while there were casualties in Jenin, it is far from what even the Palestinians would call a "massacre".  As I prepare this, there has been yet another terrorist attack just outside Tel Aviv.  The United States and other countries have a policy against giving in to terrorist demands.  To do so would be to legitimize terrorism as a method to achieve a political goal.  Yet this resolution seems to do just that – it demonizes the Israeli actions while legitimizing the Palestinian terrorist attacks with its silence regarding them. 


Following is the complete text of the resolution adopted this evening and contained in document A/ES-10/L.9/Rev.1:

"The General Assembly,

            "Recalling its resolutions, including the resolutions of the tenth emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,

            "Expressing its grave concern at the continuation of the tragic and violent events that have taken place since September 2000, especially the recent attacks and the increased number of casualties,

            "Expressing its profound concern at the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, particularly since the start of the Israeli military attack on Palestinian cities and the Palestinian Authority on 29 March 2002,

            "Gravely concerned at the extensive loss of the life and injuries suffered by the Palestinian people, as well as the destruction of both public and private property, including homes and institutions of the Palestinian Authority,

            "Gravely concerned in particular about the reports of grave breaches of international humanitarian law committed in the Jenin refugee camp and other Palestinian cities by the Israeli occupying forces,

            "Expressing its profound concern at the dire humanitarian situation of the Palestinian civilian population, including the lack of access to food, water and medicines, owing to the Israeli siege and the attacks on Palestinian cities,

            "Deploring the destruction of holy sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including mosques and churches, and expressing its expectation that the Israeli military siege on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem will end immediately,

            "Noting that Security Council resolutions 1402 (2002) and 1403 (2002) have not yet been fully implemented,

            "Noting also that Israel, the occupying Power, has refused to cooperate with the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team to the Jenin refugee camp, in disregard of Security Council resolution 1405 (2002), noting as well the decision of the Secretary-General to disband the team, and welcoming his efforts to develop accurate information regarding the recent events,

            "Taking note that the Security Council is yet to take the necessary measures in response to the Israeli refusal to cooperate with the fact-finding team and the ensuing developments,

            "Reaffirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Occupied East Jerusalem,

            Reiterating the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention,

            Deploring Israel’s disregard for relevant Security Council resolutions, and stressing the need for full accountability in this regard,

            "Welcoming and encouraging the diplomatic efforts of special envoys from the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations, as well as others, to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,

            "1. Condemns the attacks committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people in several Palestinian cities, particularly in the Jenin refugee camp;

            "2. Condemns also the refusal by Israel, the occupying Power, to cooperate with the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team to the Jenin refugee camp, in disregard of Security Council resolution 1405 (2002);

            "3. Emphasizes the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians in the whole Middle East region, and condemns in particular all acts of violence and terror resulting in deaths and injuries among Palestinian and Israeli civilians;

            "4. Demands the immediate and full implementation of Security Council resolution 1402 (2002);

            "5. Calls for the implementation of the declaration adopted by the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, reconvened at Geneva on 5 December 2001, through concrete action on the national, regional and international levels to ensure respect by Israel, the occupying Power, of the provisions of the Convention;

            "6. Requests the Secretary-General to present a report, drawing upon the available resources and information, on the recent events that took place in Jenin and in other Palestinian cities;

            "7. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, ceases all hindrances and obstacles to the work of humanitarian organizations and the United Nations agencies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, including lifting the restrictions on the freedom of movement and ensuring a free and safe access of staff and vehicles;

            8. Calls for the provision of urgently needed assistance and services to help in alleviating the current humanitarian situation and the reconstruction efforts, including the rebuilding of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority;

            "9. Calls upon all concerned parties to redouble their efforts to assist the parties to end the current crisis and bring them back to negotiations towards the achievement of a final settlement on all issues, including the establishment of the State of Palestine;

            "10. Decides to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meetings upon request from Member States."