Security Council holds daylong debate on Middle East crisis
Representatives of Israel and Palestine at the United Nations today offered diverging views on the current conflagration in the Middle East as delegates from close to 60 countries were inscribed to take part in a daylong debate in the Security Council on the volatile situation in the region.
"The Israeli authorities have so insolently declared that the Israeli attacks will continue for weeks," Ambassador Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Permanent Observer for Palestine, told the Council session, which was convened on the request of the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement. "This will lead us to a point of no return," he warned.
Mr. Al-Kidwa called on the international community to "decisively reject" Israel's actions, adding: "Our position against all terrorist attacks, including the explosions in Israel is clear and explicit - we condemn them in their entirety, but Israel remains an occupation force." Israel's actions were sanctioned by the State, he said, while the Palestinian Authority had condemned terrorist acts in Israel, considering them contrary to Palestinian national interests.
The Security Council, he noted, must see to it that its resolutions were implemented immediately, as that was the only way to put an end to the violence and resume efforts for peace. The Council must consider how to push peace forward, including through the presence of an international third party monitoring body to help implement the understandings reached by the Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, and the recommendations made by a committee chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell.
Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Lancry called attention to the deadly suicide bombings that had been taking place in the country in recent days. Israel was prepared to fully implement the Council's recent resolutions, he said, including its call for a genuine cessation of hostilities, terrorism and incitement and full implementation of the Tenet Plan and the Mitchell report.
"Every Israeli concession has been matched with terrorism," he said. Israel believed that a complete and meaningful ceasefire would lead to the withdrawal of Israeli troops. "No one should doubt that when the violence and the terrorism has ended, so will the need for further Israeli military action," he said.
Ambassador Lancry emphasized that the Security Council should demand an immediate implementation of its recent resolution as well as a call on the Palestinian side to cease suicide bombings in Israel. "This would not be only a more balanced position but could be the impetus needed to achieve a genuine ceasefire, begin the withdrawal of Israeli troops, and ultimately put both parties back on the path towards a process of dialogue and negotiations and hopefully, a final status achievement in peaceful coexistence," he said.
Yesterday evening, the Council held two back-to-back formal private meetings on the Middle East - the first with Ambassador Lancry, and the second one with Ambassador Al-Kidwa. According to a UN spokesman, during each session, the Representative of Israel and the Observer of Palestine made opening statements, which were followed by an interactive question-and-answer period with the members of the Council.