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Palestinians push for U.N. force
Palestinians intensify push for U.N. observers; Israel balks

By Michael J. Jordan
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
November 30, 2000

NEW YORK—Pressure is mounting on Israel to allow the "internationalization" of the Middle East crisis.

Supporters of the Palestinian cause renewed their push this week for the U.N. Security Council to send a force of 2,000 unarmed military observers to the West Bank and Gaza to "protect" Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Economic and Social Council passed a resolution Nov. 22 supporting the creation of a "human rights inquiry commission" to investigate the past two months of Mideast violence.

Jewish observers suspect that Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat is attempting to "internationalize" the crisis to both impose-rather than negotiate-a resolution to the Mideast conflict, and to dilute Washington's role as the "honest broker."

Proposing the observer mission is inherently contradictory, Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin suggested, and raises doubts about the Palestinians' true intent.

"Do they really believe that in order to protect the Palestinians, they need now an international presence without weapons who will do nothing?" asked Beilin. "For me, it is a big, big red herring."

The United States has indicated it would likely veto such a proposal if it ever came to a vote because the mission would not have Israel's consent.

Beilin said international efforts should instead focus on getting the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

"What we really need is a peace treaty," he said.
Meanwhile, the council's resolution follows three other denunciations of Israel by U.N. organs: by the Security Council, on Oct. 7; by the Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights, on Oct. 19; and by the General Assembly in New York, on Oct. 20. None of the resolutions has faulted the Palestinian side for any of its actions, while the human rights commission went so far as to accuse Israel of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity."

Analysts predict that if the historic pattern of U.N. behavior toward Israel holds true, the proposed on-the-ground inquiry would conclude that blame for the current bloodshed rests entirely with the Jewish state.

© JTA Inc., 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.


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