Palestinian Call to Convene UN Emergency Session is Gross Violation of Agreements

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
5 February 1999

The Foreign Ministry states that the convening of the United Nations General Assembly in emergency session on Friday, 5.2.99 in New York, at which the Palestinians intend to request that signatory nations to the Geneva Conventions hold a special session next month to discuss the situation in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, is a gross violation of Palestinian agreements with Israel.

The Foreign Ministry wishes to make it clear that Israel will attend the General Assembly’s emergency session today, but will boycott any special session of the signatory nations to the Geneva Convention, should it be held.

The Foreign Ministry wishes to clarify that following the United Nations General Assembly emergency session in March 1998, Switzerland (a standard bearer of the Geneva Conventions) proposed the opening of a new channel of dialogue between Israel, the Palestinians and the Red Cross in order to improve the humanitarian activities on behalf of the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza who are beneficiaries of the Geneva Conventions.

The first meeting in this framework was held in June 1998, and a second meeting was supposed to have been convened in November 1998. The Palestinians cancelled their participation at the last moment.

In recent weeks, the Palestinians have actively sought for the United Nations General Assembly to convene an international conference of signatory nations to the Geneva Conventions. The entire purpose of such a meeting is to seek condemnations and slanderous statements against Israel.

The Palestinian initiative would create a dangerous precedent of politization of the humanitarian aid provided by the United Nations that will only succeed in hurting the recipients of that aid.

Israel will not lend its hand to any such action and will not participate in any such meeting, should it be held. Israel calls on all parties in the international community to do everything possible to prevent this initiative from being implemented, and for the parties to return to the agreed upon dialogue arrangements.