|Israel’s Response to Report of the Human Rights Commissioner|
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)
The report of the High Commissioner on Human Rights published on November 27 expresses its deep concern for the violence in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It voices strong reservations about the Palestinian conduct. The report also includes problematic elements which we find unacceptable.
The report claims that Israel uses excessive force. During the visit of the High Commissioner, Mary Robinson, Israel made it clear that the IDF is only taking action in response to violence, and is acting in self-defense. It is also using great restraint, with the aim of avoiding civilian casualties, where possible.
With regard to settlements, this issue will be discussed at the negotiating table. Israel demonstrated great willingness to discuss this issue during the Camp David summit, but the Palestinian leadership chose to resort to violence, instead of exhausting the negotiations process.
The Commissioner believes that the deployment of an international observer force in the territories should be considered, a matter which is being discussed in UN forums. In this context, Israel wishes to make it clear that it opposes the deployment of any international force prior to the accomplishment of an agreement.
With regard to the implementation of closures which cause some hardship for the Palestinian population, we wish to clarify that this is an essential security measure which has been taken following the Palestinian release of notorious terrorists and the imminent threat of terrorist attacks in Israel.
Israel respects the principles of humanitarian international law, and is doing its utmost to facilitate humanitarian assistance, the transfer of medicine and medical equipment, including medicine from Arab countries with which Israel has no diplomatic relations. Unfortunately, the Palestinians have exploited ambulances for use in hostilities, and by doing so, flagrantly violate international law.
Israel reiterates that it will not cooperate with the implementation of the operative clauses of this one-sided resolution of the UN Commission on Human Rights of October 19, 2000 and the ECOSOC resolution of November 22, 2000. These resolutions were supported by a coalition of Arab and non-aligned states, conflicting with the positions of western countries known for their respect of human rights.