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U.N. Security Council: A Critical Analysis of Resolution 1073

(October 1, 1996)

Resolution 1073 takes as its basis the letter of the Saudi representative regarding the "action by the Government of Israel to open a tunnel in the vicinity of Al Aqsa Mosque". This is in fact a distortion of the situation as the tunnel is an archeological site which has nothing to do with the Mosque.

The resolution ignores the letter of Israel's permanent representative, to the UN Secretary General, on this very subject and at the outset constitutes a one-sided approach to the issue.

The resolution mentions the "consequent results" of the tunnel's opening and as such ignores the the campaign of incitement and vilification on the part of the Palestinian Council and several Arab states which engendered the current outbreak of violence.

While the Security Council expresses its "deep concern" over the deaths of Palestinian civilians and "concern" over the violent clashes between the Israeli Army and the Palestinian Police, nowhere does this resolution express "concern", deep or otherwise, regarding the blatant violation by the Palestinian Police of the Agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. Not only did the Palestinian Police not exercise effective control to prevent violence, there were repeated instances when Palestinian Policemen joined rampaging mobs and fired on Israeli positions with the very weapons that were supposed to be used to keep order, causing the killing of 15 Israeli soldiers and policemen and the wounding of more than 60.

It should be noted that the violence in the territories was instigated and encouraged in a cynical and calculated manner by the leadership of the Palestinian Council as well as other states in the region. Israel has not, nor will it ever, undertake or countenance any action which would damage the holy sites of any religion in Jerusalem, or in any other locale under its jurisdiction. The members of the Security Council as well as the Palestinian Council are well aware of this. Nevertheless, the resolution is silent about the distortions and incitement which were aimed at Israel in the days prior to the violence in the territories and which set the stage for its outbreak. Furthermore, the resolution does not call upon those who engaged in this dangerous incitement to desist from it in the future.

It must be stated that this resolution is also silent regarding those who actually resorted to violence. The Palestinian Police and Security Services who were armed by virtue of the agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and are charged with keeping order in the areas under Palestinian jurisdiction. Instead they turned these weapons on Israeli soldiers and police, without any provocation, in what can only be described as an horrendous abuse of the trust with which they were invested and the powers which they were granted. None of this finds any expression in the resolution.

One can only, and sadly, conclude from this resolution that the Security Council has sent a message that artificially generated violence achieves political advantage and rewards those who cynically endanger human lives and the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry