Fri, 08 Dec 2000

International protection for the Palestinians

The time has come for a major Arab initiative that is peaceful, responsible, dignified and costs nothing: A unified diplomatic effort in world capitals and the U.N. demanding international protection for the Palestinians.

Israel has resisted the Palestinian request to the U.N. Security Council for the dispatch of 2,000 unarmed military observers -- not even an armed peacemaking force -- to the West Bank and Gaza to monitor the violence under the most absurd pretense. Israel and its ally, the United States also believe that no force could be put in place without explicit Israeli permission. Why is Israeli consent necessary for this exercise? And what is the precedent in U.N. history for this permission- seeking exercise?

Countries that profess to be more balanced in their stand towards the Arabs are devising 'options' for a force, a body, a contingent, call it what you like. This is, in fact, only a way to complicate a matter that really is simple: Civilians under military fire are entitled, under international law and according to moral conscience, to immediate protection against state- sanctioned aggression.

-- The Jordan Times, Amman