UN General Assembly votes to hold Geneva Convention conference
Palestine-Israel-UN, Politics, 2/10/1999
Israel has come out in opposition to a United Nations General Assembly decision yesterday to convene a meeting of the Geneva Convention signatory states to discuss the Israeli settlement policy in the occupied territories.
The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution by a vote of 115 -2, with five abstentions. It also reaffirmed the General assembly's opposition to Israeli measures which change the character, legal status, or demographic composition of the occupied territories. Additionally, it expressed "grave concern over the Knesset's adoption of a law that makes the return of annexed areas, including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, more difficult.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry's spokesman said the decision was made out of "narrow political motives and not because of humanitarian considerations."
The spokesman went on to say that the resolution will harm the integrity of international humanitarian institutions, adding that Israel will not take part in the conference.
A statement by the Israeli government press office labeled the decision a "twofold violation of the Oslo Accords" because it does not address disputes through bilateral negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel and because it involves the UN General Assembly in a topic which is to be part of final status negotiations.
The resolution was supported by the Palestinian observer at the UN, Nasser al-Kidwa, who called for a July 15 meeting. That date would put the meeting after the Palestinians believe the Oslo accords expire on May 4. The conference would decide on the Geneva Conventions' applicability in the occupied territories.
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