UN SC Condemns Israeli Aggression Nationwide Angry Demonstrations [Archives:2000/41/Front Page]
Yemeni diplomacy has intensified its highest level contacts in regard to the convening of an emergency Arab summit to discuss the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people. President Ali Abdulla Saleh has held consultations with the Arab leaders on hold an Arab summit as soon as possible. Thus Yemen has made a speedy response to holding the summit which it has repeatedly called for on many occasions. It is of particular importance that Yemen is the sole Arab country that proposed a mechanism for amending the Arab League Charter, creating a periodical organization for holding the summit annually.
The Yemeni republic has closely followed up developments of the situation in the Palestinian territories resulting from the Israeli brutal military hostilities against the defenseless Palestinians. Yemen has witnessed massive nationwide protest demonstrations. Opposition parties, unions, syndicates and civil society organizations have condemned the Israeli crimes and sent dispatches to the UN secretary general urging him for immediate action to stop the Israeli aggression.In this regard, massive demonstrations marched Sanaa streets yesterday. Demonstrators stoped at the gate of the United Nations office where they clashed with policemen. They also went to the American Embassy which was intensively surrounded by security people and delivered a letter of condemnation of the American position towards the aggressive acts against Palestinians.
As regards holding the Arab summit, the Yemeni and Libyan stand has been identical. Both Arab leaders, Ali Abdulla Saleh and Muamar Gaddafi have played down the significance of holding the summit, indicating that it would be a cover for manoeuvres or concessions and, consequently, shift the Arab fury against Israel to an anger against the Arab rulers. This attitude shared by the two leaders came in a letter president Saleh has received from president Gaddafi. The letter contained Libyan proposals for holding an Arab foreign ministers emergency meeting to discuss the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
In an interview with Abu Dhabi TV, president Saleh said that he wished that Yemen was one of the neighboring countries of the Palestinian people so that it would have opened the borders before the Palestinian mujahidin and supplied the Palestinian people with weapons to force that entity recognize the Palestinian rights by force.
On the other hand the U.N. Security Council Saturday evening adopted a resolution condemning Israels excessive use of force against Palestinians, though the United States abstained. The vote came after intensive consultations over the wording of the draft. The final version has kept some major points unchanged against the U.S. demand.
The resolution deplores the provocation carried out in Jerusalem on September 28 and the subsequent violence in other areas throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties. It calls on Israel to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention to protect civilians in times of war. It calls for immediate cessation of violence and for all necessary steps to be taken to ensure that violence ceases, and new provocative actions are avoided. It stresses the importance of establishing a mechanism for a speedy and objective inquiry into the tragic events of the last few days with the aim of preventing their repetition. The council calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis with the aim of achieving an early final settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides. It invites the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to continue following the situation and keeping the council informed. The U.N. Security Council also voiced grave concern on Saturday with the escalating tensions and violent clashes that occurred in the border areas between Israel and Lebanon over the weekend. In a presidential statement, the Security Council asked all conflicting parties to exercise their utmost restraint. The council also welcomed the decision by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to dispatch his special envoy to the region in order to send the message directly to the leaders of all the states concerned. Annans special envoy is expected to ask the leaders to take immediate steps for the restoration of calm.
In another development, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has ordered to shut Gaza airport, except Palestinian leader Yasser Arafats plane, shortly after an Israeli bus was attacked in an Arab town, Israeli radio reported. An Israeli bus was attacked by unknown gunmen Saturday night in the Arab town of Rafah in southern Gaza near the Egyptian border and eight people were injured.
Barak said Saturday that Israel would use all means to stop the violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip if Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat fails to halt it within 48 hours. If we do not see a change in the patterns of violence in the next two days, we will see this as the cessation of the peace talks by Arafat…. and will instruct the Israeli Defense Forces and security troops to use all means at their disposal to stop the violence. Barak said in a televised address.
On their part Palestinian officials Saturday rejected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Baraks threats to halt the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and to stop the violence by force in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafats adviser Nabil Abu Rdaineh accused Barak of putting the heat on the Palestinian leadership. Palestinian Minister of Culture and Information Yasser Abed Rabbo also said that Barak knows very well that the Palestinians will not yield to such threats and if the peace process is dead, it is Barak who killed it.
The latest wave of clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli forces were triggered by Israeli opposition Likud leader Ariel Sharons visit to a disputed Jerusalem shrine on September 28. The bloody confrontations, the worst in four years, have claimed 80 lives and injured nearly 2,000 others, mostly Palestinians and Arabs living in territories occupied by Israel since 1948. Barak voiced the threats after three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped Saturday by Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas on the Israeli-Lebanese border.
Abed Rabbo said that Barak and Sharon collaborated in the provocative visit to the Jerusalem holy site revered by both Jews and Muslims. Sovereignty dispute over the site is the chief obstacle to a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal.
He added that through the provocative move, Barak paved the way for freezing the peace process and for forming a national unity government that will include the right-wing Likud party. He also said that Arafat has received a telephone call from U.S. president Bill Clinton and the two leaders agreed to further consultations on the formation of an international inquiry commission and ways of stopping the violence. The dispute over the constitutions of the commission to investigate the violence in the Palestinian territories is the deal-breaker at the Paris summit between Barak, Arafat and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
In Paris two to three thousand people demonstrated on the Saturday afternoon to protest against Israeli aggression in Palestine and the massacres of Palestinians by Israeli troops. The demonstrators called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territories and called on France and the European Union to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Meanwhile, hundreds of people demonstrated in the south-central city of Lyon to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. The demonstration in Paris was organized by the General Union of Palestinian Students in France and some other non-governmental groups.