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        Security Council
13 January 1986



The Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations presents his presents to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and has the honour, on instructions from his Government, to transmit to him a letter replying to the Israeli communication dated 21 November 1985 concerning the implementation of resolution 573 (1985) .

The Permanent Representative of Tunisia would be grateful to the Secretary-General of the United Nations if he could arrange for the text of this letter to be circulated as a document of the security Council.


Tunisian reply to the Israeli letter concerning the implementation of resolution 573

Having studied Israel's reply addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 21 November 1985 and included in his report in document S/17659, the Tunisian Government finds that Israel is in fact repeating a theory which it has already put forward and which was unanimously rejected by the international community.

The authors of that note revert to arguments that have already been refuted and thus can only be doomed to rejection. In its resolution 573 (1985), the Council condemned without opposition "the act of armed aggression perpetrated by Israel against Tunisian territory in flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and norms of conduct".

It is inadmissible for a State which, moreover, owes its existence to a decision of the United Nations to assume the right not to abide by the Organization's decisions whenever the Organization denounces that State's breaches of its international obligations or condemns the violations and infringements of the Charter and of international law of which that State is guilty.

It should be recalled that, immediately upon admission to membership in the United Nations, Israel accepted on 11 May 1949, General Assembly resolution 273 (III), which specifies that Israel is a peace-loving State that accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is able and willing to carry them out. On the basis of that recommendation, the international community is entitled particularly to require that Israel respect the Council's decisions instead of continuing deliberately to flout them.

By rejecting resolution 573 (1985), Israel intends to challenge the validity of the Council's decision and to persuade the international community that its aggression was not directed against the territorial integrity and political independence of Tunisia and that it was aimed at PLO. Even though this argument has been refuted by the Council, the Tunisian Government wishes to recall that the report evaluating the losses and damage, which was attached to the Secretary-General's report, proves that this was indeed an unmistakable act of aggression against Tunisian territory.

Moreover, the accusation that Tunisia "failed to live up to its commitment to keep the peace" and acted as a base for terrorist operations constitutes a serious distortion of the facts designed specifically to harm Tunisia and to undermine its reputation as a peaceful and tolerant country, respectful of principles of international law and conduct.

Tunisia cannot ignore or disregard the threat still hanging over its security, and over that of the other countries accused by Israel of harbouring the structures and missions of PLO. Israel's letter describing PLO as "the nerve-centre of world terror", with all the consequences which this implies, does not mean that its authors will not flout the Council's decisions and unilaterally assume the right to attack Tunisia again, using the same fallacious pretexts.

In addition, the implementation of resolution 573 (1985) clearly implies that Israel should not only refrain from perpetrating acts of aggression or threatening to do so but should also honour paragraph 4, in which the Council considers that Tunisia has the right to appropriate reparations.

Yet in its reply Israel deliberately ignores that obligation stemming from its act of aggression and therefore does not consider itself bound by this requirement laid down by the Council.

The Israeli reply confirms Israel's attitude of permanent defiance and its despise for the decisions of the United Nations.

Such an attitude of pure and simple rejection of a resolution of the Council, whose decisions are binding, should in itself constitute a source of major concern to the Council. Tunisia considers that the refusal of a Member State to implement, or even to recognize, a resolution adopted unanimously by the Security Council poses a problem regarding that State's very membership in the Organization. By refusing to comply and by excluding itself from the obligations involved in the Council's decisions, Israel is excluding itself from the Organization.

The Security Council, in accordance with the mission entrusted to it by the Charter and with the responsibilities incumbent upon it for the maintenance of international peace and security, should not tolerate a situation in which the State responsible for the aggression against Tunisia refuses to submit to the decision of the international community and continues deliberately to flout its resolutions and to place itself above and outside international law.

In order to assert its credibility, the Council must impose its decision on Israel or else apply to it the sanctions that it deems suitable.

Tunisia trusts the Council to ensure the full implementation of resolution 573 (1985); such an attitude will strengthen its belief in the principles and purposes of the Organization.

Nevertheless, the Tunisian Government reserves the right to take, at the appropriate time, any necessary action required by the situation.

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