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The situation between Iraq and Kuwait
Letter dated 10 October 2002 from the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2002/1132).
The meeting resumed at 3.10 p.m.
The President (spoke in French ): The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Israel. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Lancry (Israel): Israel feels compelled to take the floor in the light of the numerous charges, made in the course of this debate, that the Security Council has adopted a double standard with regard to Israel’s compliance with Council resolutions.
In fact, those statements are the strongest proof that there is indeed a double standard: one directed against Israel. What else could explain such a deliberate blindness to the fundamental differences between Iraq’s defiance of the Council and Israel’s commitment to a peaceful settlement of conflict with its neighbours? What else could explain the failure to see any distinction between binding resolutions, adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter — resolutions that set out specific actions to be taken by Iraq, independent of the actions of any other party — and interdependent recommendations or statements of principle, adopted under Chapter VI, that are designed to move all the parties forward in the Middle East? The Charter of the United Nations is itself founded on the understanding that different situations and disputes require different responses and that not every conflict requires identical action. The distinction between resolutions adopted under Chapter VI and those adopted under Chapter VII recognizes that in certain cases the Council might wish to express itself in the form of a recommendation or in a broadly outlined statement of principles, rather than an explicit demand of one particular Member State.
What else but a double standard could possibly blur the gaping distinctions between Iraq, which has repeatedly violated and flouted the resolutions of the Council, and Israel, which has repeatedly taken significant steps, at considerable risk to its own security, to implement the Council’s will? Indeed, the principles set out by the Council in resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) provided the basis for Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and will hopefully enable us to reach peace with our other neighbours as well. All parties accepted those resolutions as the basis of the Madrid Peace Conference. They also provided the basis for our peacemaking with the Palestinians, for our mutual recognition, for the Oslo accords and for nearly a decade of peace negotiations. Those negotiations broke off as a result of the decision by the Palestinian side to revert to a strategy of violence and terrorism and as a result of its rejection, both in word and deed, of the right of States in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, as required by resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
In May 2000, Israel fully implemented its obligations under Security Council resolution 425 (1978), a fact that has been confirmed by the Secretary-General and endorsed by the Council. Despite that, Hizbullah terrorists have continued to launch cross-border attacks against Israel. The group has abducted three Israeli soldiers and one civilian, jeopardized security and stability in the area and threatens to provoke a broader regional confrontation. These illegal and dangerous activities are carried out in blatant violation of resolution 425 (1978) and with the ongoing support of the Government of Syria, which is itself a member of the Council, and the acquiescence of the Government of Lebanon.
Israel has also taken significant steps to implement the resolutions adopted by the Council since September 2000. Following the adoption of resolution 1402 (2002), Israel has gradually withdrawn its troops from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah, successfully negotiated a peaceful end to the stand-off at the Church of the Nativity and redeployed our forces to the perimeter of population centres, in the hope that reciprocal Palestinian measures called for in the resolution would follow. But despite the call on the Palestinian Authority to adhere to a meaningful ceasefire and to end all acts of violence, terror and incitement, it did none of those things. Similarly, the recently adopted resolution 1435 (2002) placed obligations on both parties, including a call upon the Palestinian Authority to end all acts of violence, terror and incitement, and to bring to justice those responsible for terrorist acts. The Palestinian Authority has thus far refused to live up to its obligation to arrest and prosecute terrorists and has thereby forced Israel to take actions to protect its citizens. In short, these obligations were totally ignored by the Palestinian Authority.
Unlike resolutions concerning Iraq, the Council’s resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict do not envision Israeli actions without reciprocal commitment and implementation by other parties to the dispute. They are part and parcel of a number of interdependent actions aimed at ending violence and terrorism and returning the parties to a political process. They cannot be compared to resolutions adopted under Chapter VII, which address the threat posed by the aggressive intentions of one regime to both the region and the world.
But beyond all that lies a more significant, and indeed more fundamental, distinction between Iraq and Israel. Israel is a country confronting the daily threat of terrorist attacks against its civilians, as well as repeated threats to destroy it, including threats from remote neighbours like Iran and Iraq. Are we to forget that just months before the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein threatened to “completely burn half of Israel”, and that in the course of that war 39 Iraqi Scud missiles fell on Israeli cities without any provocation?
Is there a double standard, as certain Member States have alleged? There is a simple test. Take two States, one a dictatorship and serial violator of Council resolutions and human rights that is dedicated to the acquisition of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and fighting for regional domination; the other is a democracy upholding the principles of the rule of law and freedom of speech, a people whose survival has been tested for decades but who are still committed to peace, both for themselves and for future generations in the Middle East.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a serious one, and deservedly a source of international concern. But the cause of peace in the Middle East is not served by the charges we have heard in the course of this debate, nor is it served by false comparisons and deliberate obfuscation intended not to foster constructive action, but rather to prevent it. We cannot lose sight of the fact that the resolution of the conflict in the Middle East is only possible through both sides fulfilling their obligations and negotiating the terms of a final settlement in an atmosphere of partnership and cooperation. We hope that other Member States will do their utmost to help create such an atmosphere.
Mr. Mekdad (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
At the same time, we must recall the need to implement the provisions of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), especially its paragraph 14, which calls for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Serious developments in recent weeks have attracted the interest of the international community as they may be conducive to reaching the required solution guaranteeing the implementation of Security Council resolutions on Iraq.
The founding of the United Nations in the wake of the Second World War aimed at establishing a world of peace and security. In no way can we accept an unwarranted war whose victims will be mainly innocent civilians.
Also, the repercussions of such wars will be devastating to Iraq in particular and will increase extremism and its grave consequences in a turbulent area because of events in the occupied territories and Israel’s flagrant defiance of relevant Security Council resolutions.
Most delegations that have addressed this meeting have affirmed the need to implement Security Council resolutions without double standard, in particular not excluding Israel from the implementation of Security Council resolutions. Unlike the distortion practised by the representative of Israel, who spoke just a little while ago, in his attempt to distort the Charter, we affirm that Article 25 of the Charter calls on all States to implement Security Council resolutions and that all Council resolutions are binding and must be implemented. For the first time we hear about resolutions adopted by the Council that are mere recommendations or resolutions of a different nature. This is distortion. All Security Council resolutions are binding on all Members.
As for Israel, which has attempted to avoid the implementation of these resolutions for more than five decades, it must not be allowed to shirk its responsibility to implement relevant Security Council resolutions. What is truly strange about the Israeli logic is the talk about democracy while Israel is practising various kinds of murder and destruction in the occupied Arab territories. Is there a new concept called the democracy of occupation? Or is there a new logic regarding democratic occupation? This is a distortion. And this is clowning before this Council. It is unacceptable clowning. The representative of Israel spoke about South Lebanon. However, he forgot to mention Israel’s twenty-year occupation of South Lebanon in flagrant defiance of Security Council resolution 425 (1978). Had it not been for the sacrifices of the Lebanese national resistance, Israel would not have withdrawn. The other fact the Israeli representative failed to mention is the existence of scores of Lebanese prisoners, kidnapped by Israel from their homes and families, their mosques and from the streets and villages of South Lebanon. Obfuscation of facts will not serve the representative of Israel, because the facts are known to all members of the Council. Israel should recommit itself to the peace process and put an end to its occupation of the occupied Arab territories. That is the only solution that will achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom): You were right, Sir, to schedule this debate. The United Kingdom was one of the first to call for it. The Council needs to hear the voice of the wider membership, particularly when we are on the edge of decisions that could make the difference between war and peace.
It is a debate, clearly, that is about more than Iraq. The delegation and I have been listening carefully to it. The issues in our minds, whether we all refer to them or not, go much wider: the security of the whole neighbourhood of Iraq; the reinforcement of our collective effort to eliminate terrorism; justice for Palestine and security for Israel within the law; the role of the Security Council when serious matters of national security are before its members and the overall effectiveness of the United Nations itself.
Mr. Koonjul (Mauritius): ...
The Permanent Observer of Palestine has asked to make another statement. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic ): Thank you, Mr. President, for giving us a second opportunity to address the Council.
A few moments ago, the representative of Israel gave a lengthy and rather strange intervention, discussing, in the first place, essential matters unrelated to the issue at hand. Secondly, he gave false legal arguments, false interpretations of the provisions of the United Nations Charter and of Security Council resolutions. Thirdly, he attempted to falsify Israel’s record in non-compliance with the Council’s resolutions, accusing many speakers and launching unjustified accusations. This is why we find ourselves obliged to reply to his intervention.
The representative of Israel tried to say that there is a difference in the nature of the resolutions pursuant to Chapter VII and those pursuant to Chapter VI of the Charter. He went so far as to say that the resolutions adopted pursuant to Chapter VI are mere recommendations. Of course, we do admit that there is a difference in the fact that there is an enforcement mechanism pursuant to Chapter VII. But to attempt to give the impression that some resolutions are binding and others are not is legally false and should be condemned, because this is an attempt to falsify one of the Charter’s principles. Article 25 is extremely clear, and all Security Council resolutions are binding.
Israel is the only State in the United Nations that has been recognized by the Security Council as an occupation Power. It is the only State within the United Nations that continues an active colonialist process in the twenty-first century, now that the entire world has practically eliminated colonialism — or most of it.
The record is quite clear. Since the beginning of Israeli occupation in 1967, the Council has adopted 37 resolutions related to Israeli practices in the occupied territories. Thirty-seven resolutions, Mr. President, that deal only with Israeli practices in the occupied territories. They do not include resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), or Israeli practices in southern Lebanon; nor do they include the peacekeeping operations. These 37 resolutions deal only with Israeli practices in the occupied territories.
Among the resolutions in question, there are 27 that reaffirm the Fourth Geneva Convention and call on occupation forces to respect the Convention. What has happened? Israel continues to violate the terms of the Geneva Convention, one serious violation after the other, including collective punishment and, recently, war crimes.
Among the resolutions in question, some relate to the displaced Palestinian people, not the refugees, but the displaced people of the 1967 war. What was the result? Israel refused to implement the resolutions, and there are now 700,000 displaced Palestinians. Israel has not allowed a single one back.
Among the resolutions in question are those concerning the illegal Israeli practices and the attempt to change the legal and demographic nature of Al-Quds, resolutions which considered the law concerning Al-Quds null and void and asked Israel to put a stop to such practices. What was the result? Israel continued violating the resolutions and pursued the Judaization of the city, insisting on referring to it as the capital of Israel.
Among the resolutions in questions are those concerning the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories that called upon Israel to put a stop to these settlements, and even to dismantle them. What was the result? Israel pursued its settlers’ colonialism and over the years transferred 400,000 Israelis into the occupied territories. The settlements now dominate and occupy 40 per cent of our occupied territories.
Among the resolutions in question are those concerning the extradition of certain Palestinians, asking Israel to put a stop to this practice, but Israel has continued this practice until very recently. There are resolutions calling for the protection of Palestinian civilians and resolutions calling for investigations by the Council itself. The Council set up a committee for this purpose, but Israel refused to receive it.
The latest Security Council resolution, 1405 (2002), was to develop accurate information regarding recent events perpetrated by Israel in the Jenin refugee camp through a fact-finding team. What was the result? Again, the answer is very clear.
So, as we can see, it is a matter not only of what took place in recent months, but also of systematic policies that Israel has carried out for the past 35 years, in blatant violation of 37 Security Council resolutions, not to mention international law and the Charter of the United Nations. Thus, the entire life of the Palestinian people has been destroyed: their land has been stolen and their houses have been demolished; they have been deprived of their fundamental rights, of their State and of the right to return to their land.
There is no other example of this kind in the world today. It is unprecedented in the history of the United Nations, and yet the Israeli representative says that there are no double standards. Why did the Security Council not try to enforce compliance with its resolutions? Why did the Council accept Israel’s blatant defiance of the Council and even its disrespect for that body? Why were no measures undertaken, pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter, to enforce compliance with and respect for Council resolutions? We know the reason, and I shall not dwell on it now. But it undoubtedly constitutes a double standard. I do not believe that there is anyone in the Arab region, or perhaps in the entire world, who does not know that.
I shall reiterate what I said this morning. What we need today from the Security Council is a more serious attitude, in conformity with the Charter, that will convey the right message: that there is only one standard, based on international law and the provisions of the Charter. Then, and only then, will the entire Arab region be prepared to fully heed the Security Council and to implement its resolutions in all areas.
The President (spoke in French): The next speaker is the representative of Lebanon, who has asked to speak again. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Diab (Lebanon) ( spoke in Arabic ): Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the floor once again and for giving me the opportunity to respond to what was mentioned in the statement by Israel, containing lies and false claims.
The Israeli representative claimed that his Government has implemented resolution 425 (1978) in compliance with international legitimacy. Everyone knows that Israel has continued to occupy southern Lebanon for 22 years in flagrant defiance of that resolution and would not have withdrawn had it not been for the heroic Lebanese resistance and the complete support of the Government of Lebanon.
Lebanese resistance of Israel would never have arisen had it not been for Israel’s refusal to implement resolution 425 (1978) throughout the 22 years of its occupation of southern Lebanon. On the basis of the narrow political interests of one member of the Security Council, the Security Council failed to compel Israel to implement a single one of its resolutions through those 22 years, leading to the death of thousands of Lebanese civilians and to widespread destruction of our infrastructure, from which we continue to suffer to this day.
We should like to remind the representative of Israel that his Government continues to hold many Lebanese in Israeli prisons. Some have been detained for over 25 years without trial, in contravention of all the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law, particularly the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War. We also wish to remind him that his Government remains in contravention of resolution 425 (1978) through the daily violations by the occupying Israeli forces of Lebanon’s sovereign airspace and waters. These violations have been described by the Secretary-General as provocations that have become a routine fact of life. In any case, the Security Council still considers Israel to be the only occupying Power in the world. Israel also continues to occupy Arab territories, including the Lebanese Sheba’a Farms, destabilizing the entire region.
The Arab peoples are peace-loving peoples, as amply demonstrated by the peace initiative of the Beirut Summit, which offered Israel total peace in return for its implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy and its withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories. Israel’s response to that initiative was its reoccupation of the West Bank. If Israel truly desires peace, it must now implement the scores of resolutions of international legitimacy adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Security Council must also shoulder its responsibilities, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, by compelling Israel to implement its resolutions in the interests of peace and security in the region and to eschew any double standards in the implementation of its resolutions that allow Israel to shirk its obligations.
The President (spoke in French): The representative of Israel has asked to speak. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Lancry (Israel) (spoke in French ): If Israel has felt it useful to speak in this discussion, it is basically to resist the thoughtless intermingling of ideas that lumps Iraq and Israel in the same category of offender with respect to the implementation of Security Council resolutions.
We wish to express our disagreement with regard to Iraq by retracing a very evocative illustration of Security Council resolutions on peace between Israel and its Arab and Palestinians neighbours. It will be said, as was done a few moments ago by the Permanent Observer of Palestine, that beyond the principal resolutions — resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) — there is a series of other resolutions, touching on various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, that require implementation. Undoubtedly, such resolutions exist, but their existence is so bound up in the context of earnest and responsible implementation that they are at the very heart of negotiations with the Palestinians. The final status of Jerusalem, along with the question of refugees, the issue of settlements and the definitive shape of the borders of the Palestinian State are inscribed in the framework of the final status stipulated in the Oslo accords.
It should be noted once again that the Permanent Observer of Palestine continues to be obsessed, in defending and elaborating his argument, with forcing a one-dimensional reading of the resolutions of the Security Council that he cited earlier. For the Permanent Observer of Palestine, those resolutions concern Israel alone, while the Palestinians may ignore them with impunity. Have we heard the Permanent Observer of Palestine say a single word about the need, as stipulated in those resolutions, to end the suicide attacks and Palestinian terrorism in all its forms, or to declare a genuine ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians? This is a slew of Palestinian obligations with which the most recent series of Security Council resolutions is replete and which the Palestinians seem to ignore with easy disdain.
It is essential that we differentiate between resolutions adopted, on the one hand, under Chapter VI with respect to Israel and its partners in peace, and those adopted under Chapter VII with respect to Iraq, on the other. We must declare null and void indictments based on false linkages. Neither the Arab party concerned — I refer to Syria — nor the Palestinian side can set itself up as sole and selective master decoder of resolutions whose inconvenient provisions they trample underfoot, only to play the role of inspector of works undertaken and completed by Israel.
Negotiations and reciprocity in the implementation of Security Council resolutions are the cornerstone of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian dialogue. Thus, the offhand association of Israel with Iraq is nothing more than a dangerous distraction that plays into the hands of an unscrupulous dictatorship.
I know that reference to Israel as a democracy, howsoever imperfect its need to survive and its dedication to peace, occasionally stirs up emotions in certain quarters. The representative of Syria engaged with vigour in the ritual denigration of Israeli democracy, no doubt because he himself is steeped in a staunch Syrian democracy. His republic is run in flawless republican order, including the transmission of power from father to son, or, more precisely, from one generation to the next.
The representative of Syria is revolted by Israel as a democracy of occupation. I would remind that revolted democrat that the Israeli occupation, a result of Arab aggression, is at least, negotiable. I would recall that it was negotiated with Egypt and Jordan, to the satisfaction of all parties.
But can the same be said of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon? Is it pursued on behalf of Syrian democracy? What hope is there for Lebanon? Is there going to be a day when the Syrian democrats,professional enslavers, will restore the Lebanese people their freedom? Where is, then, the lost resolution of the Security Council that will one day invite one of its members — I would say the most unusual one, in his dual guise as occupier and member of this Council —to finally negotiate its withdrawal from Lebanon.
That is the question that Syria must respond to before this Council.
The President (spoke in French ): The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic has asked to make another statement. I give the floor to him.
Mr. Mekdad (Syria) ( spoke in Arabic ): I believe that the Council and the speakers who have spoken during the past two days — and, if I am right,more than 90 per cent of them — have spoken very clearly. This Council should not in any way deal in double standards.
Everyone who spoke at this meetingreferred in one way or another to Israel. Israel has not only spoiled the situation in the Middle East,but has also undermined the legal framework of collective endeavours on the international scene. I believe that the logic used by the representative of Israel condemns him first and foremost. Occupation is rejected under any pretext. It is a shame that someone comes to this Council to defend occupation.
I can hardly believe that I am at the Security Council in the midst of international legitimacy, the edifice of international legitimacy. When I listen to such false claims, lies, misrepresentations and ridiculous statements, I remember how the world has judged Israelas an aggressor, an occupier of other peoples territories and as an outlaw, an international outlaw.
When we speak of democracy, and we spoke a while ago about the real Israeli democracy,which is a democracy of killing, occupation, destruction, and the oppression of all the States of the region with weapons of mass destruction that everyone has said should be destroyed as well.
The other issue that I would like to mention is that the Israeli regime is a blood-thirsty regime by any standard. It exercises State terrorism. Today, it directed its tanks to bombard Rafah and killed 8 Palestinians. Last week, they bombed Gaza and killed almost 18 innocent civilians, including many innocent children. After all that, the representative of Israel dares to speak of democracy. What kind of democracy is that? The statement by the representative of Israel is a danger to democracy and an affront to Israel. Democracy for some and not everyone has been condemned by the entire world.
The racist regime in South Africa pretended that it was a democratic regime. It held elections. But this Council attacked the racist regime in South Africa for many years until it was eliminated. Incidentally, one of the very few countries in the world that cooperated with the racist regime in South Africa,as well as those in Namibia and Zimbabwe, was Israel, whoserepresentative speaksabout democracy. Israel ceased cooperation with the racist regime in South Africa only after that regime was totally eliminated. This is a fact that everyone knows. And I do not need to recall it here now. This is Israeli democracy.
What exactly are we talking about in this Council? When we say that we want peace, we are faced with tanks and jet fighters and artillery fire that kill our people. When we ask for a comprehensive and just peace, we are told that it will not be achieved unless Israel annexes all the occupied Arab territories.
Democracy should come from within. It should be the main feature of relations among nationsand at the international level as well. The State farthest from democracy is Israel.
My country has its own democracy. We have elections at all levels. During the next few days we will witness the holding of elections of the Syrian Parliament, free and democratic elections, such as those held in any country in the world. But the biggest lie that was uttered by the representative of Israel is the one regarding Lebanon.
There is no other country in the world that speaks more about Lebanese-Syrian ties than Israel. This Council is the world. Is there a single representative in this Council or outside that speaks more about Lebanon-Syria than the Israeli representative? The country that is most concerned about the unity,integrity and independence of Lebanon and the liberation of its territory that is still under occupation is Syria. The country that is most concerned with the best Lebanese Government that controls the situation in its own country is Syria. But the reason why the Syrian forces went into Lebanon is another issue. Lebanon went through an extremely destructive civil war, such as the wars that took place in the Balkans and in many African countries. The international community deployed tremendous efforts before Syria got involved in Lebanon in order to solve the situation, but those efforts were all futile.
One million Lebanese were forced to go to Syria during the escalation of the Lebanese civil war. When all the Lebanese forces and all the political parties in Lebanon appealed to Syria to intervene, when Syria received a formal request from the Lebanese Government, to save the people and Government of Lebanon, Syria intervened. There are agreements between Syria and Lebanon on this Syrian military presence in Lebanon that protects national reconciliation and preserves the unity and integrity of Lebanon at the request of the legitimate Lebanese Government. Syria is prepared, as agreed with the Lebanese Government, to consider its presence in Lebanon in accordance with the wishes of the legitimate Government in Lebanon. And it is a legitimate Government, as we know. Israel has not recognized that Government, but that is Israel’s problem.
I would also like to ask, is there a single Government in the entire world that does not recognize the present Lebanese Government? It seems that this is only an Israeli problem. It shows the dissatisfaction of Israel with what has been accomplished through cooperation between brothers in Syria and Lebanon. The Syrian youth who died in Lebanon number in the thousands and all the Lebanese in all strata of Lebanese society are grateful to Syria for the role it has played.
As I just stated, the Syrian presence in Lebanon is governed by agreements between the two Governments, and Syria is prepared to fulfil all requests made by the Lebanese Government, but it is clear that Israel is not pleased when there are such brotherly ties between two Arab countries. That is a problem for Israel. The ties between Lebanon and Syria are those of brotherhood and cooperation and are based on equality and friendly relations among nations. They are based on the wishes of all the different sectors of the Lebanese people.
Israel also has no right to interfere in Lebanese affairs, or to claim to be concerned about Lebanon, because it has killed thousands, I don’t want to exaggerate, but Israel has killed at least thousands, if not tens of thousands of Lebanese citizens in the course of three or four invasions of Lebanon that sometimes reached the capital, Beirut. Israel destroyed everything on the ground. This fact is well known to everyone.
I realize that everyone knows the facts, but I only want to make it absolutely clear that the representative of Israel cannot get away with false claims and lies such as these. My colleagues tell me I have spoken at length. I believe that is so and I will stop here.
The President (spoke in French): There are no further speakers on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.
The meeting rose at 7.15 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council . Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-178.