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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

HR/CN/744
23 April 1996


ISRAEL DEFENDS ACTIONS IN LEBANON BEFORE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

GENEVA, 18 April (UN Information Service) -- Israel would halt its ongoing operations against Hezbollah when that group stopped lobbing Katyusha rockets into the north of the country, a representative of Israel told the Commission on Human Rights this afternoon.

The delegate said Israel had exercised considerable restraint in the face of the mounting provocations inspired, financed and equipped by Iran with the declared intent of undermining the peace process and, if possible, Israel itself. Israel demanded that the Government of Lebanon take control of the Hezbollah terrorists and prevent them from attacking Israeli civilians, he added.

Israel addressed the Commission during its debate on the question of human rights violations anywhere in the world, under which the situation in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa was considered. At the outset of this afternoon's meeting, the representative of Jordan said events in Lebanon were tremendously alarming and could seriously threaten the cause of peace in the region. Just as it abhorred the sight of innocent Israeli civilians being killed by indiscriminate bombings last month, Jordan hated just as much seeing innocent children and civilians being killed in Lebanon as a result of indiscriminate Israeli military bombardment, he said. Meanwhile, the representative of Syria urged the Commission to condemn what he called Israel's continued and premeditated violation of human rights, international law and international humanitarian law.

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Statements in Debate

ABDALLAH MADADHA (Jordan) said Jordan had always been known to practice moderation and follow reason in the most difficult circumstances, even at times when that approach was quite costly. Unfortunately, events in Lebanon were tremendously alarming and could seriously threaten the cause of peace in the region. Jordan had always condemned the killing of innocent civilians by any party and under any pretext. Just as much as it abhorred the sight of innocent Israeli civilians being killed by indiscriminate bombings last month, it hated seeing innocent children and civilians being killed in Lebanon as a result of indiscriminate Israeli military bombardment. The majority of peoples of the region had been terrorized for decades -- the terror of war, bombardment, repression, bullets and bombs. Peace and war could not co-exist. Peace and occupation could not be reconciled. Only an end to occupation through the achievement of a comprehensive and urgent settlement could eliminate violence.

GHASSAN NSEIR (Syria) said that as the Commission began last week to examine the question of human rights violations anywhere in the world, including occupied southern Lebanon and the Bekaa valley, Israel was launching a ferocious war against Lebanon, bombing towns and villages. Israel's attacks on residential areas, hospitals, ambulances and the country's infrastructure had prompted the exodus of 400,000 people and resulted in the death of children, women and elderly people. The Commission was called upon, more than ever, to condemn Israel for its continued and premeditated violation of human rights, international law and international humanitarian law, not only in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa, but in the whole territory of Lebanon. The aggression revealed Israel's expansionist ambitions in southern Lebanon the country aimed to give its occupation a permanent status. He regretted that the Italian delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union yesterday, had not addressed the tragic situation in Lebanon.

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YOSEF LAMDAN (Israel) said Israel demanded that the Government of Lebanon should take control of the Hezbollah terrorists and prevent them from attacking Israeli civilians. When the Hezbollah stopped its attacks permanently, Israel would halt its operation against them. Israel had exercised considerable restraint in the face of the mounting provocations which had been inspired, financed and equipped by Iran with the declared intent of undermining the peace process and, if possible, Israel itself. In that respect, Hezbollah was no different from its allies, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israel could not continue to allow its population in the north to be exposed to ongoing and escalating Hezbollah attacks.

Israel was acting to protect its citizens, and had no territorial claims on Lebanon he added. Israel's purpose was not to injure Lebanese civilians but to destroy Hezbollah targets. It was a fundamental principle of international law that no State may allow its territory to be used for acts which threatened or harmed the territorial integrity or political independence of another State. The Government of Lebanon must now exercise its sovereignty and take control of parts of the country, including south Beirut, to ensure security and stability of the border between the two countries.

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AMINE EL KHAZEN (Lebanon) said his country was a victim of Israeli aggression. Israeli bombing had destroyed the infrastructure of the country. Israel should abide by resolution 425 (1978) of the Security Council.

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