I.P.O. Information Service
Vienna, 2 April 2002/P/RE/17619c-is
On behalf of the International Progress Organization, an international NGO in consultative status with the United Nations, the President of the organization, Professor Dr. Hans Koechler, earlier today issued the following statement:
1) The war officially declared by the Israeli Prime Minister creates the pretext for the destruction of all traces of an autonomous Palestinian administration in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967 and is aimed at terminating all efforts at establishing an independent Palestinian state.
2) The problem of terrorism can only be solved if the root causes of the suicidal attacks are addressed: namely the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land (including the continued construction and enlargement of settlements) and the permanent subjugation of the entire people of Palestine to Israeli rule.
3) The demands addressed by the American President to the Head of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied territories (West Bank and Gaza) can only be classified as cynical: in a situation in which the occupying power has dismantled virtually the entire administrative infrastructure (including the security infrastructure) of the Palestinian Authority, has destroyed the Preventive Security Headquarters in Ramallah and has completely isolated the Head of the Palestinian Authority from the outside world, no reasonable person can expect such an authority to be able to undertake any measures whatsoever in regard to stabilizing the security situation.
4) The siege and total isolation imposed on the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and elected Head of the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank and Gaza, Yasser Arafat, constitutes a deliberate act of humiliation that will only produce more acts of resistance. This action violates the basic rules of international law and of the United Nations Charter.
5) The Israeli forces attacking administrative and civilian installations (including hospitals) in Ramallah and other towns in the occupied West Bank have committed war crimes and have systematically violated international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of August 12, 1949. The cold-blooded murder of Palestinian policemen in a narrow room in a building in Ramallah constitutes a war crime as defined in international humanitarian law.
6) Security Council resolution 1402 (2002), adopted on 30 March 2002, does not address the problem of the war in Palestine seriously. The resolution is not based on Chapter VII of the Charter, i.e. it is legally not binding, and it is very vague in merely “calling for” (instead of demanding) the withdrawal of Israeli troops and not giving any deadline for the withdrawal. Calling for a “meaningful ceasefire” (as the resolution does) has no definable meaning in such a context. Compared to resolutions such as those on the Gulf crisis in 1990/1991, the present resolution is extremely short and contains no details (that would be required to make it operative). The resolution does not even provide for the sending of United Nations monitors, not to speak of United Nations protection forces, to the Palestinian territories. The objections and reservations raised by the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic in the Security Council were well founded.
7) This resolution is the latest in a series of non-binding resolutions dealing with Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory – since resolution 242 (1967) – that have never been implemented. Under the threat of the American veto, the United Nations Security Council has followed a policy of double standards: while resolutions related to Arab countries (such as Iraq or Libya) were based on Chapter VII and were enforced in a way causing great suffering to the peoples concerned, the resolutions related to the Israeli occupying power were never based on Chapter VII and thus had no legally binding character. It is no wonder, in this context, that 35 (!) years after its adoption, resolution 242 (1967) has not yet been implemented.
8) The International Progress Organization reiterates its call of 1 August 2001 for the immediate dispatch of a United Nations Protection Force to the occupied Palestinian territories.
9) The International Progress Organization emphasizes again the position expressed by its delegate at the solemn meeting at the United Nations Office in Vienna on 29 November 2000 that, as basic condition for a lasting settlement of the Palestine problem, all Israeli settlements have to be dismantled without exception.
10) The International Progress Organization takes note of the Declaration adopted by the recent Arab Summit in Beirut according to which an attack against an Arab country constitutes an attack against all Arab countries. This position, formulated on the basis of the Charter of the Arab League, obliges the Arab countries to adopt adequate measures of collective security in the defense of the people of Palestine. The International Progress Organization notes that the member states of the Arab League have not undertaken any such collective measures up to the present moment and that the people of Palestine are left on their own to defend themselves against a powerful invasion and occupation army. This state of affairs, amounting to political paralysis in the most important issue of collective security of the Arabs, may make the League of Arab States irrelevant and its Charter obsolete.
11) The International Progress Organization would like to recall the leadership displayed by the late King Faisal of Saudi-Arabia in the crisis faced by the Arab world in 1973 – when the world had seen, for the last time, credible and coherent collective action (making use of their economic power) on the part of the Arab states in the defense of their legitimate rights, including the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
END/War in Palestine / 02-04-2002/P/RE/17619c-is