Press Release (18 June 1998)

Several official Israeli statements were made with regard to the Palestinian effort to achieve "Full participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations", which will be put to a vote by the General Assembly at the request of the Arab Group. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has stated that the move is "a dangerous unilateral decision", and that the Palestinians risk a future troop withdrawal from the West Bank. In this connection, the Prime Minister of Israel said "the Palestinian initiative at the United Nations risks provoking the down fall of the peace process," and he also said, "Israel is also capable of taking unilateral measures."

These are clearly demagogic statements aimed at misleading the public. Of course, any Palestinian decision is unilaterally taken and independent in nature. Attempts to draw any parallel between illegal unilateral actions by Israel, which violate international law and Security Council resolutions, and other legitimate actions supported by U.N. Member States on the basis of international law and the Charter of the U.N. are unethical and unacceptable.

Daily Israeli actions also violate the existing agreements between the two sides. Only today, the Prime Minister of Israel announced a program to strengthen Israel’s hold on Jerusalem. He stated, "We would work to strengthen, fortify and base our hold and sovereignty in Jerusalem." Further, Israel has continued its illegal settlement activities, the demolition of homes, the confiscation of land and the building of bypass roads. Attempts to draw parallels between such acts and Palestinian decisions, even if the Israeli side does not like them, are also unethical and unacceptable.

Finally, Israeli officials’ talk about the Palestinian side endangering the peace process or the current efforts to rescue that process is unethical and unacceptable as well. Israel is the party that is to be totally blamed for its rejection of the proposed U.S. package for the past six weeks, ignoring all deadlines and risking the destabilization of the fragile situation in the entire region.

The Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations expresses its confidence that such Israeli rhetoric will be rejected and its hope that the draft resolution will be adopted by a large majority.