Excerpts from Some 10th ESS Statements

H.E. Amb. Dieter Kastrup, Permanent Representative of Germany, on behalf of the European Union:

The Union deplores Israel’s failure to respond to the appeals made by the United Nations General Assembly and the international community to suspend the development of settlements in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem. The EU reiterates that these activities are contrary to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which apply to the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and to other Arab territories, occupied by Israel since 1967.

…Let me reiterate that the EU therefore deeply regrets the decision by the Israeli Government to suspend the implementation of the Wye Memorandum… This step contravenes both the spirit and the letter of the Memorandum. The EU especially deplores the refusal by the Israeli Government to carry out the second phase of the redeployment from the West Bank.

…In their preparations the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention should bear in mind the final goal of their efforts, which is to ensure respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention and, first and foremost, to contribute to a real improvement of the situation on the ground, the situation of the Palestinian population. The European Union supports the convening of the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Mr. Pieter Vermeulen, Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM):

At the XII Summit of the Heads of State . . . during 2-3 September 1998, the Movement reiterated its traditional long-standing solidarity with the palestinian people and reaffirmed its position on Occupied East Jerusalem, the illegal Israeli settlements, and the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem... Importantly, the Movement also reiterated its support for the recommendations contained in the resolutions adopted during the Tenth Emergency Special Session...

The international community cannot idly stand by while Israel refuses to implement relevant Security Council resolutions and abide by its legal obligations . . . It is incumbent on all Members of the General Assembly to uphold the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law and all other instruments of international law... The High Contracting Parties should now act expeditiously to convene the conference... The realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people is long overdue.

H.E. Amb. Jeno C.A. Staehelin, Permanent Observer of Switzerland, in his capacity as the Depository of the Convention:

Switzerland, as a High Contracting Party to the IVth Geneva Convention, considers that the Convention is fully applicable in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel, including Jerusalem, and that it has to be fully implemented in those territories.

…The IVth Geneva Convention contains no provisions with regard to the convening of conferences dealing with specific situations and therefore, does not specify the modalities for such a conference. . . Switzerland must conceive her role as a Depository in a restrictive way if the legal bases and the rules are not clearly defined, or if her action could be subject for controversies. She can, however, exercise this role in a more extensive manner if the framework is clear and if the States Parties are in favor of her action.

…In spite of the consultations undertaken since summer 1997 and notwithstanding the precise questions raised by the Swiss delegation at the Expert meeting last October, the Depository has not received conclusive answers. This is, in substance, the principle reason why the conference recommended by the General Assembly could not yet be convened.

Switzerland, in her capacity as Depository, cannot consider taking an active role in the convening and the preparation of a conference of this kind unless States parties first define a solid basis for the implementation of such a measure, so that it could be applied in cases of serous violations of the IVth Geneva Convention wherever they occur. Switzerland takes note of the will expressed by a large number of States in this Assembly to strive for a basis for a common action of the High Contracting Parties.