Israelís Use of Depleted Uranium

The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council to convey the serious concern of the Palestinian leadership regarding the possible use by Israel, the occupying Power, of depleted uranium shells against Palestinian targets, especially during the more recent and intensified Israeli military campaign over the last few months. Various reports have indicated that Israel has used such ammunition, which is suspected of causing grave diseases, leading to great anxiety among the Palestinian people.

In this regard, the Permanent Observer of Palestine referred also to a press statement released by the Israeli army in response to such reports in which it stated that "the Israeli army has never utilized these munitions against any civilian population." The language used in this press statement only indicates that the Israeli army does indeed possess this kind of ammunition in its arsenal and that is has used it in the past. Moreover, as noted by the Permanent Observer in his letters, the meaning of Ďcivilian populationí remains a matter of definition according to the Israeli government. Such vague statements by the Israeli army therefore only further intensify suspicions on the issue.

In closing, the Palestine Observer of Palestine called upon the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the Security Council, to give the matter necessary attention and to examine the possibility of field inspection in this regard by appropriate and trained inspectors as a means of seriously following up the matter.