Israel will not allow U.N. observers into the occupied territories to safeguard the Palestinian population even if the U.N. Security Council approves the proposal, Foreign Minister Moshe Arens said today
Palestinians have requested U.N. observers to protect the 1.7 million Arabs in the occupied territories from the Israeli army. Most of the 710 Palestinians killed in the 29-month-old uprising have been slain by army gunfire.
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat is expected to propose the observer force to a Friday session of the 15-nation council in Geneva. U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III has said the United States is prepared to discuss the issue.
But Arens said today he hoped that the Security Council would not approve the force. "I hope that this is not going to take place," he said.
If it does, he said, "Israel would not accept U.N. observers on territory under Israeli control."
Israeli officials say Israel is legally responsible for administering the territory, seized in war, and that foreign observers are already present in the form of U.N. relief staff, Red Cross officials, foreign aid workers and journalists.
"We feel there is no justification for the stationing of U.N. observers in areas that are legitimately under Israeli control and came under Israeli control as a result of Arab aggression in 1967," Arens said.
Arens said Israel was counting on the United States to veto the U.N. resolution. He said it was crucial that Israel get a chance to explain that a veto was of "the utmost importance."
Also today, a 15-year-old Palestinian died after being shot by soldiers in an overnight clash, and the army lifted curfews in the West Bank that had confined about a million Palestinians to their homes since Sunday.
Refugee camps and towns in the Gaza Strip remained under stay-at-home orders, except for three small villages. The curfews were to quell rioting that began Sunday when an apparently deranged Israeli shot and killed seven Arabs.
Labor leader Shimon Peres also rejected the idea of observers but blamed Shamir for plummeting relations with the United States.
"The question is not one act or another by the United States. The question is the deterioration in relations between us and the United States that is getting stronger," Peres said on Israel radio.