UN Security Council should give Israel seven days to comply with the resolution to end the siege of Arafat or face punitive action

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): The United Nations Security Council should give Israel one week to comply with its Tuesday resolution demanding Israel end its siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s compound, immediately cease measures in and around Ramallah, including the destruction of Palestinian civilian and security infrastructure, and the withdrawal of Israeli forces towards positions held prior to September 2000.  

Should Israel continue to disregard the  Security Council resolution, the Security Council  should decide on the punitive measures that should be meted out to Israel for its refusal to comply with the UN resolution.

As the United States had not opposed last Tuesday’s resolution, which was passed by the Security Council by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with United States abstaining, the Bush Administration should support follow-up punitive measures against Israel  by the international community for such non-compliance,  or it would be guilty of the most blatant form of double-standards and hypocrisy as the US Government is presently pressurizing the Security Council to give Iraq one week to decide whether or not to accept a new resolution allowing weapons inspectors unfettered access inside Iraq or face the most dire consequences.

This is particularly the case as the dossier of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) presented by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to the House of Commons last week was a strong and powerful case for the return of United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq for stringent inspection  but definitely no justification for Bush to embark on any unilateralist military action to carry out his “regime change” agenda with regard to  the Saddam Hussein rule.

On his return from the recent Asia-Europe meeting in Copenhagen, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed frustration at the response of the international community to the Israeli siege of Yasser Arafat's headquarters, fuming that “there is no more justice in this world” and that talk about justice, fair play, human rights and democracy was "sheer nonsense and mere hypocrisy".

Mahathir should give a detailed account to Parliament tomorrow on his attempts after Arafat’s telephone call to persuade the Western leaders to end the Israeli siege of Arafat at Ramallah  and seek a parliamentary vote on Malaysia’s stand on the two important international issues of the moment – the  Israel-Palestinian conflict and the Iraqi question.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman