U.S. moving to prevent UN debate on local crisisBy Natan Guttman, Daniel Sobelman and Shlomo Shamir
Ha'aretz, Thursday, August 16, 2001
The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet tomorrow to discuss the situation in the territories, "including Jerusalem."
The council will also probably discuss anew Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat's repeated request for the deployment of international observers in the territories.
Arab representatives at the UN, including the PLO observer, Nasser al-Kidwe, held meetings yesterday with members of the Security Council and brought a great deal of pressure to bear on the Colombian ambassador to the UN, who currently holds the council's presidency.
The Arab initiative, which was organized at the behest of the PLO, comes in response to Monday's IDF operation in Jenin. In a letter to the president of the Security Council, al-Kidwe wrote that this operation was "a qualitative escalation in the bloody operation which the Israeli army has been directing against the Palestinian nation since September of last year."
The Qatari ambassador is expected to make an official request for a meeting of the panel to the president of the Security Council today. Qatar is currently the president of the Islamic Council Organization.
Both Jerusalem and Washington have expressed opposition to a Security Council meeting to discuss either Israel's operations in the territories or its takeover of Orient House, in East Jerusalem, last week.
"Our position is that the Security Council meeting will not contribute to advancing the goal of achieving calm," a State Department spokesman said yesterday. "The international community must continue to support the implementation of the Mitchell Report by both sides."
The spokesman also said that the effort to impose a solution by a third party will only make it more difficult for the two sides involved.
A delegation of Egyptian officials, headed by President Hosni Mubarak's diplomatic adviser, Osama El-Baz, began talks in Washington yesterday in an effort to return Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table.
In a front page story yesterday, the Egyptian pro-government daily Al-Ahram stated that the Egyptian effort aims to convince Washington of the need to become more involved in the situation in the Middle East.
The report added that the delegation will present President George W. Bush with a personal message from Mubarak in which the Egyptian president warns against a U.S. decision to involve itself only in regional security issues.
Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, who was recently quoted making sharp
attacks against Israel, told the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal yesterday that the
peace agreement with Israel and diplomatic ties constitute an inviolable "red
line" for Cairo