UN set to condemn Palestinian expulsions

THE United Nations was last night expected to adopt a resolution condemning Israel over the deportation of more than 400 Palestinians and asking for them to be sent back. But there was little hope of Israel complying and little prospect of the UN taking sterner action to compel it to do so.

Britain issued a statement on behalf of the European Community condemning Israel and pointing out that the dumping of the deportees in southern Lebanon was an infringement of Lebanese sovereignty. But it stopped short of threatening punitive measures, saying only that it would support any action taken by the UN.

The UN resolution is expected to be a repeat of one adopted by the Council in January this year, when Israel threatened to deport a smaller number of Palestinians. 'On past form, it is unlikely they will comply,' said one diplomat. 'The pattern has always been that Israel hears the UN resolution and then does what it intends to do anyway.'

The situation now is, as one Western source said, 'a whole new ball game': the number is the biggest peacetime deportation by Israel, and it has undertones of the systematic moving of populations to which the Arab world is acutely sensitive. Even so, there is little expectation that the United States would allow a resolution through the Council threatening punitive measures to force its ally to take the deportees back.

As for the infringement of Lebanese sovereignty, the Council adopted eight years ago, after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Resolution 425 calling for the removal of Israeli forces and the restoration of sovereignty. It was never implemented.

Western diplomats yesterday lamented the Israeli action, which they described as exaggerated. They pointed out that it had forced the moderates in the PLO and in the Palestinian peace process team to side with the extremists of Hamas - something that they would otherwise not have contemplated.

But although the action jeopardises the peace negotiations, the diplomats stopped short of accusing Yitzhak Rabin of deliberately endangering the process; rather, his action was a typical Israeli error of judgement prompted by domestic political realities.

With the latest round of peace talks concluded on Thursday, the negotiations are not expected to resume until mid-January at the earliest. Although the Palestinians threatened yesterday to boycott the talks until Israel allows the deportees to come home, diplomats hope this will give them enough time to be persuaded otherwise.

What worries diplomats more is the prospect of a new, bloodier type of intifada in the occupied territories - involving increasing numbers of guns, which the Palestinians will have little trouble acquiring from sympathetic countries such as Iran.

Yesterday's Foreign Office statement came after Britain tried in vain on Thursday to urge Israel to change its mind. Foreign Office officials held talks with Israel's ambassador, Yoav Biran, on Thursday, and EC foreign ministers met Israel's ambassador to Washington.

There were calls yesterday for the EC - which drives the line of Palestinian self-determination far more strongly than does the US - to take punitive action where the UN may fail to do so. Robert Adley, the vice-chairman of the conservative Middle East Council, said, 'The EC should sever all trade links with Israel until they cease their disgusting policy.'

This appeared highly unlikely: officials of Israel, which seeks expanded trade links with the EC, held talks with the European Commission in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday 'to explore possibilities for a future, more far- reaching agreement between the EC and Israel', a Commission official said. Despite the deportations, the two sides agreed to resume the talks in January.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
United States President Barack Obama, right, uses actor Keegan-Michael Key from Key & Peele to play the part of 'Luther, President Obama's anger translator'
video
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions