A controversial Middle East conference in Geneva was adjourned after less than an hour on Thursday, with representatives of about 100 nations approving a resolution on Jewish settlements.This content was published on July 15, 1999 - 12:44
A controversial Middle East conference in Geneva was adjourned after less than an hour on Thursday, with representatives of about 100 nations approving a resolution on Jewish settlements.
The conference approved a declaration which stated that the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in time of war applies to the Israeli-occupied territories, including Jerusalem.
The text adopted said that signatories "reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem" and "reiterated the need for full respect for the provisions of the said convention in that territory."
The conference, which was chaired by Switzerland as the depository nation of the Geneva Conventions, also noted "the improved atmosphere in the Middle East as a whole."
"It's non-provocative, non-confrontational, but it clearly states the objective of this conference and the United Nations resolutions leading to it," said Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian planning minister and senior Palestinian representative to the conference.
The U.N. General Assembly voted in February to convene the closed-door meeting, with Israel and the United States casting the only no votes.
The Palestinians assert Israel's settlement activity violates the Fourth Geneva Convention's prohibition on population transfers in occupied territories.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its capital and says its claim to the West Bank, site of the heaviest settlement construction, is as solid as Palestinian claims. Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967.
Israel and the United States had argued that the conference would be unhelpful at a time when efforts were being made to revive the Middle East peace process under new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
From staff and wire reports.
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