ADC Welcomes Call for Impartial Observers
Washington, D.C.—The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes the G8 statement, issued from Rome, which calls for neutral monitors to be deployed to the Occupied Territories. The G8 foreign ministers, which represent the United States, Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada, were unanimous in their call for impartial monitors to help diffuse current tensions between Israel and Palestine. The final communique, issued at the end of a two-day meeting, stated that “third-party monitoring accepted by both parties would serve their interests in implementing the Mitchell Report,” which the ministers called the only way “to break the deadlock” in the Middle East. The statement also said that the United States which earlier described the monitoring idea as premature, was in full agreement with the European proposal.
The G8 communique made it clear that the monitors must be acceptable to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. ADC, which has repeatedly called on the international community to deploy impartial observers to the region, hopes that this latest initiative will not be thwarted by Israel who has consistently rejected the deployment of any monitoring force. However, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon already rejected the deployment idea describing it as “a step that Israel doesn’t want.”
ADC Chief Operating Officer Ziad Asali said “hopefully the deployment of neutral observers will stop the escalation of violence and open the door for serious negotiations between the parties aimed at ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” He further observed that “in addition to calling for a cease-fire and for confidence building measures the Mitchell Report calls for a resumption of negotiations on permanent status issues, which includes ending the Israeli occupation. For the Palestinian people, the occupation has meant 34 years of political disempowerment, impoverishment, dependence on work and travel permits, economic blockades, curfews, land confiscations, house demolitions, torture, and living under separate and unequal legal systems, all enforced by a hostile foreign army.” Asali added that “it is vital that any negotiations focus on permanently ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and restore a sense of normalcy to Palestinian civilian life. Israel should not be allowed to flaunt the will of the international community with such impunity.”