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UN to Discuss Mideast Violence - 2001-08-15


The violence in the Middle East may again be on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, but it is not clear what, if anything, can be accomplished.

The head of the Palestine observer mission to the United Nations, Nasser Al-Kidwa, says the Security Council must meet quickly to "put an end to the . . . tragic situation in the occupied Palestinian territory." In a letter to the council, Mr. Al-Kidwa said the recent Israeli military incursion into the West Bank town of Jenin poses a risk of "dragging the whole region into confrontation and war."

Israel says the Jenin operation was in retaliation for recent suicide bombings by Palestinians extremists inside Israel.

The Palestinians are hoping the Security Council will meet as early as Friday to consider a resolution that, among other things, would call for the establishment of an international observer mission for the West Bank and Gaza.

It would be the third time such a mission has been proposed. Last December, it failed to get the required number of votes on the council. In March, the proposal got enough votes but was vetoed by the United States.

Israel opposed an observer mission and the United States said it could support the idea only if both sides agreed. As of now, the U.S. position has not changed.