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Palestinians Ask for Security Council Meeting - 2001-12-04

The Palestinian mission to the United Nations is asking the Security Council to meet on the latest developments in the Middle East, focusing on Israel's retaliation for the recent suicide bombings.

In a letter to the Council, the Palestinians say there is a "serious deterioration of the situation in light of an escalation of Israeli political and military attacks on the Palestinian Authority."

A meeting on the subject could come later in the week. Marwan Jilani, deputy head of the Palestine Observer Mission, told reporters there would likely be a proposed council resolution. Previous proposed resolutions that called for international observers in the occupied territories were either defeated or vetoed by the United States.

Mr. Jilani said he has seen no evidence that the United States has tried to restrain Israel in the latest crisis and that, he said, makes Council action even more important. "In the past they had been requesting that the Council give their efforts a chance," he said. "At this point we have not seen any U.S. efforts to calm the situation and restrain the Israeli government. That makes it more pertinent for the Security Council to act."

In the past, The United States has said it would not be helpful for the Security Council to attempt to inject itself into the Mideast dispute.

In addition, the United States has pointed out that a council resolution authorizing international observers in the region would be worthless without agreement by both parties. Israel has rejected the idea of observers.