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Israel Opposes International Plan

August 17, 2001

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Israel repeated Thursday that it will oppose any attempt to send international overseers to the Mideast, increasing the likelihood that the United States will veto a new Arab-backed resolution.

The draft, circulated Thursday, calls for an end to the Israeli takeover of Orient House _ the unofficial Palestinian headquarters in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem _ an immediate cessation of violence, and the creation of ``a monitoring mechanism.″

Israel has rejected several attempts to send international observers to the region, which has been awash with Israeli-Palestinian fighting for eleven months.

The Arab draft did not define the ``mechanism″ or clarify how it would differ from international observers, but says it should ``help create a better situation on the ground″ and help the parties implement recommendations from an international commission headed by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell. Those recommendations include a cooling-off period, confidence-building measures, and a resumption of peace talks.

The Security Council late Thursday scheduled an open meeting on Monday for U.N. members to express their views on the Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has blocked two previous attempts to send international observers to protect Palestinians _ and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell indicated this week it would oppose a third attempt because of Israeli objections.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s foreign affairs adviser said Thursday that Israel would reject any international force, regardless of what it is called.

Danny Ayalon argued that observers cannot monitor terrorist activities conducted in hide-outs or stop suicide bombings. Demanding their deployment is just an excuse for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ``to shirk his responsibility″ to end the violence, Ayalon said in a conference call with foreign journalists.

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