Secretary-General deplores killing of Palestinian civilians

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today deplored the killing of Palestinian civilians, including two children, by an Israeli Defence Force missile during Israel’s incursion today into the Rafah refugee camp on the Gaza Strip.

“Not for the first time, the Secretary-General reminds Israel that the disproportionate use of force in densely populated areas is not compatible with international humanitarian law,” spokesperson Hua Jiang said at news briefing.

Mr. Annan called again on both sides to take every measure to avoid harming innocent civilians, she added.

Meanwhile, Syria, chairing the Arab Group for October, submitted a draft resolution for consideration by the 15-member Security Council. The text protests Israel’s construction of a separation barrier in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The draft, sent to the Security Council President for October, Ambassador John Negroponte of the United States, urges the Council to decide “that the construction by Israel, the occupying power, of a wall in the Occupied Territories departing from the armistice line of 1949 is illegal under relevant provisions of international law and must be ceased and reversed.”

Answering questions about the draft after closed Council consultations, Ambassador Negroponte said an open meeting on the resolution would take place next Tuesday.

Annex to the letter dated 9 October 2003 from the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council

Draft resolution

The Security Council,

Recalling its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) of 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 904 (1994) of 18 March 1994, 1073 (1996) of 28 September 1996 and 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002,

Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Reaffirming its vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders,

Condemning all acts of violence, terror and destruction,

Stressing the urgency of ending the current violent situation on the ground, the need to end the occupation that began in 1967 and the need to achieve peace based on the vision of two States mentioned above,

Reiterating its call upon Israel, the occupying Power, to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949,

Reiterating its opposition to settlement activities in the Occupied Territories and to any activities involving the confiscation of land, disruption of the livelihood of protected persons and the de facto annexation of land,

1. Decides that the construction by Israel, the occupying Power, of a wall in the Occupied Territories departing from the armistice line of 1949 is illegal under relevant provisions of international law and must be ceased and reversed;

2. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the compliance with this resolution periodically, with the first report to be submitted within one month;

3. Decides to remain seized of the matter.