Published on Saturday, November 11, 2000 in the New York Times
Arafat Asks U.N. Council to Send Force to Protect Palestinians
by Neil MacFarquhar
UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 10 Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, implored the Security Council today to send a roving 2,000-member multinational force that could insert itself into the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians anywhere in the West Bank, Gaza or Jerusalem itself.

Given the violence that started more than 40 days ago and has killed almost 200 people, most of them Palestinians, Mr. Arafat said, the Security Council could no longer sit by and let the bloodshed continue.

Marwan A. Jilani, the deputy Palestinian representative at the United Nations, told reporters after the closed-door session of the Council that the Palestinians believed that they "have exhausted all possibilities for a bilateral effort in order to de-escalate the situation."

"We think it is time for the international community now to step in and provide protection for the Palestinian civilians," he said.

Mr. Arafat did not speak publicly after the two-hour session. Instead, he left New York to attend a summit meeting of the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference in Qatar, in the Persian Gulf.

Both Israel and the United States resisted the idea of a protection force, accusing Mr. Arafat of gadding about drumming up international empathy rather than undertaking face-to-face negotiations with the Israelis.

"We need a direct approach with the Palestinian partner in order to bring back calm and security," said Yehuda Lancry, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, who also addressed the Council.

The American ambassador, Richard C. Holbrooke, suggested that the two sides needed to try to build on agreements worked out during the last month to stop the bloodshed.

"The two groups of people have to live together on that land," he said. "They either have to live together or keep killing each other, and in the long run there is only one outcome."

The Palestinians argued that Israel's continued use of force, especially the assassination this week of a Palestinian militia commander, indicated that it is Israel that is refusing to respect previous agreements.

They plan to propose, by Monday at the latest, a Security Council resolution on creating some type of protection force, they said. Palestinian officials said they expected a United States veto of any such resolution.

Mr. Holbrooke said the United States would reject any resolution that the two sides did not agree on beforehand.

Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company