The Security Council and Israel have agreed that a U.N. envoy will visit Israel to discuss ways of protecting Palestinians, the U.S. ambassador says, in an apparent end to a bitter standoff.
Israel's refusal to allow a U.N. visit after police killed at least 17 Palestinians during last month's Temple Mount riot had threatened Arab-U.S. unity in the Persian Gulf crisis.U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering said Wednesday after meeting with the 15 council members that "I detected a very strong note of interest in the council in the mission going ahead, so I assume it will go ahead."
Israel's international isolation has increased since it refused to cooperate with a Security Council request to send U.N. investigators to check on the Oct. 8 slayings at Temple Mount in Jerusalem's walled old city.
The United States joined the other 14 council members in voting unanimously Oct. 12 to condemn Israeli security forces for firing on Palestinian demonstrators and again a week later to criticize Israel for refusing to receive the U.N. mission.
Last weekend, Israel suggested that U.N. envoy Jean-Claude Aime could visit Israel, but only if he discussed the Palestinian problem as he did in June, not probe the killings on the Temple Mount.
Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar will have to approve of sending Aime. Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for the secretary-general said the U.N. chief does not accept conditions on missions he sends to foreign countries.