Israeli and Western diplomats say that Israel and the US are trying to block a special session in mid-December on conditions in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
Switzerland had invited almost 200 states, party to the 4th Geneva Convention, to the session.
In early April, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas requested accession to 15 international conventions. The step followed Israel’s refusal to free the last group of Palestinian prisoners scheduled for release, and the Netanyahu Government’s announcement that it would build 700 homes in East Jerusalem.
One of the agreements was the Fourth Geneva Convention, which tries to protect the civilian population in conflict areas or occupied territories.
Weeks after Abbas’s announcements, Palestinians and the Arab League officially asked Switzerland to call a conference of the convention signatories to discuss the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and damage caused by Israel affecting civilians in Gaza.
Four attempts have been made to convene the 4th Geneva Convention – all of them in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The last was in 2009 after Israel’s invasion of Gaza in Operation Cast Lead.
In 2009, after consultations by the Swiss Foreign Ministry at the time, it was decided that international support was not sufficient to convene the conference.
A conference was held in 2001 during the second Palestinian intifada. Israel and the US boycotted it.