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        General Assembly
6 December 2002

Original: English

Fifty-seventh session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 26th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 24 October 2002, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. Wenaweser ............................................... (Liechtenstein)



Agenda item 107: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination ( continued)

(a) Elimination of racism and racial discrimination ( continued)

(b) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (continued)

Agenda item 108: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)*


The meeting was called to order at 10.20 a.m.


Agenda item 107: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination ( continued) (A/57/3)

(a) Elimination of racism and racial discrimination ( continued) (A/57/18, A/57/83-E/2002/72, A/57/204, 333 and 334)

(b) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (continued) (A/57/443 and 444)

Agenda item 108: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued ) (A/57/178 and 312)

24. Mr. Ahmad (Iraq) ...


26. ... The Zionist aggression and discrimination against the Palestinian people, with the massacre and repression of civilians, particularly children, the expropriation of their lands and the destruction of their properties, were also a clear violation of all relevant international resolutions.


39. Mr. Osmane (Algeria) ...


41. ... As for occupied Palestine, only a comprehensive and durable solution based on the exercise of the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights to self-determination and independence with Al-Quds as its capital, and the withdrawal of Israel from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, could restore peace and security in the Middle East. ...


42. Mr. Xie Bohua (China) said that his delegation was deeply concerned about the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the deadlock in the Middle East peace process. He stressed that the key to achieving lasting peace in the region was the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, and hoped that Israel would effectively implement relevant Security Council resolutions, put an end to its military actions against areas under Palestinian control and create the necessary conditions for the resumption of peace talks.


45. Ms. Khalil (Egypt) ...

47. One manifestation of racism was the suffering of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation, and their situation could not be ignored. Her delegation did not understand the continuation of the occupation, since the Israeli people themselves had for centuries been scattered and dispossessed of their human rights. It did not understand how Israel could violate so flagrantly the human rights of the Palestinians when the Israeli people had suffered the same fate. Israel should end its occupation in the context of a just and comprehensive peace based on United Nations resolutions and on the principle of land for peace.

48. Mr. Kerkatly (Saudi Arabia) said that, despite the passing of more than half a century the Palestinians were still suffering under the oppressive Israeli occupation, which violated all religious, humanitarian, moral and legal principles. Since its founding, Israel had been heedless of the lives of Arabs, whom it had tyrannized and dispossessed. Several times it had attacked neighbouring countries, and had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Deir Yassin, Sabra, Chatila and elsewhere. The Palestinian people, like other peoples, had the right to self-determination and to an independent State, in accordance with the Charter and international conventions. Yet Israel ignored mandatory resolutions of the United Nations, which it defied.

49. Violence in the occupied Palestinian territories was the result of Israel’ s building of settlements and expansion, and its repressive measures, including its expropriation of lands, its demolition of houses and its destruction of the Palestinian economic infrastructure. He called upon the international community to uphold international legitimacy and to stand by the Palestinian people in their fight for self-determination and independence.


56. Mr. Ould Deddach (Mauritania) said that discrimination was at the root of the racial and ethnic hatred which had plagued Africa, and in order to combat it, societies must be mobilized to take greater responsibility for peace and security. Poverty was also an underlying cause of hatred, inequality and discrimination. He also drew attention to the discrimination practised against the peoples of Palestine, the Syrian Arab Golan and Lebanon under Israeli occupation.


60. Mr. Zeidan (Lebanon) said that racism and self-determination were interconnected, since the right to self-determination included the right to freedom from persecution because of race. The realization of that right was an essential condition for guaranteeing individual human rights. It was also a basic condition for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

61. After the civil war in Lebanon, the Government had implemented a system of representation designed to encourage political pluralism and the authentic self-determination of each community. In other areas of the Middle East, however, disputes involving people struggling to exercise their right to self-determination remained some of the most dangerous and intractable conflicts in the world. It was nonsensical for the international community to condemn apartheid in South Africa yet close its eyes to the institutional repression and brutality currently occurring in the occupied Arab territories. In the hope of alleviating the situation, the Commission on Human Rights had recently reaffirmed the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to establish a Palestinian State, and had endorsed the Arab peace initiative adopted at the Beirut Summit in March 2002.

62. He welcomed the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Third Decade and follow-up to the World Conference against Racism (A/57/83-E/2002/72) and the report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism (A/57/204). The latter had highlighted the existence of over 200 websites propagating racial hatred, an alarming contemporary phenomenon which reflected a tendency to hierarchize cultures. He stressed that no people were “better” than other people, just more heavily armed.

63. His delegation took the view that the term “racism” was most often employed by political leaders in an attempt to create division for their own ends. The main problem in the Middle East was territorial occupation: racism was simply an outward manifestation of that occupation, but racism bred hostility and, in turn, hostility bred threat.

64. No community could claim to be the most long-suffering victim of racism, as the phenomenon was omnipresent. Indeed, as a Semitic people, Arabs had themselves been subjected to alternative forms of anti-Semitism, particularly in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001. His delegation firmly believed that attempts by any Government to “hijack” a religion for its own purposes constituted an insult to that religion and its followers.

65. In conclusion, he said that the main problem facing Governments in their fight against racism was the management of ideas and thought patterns. Oppression on the basis of a people’s innate characteristics always led to violations of that people’s right to self-determination.


73. Mr. Tamir (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that certain delegations had, in their statements to the Committee, opted for the course of violence and incitement and had chosen to portray suicide bombers as martyrs. Never had another people been so vilified as the Israelis; never had any other nation been so demonized.

74. However, such attitudes would not damage Israel. The situation in the Middle East would be settled once the Palestinians put an end to their terrorist attacks. The cheapening of language, the casting of victims of terror as the aggressors and the depiction of the victims of the Nazis as the perpetrators of similar crimes would inevitably harm human rights.

The meeting rose at 12.35 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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