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Agenda item 67: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)*
* Items which the Committee has decided to consider together.
The meeting was called to order at 10.05 a.m.
Agenda item 67: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)
4. Mr. Waheed (Maldives) said that millions of people were still being deprived of the universally recognized right to self-determination. Because the denial of that basic right often entailed the denial of other fundamental rights, groups that were denied political status tended to be the poorest and most repressed in the countries in which they lived. Foreign military occupation and acts of aggression violated the principles of human dignity, justice and equality; therefore, the international community had a legal obligation to respond to calls for assistance from peoples living under occupation, such as the Palestinian people.
5. His Government was deeply concerned about the tragic loss of life and the deteriorating human rights situation in the State of Palestine. In that respect, it supported a two-State solution, with a democratic, sovereign and contiguous State of Palestine established in accordance with the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, and called upon the United Nations to guarantee the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. The right to self-determination was best addressed through constructive and participatory dialogue between all parties concerned. Diverse ethnic and religious groups within a territory must be incorporated into the decision-making process. Governments were legitimate only if they were supported by the will of the people that they governed.
6. Ms. Vadiati (Islamic Republic of Iran) said that during the period covered by the most recent report of the Secretary-General on the right of peoples to self-determination (A/69/342), all of the United Nations human rights mechanisms had reaffirmed the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to establish a sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State. Her Government shared the view expressed in the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that the international community should take action to protect the rights of the Palestinian people and ensure that Israel complied with international law.
7. Israel’s prolonged occupation, which involved practices and policies that appeared to constitute apartheid and segregation as well as de facto annexation of parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, was clearly depriving the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination. The only solution to the instability, extremism and conflict in the Middle East would be to restore the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and end the occupation of their lands.
9. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for the State of Palestine) said that Israel, the occupying Power, had deliberately ignored the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights along with all aspects of international and humanitarian law with respect to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israel had violated, trampled on and violently withheld the inherent right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. The continued construction of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was an obstacle to the establishment of a Palestinian State and caused daily violations of many rights.
10. For eight years, the occupying Power had denied over 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip all of their basic human rights, and in the summer of 2014 it had cruelly unleashed the full fury of its military machine against the defenceless population of that region for the third time in six years. Furthermore, more than half of Palestinians were stateless and had no right of return.
11. The construction of illegal settlements by the occupying Power was a clear example of how the Palestinian people were being denied their right to self-determination. According to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (A/HRC/25/67), Israel’s activities arguably amounted to de facto “annexation”. Israel had even continued to expand and entrench its illegitimate control during the nine months of peace negotiations in 2013-2014. Moreover, illegally transferred settlers carried out frequent attacks against Palestinians, including children, with impunity. The constant failure by the occupying Power to hold those settlers accountable for their terrorist crimes had encouraged further violence. In the West Bank, attacks against Palestinians, their property or their agricultural lands occurred at the rate of one per day.
12. At the same time, Israel was also proceeding with its illegal occupation through the construction of the wall. If the only reason for the wall was to protect Israeli citizens, it begged the question of why Israel continued to move Israeli citizens into the West Bank, the very area from which it said the risk emanated. There was a clear international consensus that the settlements were illegal and that Israel had no legitimate claim to East Jerusalem. Her delegation urged the international community to make a real effort to enable the Palestinian people, who remained committed to bringing about a peaceful and legal end to the Israeli occupation, to enjoy their right to self-determination.
25. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for the State of Palestine), speaking under agenda item 66 (a), said that the Palestinian people living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to suffer from an increased level of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Since 1967, the occupying Power had institutionalized racism and discrimination in its most barbaric form: prolonged foreign military occupation with elements of colonialism and apartheid. The most glaring example of that was the occupying Power’s attempted Judaization of the Occupied West Bank, and in particular East Jerusalem, through the transfer of over 520,000 Israeli settlers to confiscated Palestinian lands.
26. In its report A/69/81-E/2014/13, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia confirmed that many of Israel’s policies related to settlements activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory amounted to de facto segregation, including inequality and separation in the use of roads and infrastructure and access to basic services and water resources, restrictions on movement and preferential legal status for Israelis. Israel’s persistent violation of the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as well as the provisions of the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid was ample proof of its intention to pursue its apartheid-like policies at the expense of an entire people and, ultimately, at the expense of peace.
27. Israel’s de facto segregation was particularly concerning owing to the spike in racist and xenophobic acts and discourse in the region, especially by Israeli settlers against Palestinians. Between 90 and 95 per cent of cases of violence committed by Palestinians against settlers went before the courts, compared with only 16 per cent of attacks by settlers against Palestinians and their property. That situation only reinforced the dangerous culture of impunity among the settlers. The rise in settler attacks came amidst an outburst of virulent anti-Arab racism in Israel, fuelled by the Israeli Government. During Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip in 2014, hundreds of Israelis violently assaulted Palestinians while chanting violent hate slogans and posted hate speech on social media. The President of Israel himself had stated that his country was suffering from an epidemic of violence that must be addressed.
28. She was also deeply concerned that there were more than 50 laws that discriminated against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including political participation, criminal proceedings and access to land, education and State budget resources. In light of that situation, Israel had no basis for referring to itself as a democracy. The international community must take the necessary steps to end all Israeli violations and pursue accountability and justice for its crimes against the Palestinian civilian population. Israel, the occupying Power, must fulfil its obligations under international law and in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions and allow the Palestinian people to realize their inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination, in an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Statements made in exercise of the right of reply
38. Mr. Barkan (Israel) said that, if Palestine really desired self-determination, it must end its cooperation with Hamas and resume negotiations with Israel. An agreement leading to Palestinian self-determination could only be reached through direct negotiations; speeches at the United Nations or the war initiated by Hamas against Israeli citizens in the summer of 2014 would do nothing to further that aim.
45. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for the State of Palestine) said that Israel had made false allegations in order to divert attention from its own human rights violations, many of which amounted to war crimes. She asked the Israeli delegate whether he denied that his Government had violated the rights to self-determination, life, security, property, food, health care, education, water, livelihood and an adequate living standard of the Palestinians under its occupation.
46. Her delegation had been clear on its position with regard to the peace process. During the twenty-year process, the Palestinian people had witnessed further entrenchment of the occupation, the destruction of thousands of homes, the illegal construction of a wall, the institution of an illegal blockade affecting
1.8 million civilians, and the theft of their natural resources. In addition to being subjected to constant humiliation by the occupying forces, countless wars and acts of destruction had been carried out against them and thousands of them had been arrested, killed or injured.
47. While the international community appealed for calm, Israeli officials were making provocative declarations against the Palestinian people and Government. The President of Israel had stated at the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly that there was no occupation, and the Minister of Defence had said that Israel would never allow the two-State solution. Such declarations and actions were predicated on the erroneous belief that such an immoral, unjust outcome would be accepted.
48. Palestine would never forego its inalienable human rights or give up on its pursuit of justice and peace. She was convinced that the international community would not accept such an injustice and would continue to demand that Israel respect international law and the consensus solution rooted in United Nations resolutions. Israel must stop using the peace process as a cover to continue its violations. Palestine would continue to reject such actions and sought to resume a genuine peace process that would allow international law and justice to determine the outcome: an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.