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        General Assembly
23 November 2004

Original: English

Fifty-ninth session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 27th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 27 October 2004, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: Ms. Kusorgbor (Vice-Chairman) ..................................... (Ghana)
later: Mr. Kuchinsky (Chairman) ............................................................... (Ukraine)


Agenda item 105: Human rights questions (continued)*


(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives ( continued)*



In the absence of Mr. Kuchinsky (Ukraine),
Ms. Kusorgbor (Ghana), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.

Agenda item 105: Human rights questions (continued ) (A/59/225, 371 and 425)


(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (continued ) (A/59/256, 269, 311, 316, 340, 352, 367, 370, 378, 389 and 413; A/C.3/59/3)


35. Mr. Ziegler (Special Rapporteur on the right to food), introducing his report (A/59/385), ...

42. The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories was tragic for the 3.8 million people who had lived under foreign occupation for more than 30 years. Nearly one quarter of Palestinian children were now gravely malnourished, and Israel was also reportedly extracting more than 85 per cent of the water from the West Bank aquifers. The construction of the wall, which had been condemned by the International Court of Justice, was continuing and involved the destruction of hundreds of hectares of arable land belonging to the people under occupation. The United Nations was trying to avoid an exacerbation of the situation resulting from measures taken by the occupying Power. Israel had the right to ensure the security of its people, but not by applying a collective punishment to an entire population, which resulted in the malnourishment of children and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.


52. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine), referring to paragraph 24 of the report, asked whether Caterpillar, Inc., had replied to the letter written by the Special Rapporteur. She also wondered whether other private actors who were helping to perpetuate Israel’s occupation and its violation of the Palestinian people’s human rights, including the right to food, would also be urged to dissociate themselves from the illegal actions of the occupying Power.


53. Ms. Tamlyn (United States of America) ...


57. The Special Rapporteur had clearly exceeded his mandate in respect of the issue of the occupied Palestinian territories.


59. Mr. Israeli (Israel) said the Special Rapporteur’s decision to report on the West Bank and Gaza rather than on any of the 35 food emergencies listed by FAO, and his discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian situation, revealed a personal political agenda, an unprofessional approach and a partisan mindset that did little credit to his mandate or to the organ that had appointed him.

60. Israel’s sincere efforts to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur had been ignored. The Special Rapporteur had misrepresented the complex realities of the Israeli-Palestinian situation, presenting it as one where one side had only rights and the other only responsibilities. Any examination of food shortages, or indeed any other problem, in the West Bank and Gaza which ignored Israel’s efforts to meet the Palestinian people’s humanitarian needs and the impact of Palestinian terrorism and corruption was simply not credible.

61. With regard to water policy, Israel’s approach had always been to seek win-win solutions, reaching out to cooperate with all its neighbours in a region where water was scarce for all.

62. Ever since his appointment in 2000, the Special Rapporteur had conducted a public relations assault on Israel, systematically singling it out for criticism. He had even appeared at anti-Israel international conferences and briefings. Nobody was arguing that the Palestinian people were not enduring very difficult conditions, but by using his post as a political weapon, the Special Rapporteur had in fact undermined efforts to improve those conditions, while depriving other countries of much-needed international attention.

63. Mr. Ziegler (Special Rapporteur on the right to food), ...


69. Replying to the Observer for Palestine, he said he was now looking into ways of persuading multinational corporations that were violating human rights to change their practices.

70. In response to the comments of the representative of Israel, he said he had indeed been very well received by the Government of Israel and none of his questions had gone unanswered. His visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, however, was a specific part of his mandate: the Commission on Human Rights had enjoined all its special rapporteurs to visit those territories and the choice had not been his to make. On the other hand, it was not part of his mandate to speak of Palestinian terrorism.

71. It was not true that he had taken part in anti-Israel conferences. He was a member of an Israeli NGO, the Alternative Information Centre (AIC), whose membership included leading United States and Israeli intellectuals. He was also on the editorial board of the AIC review, News from Within , which was the only organ that promoted a dialogue between the two sides.


The meeting rose at 6.05 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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