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The Acting President: The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/68/L.22, entitled “Assistance to the Palestinian people”.
I now give the floor to the representative of the Secretariat.
Mr. Botnaru (Department for General Assembly and Conference Management): I should like to announce that, since the submission of draft resolution A/68/L.22, in addition to those delegations listed in the document, the following countries have become sponsors: Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The Acting President: May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to adopt draft resolution A/68/L.22?
The Acting President: I now call on those representatives who have asked to speak in exercise of the right of reply. May I remind delegations that statements in exercise of the right of reply are limited to 10 minutes for the first intervention and to five minutes for the second intervention, and should be made by delegations from their seat.
I now give the floor to the observer of the Observer State of Palestine.
Mr. AlHantouli (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic): I am speaking in reply to the statement made by the representative of the occupying Power, Israel, yesterday (see A/68/PV.66).
What we heard yesterday, including accounts of Israel’s humanitarian activities, changes nothing about the current reality that Israel is the last military occupying authority of our era. It has the longest list of violations of human rights and humanitarian law, including crimes perpetrated against civilians that can be deemed war crimes. It would therefore be difficult for Israel’s cosmetic activities to alter the reality of the colonialist occupation of Palestinian lands and the Palestinian people.
The sole option remaining to convince the international community that Israel is a normal member of the international community is for it to end its occupation of Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, and to respect and implement the relevant United Nations resolutions towards the achievement of a just, durable and comprehensive peace. However, it is clear that Israel is unconcerned and that it is not in that country’s interest to adopt such an option. Israel is pursuing and increasing its practices and policies in violation of international law on a daily basis.
The Palestinian people and their leaders adopted a historic decision in 1988 by accepting the two-State solution and the creation of the State of Palestine in an area comprising 22 per cent of the historic territory of Palestine. It would be a State existing side by side with the State of Israel. Ever since, we have been committed to respecting the political process and the negotiations conducted within the framework of the peace process.
However, more than 25 years later it has become clear that Israel is not concerned with the peace process. It wishes only to safeguard the process itself. It has blocked any serious initiative to achieve peace. When the late Israeli Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin worked in earnest to establish peace, they killed him. When former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was close to concluding a peace agreement, he was dismissed and banished from political life. That is the reality of Israel. That reality is not going to change if the international community does not take effective measures, as it did to put an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
In conclusion, I wish to inform the representative of Israel, the occupying Power, that when we spoke yesterday of the limitations being imposed on the delivery of assistance to the Palestinian people, that reality is reflected in all of the declarations and decisions adopted by the relevant bodies, in particular the United Nations. Regarding the capacity and aspirations of the Palestinian people, we wish to reaffirm the fact that Israel’s brutal occupation must end so that we can live in peace and security. Let us live in peace and in security. Then the bounds of our capacities and aspirations will be unlimited.
Mr. Nitzan (Israel): I am compelled to respond to the Palestinian statement that we have just heard. I must say that I was shocked to hear the Palestinian statement, which conveyed a great deal of hypocrisy and cynicism. The statement was full of lies, aggression and accusations against my Government immediately after Israel joined the consensus adoption of resolution 68/100, on assistance to the Palestinian people.
Did we hear even one word from the Palestinians about Israel joining the consensus every year on this resolution? Did we hear a word yesterday about that in their statement (see A/68/PV.66) or today in their reply? We hear not one word. Their statements are determined to exploit a professional and focused debate on humanitarian affairs in order to further their political agenda at the expense of the United Nations membership, and are totally contradictory to the spirit of negotiations and dialogue that we expect to see from our partners.
It is a good question if, in the light of what we have heard right now, we can call them partners to negotiations. It does not reflect the spirit of dialogue and is condemned. The statement given earlier by the Palestinian representative could have been pulled from the pages of a Palestinian propaganda pamphlet and not a substantive United Nations debate.
While the Palestinians are busy condemning Israel at the United Nations, Israel is busy supporting the Palestinian economy and developing its infrastructure. Israel is right now, at this moment, assisting the Palestinians in Gaza. We heard the Palestinians speak of Gaza yesterday and today. There was not a word on the rule of Hamas in Gaza and Hamas’ responsibility for the situation in that area. Of course, that is the language they commonly use in order to attack Israel each and every time, so cynically. Nonetheless, they keep on accusing Israel and exploiting that arena.
Speaking of Gaza, there was not a word about Israel’s process of approving the Gaza Marine gas field that will actually contribute to the Palestinian economy. Why is that so? There is such hypocrisy and such cynicism. Before spreading false accusations, I hope that in future the Palestinian delegation will be mindful of the fact that time is also a precious natural resource and we are engaged in negotiations. Let them keep it positive and constructive. Both parties, I believe, aim at achieving peace. Let the Palestinians not exploit the United Nations arena so cynically for the inalienable right own political propaganda.
Mr. AlHantouli (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic): I would like to say that I do not find the reaction of Israel, the occupying State, to be strange. It is the reaction of any criminal who is exposed and scandalized before the world and the international community.
I just want to conclude by reading some verses of poetry by the deceased poet Mahmoud Darwish, in which he speaks of the Israeli occupation.(spoke in English)
Mr. Nitzan (Israel): I apologize that I have to take the floor again to reply to the second statement by the Palestinian representative. I wish we had heard something new from the Palestinian representative in his second statement other than empty political words. Telling lies over and over again does not make them true. All aspects should and will be addressed and negotiated in the context of direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. We are engaged in those negotiations and we are committed to that dialogue. Whatever lies are spread here will not change the truth. Israel is engaged and committed to the engagement and to direct dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian delegation took the floor once again without actually addressing my questions or mentioning, for example, that in the surreal world of the General Assembly, Israel has actually joined the consensus on a resolution to assist the Palestinian people. Yet, we hear such cynical, aggressive, violent language used by the Palestinian delegation. That is something I cannot comprehend, and I think that we should all condemn their words and their tone in doing that.
The Acting President: The Assembly has thus concluded this stage of its consideration of agenda item 70 and its sub-items (a) to (d) and agenda item 71.
The meeting rose at 12.15 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room U-506. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.