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        Economic and Social Council
4 November 1994

Original: FRENCH


Fiftieth session


Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Wednesday, 2 February 1994, at 3 p.m.




Question of the violation of human rights in occupied Arab territories, including Palestine

The right of peoples to self­determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation ( continued)

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Official Records Editing Section, room E.4108, Palais des Nations, Geneva. Any corrections to the records of the public meetings of the Commission at this session will be consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly after the end of the session.

The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.

QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES, INCLUDING PALESTINE (agenda item 4) ( continued) (E/CN.4/1994/9, 12 , 13 and 14; A/48/96, 278 and 557)


1. The CHAIRMAN invited the members of the Commission to continue their consideration of agenda items 4 and 9.

2. Mr. SILALAHI (Indonesia) said he regretted that, despite the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self­Government Arrangements by the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, all the rights of the Palestinian people, from the right to life to the right to freedom of expression, were still being violated by Israel. Furthermore, the isolation of the city of Jerusalem also continued. Nevertheless, the momentum generated by those preliminary steps should be reinforced and efforts made to resolve the issues that arose during the difficult of transition period. In that context, his delegation endorsed the Palestinian demand that interim arrangements must ensure the Palestinians the right to exercise jurisdiction over all the occupied territories and, in particular, to exercise total control over their political and economic affairs. Viable economic links with neighbouring countries must be established immediately. Intensified international aid must lay the economic foundations and establish the infrastructures necessary to ensure the security of the Palestinian nation.

3. The path towards a just, comprehensive and durable settlement of the Palestinian question was fraught with obstacles, especially on the question of the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip and Jericho. Acts of violence by Israeli forces and illegal armed settlers was making the situation worse. The establishment of peace depended on scrupulous respect for the provisions of the Declaration of Principles and of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978). Furthermore, the peace initiatives should be reinforced by negotiations on important outstanding issues such as the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, equitable treatment of refugees, dismantlement of settlements and delineation of borders.

4. Indonesia and the other non­aligned countries, which welcomed the peace process that was under way, would continue to support the Palestinian people in its struggle for recognition of its inalienable rights. That position had already been expressed in the communiqu issued at the conclusion of the meeting of ministers and heads of delegation of the Movement of Non­aligned Countries, held in October 1993.

5.5. Mr. ABDULLAH (India) said he welcomed the signing of the Declaration of Principles by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in September 1993 and hoped that that bold and imaginative move would constitute the beginning of a just and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East which would restore to the Palestinians their legitimate rights. India had always been steadfast in its support for the Palestinian people in its struggle and had been one of the first countries to recognize the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1975, and the State of Palestine, in 1988. By its active participation in the multilateral negotiations associated with the peace process, India would continue its efforts on behalf of peace in western Asia. India would continue to extend to the Palestinian people the moral, material and technical assistance it required in order to establish its autonomy.

6. He welcomed the United Nations support for the peace process and its recognition of the need to assist the Palestinians in rebuilding infrastructures in a number of fields, as exemplified by its announcement of programmes and projects amounting to nearly US$ 250 million. At the donors' conference in Washington, India had pledged the sum of US$ 1 million in kind to promote self­government in Gaza and Jericho. India had also offered to carry out feasibility studies in small and medium­scale industries to identify opportunities of generating employment.

7. While all countries must support the peace process, that process would really achieve its goal only if the two parties concerned had the will to make it happen. It was to be hoped, therefore, that Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, having already managed to overcome their long-standing antagonisms, would continue their endeavours and succeed in evolving a plan for coexistence and relations of amity and cooperation.


12. Mr. HOCINE (Observer for Algeria) said he wished to remind the Commission that the populations of occupied territories, whose most basic rights were constantly being violated, were subjected to foreign occupation and thus had the right to special protection under international law. The international community must at long last assume its responsibilities; the occupier and the occupied could not be judged on equal terms. It was clear that peace in the Middle East had to be achieved through implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, whether in Palestine, the Golan or Lebanon, and that peace could truly reign only when the Palestinian people had recovered all its rights. For its part, Algeria had always supported the Palestinian people's struggle and had never evaded its obligations when it was a question of working for peace. Algeria had participated in the multilateral peace negotiations which had begun with the Madrid Conference. It had welcomed the Declaration of Principles signed in Washington, as well as the meeting at Geneva between Presidents Assad and Clinton. Also, at the donors' conference, Algeria had committed itself to making a sizeable financial contribution, namely US$ 10 million, as aid to the Palestinians. His delegation regretted that it had not had time to study properly the report by Mr. Felber (E/CN.4/1994/14) which gave an account of his brief visit to the territories following a "personal invitation". It hoped that the Special Rapporteur would be able to continue his mission in better conditions and fulfil his mandate in accordance with the texts that governed it.


18. Ms. GRAF (International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples) said that, during a visit to the occupied territories and various parts of Israel, she had been able to see that violations of the rights of the Palestinian people had not only not ceased but had even increased in recent months, in particular following the signing by Israel and the PLO of the Declaration of Principles on 13 September 1993. It was important that the Commission should consider the Palestinian question from the point of view of human rights and not of politics, because the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip was first and foremost a denial of the fundamental right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and should never be a matter for negotiation.

19. Since 1948, there had been flagrant violations every day of all the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention. Israeli forces continued to demolish houses and arbitrarily arrest Palestinians on the slightest pretext, as demonstrated by the case of Mr. Abd al-Nasr Ubeid, who had been arrested on 30 August 1993 for alleged membership of the Hamas movement and for having allegedly burned down a bar some years before - a charge he had repeatedly denied for the 17 days of his detention, during which he had been tortured on a number of occasions. In fact, torture was a routine practice in Israeli prisons because it was officially sanctioned by the authorities and had never ceased, since - as the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem had pointed out - Mr. Ubeid had been subjected to torture throughout the period when Israel and the PLO were negotiating the Washington agreement. A report published recently by the Palestine Human Rights Information Centre also showed that, since the signing of the Declaration of Principles, more Palestinian land had been confiscated by the Israeli forces and new Jewish settlements had been established in the occupied territories, in violation not only of international law but also of clauses in the Declaration of Principles itself. The presence of more than 11,000 political prisoners in Israeli prisons and the institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians living inside Israel's borders demonstrated that international pressure on Israel should not only be maintained but even increased. The various good­will gestures Israel had made, such as the release of some 600 prisoners, should deceive nobody; the majority of those released had almost served their terms. It should not be forgotten either that the procedures for judging and sentencing Palestinians did not conform to recognized international standards.

20. Her organization requested the Commission to take all the measures it deemed appropriate, including expanding the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, to guarantee the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people. First and foremost, the Commission should recommend to the General Assembly that it oppose any attempt to annul any of the resolutions adopted by itself or b the Security Council. It was important always to retain a memory of the past.

The meeting rose at 4.05 p.m.

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