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Summary record of the 41st meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 7 November 2006, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. Faati (Vice-Chairman) ................................................................. (Gambia)
Agenda item 65: 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 66: Right of peoples to self-determination* (continued)
* Items which the Committee has decided to consider together.
1. Ms. Simovich (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that Israel was proud to have Arab members of parliament, an Arab Supreme Court judge, Arab newspapers, Arab policemen and Arab diplomats. Arabic was the second official language of Israel and all minority rights were protected by law. The official policy of all Israeli Governments had always been to accept a two-State solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to treat its Arab minority population as citizens with full and equal rights under the law. The inclusion of Mr. Avigdor Lieberman in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Government did not mark any change in official Israeli policy toward Palestinians or have any consequences for Israel’s Arab minority population.
2. The same could not be said, however, of Hamas and the terrorist Government of the Palestinian Authority, which had repeatedly refused to accept the three basic conditions put forward by the Quartet and endorsed by the international community: to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previous agreements. That refusal reinforced the real goal of Hamas, which was to destroy the State of Israel and all its citizens. Unlike the Government of Palestine, Israel was fully committed to peace and the Road Map process.
3. Mr. Hijazi (Observer for Palestine), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that Israel was applying racist policies against its Arab and Palestinian citizens. More than eighty per cent of former Palestinian lands had been confiscated. Israel was the only country in the world that defined itself not as a State of its residents or citizens, but as a State of all the Jews in the world. As a result, Jews from anywhere in the world could come to Israel, declare citizenship and be granted all the privileges of being Jewish. However, Palestinians who had been living in the area for thousands of years could not enjoy the same rights. It was widely known, even in Israel, that there were four levels of citizenship in the country, the first three being the different layers of participation in Israeli society, with the Palestinians below those three layers. Indeed, Amnesty International had been looking into the treatment of Palestinian citizens in Israel, where minors and children were being arrested, beaten and detained for days. Palestinians inside and outside the Green Line were treated as if they were less human, and such treatment was rooted in the very definition and basic law of the Israeli State.
4. The appointment of Mr. Avigdor Lieberman as Minister of Strategic Affairs had been criticized by many writers and journalists, who had accused him of advocating racist policies that threatened to foster regional conflict and institutional racism against Arab Israeli citizens and other Arab democracies. He was also accused of having threatened to bomb the Aswan Dam. Mr. Lieberman, who favoured the removal of Arab Israelis from Israel, could one day become Defence Minister or even Prime Minister of Israel. The endorsement by the Israeli Government of such a racist politician spoke volumes about its view of Palestinians in particular and Arabs in general.
The meeting rose at 5.05 p.m.
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