Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

English (pdf) ||Arabic||Chinese||Français||Русский||Español||

Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS


        General Assembly
13 February 2003

Original: Spanish

Fifty-seventh session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 7th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 3 October 2002, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: ........................................ Mr. Wenaweser (Liechtenstein)



Introductory statements, dialogue with representatives and general debate

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


Introductory statements, dialogue with representatives and general debate


27. Mr. Fahmy (Egypt) ...


29. No cause applied more aptly to those noble words on self-determination than that of the Palestinian people: their level of social development under the relentless Israeli occupation had hit bottom. The Israeli occupying forces were pursuing a policy of systematic destruction of all Palestinian facilities with the aim of destroying any hope the Palestinian people might have of achieving a minimum acceptable standard of living, let alone achieving social development. It was sufficient to mention the statistics contained in a United Nations report released on 29 August 2002: owing to the curfew imposed by Israel, unemployment had risen to 64 per cent among the Palestinians; the blockade policies imposed by Israel had pushed 70 per cent of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip below the poverty line; losses to the Palestinian economy stood at 7.6 million dollars per day, amounting to a total of 3.3 billion since October 2002, when the Intifada began. According to reports from another reliable international organization, the gross value of Palestinian facilities, buildings and shelters destroyed by the Israeli forces amounted to a loss of 700 million dollars, while 300 million dollars had been lost in the agricultural sector alone.

30. It was therefore surprising to hear Israel decrying Palestinian “terrorism”, and even more so to hear it claim to be an island of democracy and development in a sea of dictatorships and backwardness. According to the report mentioned earlier, the loss of income resulting from the Israeli policy of closure and restrictions far exceeded any assistance that the international community might provide. A continuation of the current situation could end in a human catastrophe. Israel must be ready to bear the social consequences of its policies in the region.


63. Ms. Ahmed (Sudan) ...


68. In order for countries to realize their right to development, an inalienable human right, economic sanctions and unilateral economic measures must be discontinued and the right of everyone to food and medicine guaranteed in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and the other occupied Arab territories must be ended, as well as such practices of the Israeli occupying forces as killings and expulsion of Palestinians, attacks against the premises of the Palestinian Authority, demolition of houses and destruction of infrastructure, which represented a serious violation of international law and, in particular, of international human rights instruments.


77. Mr. Tamir (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that he regretted that the representative of Egypt had decided to refer in his statement to the situation currently being experienced in the territories. It was truly to be deplored that one of Israel’s main neighbours had decided to divert attention from the important work before the Committee in that way. Egypt had forgotten to mention, however, that Palestine had left the negotiating table three years earlier, and that it had since been fully engaged in suicidal acts of terrorism and general killings. Israel was not opposed to the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, but it did oppose suicide attacks. Dialogue and cooperation were the only means to solve the remaining problems.

78. Mr. Fahmy (Egypt), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that he understood the feelings of the representative of Israel and that he would have said the same if he were the only one present in the room who represented an occupying force. He had decided to devote most of his statement to the situation in Palestine because that was his right, given that social development was a broad concept which did not exclude basic rights and fundamental freedoms. In any case, countries didn’t have to ask permission to discuss any topic, if they considered it important. The Third Committee was discussing social development, which included fundamental freedoms and human rights. Israel had said that the Palestinians had left the negotiating table, abandoning the dialogue, but it should ask itself what dialogue it was referring to and what the Palestinians had accomplished in the past six years. The answer to the last question would be more people dead, more blockades, more unemployment and more poverty. His delegation hoped that the day would come when Israel would truly believe that Israeli blood was no more pure or precious than that of Palestinians and that Palestinian children had as much right to live as Israelis.

79. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the reply of the representative of Israel was insulting to her delegation and to all the members of the Third Committee, who were perfectly aware of the situation in Palestine and Jerusalem and the history of Ariel Sharon. She reiterated that Palestine condemned all forms of terrorism. It was surprising to find the Palestinians being accused of abandoning dialogue and engaging in indiscriminate murder, since it was well known that the tragic situation in the occupied territories was the result of the oppressive measures and tactics of Israel, which had committed the most atrocious crimes in modern history against the Palestinian people and which practised State terrorism. She wondered how a Government could make accusations of murder when its Prime Minister was Ariel Sharon, himself a terrorist whose history, from Sabra and Shatila to Jenin, was known by everybody. The Palestinians were fighting to defend their freedom and independence and on principle, they condemned any type of terrorism, considering that it constituted a violation of all fundamental rights and principles of international law and human rights instruments. They condemned terrorism because they were suffering from it.

80. The Chairman suggested that an additional meeting should be added on Wednesday, 6 November, in the morning to hear the presentation of the reports of three Special Rapporteurs on questions relating to human rights.

81. It was so decided.

The meeting rose at 5.40 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.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter