Question of Palestine home
15 November 2000
Summary record of the 29th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 15 November 2000, at 10 a.m.
Mr. Politi ........................................................................ (Italy)
Mr. Suheimat (Vice-Chairman)
Agenda item 164: Measures to eliminate international terrorism (
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
Agenda item 164: Measures to eliminate international terrorism
) (A/55/37, A/55/179 and Add.1; A/C.6/54/L.2)
(Israel) said that terrorism flourished in an atmosphere of disunity in the international community. The Sixth Committee, which was charged with providing States with the legal tools to fight terrorism, therefore had a vital role to play. All States must therefore heed the appeal of the General Assembly in its resolution 54/110, condemning “all acts, methods and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, wherever and by whomsoever committed”, and must ensure respect for the Declaration on Friendly Relations contained in General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV).
9. His delegation supported legal action measures on three levels. First, States should adopt and enforce national laws targeting terrorism. Second, the international community should take firm measures against States that provided a safe haven for terrorists, supported their activities or refrained from acting against them. Lastly, measures should be taken through regional and international agreements to ensure that the fight against terrorism was coordinated and continuous. His delegation also supported efforts to draft a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
10. Some States maintained that an act such as planting a bomb in a market place should not be regarded as terrorism if its purpose was national liberation, a position that ignored international law and many United Nations resolutions. Furthermore, it did a grave injustice to legitimate liberation movements, which refrained from attacking the innocent and respected the freedoms of others. Regrettably, some delegations had used their statements to make accusations against Israel. He recalled that two days earlier he had spoken before the Committee on the level of terror to which Israel had been subjected in recent days and weeks. He also recalled the statement by the Minister of Communications of Palestine, who had said: “I am not saying we are not terrorists. We are proud to carry out terrorist attacks against our enemy, against Israel”. Nevertheless, his Government remained committed to breaking the cycle of bloodshed in the Middle East and to move together with its neighbours towards a peaceful future. The international community, for its part, must redouble its efforts against the enemies of peace, unequivocally support the settlement of all conflicts by negotiation and reject any attempt to derive political gain from terrorism.
Mr. Nejad Hosseinian
(Islamic Republic of Iran) said that the Secretary-General’s report on measures to eliminate international terrorism (A/55/179) attested to the fact that international terrorism posed a serious threat to peace and security and continued to claim thousands of innocent lives every year, disrupting relations among States. No country was immune from the effects of that heinous crime. By using modern technology, terrorists posed an even greater threat to normal life in civil societies governed by the rule of law. Accordingly, it was imperative to strengthen cooperation at the bilateral, regional and international levels towards eliminating that scourge. As a member of the international community, the Islamic Republic of Iran had been suffering from terrorist activities perpetrated by an organization which received material, political and logistical support from a neighbouring country. That organization had claimed responsibility for a number of attacks carried out in the previous year against civilian targets. Its members used false names to secure safe havens in other States, with whose backing they continued to commit acts of terrorism. Some of them had even found their way to the United Nations, under the protection provided by some irresponsible non-governmental organizations.
14. His Government shared the increasing concern of the international community over acts of terrorism carried out by individuals, groups and States, and had redoubled its efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It had established a number of bilateral committees with neighbouring countries and States from other regions in order to consolidate the fight against terrorists and drug traffickers, including those from areas under Taliban control. However, he wished to reiterate that the fight against terrorism should be in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the relevant conventions. Making false and unfounded allegations against others in pursuance of a domestic agenda or for concealed political motives was not conducive to the collective struggle against terrorism. Moreover, flexible asylum policies that helped terrorists to evade justice were contrary to the recommendations contained in the declarations adopted by the General Assembly in 1994 and 1996.
15. Since no nation could combat terrorism unilaterally, it was absolutely necessary to adopt universal, non-discriminatory measures to deprive terrorists of their means of operation, recruitment and funding. The United Nations should continue its efforts with a view to the elaboration of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The Working Group had held useful discussions on the draft convention submitted by India. He hoped that deliberations on the various proposals would continue. However, he wished to make some general comments in that regard.
16. First, the comprehensive approach raised once again the issue of defining the term “terrorism”. It was indispensable to arrive at a generally agreed definition. In that regard, he wished to refer to the proposal submitted by the Malaysian delegation on behalf of the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (A/C.6/55/WG.1/CRP.30), which distinguished terrorism from the struggle of peoples against foreign hegemony and occupation. The recent tragic events in the Middle East confirmed the relevance of such a distinction. In that region, an occupier regime continued to employ all means at its disposal and in contravention of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to suppress and terrorize, in a barbaric manner, the inhabitants of the lands it occupied, while labelling them as terrorists. However, they were not terrorists but native people of Palestine struggling to liberate their territories. His delegation wished to take the opportunity to offer its condolences to the fraternal people of Palestine on the loss of lives, including the lives of women and children, caused by the Israeli forces in recent weeks.
(Syrian Arab Republic) reiterated his delegation’s total condemnation of international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whether it was committed by individuals, groups or, in particular, States. The Syrian Arab Republic had acceded to the great majority of relevant international instruments, and its domestic legislation provided for very severe penalties in cases of terrorism.
53. For several weeks, the occupied Palestinian territory had been subjected to daily acts of terrorism by Israel, in violation of the norms of international law. Although the press was reporting on those atrocities, the world had closed its eyes to that tragedy and nothing had been done to put an end to it. There had already been more than 210 deaths and thousands of injuries; however, Israel persisted in its terrorist mentality. Nor should the thousands of Lebanese martyrs of the past be forgotten. Israeli leaders had been practising terrorism in all its forms and manifestations for many years, and Israel’s intolerant terrorist philosophy did not distinguish between guilty and innocent. There was no reason not to bring to justice the Israeli leaders responsible for war crimes in the occupied territories. At the two summits convened in 2000 by the Arab and Islamic world, one in Cairo and the other in Doha, the genocide committed by Israel had been condemned. At the fifth special session of the Commission on Human Rights, held recently in Geneva, the provocative visit to Al-Haram Al-Sharif by Ariel Sharon, which had triggered the tragic events that had followed in occupied East Jerusalem and the other occupied Palestinian territories, had been condemned (
59. Yemen declared its solidarity with the Palestinian people, the innocent victim of terrorist acts perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces, and called on the international community to ensure the protection of that people. His delegation also expressed appreciation to the Secretary-General and the Working Group for their reports on measures to eliminate terrorism. Despite the efforts made in the past decade, the seriousness of some acts of terrorism had increased. The attack perpetrated against the United States Navy ship in Yemen with the aim of damaging relations between the two countries and impeding Yemen’s economic development was an example. His Government was cooperating with the United States in the relevant investigations, with a view to prosecuting and punishing the authors of the crime. Yemen appealed to all Governments to make greater efforts to put an end to such acts, regardless of whether they were the doing of States or individuals. It unconditionally supported the resolution on combating international terrorism, adopted by the Security Council in 1999 (S/RES/1269 (1999)). Moreover, the proposal to elaborate a comprehensive convention on international terrorism was very appropriate, since such an instrument would fill existing gaps in the other conventions in that area. It was to be hoped that its adoption would mark the beginning of a period of peace in the world in which all human rights could be fully enjoyed.
Mr. Suheimat (Jordan), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair
68. Kuwait believed that the most serious form of terrorism was State terrorism, which was currently very widespread, and was perpetrated by the regular armies of some countries, as in the case of Israel against the Palestinian people.
The meeting rose at 1 p.m.