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        General Assembly
9 December 2003

Original: English

Fifty-eighth session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 58th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 26 November 2003, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: Mr. Belinga-Eboutou .................................................... (Cameroon)


Agenda item 117: Human rights questions (continued)

(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms ( continued)

Agenda item 106: Social development, including questions relating to the world social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family ( continued)

Agenda item 113: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued)

The meeting was called to order at 3.25 p.m.

Agenda item 117: Human rights questions (continued)

(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (continued) (A/C.3/58/L.30/Rev.2, L.78 and L.81)

Draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.30/Rev.2 entitled “The situation of and assistance to Israeli children”, and amendments thereto in document A/C.3/58/L.81

1. Mr. Gillerman (Israel) announced that his Government was withdrawing the draft resolution, because hostile amendments proposed by the Egyptian and several other delegations would, if adopted, pervert its focus and intent.

2. His delegation had submitted its draft resolution only after the Committee’s adoption of draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.24, on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian children, since Israeli children deserved equal attention. The very submission of the draft resolution had been a challenge to Member States to avoid selective treatment of Israel and to demonstrate the same compassion for Palestinian and Israeli children alike. The sponsors of the amendments had given their answer. It was puzzling why hundreds of Israeli children killed or maimed in brutal terrorist attacks deserved less sympathy than Palestinian youngsters, or why the suffering of Israeli families trying to cope with loss and tragedy was regarded as less severe than that of Palestinian parents.

3.3. The submission of the so-called “amendments”, which, in fact, altered the whole nature of the draft resolution, was a grossly unfair and mean-spirited act, designed to deny the Committee an opportunity to vote on a draft resolution highlighting the plight of Israeli children. From the perspective of those who had suggested the changes, a resolution expressly recognizing the suffering of Israeli children would have contradicted the view that they had tried to propagate, namely that Israelis were always villains and never victims, that Israelis had responsibilities and no rights and that Palestinians had rights but no responsibilities.

4. The delegations which had backed the Israeli draft resolution had evinced a consistent concern for the welfare of all the world’s children, while those which had opposed it had demonstrated the shameless double standards that animated their conduct at the United Nations. As long as that state of affairs was tolerated, it was little wonder that the legitimacy of some General Assembly resolutions was challenged or that the credibility of the United Nations was sometimes questioned. He therefore hoped that his Government’s withdrawal of its draft resolution would serve as a wake-up call to delegations and remind them that the General Assembly faced a serious problem in securing its legitimacy with regard to issues related to the conflict in the Middle East. The Third Committee should therefore address the question of children on a fair, equal and universal basis at the next session.

5. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) said that Israel should retract its withdrawal, for the amendments proposed in his delegation’s draft resolution did not introduce new language, but merely called for peace for all children in the Middle East and therefore could not be termed “hostile”. The United Nations did not have double standards. Unlike Israeli children, who had a Government to protect them, Palestinian children could not even attend school, because tanks surrounded their homes. Well over 500 Palestinian children had been killed in the previous three years. Egypt was not hostile to Israel and had been the first country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. The Israeli delegation should explain why it had found no co-sponsors for its one-sided draft resolution.

6.6. Mr. Maaluf (United States of America) said that his delegation did not want the issue of children to be politicized, or one group of children to be singled out in a given region of the world. Country-specific and group-specific resolutions regarding children were inappropriate. It was therefore to be hoped that, in the future, the Committee would avoid the submission of such resolutions. The draft resolution on Israeli children (A/C.3/58/L.30/Rev.2) had received very different treatment to that on Palestinian children (A/C.3/58/L.24). The former would have redressed the imbalance created by the Committee’s adoption of the latter. For that reason, it was unfortunate that hostile amendments would have distorted the draft to such an extent that the sponsor had decided to withdraw it. That episode would bolster the belief that the United Nations continued to be biased in its treatment of the parties and issues related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


The meeting rose at 6.20 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.

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