Question of Palestine home
26 September 2009
H.E. Mr. Ahmed About Gheit
Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Arab Republic of Egypt
before the 64th Session of the General Assembly
The question of Palestine is still visibly far from being resolved, despite the international concern and the serious efforts, pressures, contacts, visits and meetings. Since I questioned here at this Assembly last year the existence of genuine Israeli determination to achieve a just peace with the Palestinians, events thus far has proven our suspicion. Throughout this year, Israel has shown lack of the necessary political will to engage in serious and credible negotiations that aim at reaching a final settlement to the conflict, a settlement which includes all its aspects, issues and tracks, and leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on the entire Palestinian national land, occupied since 1967, and with East Jerusalem as its capital. In this respect, I would like to sum up the Egyptian view of the situation in the following elements:
First: Intensive work during the period to come is a must to resume the negotiating process as soon as possible. The international community should put forward the formula for the final settlement to the conflict (the "END GAME"), cognizant of the need not to waste more time in examining details that everyone knows will not help realizing the aspired settlement.
Second: The necessity to ensure Israel's commitment to complete freeze of settlement activity in all Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, not only because it is contrary to international law and should be halted, but also in order to build a climate of trust between the two parties, hence allowing negotiations on the Final Status to bear fruit. Such Israeli commitment would pave the way to reinstitute lost credibility in the efforts to achieve peace. On the other hand, any regression from that commitment would inflict severe harm on the peace prospects in the period to come.
Third: The freeze of Israeli settlement activity should go simultaneously and in parallel with the negotiating track, in order to reinforce the Palestinian confidence in Israeli intentions. Fourth: If an agreement is reached on the final borders of the State to be established on the Palestinian national soil occupied in 1967, on the understanding that the State's borders are essentially those of 1967, as had been agreed by both parties during the 2008 negotiations with the participation of the United States, this agreement could be gradually implemented, at a pace to be agreed upon by both parties, and within a time bound framework.
Fifth: East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is one of the final status negotiations, and thus should not, at any rate, be excluded from any future negotiations.
Sixth: Israel's engagement in a serious, credible, clear and time-bound negotiating process would restore the situation on many other issues to the same way they had been in the nineties in terms of the Arab interaction with Israel, with a view to enhancing mutual trust, and thus boosting the negotiating efforts as a whole.