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7 May 2002
General Assembly Plenary
Tenth Emergency Special Session
GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONDEMNS ASSAULTS AGAINST PALESTINIANS BY ISRAELI OCCUPYING FORCES, REFUSAL TO COOPERATE WITH FACT-FINDING TEAM
Resolution on Illegal Israeli Actions Adopted
By Vote of 74 in Favour, 4 Against, with 54 Abstaining
The General Assembly condemned the assaults by Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people, particularly in the Jenin refugee camp, as it adopted a resolution this evening.
Approving the resolution on “Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” as amended, the Assembly's resumed tenth emergency special session also condemned Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team to the Jenin refugee camp, in disregard of
Security Council resolution 1405 (2002)
By a recorded vote of 74 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, United States) with 54 abstentions, the Assembly, emphasizing the importance of civilian safety and well-being in the whole Middle East region, condemned in particular all acts of violence and terror resulting in deaths and injuries among Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
Further, the Assembly demanded that Israel cease all hindrances to the work of humanitarian organizations and United Nations agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Also by the text, the Assembly called for implementation of the declaration adopted by the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention at Geneva on 5 December 2001, to ensure respect by Israel of that Convention.
The Assembly further requested the Secretary-General, drawing upon all available resources and information, to report on the recent events in Jenin and other Palestinian cities.
Prior to adopting the text as a whole, the Assembly took a recorded vote on each of the resolution’s 14 preambular and 10 operative paragraphs, adopting them all.
The resumed tenth emergency special session reconvened following a request by Sudan, on behalf of the Arab Group, with the support of South Africa, in its capacity as Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Introducing the text, South Africa's representative noted that the Assembly was meeting amid a deadlock within the Security Council, which had not taken the necessary action regarding Israeli incursions into Palestinian towns. The Assembly must now stand against Israel's defiance of international humanitarian law. That country seemed to have developed a culture of acting with impunity in its relations with the United Nations. Through its own action, Israel had led the world to assume that it had something to hide, he said.
Sudan's representative, said that despite the broad support that the Secretary-General’s initiative had garnered in the Security Council, Israel had been intransigent and disrespectful of the fact-finding team's mandate, publicly criticizing its make-up and obstructing its work. Those actions were disturbing, since that nation had itself been created under a Security Council resolution. In light of such disrespect, the Assembly must condemn Israel's scorn for Council resolutions, human rights and international humanitarian law.
The Observer for Palestine said it was not certain whether the serious crisis in Palestine and the Middle East had led to the crisis in the international system or vice-versa. The question was whether the Council could restore its credibility. Rejecting all proposals for transitional arrangements, which in reality aimed at maintaining the occupation and relieving Israel of the need to face its responsibilities, he welcomed the Secretary-General's proposal concerning the deployment of a multinational force on the ground.
Israel's representative noted that the South African delegate had blamed Israel for developing a culture of impunity, while failing even to mention Palestinian terrorism. Today's resolution, rather than helping to reduce Palestinian terrorism, would only further remove Israel from the only course of action that would address the rights and needs of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. The emergency special session was an unnecessary waste of delegates’ time, serving only to indulge the Palestinian appetite for endless United Nations resolutions, he added.
The representative of the United States, emphasizing his country's friendship with both Israel and the Palestinian people, said the resolution condemned only one party in what was a two-party conflict. The United States would vote against the resolution, believing that condemnatory rhetoric against Israel would not contribute to the international community’s efforts. It undermined the credibility of the Palestinian cause, deepening the divide between the Palestinians and a neighbour with whom they must one day live in peace.
Japan’s representative emphasizing the urgent need to alleviate the extremely difficult humanitarian emergency facing the Palestinian people, said his country had recently decided to extend approximately $3.3 million in emergency humanitarian assistance through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In addition, Japan also intended to extend assistance in the medical and health field amounting to approximately $1.2 million in response to the emergency appeal by UNRWA.
Others speaking today included the representatives of Senegal, Egypt, Iran, Cuba, Norway, Russian Federation, China, Tunisia, Syria, New Zealand, Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Turkey, Malaysia, Chile, Costa Rica (on behalf of the Rio Group), Jordan, Australia, Thailand, Maldives, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Cyprus, Belize, Philippines and Spain (on behalf of the European Union and associated States),
The representatives of Peru and Israel spoke in explanation of position before the vote.
Speaking in explanation of position after the vote were the representatives of Canada, Iran, Australia and Spain (on behalf of the European Union), Paraguay, Guatemala, Russian Federation, Chile and Japan. The Observer for Palestine also spoke.
Following is the complete text of the resolution adopted this evening and contained in document A/ES-10/L.9/Rev.1:
The General Assembly
its resolutions, including the resolutions of the tenth emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
its grave concern at the continuation of the tragic and violent events that have taken place since September 2000, especially the recent attacks and the increased number of casualties,
Expressing its profound concern
at the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, particularly since the start of the Israeli military attack on Palestinian cities and the Palestinian Authority on 29 March 2002,
at the extensive loss of the life and injuries suffered by the Palestinian people, as well as the destruction of both public and private property, including homes and institutions of the Palestinian Authority,
Gravely concerned in particular
about the reports of grave breaches of international humanitarian law committed in the Jenin refugee camp and other Palestinian cities by the Israeli occupying forces,
Expressing its profound concern
at the dire humanitarian situation of the Palestinian civilian population, including the lack of access to food, water and medicines, owing to the Israeli siege and the attacks on Palestinian cities,
the destruction of holy sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including mosques and churches, and expressing its expectation that the Israeli military siege on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem will end immediately,
that Security Council resolutions 1402 (2002) and 1403 (2002) have not yet been fully implemented,
that Israel, the occupying Power, has refused to cooperate with the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team to the Jenin refugee camp, in disregard of Security Council resolution 1405 (2002), noting as well the decision of the Secretary-General to disband the team, and welcoming his efforts to develop accurate information regarding the recent events,
that the Security Council is yet to take the necessary measures in response to the Israeli refusal to cooperate with the fact-finding team and the ensuing developments,
the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Occupied East Jerusalem,
the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention,
Israel’s disregard for relevant Security Council resolutions, and stressing the need for full accountability in this regard,
Welcoming and encouraging
the diplomatic efforts of special envoys from the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations, as well as others, to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,
the attacks committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people in several Palestinian cities, particularly in the Jenin refugee camp;
the refusal by Israel, the occupying Power, to cooperate with the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team to the Jenin refugee camp, in disregard of Security Council resolution 1405 (2002);
the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians in the whole Middle East region, and condemns in particular all acts of violence and terror resulting in deaths and injuries among Palestinian and Israeli civilians;
the immediate and full implementation of Security Council resolution 1402 (2002);
for the implementation of the declaration adopted by the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, reconvened at Geneva on 5 December 2001, through concrete action on the national, regional and international levels to ensure respect by Israel, the occupying Power, of the provisions of the Convention;
the Secretary-General to present a report, drawing upon the available resources and information, on the recent events that took place in Jenin and in other Palestinian cities;
that Israel, the occupying Power, ceases all hindrances and obstacles to the work of humanitarian organizations and the United Nations agencies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, including lifting the restrictions on the freedom of movement and ensuring a free and safe access of staff and vehicles;
for the provision of urgently needed assistance and services to help in alleviating the current humanitarian situation and the reconstruction efforts, including the rebuilding of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority;
all concerned parties to redouble their efforts to assist the parties to end the current crisis and bring them back to negotiations towards the achievement of a final settlement on all issues, including the establishment of the State of Palestine;
to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meetings upon request from Member States."
When the General Assembly met this morning in its resumed tenth emergency special session, it had before it a draft resolution entitled
Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory
By the terms of that draft, the Assembly condemned the brutal assaults committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people in several Palestinian cities, particularly in the Jenin refugee camp. It also condemned the refusal by Israel to cooperate with the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team to the Jenin refugee camp, in violation of Security Council resolution 1405 (2002).
The Assembly demanded, by other terms, that Israel cease all hindrances and obstacles to the work of the humanitarian organizations and the United Nations agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), including lifting the restrictions on the freedom of movement and ensuring free and safe access of staff and vehicles.
Further by the text, the Assembly called for the implementation of the declaration adopted by the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, reconvened at Geneva on 5 December 2001, through concrete action on the national, regional and international levels to ensure respect by Israel of the Convention.
The text further requested the Secretary-General to present a report, drawing upon all available resources and information, on the recent events that took place in Jenin and in other Palestinian cities.
Also before the Assembly was a letter dated 3 May 2002 from the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Sudan (document
), in his capacity as Chair of the Arab Group for the month of May, requesting the resumption of the tenth emergency special session.
The Assembly also had before it a letter dated 3 May 2002 from the Permanent Representative of South Africa (document
), in his capacity as Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, supporting the Arab Group request.
In addition, the Assembly had before it a letter 6 May from the Secretary-General (document A/ES-10/172), listing 21 Member States that are in arrears under Article 19 of the United Nations Charter. It states the minimum payments required to reduce the arrears on the contributions of those Member States so that they remain below the gross amount assessed for the preceding two full years.
The tenth emergency special session was last adjourned under resolution
of 20 December 2001.
DUMISANI SHADRACK KUMALO (
), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, introduced the draft resolution before the Assembly. He said that the Assembly was meeting in the midst of the deadlock within the Security Council on how to deal with the Israeli incursion into Palestinian towns. The Council, which according to Article 24 of the Charter had the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, did not take the necessary action with regard to Palestine. Even more troubling was the fact that, when the Secretary-General decided to send a fact-finding mission to Jenin, the Israeli Government prevented the mission from entering Palestine. The Council had yet to officially react to that Israeli rejection.
The Assembly must now stand against Israel’s defiance of international humanitarian law, he said. Israel had seemed to develop a culture of acting with impunity with regard to its relations with the United Nations. No Member State could be treated differently from the rest. The Council had passed a number of important resolutions with regard to Palestine, including 1402, 1403 and 1405. The problem was that the Council still did not know what to do when Israel defied its authority. The Council had unanimously agreed that it was in the best interest of both parties and the entire international community that the truth behind events in Jenin be established. The controversy over what happened there had not died down nor was it likely to do so. Through its own action, Israel had led the world to assume that they had something to hide.
The people of Palestine, he said, looked to the Assembly as their last recourse. It was no time for moral ambivalence and double standards. He called on Member States to give their resolute support to the draft and send the message that the Assembly was willing to take a stand on the issue of Palestine.
NASSER AL-KIDWA, Observer for Palestine, said that there was a serious crisis in Palestine and in the Middle East. There was also a crisis in the international system. He was not sure whether the first crisis had led to the second, or vice versa. Perhaps the state of stagnation prevailing in the Council had allowed the situation in Palestine and the Middle East to deteriorate to the level it had reached up to now, and possibly even further.
Israeli forces had committed wilful killings of civilians and extrajudicial executions, he said. They had used civilians as human shields and carried out collective detention and imposed various forms of collective punishment, including the imposition of curfews for several days, among other things. Then, the Jenin refugee camp -- one square kilometre in which 13,000 refugees were living -- was obliterated by bulldozers after helicopter gunships fired missiles at it. The Israeli forces then prevented international humanitarian organizations from entering the camp and delivering emergency medicine and food for more than 11 days.
It was incumbent on the international community to take a stand against the horrendous acts committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinians. He called on the parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United Nations system at a later stage to issue indictments and to prosecute those who had committed war crimes, including General Shaul Mofaz, Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, as well as commanding officers and members of the military that had committed acts of wilful killing against civilians and unjustified acts of widespread destruction.
Were Security Council resolutions optional? he asked. Was there a Security Council of a certain kind for Arab States that might not comply with its resolutions and another kind for Israel? The question now was not whether the Council would lose its credibility. That had already happened. The question was whether the Council was able to restore that credibility.
Some rays of hope had appeared and serious talks had begun on the necessity of taking a comprehensive approach, he noted. He reaffirmed rejection of all proposals for transitional arrangements, which in reality aimed at keeping the occupation and relieving Israel of facing its responsibilities. However, before anything else, the horrible situation on the ground must come to an end and the Israeli forces must withdraw from all the areas that should be under the control of the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with agreements. He welcomed the proposal of the Secretary-General concerning the establishment of a multinational force to be deployed on the ground.
ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (
), speaking on behalf of the Group of Arab States, said the situation in the Palestinian occupied territories was more perilous than ever before. Despite the consensus cry of the international community, reflected in various resolutions of the Security Council to withdraw from those territories, Israel, during the past two months, had persisted in its attempts to destroy the Palestinian Authority, by committing atrocious war crimes and laying siege to the Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Christianity.
He went on to praise the insight and patience of the Secretary-General in his efforts to establish and deploy a fact-finding mission into the horrific incidents reported at the Jenin refugee camp. Despite the Secretary-General’s initiative and the broad support it had garnered in the Security Council, Israel had been intransigent and disrespectful of the mandate of the mission and had publicly criticized its make-up and obstructed its work. Those actions had forced the Secretary-General to return to the Council to report that the mission had to be disbanded.
He said Israel’s actions in that regard were disturbing, since that nation itself had been created under a Council resolution. The Sudan hoped that the Council would continue to condemn Israeli intransigence in that regard, as well as the continuing war crimes and other atrocities that persisted in the occupied territories. In light of Israel’s disrespect for the collective will of the United Nations and the wider international community, the Arab Group had been forced to turn to the Assembly. The Assembly must seize the moment and condemn Israel for its scorn and disregard of Council resolutions, international humanitarian law and human rights violations. He strongly supported all the elements of the draft under consideration today.
PAPA LOUIS FALL (
), Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that for the last few months the international community had been witnessing Israel’s unparalleled and unbridled actions against the Palestinian people under the pretext of combating terror. Those actions had taken place against a background of economic blockades, destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure and the disintegration of the captive Palestinian economy.
Noting that those actions had left the Palestinian people no alternative other than resentment, protest and violence, he said the Committee felt frustrated and distressed in the face of the Security Council’s lack of success in ensuring implementation of its resolutions, which had resulted in the disbanding of the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team. Israel’s negative attitude undermined the authority and credibility of the Security Council, as well as ability of the international community -- first and foremost, the Security Council and the General Assembly -- to objectively evaluate the tragic situation in Jenin. The lack of reliable information perpetuated a culture of impunity encouraged by extremists in Israel and its supporters.
The two parties could not continue to wage war, he said. The sentiments of demonization and vengeance aroused by the conflict led to destruction and terrorism, which, in turn, held the international community hostage. It was necessary to support the Saudi peace initiative and the international conference proposed by the Quartet. The Security Council should require the application by all means possible of resolution 1405 (2002). The path to peace could not be separated from the creation of a viable Palestinian State, a settlement on the final status of Jerusalem and the issue of refugees. The Committee hoped to see the two parties once again grasp the olive branch.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (
) said that the Security Council had responded to deteriorating condition with a series of resolutions. Also, the Secretary-General had moved to constitute a fact-finding mission to investigate what happened in Jenin. Then the Israeli Government had refused to cooperate with the team. Unfortunately, the Council fell silent and the Secretary-General had to disband the team. Despite the convening of the Madrid Conference and the conclusion of the Oslo accords, many in the Israeli Government began to work to abort those accords, because they did not want to see an end to the occupation. The people of Palestine continued to resist the occupation by all means available to them.
The forces of occupation must cease all their illegal crimes immediately, he stressed. What was required from the General Assembly was to stand by the defence of international law, international humanitarian law and the right to self-determination. The Assembly must reaffirm its condemnation of the illegal practices of the Israeli Government. It should also request the Secretary-General to submit a report on the acts of aggression and war committed by Israeli forces in Palestinian towns and villages.
He was confident that the obstinate perpetuation of occupation would not continue. The path to a just settlement must be achieved through, among other things, the immediate cessation of current Israeli aggression and withdrawal of Israeli forces, and the deployment of a multinational force. That could then lead to a resumption of political negotiations leading to just political settlement.
JOHN NEGROPONTE (
) said his country was a strong friend of Israel and was also a friend of the Palestinian people. The way forward would not be advanced by resolutions such as the one under consideration today. The best way forward was to advance the comprehensive strategy reaffirmed by the Quartet at its meeting last week. The three elements of that strategy included: security and freedom from terror and violence for both Israelis and Palestinians; serious and accelerated negotiations to revive hope and lead to a political settlement; and, economic and humanitarian assistance to address the increasingly desperate conditions faced by the Palestinian people.
Those were not just words, he continued. The Quartet had discussed concrete actions that must be taken to help realize the international community’s political vision. That strategy had garnered broad support both in the region and in the wider international community. The United States remained closely engaged with both parties, the Quartet and regional leaders to move the process forward. He noted that President George Bush would meet with Prime Minister Sharon today and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia tomorrow to discuss ways to pursue Middle East peace.
Frankly, he said his delegation had been puzzled by the Palestinian decision to resort to a resumption of the resumed emergency session at a time of such activism and new diplomatic initiatives in the Council. On 12 March, Council
resolution 1397 (2002)
-- sponsored by the United States -- had affirmed a vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, lived side by side and within secure and recognized borders. Subsequent resolution 1402 (2002) called upon both parties to move immediately to a meaningful ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian cities, and demanded the cessation of all acts of violence, including terror and provocation. Further, as a sponsor of resolution 1405, which welcomed the initiative to send a fact-finding team to the Jenin camp, the United States did not believe that any Member State was in violation of operative paragraph 2 of that text.
He said the resolution before the Assembly today was filled with one-sided rhetoric condemning one party in what was a two-party conflict. While some of the most objectionable language could be toned down, the original intent to isolate Israel had prevailed. There was not even mention of terror attacks against Israeli civilians, which had done so much to harm prospects for peace in the region. The United States would vote against the resolution, believing that condemnatory rhetoric against Israel would not contribute to the international community’s efforts. Such rhetoric undermined the credibility of the Palestinian cause and deepened the divide between the Palestinians and a neighbour with whom one day -- sooner or later -- they would have to live in peace.
HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (
) said the Assembly’s resumed emergency session was promising because it gave the United Nations general membership the chance to express outrage at the illegal activities of Israel in the occupied territories and to follow up on the Palestinian question. At the same time, Iran deeply regretted that, once again, the Security Council had failed to fulfil its responsibility under the Charter, which, in this case, had prompted the Assembly to take up the grave situation in Palestine. That situation was threatening peace and security in the entire Middle East.
He said it was even more regrettable that, while the vast majority of the Council’s membership had struggled to deal effectively with the illegal Israeli actions in the occupied territories, a single member of that body had spared no effort to scuttle all attempts to address the issue effectively. There was no doubt that the Council’s inaction in the face of Israel’s contempt for its recent resolutions would go down in history as one of that body’s major failures in its attempts to maintain international peace and security. It would also go down as another example of the double standard forced upon the Council by a few of its members. Iran hoped that the Council would follow up on its recent resolutions and take steps to address the non-compliance by the Israeli regime.
He went on to say that the convening of the emergency session was also a clear indication of Israel’s intransigent policy of total disregard for the principles of international law and the demands of the wider international community, including Council resolutions
and 1405. The past resolutions adopted on the same issue remained unimplemented. Over the past 19 months, acts of provocation, desecration of holy shrines, extrajudicial killings and excessive use of force -- culminating in the war crimes committed at the Jenin refugee camp -- figured prominently among the illegal and criminal activities perpetrated by the occupying Power in the Palestinian occupied territories. The international community, represented by the United Nations, must look into those crimes, particularly the atrocities in the Jenin refugee camp, to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent the recurrence of such crimes.
YEHUDA LANCRY (
) said that the tragic developments were the results of Palestinian terrorism and of the strategic decision of the Palestinian leadership to abandon a political process in favour of a strategy of terrorism, which had led only to chaos and ruin. That choice was responsible for the deaths of civilians on both sides and had devastated the Palestinian economy. It had caused many Israelis to lose faith in their Palestinian partners and forced the Israeli military to take action.
After many months of violence and terrorism, there was once again cause for hope, he said. Meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, the Quartet had announced a new initiative: an international peace conference to be convened this summer. Last week had also seen the negotiation of a non-violent settlement to the stand-off at Chairman Arafat’s compound in Ramallah and to a similarly peaceful settlement at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
He said that from the very beginning of Israeli operations, Palestinian spokespeople had alleged Israeli atrocities in the most extreme, hyperbolic terms. Similar charges had been made in the Security Council. Today, the international community was well aware that what had really transpired in Jenin bore no resemblance to the Palestinian account. With what was known now about events in Jenin, it was doubtful that a fact-finding effort would have been considered appropriate.
Today’s draft resolution only reluctantly mentioned Palestinian terrorism, he said. In a classic example of non-alignment, the representative of South Africa had blamed Israel for a culture of impunity, while failing even to mention Palestinian terrorism. Was it to be concluded that the South African representative was more Palestinian than the Palestinians? he asked.
The draft resolution would not contribute to a lessening of Palestinian terrorism or provide an incentive for the Palestinian leadership to lead its people towards peace and reconciliation with Israel, he said. All that it did was to further remove Israel from the only course of action that would address the rights and needs of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
Expressing profound regret at the reconvening of the emergency special session, he said it was not only unnecessary and a waste of delegates’ time, but also flouted the conditions that must be met in order to convene such a session. The General Assembly did not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or advance the realization of their legitimate aspirations, by indulging the Palestinian appetite for endless United Nations resolutions.
BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (
) said that the convening of the emergency session was fully justified, since the Council had proved its inability to act in the face of the atrocities taking place in the occupied Palestinian territories. It was not even able to ensure compliance with its own resolutions. The serious human suffering inflicted on the Palestinians could never be put into figures. With or without a fact-finding team, the truth would become known.
The Israeli Government’s attitude of openly challenging the principles of the Charter, he said, was the result of the inaction of the Council and Israel’s certainty that nothing would be done against them. The United States had already vetoed Council resolutions pertaining to the situation in Palestine on 25 occasions. He called on the United States to cease its military assistance to Israel and to condemn the terrorism of the Israeli State, if it intended to combat terrorism internationally.
The Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a multinational force in the occupied territories should be considered seriously, he said. He strongly condemned the acts of aggression committed by the Israeli military in the Palestinian territories. There could be no just or lasting peace if Israel did not give up its policy of occupation. The Assembly should act to help the heroic people of Palestine and save the credibility of the United Nations. He would vote in favour of the draft resolution to be adopted today.
OLE PETER KOLBY (
) said that Norway very much regretted that the United Nations Secretary-General was forced to disband the fact-finding team because he strongly believed that it would be in the interest of everybody -– Palestinians, Israelis and the international community –- to get as accurate information as possible as to what happened in the refugee camp in Jenin. The immediate challenge now was to rebuild the institutions of the Palestinian Authority, including security infrastructure. Without a functioning Palestinian Authority and a Palestinian police force, there could be no progress in fighting terror and resuming negotiations.
In that regard, he said, Norway welcomed the lifting of the siege on President Arafat and the peaceful solution to the stand-off at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, which seemed to be in the making. Once again, it had been proven that diplomacy and negotiations, and not military action and violence, were the measures by which the Middle East conflict must be resolved. He strongly supported the efforts of the United States and the Quartet in de-escalating the violence and bringing the parties back to the negotiating table. He also supported the Arab League in promoting the Saudi Arabian peace initiative.
He said his country deeply regretted losses of Israeli lives due to terrorism and acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself from acts of terrorism. However, Israel must comply with international law and ensure that Palestinian civilians were not becoming victims of its self-defence measures. The recent damages inflicted by the Israeli military attacks were cause of the deepest concern. He called on Israel and the Palestinians to act with responsibility and move towards a political resolution of the conflict. It was time for the parties to adopt a constructive strategy. He called on Israel to immediately halt all military operations and withdraw its forces from reoccupied Palestinian areas. President Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must do their utmost to stop Palestinian terrorism. Mr. Arafat must be allowed to resume his full duties as head of the Palestinian Authority, he said.
SERGEY LAVROV (
) said, regrettably, despite some positive developments, Palestinian and Israeli confrontation persisted. People on both sides had suffered catastrophic losses. Wide-ranging and comprehensive strategies would be necessary to address all issues, particularly all acts of violence and terrorism. That had been precisely the message of the Quartet when it had met last week in Washington, D.C. They had called for the implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions and had also recalled the decisions reached at the Arab Summit held in Beirut last March.
He went on to say that, in order for any efforts to move forward, the implementation of Security Council resolutions was imperative. In that regard, it had been regrettable that the fact-finding team established under resolution 1405 (2002) had not been deployed. Despite repeated calls from within the United Nations and the wider international community, Israel had not cooperated with that mission. Still, it was imperative that objective information on the situation in the Jenin refugee camp be provided the Security Council. While there had been recent positive actions to stem the violence and bring about peace, much remained to be done, particularly to end the stand-off at the Church of the Nativity.
He said there was no military solution to the problem. Broad diplomatic efforts should be undertaken immediately to ensure that the peace process could move forward. Russia, as a co-sponsor of that overall process, would continue to work to see that the ultimate goal was achieved. He added that an important step towards reaching that objective would be through the holding of the international conference on the Middle East, scheduled for later this summer.
The first meeting concluded at 12:55 p.m.
When it resumed at 3:05 p.m., YISHAN ZHANG (
) said that last month -- following years of aggression against the Palestinian people -- under the pretext of combating terrorism, armed Israeli troops attacked the Jenin refugee camp. The fact that the Israeli regime had subsequently ignored the will of the international community and turned back the fact-finding team established by the Secretary-General to investigate the situation made the crimes committed there that much more troubling. He strongly condemned Israel’s obstruction of that mission, particularly since Israeli leaders had given their word that they would comply.
He said that history and current realities had demonstrated once again that the Middle East question could only be answered through political means. Violence would only lead to more violence. He called on the international community to work together towards realizing the just cause of the Palestinian people. As neighbours, Palestine and Israel could only achieve peace by building mutual trust. That could only be accomplished if the Israeli attacks ceased, particularly the siege on the Church of the Nativity. Israel should also withdraw from all occupied territories. He hoped that, at the same time, both sides would seek a ceasefire and revive political dialogue as soon as possible.
The crux of the Middle East issue was the question of Palestine, he continued. Therefore, it was necessary to restore all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as the proposal made by Saudi Arabia at the Arab Summit two months ago, provided a framework and objective for the just and lasting peace in the region. It was also necessary to use that framework to work towards the establishment of a Palestinian State, as well as the peaceful coexistence of Israel in safety and security. Of course, many obstacles remained before those objectives could be achieved.
At present, Israeli attacks had seriously damaged the social infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority, thus exacerbating the already difficult conditions under which the Palestinian people lived. He called on the international community to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to avert further tragedy and loss of life. The Chinese Government and people had always supported the Palestinian people. Chairman Arafat had always worked to safeguard the well-being of his people. China also supported the efforts of the Secretary-General and the wider international community to ease the current tensions in the Middle East and to promote a just and lasting peace.
OTHMAN JERANDI (
) said that, despite the fact that the commitments related to United Nations membership was clear, the Security Council had been unable to deal with the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the intransigence of the Israeli Government. The failure of the Council to take up the responsibilities entrusted to it had become a recurring phenomenon. Why would Israel not accept the fact-finding mission to prove that it was innocent with regard to what happened in Jenin? Israel should prove, through the mission, that it did not demolish tens of thousands of houses, use civilians as human shields, and prevent ambulances from reaching those in need. Today, there was no way to commit crimes against humanity without being accountable.
Today, the Assembly was being called on to put end to the gap existing in such cases. The Assembly was being called on to condemn the atrocities committed in Jenin, condemn Israel for refusing to accept the mission, and request the Secretary-General to present a report on the information provided to him. The obstruction of international efforts by Israel set a serious precedent in the work of the United Nations.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (
), associating himself with the Arab Group, said that the Israeli Government’s use of brutal military means in contravention of international humanitarian law was aimed neither at destroying the Palestinian infrastructure nor the will of the people. Israel’s actions were aimed at eliminating any hope for a just and lasting peace in the region, so that it could maintain its settler policy and its colonial occupation.
He said the Council’s adoption of resolution 1405 (2002) was the international community’s response to Israel’s crimes in the Jenin refugee camp. If it truly had committed no crime, Israel should have accepted the deployment of the fact-finding delegation. Its rejection of the team had gravely harmed the Secretary-General’s efforts and damaged the Council’s credibility, as well as calling into question the integrity of the team’s members.
It had become clear that Council resolutions were not mandatory and binding for some countries, especially Israel, he said. The message was clear -- Israel would not be made to pay for flouting Council resolutions, while other countries were made to pay a high price. Syria had supported the Secretary-General’s efforts to dispatch the team to Jenin and was keen to preserve unity among Council members in order to reinforce its authority when it was called into question. The General Assembly, representing the conscience of the international community, must strongly condemn Israeli practices against the Palestinian peoples. The United Nations could not ignore Israel’s crimes, particularly when the peoples of the world had joined in demonstrating against them. No matter how Israel tried to cover up those crimes, the United Nations could not stand by while it defied international law.
DON MACKAY (
) said his Government had criticized the recent military operations and excessive use of force by the Israeli Defence Force. That strategy meant both sides lost. Both sides also lost by terrorist acts against Israeli civilians, which he condemned. He also deplored Israel’s refusal to allow the Secretary-General’s fact-finding team into the Jenin refugee camp. In doing so, Israel seemed condemned by its own actions. It was also in violation of Council resolution 1405 (2002).
There was no shortage of plans to resolve the conflict, he said. Rather, the need was for political leadership and courage from all parties to compromise and get the peace process back on track. A move forward politically required an improved security situation. Equally, achieving a reduction in the level of violence depended, in part, on there being a political process that held out the prospect of genuine progress towards a peace agreement.
He supported a neutral third-party mechanism under a Security Council mandate to monitor a ceasefire –- a prerequisite towards rebuilding trust between the two parties. His country had already indicated that it would be prepared to contribute to such an international force, if there was a peace to keep. He welcomed the recent Saudi peace initiative, as well as the plans to convene an international foreign ministers peace conference during the summer. Notwithstanding the recent setbacks, he applauded the initiatives of the Secretary-General towards achieving a lasting peace and remained convinced that the United Nations had an important role to play.
MOHAMMED ALDOURI (
) said the current emergency session allowed the wider international community to comment on the flagrant Zionist violations of the United Nations Charter. Following the entity’s recent acts of aggression and flagrant violations of international law, the Assembly must undertake its responsibility under the Charter to protect and promote international peace and security. Still, the Zionist entity continued to flout Security Council resolutions and refused to put an end to its crimes and violations of humanitarian law. All the entity’s criminal activities had taken place in full view of the international community.
He went on to say that the entity had refused to receive the fact-finding team that had been established under Council resolution 1405 (2002). Due to the Zionist obstruction of the will of the international community, the team had subsequently been disbanded by the Secretary-General. Those actions confirmed the Zionist entity’s proclivity for ignoring Council resolutions, with the support of the United States. It also confirmed the failure of the Council to act in such circumstances due to the position of the United States, which dominated the Council.
The Zionist entity was aware that the report of such a mission would have revealed massive crimes against humanity, as well as violations of international humanitarian law. Its obstructive and intransigent behaviour was a desperate attempt to cover up those and other crimes of genocide it had committed in the occupied territories. Such crimes would continue to be committed, because of the Council’s inability to ensure the implementation of its resolutions.
According to the Charter, he continued, when the Council failed to act, the Assembly had a major role to play in the maintenance of international peace and security. He urged the Secretary-General to submit a report on the crimes of murder, arrest and destruction of homes in the occupied territories. He added that reports of all the Zionist criminal activity had frequently appeared in the international press and media. The Charter also spelled out the international humanitarian obligations of all countries. With that in mind, the wider international community must exert pressure on the Zionist entity to abide by international law, particularly the Geneva Conventions.
MOCHAMAD SLAMET HIDAYAT (
) said it was incumbent on the international community to seek the true sequence of events in the Jenin refugee camp. The impediments raised by Israel in the way of the fact-finding team should not deter the Secretary-General from presenting a report using available information and resources.
The dire humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories demanded that Israel cease obstructing humanitarian agencies, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), from carrying out its mandate, he said. The immense suffering of the civilian population was compounded by the denial of access for food and medicines -- the most basic necessities. Israel must comply with its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, he stressed.
The logic of war could never subvert the rule of law and the will of an entire people for self-determination and independence, he said. The realization of two States, Palestine and Israel, living within secure and internationally recognized borders, could only be achieved through the cessation of violence, using the deployment of an international security force, and a return by the two parties to negotiations based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as well as on the principle of land for peace.
MASOOD KHALID (
) said that last December his delegation had called for a meaningful dialogue based on justice and equity and in accordance with Council and Assembly resolutions. It had pleaded to the United Nations to take a lead role in arranging such a dialogue. All attempts to resurrect peace had been wrecked -- deliberately -- by Israel. Only last month, a proposal by the Secretary-General to dispatch a multinational force was blocked by Israel’s intransigence. The proposal to send a non-partisan mission to Jenin also met a similar fate. There was an emerging pattern of consistent Israeli rejection of all attempts to restart the peace process in flagrant disregard of the will of the larger international community.
The prospects for peace in the Middle East would remain bleak without the immediate cessation of all acts of violence, provocation and destruction, he said. The international community must not allow the present alarming state of affairs to continue, as it could permanently wreck prospects for peace. A faithful implementation of all agreements was quintessential to preventing the situation from deteriorating into an abyss of further violence, instability and uncertainty.
VALERY KUCHINSKY (
) said that, despite the relative decrease in violence, the international community faced dramatic challenges in overcoming the consequences of the military operations in the Palestinian territories. While Ukraine had expressed its full condemnation of terrorism, nothing could justify Israel’s excessive and disproportionate use of military force, demolition of civilian homes, and destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure, as well as the restrictions on access for humanitarian assistance, which was in contravention of international humanitarian law.
The events that had taken place in Jenin were of special concern, he said. Ukraine fully supported the Secretary-General’s efforts to implement Council resolution 1405 (2002) and strongly deplored the refusal by the Israeli Government to cooperate with his fact-finding mission, despite its earlier acceptance of the team. The team’s report would have been in Israel’s own interest, in the light of its statement that it had nothing to hide. The world would make its own assessment based on reports by the media and by humanitarian organizations, he added.
He urged Israel to provide full and unimpeded access to humanitarian organizations, as well as lifting restrictions on the free movement of people and goods in the Palestinian territories. In addition, both parties must comply with the provisions of Council resolutions 1402 (2002) and 1403 (2002), including full withdrawal of Israeli military forces, an immediate ceasefire and an end to all forms of violence. The Palestinian Authority must put an end to terrorism, including the actions of suicide bombers, he emphasized.
The deployment of a multinational force in the Palestinian territories could help create confidence, he said. It could also help to rebuild a credible and effective security structures for the Palestinian Authority. Ukraine was ready to take part in such a force under a Security Council mandate. At the same time, the international community must deploy all efforts to encourage the two parties to return to negotiations based on Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), the principle of land for peace, and the Saudi initiative.
UMIT PAMIR (
) said that, during recent meetings of the Security Council, Turkey had repeatedly expressed serious concern about the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian occupied territories. Turkey had deplored the tragedies that had befallen the peoples of both sides and had emphasized the importance of Israel’s withdrawal from Palestinian cities and the implementation of Council resolutions 1402 (2002) and 1403 (2002). He added that Turkey’s stand on the issue of terrorism had been resolute -– there could never be any degree of “acceptable” terrorism or leniency towards such activities.
It was in that understanding, he continued, that Turkey had strongly condemned the heinous terrorist attacks, including irredeemable suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Controlling the violence and ending terrorism were, first and foremost, a moral obligation. Israel’s right to ensure the security of its citizens was as legitimate as the aspiration of the Palestinians for an independent State. It had been disheartening, however, when the recently established fact-finding mission into the situation in the Jenin refugee camp had to be disbanded. The attitude of the Israeli Government on that purely humanitarian issue had been regrettable.
He welcomed the outcome of the recent meeting of the Quartet in Washington, D.C. The proposal to convene an international conference on the Middle East was also welcomed. The prospect of such a conference should be considered a window of opportunity that could not be missed. Indeed, it had become evident that each moment wasted only robbed the future generations of both sides the chance to live in peace. Trust had been sorely missing between the parties, and the only way to reinstate that trust was through negotiation. The international community needed a springboard that would thrust all the interested parties into serious, result-oriented talks.
It was in that frame of mind that Turkey was prepared to vote for the resolution under consideration today, he said. The Turkish people had shared the sorrow of every life on both sides of the conflict, and the time had come for the wider international community to do everything in its power to move the region away from the cycle of violence. The time had come for the world to declare its vision in all sincerity -– a vision where peace reigned and where the Israeli and Palestinian States lived side by side.
HASMY AGAM (
) said that the current meeting would not have been necessary if the Council had carried out its Charter-mandated responsibility and had effectively handled the issue. Given the ineffectiveness of the Council, it was incumbent on the Assembly, through its resumed emergency session, to pronounce itself on the matter.
The atrocities carried out by Israeli forces, including reports of possible war crimes in the Jenin refugee camp, must not be allowed to be carried out with impunity, he said. Israel must be compelled to cooperate with the United Nations and the international community in ascertaining the facts behind the atrocities committed in Jenin. The reasons given by Israel in rejecting the fact-finding mission were bogus and unreasonable and should have been rejected by the Council. Israel’s efforts to torpedo the mission could only be explained as an attempt to conceal the truth.
The international community, he said, could not afford to sit on the fence, to be “neutral”, for there was no neutrality when fundamental human rights were being systematically violated, and the legitimate right for freedom and independence of a people were being ruthlessly suppressed by an occupying Power. To be silent in those circumstances was to excuse policies and practices that were inhumane and inexcusable. Continued inaction by the international community would send the wrong message to Israel.
JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (
) welcomed the positive developments that had taken place within the past few days in a conflict that had no military solution. However, one fact clouded his cautious optimism. Four resolutions on the matter had been adopted by the Council in recent weeks –- 1397, 1402, 1403 and 1405. None of them were optional and they contained clear specific terms of reference. All of them remained ignored. He appealed to Israel to halt its military operations, to declare a ceasefire, and to withdraw completely its troops from the occupied Palestinian territories.
Chile had strongly condemned the terrorist attacks against civilians in Israel, as well as the humanitarian disaster caused by Israeli incursions, he said. Of particular concern were the events which took place in the Jenin refugee camp. He was concerned with the lack of clarification of the events that occurred there.
He reiterated the need for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on resolutions
and the principle of land for peace. In light of the upcoming international peace conference, he encouraged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to restore mutual confidence. The main problems to be resolved were the illegal occupation, putting an end to acts of terror, and putting an end to the economic deprivation of the Palestinian people.
YUKIO SATOH (
) said his country had consistently supported the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, including their right to an independent State, as well as the Israeli right to live in peace within secure and recognized borders. Moreover, Japan had repeatedly called upon Israel to withdraw immediately from Palestinian-controlled areas, and upon the Palestinian side to strengthen the necessary measures to stop terrorist actions.
He stressed the importance of pursuing efforts in several areas concurrently in order to ensure lasting peace in the Middle East. The recent proposal by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi for such a multi-layered process advocated an international peace conference to guarantee a ceasefire agreement and affirm the goals of the peace process, especially the goal of an independent Palestinian State. The proposal also advocated the strengthening of cooperation by the international community for the stability and prosperity of the Middle East and a resumption of multilateral consultations to promote cooperation projects in the region. Finally, the proposal advocated the building of a broad relationship of trust between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Japan was prepared to play an active role in each of those efforts.
Another urgent task for the international community was the alleviation of the extremely difficult humanitarian emergency facing the Palestinian people, he said. Japan had recently decided to extend approximately $3.3 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In response to UNRWA’s emergency appeal, Japan also intended to extend assistance in the medical and health field amounting to approximately $1.2 million.
BERND NIEHAUS (
), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said events in the Middle East had been a source of great concern for his delegation. At a recent meeting, heads of State for the Group’s membership had expressed grave concern for the worsening humanitarian conditions for the civilian populations of both sides of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. The Group, therefore, called for immediate implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions aimed at ensuring a return to peaceful negotiations in the region.
He went on to say that the Group regretted that resolution 1405 (2002), which established a fact-finding team into the situation at the Jenin refugee camp, had not been implemented. The Group supported all efforts to ensure a lasting peace and supported the holding of an international conference on the situation in the Middle East. He called for the protection of all civilian populations and for the provision of humanitarian assistance. The Group reiterated its call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories.
Prince ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (
) said that recent events had proved the inability of the international community to face an occupying Power which had violated the norms and common principles governing international relations, including the principles of the United Nations Charter. The Israeli Government and its military structures were fully aware that they were in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. As a result, the Arab States had requested the Council to take action. The Council had adopted a series of resolutions on the matter. Israel had rejected all of them.
Jordan welcomed recent diplomatic efforts, including those of the Secretary-General, the European Union, the United States and the Russian Federation, he said. It also called on Israel to withdraw its forces. He regretted that the Council had shirked its responsibilities, and Israel had defied the Council’s authority as if it were a State that was above compliance. The international community, as represented by the Assembly, should not accept that situation. He called on the Assembly to reaffirm its previous position vis-à-vis the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the right to resist the occupation. With regard to resolution 1405, he called on the Assembly to call on the Secretary-General to present a report on what really happened in Jenin.
DAVID STUART (
) said that he had substantive concerns about the resolution. His Government supported Council resolution 1405, which welcomed the Secretary-General’s initiative for a fact-finding mission to Jenin. He regretted that the parties were unable to reach agreement to enable the mission to proceed. He had repeatedly emphasized Australia’s concern over the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories. Australia’s Foreign Minister had announced on 2 May the commitment of an additional A$ 1 million in humanitarian assistance.
However, despite its deep distress at the current situation and its desire to support the parties to achieve an immediate end to violence and an early return to negotiations, Australia was unable to support the resolution, he said. With its inflammatory language, the text was unhelpful and unbalanced and did not contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Middle East.
CHUCHAI KASEMSARN (
) said his country condemned all acts of violence, particularly against civilians. It also condemned all acts of terror perpetrated by any party. Such actions must cease immediately if peace were to have a chance in the Middle East. Thailand strongly urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint in that regard. It affirmed that a comprehensive and enduring political settlement through peaceful negotiation was the only means to achieve a lasting peace. Thailand supported all international efforts to that end.
It also urged all parties to fully implement relevant Security Council resolutions, including 1397, 1402, 1403 and 1405, he said. Thailand supported the initiative of Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, endorsed by the Arab Summit in Beirut.
The most pressing issue at the moment was the dire humanitarian situation in the Palestinian occupied territories, he said. Thailand hoped that humanitarian and medical agencies would be given unhindered access to those areas. It also hoped military operations would soon cease. It welcomed recent developments that provided a ray of hope for the resolution of the turmoil, particularly the fact that Chairman Arafat was now free to travel in the West Bank and Gaza. As elected leader of the Palestinian people, Mr. Arafat remained a relevant partner in any political settlement processes.
Thailand also welcomed reports that agreements had been reached for peacefully ending the stand-off at the Church of the Nativity, he said. All those developments, including the initiative of the Quartet, should help lay the groundwork for rebuilding confidence and putting the peace process back on track in the Middle East.
HUSSAIN SHIHAB (
) strongly condemned the indiscriminate shelling, bombardment and use of excessive force by Israeli forces. Israel’s military approach and its economic suffocation of the Palestinian people were solely aimed at striking a severe blow to the prospects for a Palestinian State. Israel’s aim was to completely destroy the Palestinian Authority’s infrastructure and render Chairman Arafat irrelevant. The progress of the past decade towards a peaceful settlement had now been razed to the ground mercilessly.
He also condemned Israel’s continued refusal to heed the demands of the Security Council and the international community. It must not be allowed to act with impunity. It was incumbent on the international community to make every effort to ensure that Israel complied with Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1402 and 1405. The international community must act now to ensure that the current escalation of violence was reversed, paving the way for permanent and lasting peace in the region. The co-sponsors of the peace process, especially the United States, must remain actively engaged and help direct the parties towards cooperation and away from confrontation.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (
) said that Israel’s refusal to comply with resolution 1405 was a challenge to the authority of the Security Council and, as such, demanded firm condemnation. He said the international community had witnessed a systematic deterioration of the situation in the Middle East since the Assembly’s emergency session last December. The Council had been resolute in its attempts to set a path which, if followed, would lead to trust between the parties and open the door to political negotiations in the future.
It had been particularly troubling, therefore, that certain Council resolutions had gone unimplemented, particularly resolution 1405 (2002), he said. The refusal to allow the fact-finding mission established by that resolution to investigate the situation in the Jenin refugee camp had clouded other positive actions taken by the Council. Colombia wished to draw attention to recent meeting of the Quartet in Washington, D.C. At the appropriate time, the Assembly should take note of that group’s proposal to hold an international conference on the Middle East. He also drew attention to the grave humanitarian situation in the occupied territories, saying it was necessary to work towards a comprehensive plan for political negotiations that would end the loss of life, rehabilitate Palestinian cities, and rebuild the Palestinian Authority.
PAK GIL YON (
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
) said the Middle East peace process was gravely challenged by Israel’s reckless military actions. Nobody who felt any responsibility for the survival and future of humankind could ignore the ongoing tragedy.
He said that, although there were big and small countries in the world, there could not be senior and junior countries. While there were developed and less developed nations, there could not be dominating nations and those destined to be dominated. All countries and nations were entitled to independence and equal rights as equal members of the international society, regardless of their size and level of development.
Denouncing Israel’s aggression, he said it was aimed at eliminating the Palestinian Authority -- the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people -- and at stamping out the Palestinian cause. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea extended its unqualified support for, and solidarity with, the just cause of the Palestinian people to defend their legitimate national rights and the struggle of other Arab peoples for a fair resolution of the Middle East situation, centred on the Palestinian question.
SERBINI ALI (
) said that the task ahead was to restore and build a climate of trust between the two sides. He called on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and end violence. He also urged the resumption of dialogue, which was a prerequisite for a just and lasting settlement. In addition, he stressed the need for the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to assume its responsibility for the Middle East problem until it was resolved in a comprehensive manner. It was discouraging to see that the Israeli authorities continued to defy Council resolutions. He urged the immediate implementation of relevant resolutions, including those recently adopted. He was dismayed that the United Nations fact-finding mission to Jenin was unable to fulfil its task.
A lasting peace in the Middle East would only be possible with a comprehensive settlement of the question in accordance with resolutions 242, 338 and 1397. The realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Palestinian territories, including the dismantling of illegal settlements, were essential for any meaningful progress.
GEORGE KASOULIDES (
), aligning himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, said the most important lesson that could be drawn for the recent upsurge of violence from the present conflict was the impact of security concerns on the peace process. At the same time, without political negotiations offering the prospect for an end to occupation and the creation of a viable, independent Palestinian State, the prospects for a secure Middle East were dim and distant.
Urging Israel to withdraw and to desist from extrajudicial executions and attacks on medical and humanitarian institutions, he said the destruction and unprecedented damage inflicted on the Palestinian infrastructure in a few days had turned the clock back years, creating untold suffering and destitution.
He also urged Israel to accept the Secretary-General’s proposal for a Middle East international force with extended powers to reflect the new situation on the ground. Cyprus also called for respect and protection of all religious sites and condemned unequivocally any form of terrorism and suicide bombings, for which no justification could be found.
Reiterating his support for a just and lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), he said a solution to the Middle East question would ensure normal relations and security for Israel and end the violence, strengthening the forces of moderation and cooperation.
STUART LESLIE (
) said engaging in peaceful negotiations was the only viable way to bring about a durable peace in the Middle East. Obtaining that peaceful end was only possible if absolute respect was shown for Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution 1402, which called for Israel’s immediate withdrawal from the occupied territories. To that end, it had been most regrettable that the fact-finding team established under resolution 1405 had ultimately not been deployed.
Belize fully supported the proposal of the Secretary-General to deploy a multinational force to ensure peace in the region. It also strongly supported the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and their right to live in peace with Israel.
ENRIQUE MANALO (
) said recent days had offered a glimmer of hope for the situation in the Middle East. The lifting of the siege at Ramallah and the positive developments in the stand-off at the Church of the Nativity were notable in that regard. The Philippines welcomed the proposal of an international conference on the Middle East later this summer. He stressed that the objectives and parameters of such a meeting must be worked out in advance, with particular attention devoted to the political conditions under which it would take place. Indeed, a conference which failed to address underlying issues might only lead to further instability and violence in the region.
He expressed regret that Security Council resolution 1405 could not be implemented and that the Secretary-General had disbanded the fact-finding team created under it. He hoped that the dissolution of the team did not mean that its objectives of securing accurate information concerning the Jenin incident could not be achieved through other means as soon as possible.
He went on to note that the Secretary-General had once said that if only meetings could solve conflicts, then the Middle East crises would have been laid to rest. Sadly, perhaps that was not the case, since almost 30 meetings in the Security Council in recent weeks had failed to generate much forward movement on either side of the conflict. Relevant Council resolutions 1397, 1402, 1403 and 1405 remained only partly implemented at best. Those resolutions must be fully implemented, he said.
He added, however, that implementation would only be an initial step towards achieving durable peace in the region. Since it was clear that both sides alone could not achieve peace, sustained and robust support of the international community remained a key component of any peace negotiation process. The Philippines supported various international initiatives on the ground, including the efforts of the Quartet. He reaffirmed the significance of the initiative of Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
He expressed support for the Secretary-General’s proposal of a multinational force to help create a secure and calm environment that would enable the continuation of diplomatic discussions between the parties, as well as allow the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance to affected areas. The Philippines also believed that international observers should be deployed simultaneously. He urged unrestricted access be given to UNRWA to allow them to assist some 600,000 refugees in the Gaza strip.
INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (
), speaking on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey and Liechtenstein, said that peace and security for both parties could only be achieved through negotiation. The goals were clear -- Israel’s realization of its right to live in peace within safe and secure boundaries, guaranteed by the commitment of the international community, particularly the Arab States, as well as the recognition of the right of Palestinian people to live in peace in a democratic, viable and independent Palestinian State.
He deeply regretted that the Secretary-General was forced to disband the fact-finding mission due to the lack of cooperation of Israel. He strongly deplored Israel’s decision in that matter. In the absence of an accurate, fair and professional account of the events, serious doubts remained about what had happened in Jenin. For that reason, he supported the Secretary-General’s efforts to gather information to form an accurate picture of events.
The Union stood ready to assist the parties in implementing their agreements, he added. To that end, a third party-monitoring mechanism on the ground was essential to the process of restoring mutual confidence and making progress on both the political and security fronts. The Union stood ready to participate in such a mechanism.
The meeting was suspended at 5:55 p.m.
The meeting resumed its deliberations at 8:26 p.m.
The representative of
informed the Assembly of changes to the text in operative paragraphs two and seven. Also, he had presented to the Secretariat some linguistic corrections to the Arabic text.
The representative of
requested that each paragraph of the text be voted on first.
Explanation of Vote before Vote
The representative of
reiterated his firm support for the Council in achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. It was crucial to immediately call for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian areas. There was no military solution to the conflict. Therefore, all members should give their support to the efforts of the Quartet. He agreed with the positive elements in the draft such as the substantive increase in economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. Nevertheless, he would abstain because the text was still imbalanced in not condemning the terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and not asking the Palestinian Authority to take action against those committing such attacks.
The representative of
said that this morning when the debate opened, the Palestinian delegation had condemned the suicide attacks perpetrated by Palestinian groups. That kind of verbal condemnation unfortunately had no practical effect. Even now when a European compromise text had appeared, it was rejected by the Palestinian delegation. Each Palestinian terrorist understood that that type of quick condemnation would not upset the continuation of terrorism or any kind of attacks.
At the time when the Assembly was preparing to vote on the draft, a suicide attack just occurred in Israel in a youth club, killing 16 people and injuring at least 60, he said. If the Assembly adopted the text, which said nothing about suicide attacks, the message to the Palestinians would be unequivocal. He made a solemn appeal to the members of the Assembly not to adopt the text. If adopted, it would be an offence to the memory of the Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism. Israel would not go along with any procedural “trick” and would reject all parts of the resolution.
The Assembly then took the following action:
Preambular Paragraph 1 was adopted by a vote of 73 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 49 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 2 was adopted by a vote of 76 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 47 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 3 was adopted by a vote of 73 in favour to 6 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel, Nauru, Tuvalu and United States) with 47 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 4 was adopted by a vote of 75 in favour to 6 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel, Nauru, Tuvalu and United States) with 47 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 5 was adopted by a vote of 74 in favour to 5 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel, Tuvalu and United States) with 48 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 6 was adopted by a vote of 77 in favour to 5 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel, Tuvalu and United States) with 47 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 7 was adopted by a vote of 77 in favour to 5 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel, Tuvalu and United States) with 46 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 8 was adopted by a vote of 80 in favour to 3 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Israel) with 46 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 9 was adopted by a vote of vote of 78 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 47 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 10 was adopted by a vote of 75 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 50 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 11 was adopted by a vote of 77 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 48 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 12 was adopted by a vote of 76 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 49 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 13 was adopted by a vote of 74 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) against with 50 abstentions;
Preambular Paragraph 14 was adopted by a vote of 82 in favour to 3 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Israel) with 44 abstentions;
Operative Paragraph 1 was adopted by a vote of 73 in favour to 5 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel, Tuvalu and United States) with 52 abstentions;
Operative Paragraph 2 was adopted by a vote of 75 in favour to 6 against (Dominican Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and United States) with 49 abstentions;
Operative Paragraph 3 was adopted by a vote of 78 in favour to 3 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Israel) with 48 abstentions;
Operative Paragraph 4 was adopted by a vote of 123 in favour to 1 against (Israel) with 6 abstentions (Nauru, Peru, Rwanda, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu);
Operative Paragraph 5 was adopted by a vote of 74 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 50 abstentions;
Operative Paragraph 6 was adopted by a vote of 120 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 6 abstentions (Australia, Peru, Tuvalu, Tonga, Rwanda and Samoa);
Operative Paragraph 7 was adopted by a vote of 78 in favour to 5 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel, Tuvalu and United States) with 48 abstentions;
Operative Paragraph 8 was adopted by a vote of 84 in favour to 3 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Israel) with 44 abstentions;
Operative Paragraph 9 was adopted by a vote of 84 in favour to 3 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Israel) with 44 abstentions;
And Operative Paragraph 10 was adopted by a vote of 79 in favour to 3 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Israel) with 48 abstentions.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution as a whole by a vote of 74 in favour to 4 against (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Israel and United States) with 54 abstentions.
Explanations after Vote
The representative of
, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, offered condolences to the victims of today’s terrorist attack and their families.
He said his country objected to voting for each paragraph on such an important question and had abstained in every vote except those on operative paragraphs 4 and 6.
Canada had consistently supported the Secretary-General’s efforts to seek accurate information on the events in Jenin and believed it was in Israel’s own interest to bring them to light, he said. Canada therefore regretted its decision not to comply with Council resolution 1405 (2002), the consequences of which had unfortunately compromised the Council’s authority.
Despite that, Canada had abstained because the resolution had failed to address adequately and with full balance the chain of events that had led up to the situation today. Canada could not agree with the singling out of one party. The two parties must resume negotiations urgently. Israel must re-engage with the Palestinian Authority, and Mr. Arafat must use his authority not only to condemn terrorist attacks, but to bring those responsible to justice.
The representative of
said he had voted in favour of the resolution as a whole, but with reservations regarding any references that might undermine the right of the Palestinians to resist the Israeli occupation.
The representative of
said he had abstained from the vote on the text as a whole for the reasons given in his delegation’s main statement. He had abstained from voting on each paragraph, with the exception of operative paragraph 4, because his delegations was concerned about today’s procedure, particularly the lack of opportunity for proper consultations with capitals.
He said there had been no reason to expect that after the waiver of proper procedures, delegations would be asked to vote on each paragraph. It was impossible for delegations to take a proper position on each paragraph without putting each before their governments. The matters under discussion were important and should not be dealt with at such short notice.
The representative of
, speaking on behalf of the European Union strongly condemned the most recent attacks on Israeli civilians, as well as those that had occurred in recent weeks. The Union was dismayed by the apparent endless cycle of violence. It deplored Israel’s refusal of the fact-finding mission established by resolution 1405. The Union believed that serious doubts would persist about what really happened in the Jenin refugee camp and supported the Secretary-General’s efforts to that end. For procedural reasons beyond its control, the Union had been forced to abstain from the paragraph-by paragraph vote.
The representative of
said his delegation had abstained from the vote because the text was not balanced and did not contain explicit condemnation of terrorist attacks. Though operative paragraph three contained the word “terror”, his delegation did not believe it had the same meaning or carried the same import as “terrorism”. At the same time, he urged Israel to comply with relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.
The representative of
said his delegation felt very close to the conflict in the Middle East that had caused so much loss and pain for both parties. His delegation had abstained from the vote because the text was not balanced and did not offer a detailed view of the very complicated situation on the ground. An explanation of the spiral of violence in the Middle East could not be shifted to one of the parties. Guatemala would have preferred a more balanced approach that reflected the realities of the situation on the ground. Guatemala shared the view of others in the room of the possibility of two States -– Palestine and Israel -- living together in peace. He expressed solidarity with all the victims of violence and called for humanitarian assistance to those living in the affected zones.
The representative of the
voted in favour of the draft as a whole and its individual paragraphs, since they had been based on previous resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. The resolution also included support for the efforts of the Quartet to identify a just and sustainable solution to the crisis. He reiterated that the text contained nothing new and said that voting against it would contravene decisions taken earlier and in other forums. He hoped the outcome of the meeting would stimulate more active efforts to stem the violence and create conditions for the convening of an international conference on the situation in the Middle East.
The representative of
, speaking on behalf of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, said that he would have wanted a text with explicit mention of suicide attacks and other acts of terror. He expressed deep condolences to Israel on the attack which took place today. He asked the parties to urgently make way for negotiations for a just and lasting peace.
The representative of
said it was important to gather accurate information on the events in Jenin. Also, it was important that both parties put an end to violence and return to the negotiating table. The draft had been revised based on concerns expressed by some members. He had abstained on most of the paragraphs for procedural reasons. Such voting was not appropriate. Also, the adoption of the text as a whole would not be conducive to the attainment of a successful settlement. Therefore, he abstained on the text as a whole.
The Observer for
thanked those speakers who took the floor during the meeting expressing clear-cut positions on the matters at hand. The number of speakers and the contents of statements sent clear signals condemning Israeli practices and policies. He had not expected the results which had taken place for two reasons. First, the alarming situation on the ground would have led to making some of Palestine’s friends to uphold clear-cut positions. Regrettably, it seemed that the pressures exercised had been greater than the wish to adopt just positions.
Secondly, he continued, his delegation had entered into a long process of negotiations with many groups. It had negotiated for a long time with the European Union and examined all proposals with an open mind having believed that an understanding had been reached. He had been given an alternative European proposal not in the form of amendments to the original text but as a totally new resolution. Such proposals should have been presented by the Europeans in the Council last week. Insincere statements had been made about the Palestinians regarding the suicide bombings and proposed language in the text. The EU had never proposed such paragraphs. It was not correct to say that a new draft resolution was submitted taking into account that concern.
Israel’s representative, he said, had a moment ago uttered words, which were indecent, reflecting the aggressive attitudes of his Government. They also reflected the arrogance which behooved the Occupying Power. Israel once again voted alone with the automatic support of the United States, Marshall Islands and Micronesia.
For information media - not an official record