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Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service ·
15 July 1997
Fifty-first General Assembly
10th Emergency Special Session
4th Meeting (AM)
ISRAEL SEEKS TO IMPOSE WILL ON PALESTINIAN PEOPLE THROUGH RESUMED
SETTLEMENTS, PALESTINE OBSERVER TELLS SPECIAL ASSEMBLY SESSION
Israel Says Peace Not Threatened By 'Urban Housing Project'
But by Use of Violence To Achieve Political Ends
The Government of Israel had resumed colonial settlement in order to seize the city of Jerusalem and impose its will on the Palestinian people, the observer for Palestine said this morning, as the General Assembly resumed its tenth emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.
The observer for Palestine said the United Nations bore a permanent responsibility on the question of Palestine. It was the General Assembly which had partitioned Palestine, and it was the Security Council which had adopted 25 resolutions affirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.
The representative of Israel said the real threat to peace was not an "urban housing project" but rather disregard of the principle that violence should not be used as an instrument to achieve political ends. The incitement to violence continued and terrorist organizations had not been effectively combatted. Palestinian authorities had not illegally confiscated arms, had not reduced its police forces to agreed levels and had not halted Palestinian governmental activity in Jerusalem.
The representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Group of Arab States, said completion of the Israeli settlement under construction at Jebel Abu Ghneim would represent the last link of the chain of settlements around East Jerusalem, cutting it off from the rest of the occupied territories. Several speakers cited the illegality of such efforts to alter the legal or demographic character of East Jerusalem.
Also this morning, General Assembly President Razali Ismail (Malaysia) announced that Cape Verde, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles and Vanuatu had reduced their arrears below the amount which would have resulted in the loss of their voting rights in the Assembly, as specified in the Charter.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The representative of Senegal spoke in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Right of the Palestinian People.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. this afternoon to resume its emergency special session.
The tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly met this morning to consider the illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory. Before the Assembly was a report of the Secretary-General submitted in accordance with its resolution ES-10/2. It was also expected to take action on a related resolution on the illegal Israeli actions in occupied Palestinian territory.
In resolution ES-10/2, adopted on 25 April at its tenth emergency special session, the General Assembly condemned Israel's construction of a new settlement in Jebel Abu Ghneim and all other illegal actions in the occupied territories, and demanded full cessation of all such activities. It further demanded that Israel accept the applicability to those territories of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and that it comply with relevant Security Council resolutions.
By that text, the Assembly called for the cessation of all support for illegal Israeli activities. It recommended that the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention ensure respect by Israel of the Convention. It also recommended that a solution to the question of Jerusalem, to be reached in permanent status negotiations between the parties, should include provisions to ensure freedom of religion and conscience of all inhabitants, as well as permanent and unhindered access to all holy places by all persons.
In addition, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of the resolution within two months of its adoption. It also asked him to report on the cessation of construction of the new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim, as well as all other illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.
The Secretary-General's report to the Assembly (documents A/ES-10/6-S/1997/494 and Corr.1) states that, due to restrictions imposed by the Government of Israel on the scope of the proposed mission of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy, it had not been possible to dispatch an envoy to Israel and the occupied territories. Therefore, the report is based on reliable sources available to the United Nations at Headquarters and in the field.
As of 20 June, Israel had not abandoned its construction of a new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim, the report says. The expansion of existing settlements, construction of bypass roads and the confiscation of land adjacent to settlements, in violation of Security Council resolutions on the matter, continued unabated throughout the occupied territories. Politically, the commencement of construction of a new Israeli settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim on 18 March represents the first move to construct an entirely new settlement on occupied Palestinian lands since a freeze was imposed on such activities by the previous Israeli Government in the context of the peace process.
Geographically, Abu Ghneim represents the final link in a chain of settlements constructed by Israel around occupied East Jerusalem, it says. Already existing links in the chain include the settlements of French Hill, Ramot, Pisgah Ze'ev, Neve Ya'cov, and Gilo. Demographically, the settlement would have a significant effect on further advancing the forced alteration of the religious and ethnic composition of occupied East Jerusalem. Projections indicate that the new settlement would result in the transfer of some 50,000 Jewish settlers from Israel into the predominantly Arab area of occupied East Jerusalem.
Economically, the establishment of a settlement on the site is expected to have damaging effects on an already devastated Palestinian economy, according to the report. Without reference to the losses suffered by Palestinians, whose land has been acquired for the settlement, the broader Palestinian economy would feel the effects of the resulting separation of the economic hub of East Jerusalem from the towns and agricultural areas of the rest of the West Bank. So far as the peace process is concerned, through both words and actions the Israeli Prime Minister and other representatives of the Government continue to reject the terms of the resolution of the General Assembly requiring a cessation of those activities.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced a promise to build 3,500 housing units for Palestinians in East Jerusalem at the same time as construction at Jebel Abu Ghneim proceeded, the report says. However, those housing units were not to be built at Jebel Abu Ghneim, but in 10 as yet unspecified neighbourhoods in Arab East Jerusalem. Further, it was also not clear whether the housing units would be government funded, or if only building permits would be issued.
The report adds that expansion of Israeli settlement activities continued throughout the period under review in many locations throughout the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Expansion activities were recorded in more than 30 existing settlement areas. Israel was widely reported to have issued plans for the creation of new settler housing units in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In May, it was reported that 30,000 dunums of Palestinian land in the West Bank were expropriated by Israel in 1997 for settlement expansion. In the Gaza Strip, attempts by settlers to seize additional land adjacent to existing settlements at Gush Katif resulted in violent clashes.
External support for settlements and their economic infrastructures continued during the period under review, including through private support from foreign companies and individuals, the report states. A number of administrative and legal measures were also adopted affecting the status of Palestinian Jerusalemites. Hundreds of Palestinian Jerusalemites this year received notice that their residency rights had been revoked, and hundreds of Jerusalem identity cards -- without which it is impossible to live in and often even to enter Jerusalem -- were confiscated. The loss of such permits results in a loss of rights to housing, health care, school access and freedom of movement into and around Jerusalem. The administrative practices in question apply only to non-Jews -- that is, mainly Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem.
The report adds that the Government of Israel had not, as of 20 June, accepted the de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to all territories occupied since 1967. Moreover, the realization of the principle of territorial integrity, as enunciated in the Oslo accords, has been frustrated by Israeli restrictions on the movement of persons and goods between so-called A, B, and C areas of the West Bank, between Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and between the occupied territories and the outside world.
Further, safe passage arrangements have not been established, and arrangements for a Gaza seaport and airport have not been agreed upon, the report states. The Israeli policy of general closure, which has been in effect since 30 March 1993, imposes explicit restrictions on the mobility of goods and persons. The general closure has been aggravated by periodic comprehensive closures.
The report also mentions the continued administrative detention of almost 300 Palestinians in Israeli jails, held without charge or trial. Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody continue to be subjected to torture and other mistreatment under security regulations officially endorsed by the High Court and the Government of Israel. Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and other parts of the occupied territories continued. There was also a marked increase in Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians, settlers and military personnel, as well as Palestinian military operations against Palestinian civilians during the reporting period. Also, there was an increase in violent incidents involving settlers.
The report also includes remarks by the Observer Mission of Palestine. In those remarks, the Permanent Observer stresses that international law should be upheld, that the will of the international community must be heeded, and that no State should be allowed to behave otherwise.
The Secretary-General says that, on 14 May, he addressed a note verbale to all Member States asking them to submit, by 12 June, any information relevant to the implementation of the Assembly's resolution. A request for information was also addressed to the Permanent Observer for Palestine. The current report contains replies from Australia, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, Japan, Jordan, Netherlands, Norway, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, as well as a reply from the Observer Mission for Palestine.
Also before the Assembly is a 15-Power draft resolution on illegal Israeli actions in the occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory (document A/ES-10/L.2). By its terms, the Assembly would condemn Israel's failure to comply with the demands made in resolution ES-10/2. It would also condemn Israel's lack of cooperation, as well as its attempts to impose restrictions upon the intended mission of the Secretary- General's Special Envoy to the territory.
The Assembly would demand that Israel, as the occupying Power, immediately cease and reverse all actions taken illegally under international law against Palestinian Jerusalemites. It would call for reinjecting momentum into the stalled Middle East peace process, for implementation of the agreements reached between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and for the upholding of such principles as the exchange of land for peace.
Also by the text, the Assembly would recommend that the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War convene a conference on measures to enforce the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territory, and to ensure its respect. It would ask the Secretary-General to provide the necessary United Nations facilities for such a conference and take the necessary measures to speed up implementation of the recommendation. He would also be asked to report on the matter within three months.
The Assembly would also ask that Member States take the necessary steps, within their respective legal systems, to halt any support for Israeli settlements and their economic infrastructures by companies and individuals in their respective countries. Member States would also be asked not to allow any import of goods produced or manufactured in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem.
In addition, the Assembly would reiterated the demands made in its resolution ES-10/2, in particular the immediate and full cessation of construction of a new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim, and of all other Israeli settlement activities, as well as of all illegal measures and actions in Jerusalem. It would emphasize the responsibilities, including personal, arising from persistent violations of the 1949 Geneva Convention on the protection of civilian in time of war.
The Assembly would also decide to adjourn its tenth emergency special session temporarily. It would authorize its President to resume the meetings of the special session upon request from Member States.
M. NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, said the United Nations bore permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine. The United Nations Charter affirmed respect for international law, human rights and the right to self-determination. It was the General Assembly which had partitioned Mandated Palestine, and it was the Security Council which adopted 25 resolutions affirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem. Some those texts also reaffirmed that settlements were illegal, declaring Israeli measures in Jerusalem null and void. The United Nations should go further to warn the aggressor and to give hope to the Palestinian people.
There were two legal frameworks covering the question of Palestine, he said. The first comprised relevant international law and Security Council resolutions, which affirmed the illegality of Israeli occupation of Arab territories since 1967, as well as the Israeli settlements and measures to change the legal status of Jerusalem, its character and demographic composition. The second framework comprised the agreements signed between the Israeli Government and the PLO. Those agreements did not substitute for international law, which was the basic framework, and could not negate the validity of international law. Any actions based on illegal foundations would remain illegal, irrespective of the passage of time.
"For all of the above reasons, the illegal Israeli actions must be stopped", he said. "The building of the settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim must be stopped. Colonial settlement, in all its aspects, must be stopped. The attempts to Judaize and seize Jerusalem must be stopped."
The Israeli Government had resumed colonial settlement in order to acquire more Palestinian land by force, seize Jerusalem and impose different agreements on the Palestinian side, he said. To achieve that, it was trying to exert as much pressure as possible, including economic suffocation and a defamation campaign against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli Prime Minister had revealed to several Israeli officials what could be referred to as "Netanyahu's Plan" for peace. That plan would include a "Greater Jerusalem", establishment of a wide security zone along the Jordan River, a buffer zone along the truce line, and the annexation of settlement blocs. That would leave less than half of the occupied territory without geographical contiguity and prevent the realization of Palestinian national rights. Such action could destroy the basis for historical reconciliation and mutual recognition of the rights of the two parties. Israel must choose whether there would be peace or not.
The Palestinian people had made many concessions with respect to their historic rights in their homeland in order to achieve peace, he said. They had accepted a solution based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), based on the principle of returning the territories occupied since 1967 for peace. That area constituted only 22 per cent of Mandated Palestine. The occupied territory should be returned in its entirety. The Palestinian people and leaders were still committed to their strategic decision to engage in the peace process and to uphold their agreements with Israel. They would continue to work at the United Nations and hoped the Organization would be able to apply one single standard and to exercise its responsibilities.
DORE GOLD (Israel) said the real issue threatening the peace process was not an urban housing project, but rather disregard of the principle that violence would not be used as an instrument to achieve political ends -- a principle on which the peace agreements had been based. In the years since the signing of the 1993 Declaration of Principles, the people of Israel had witnessed an upsurge in terrorism. Yet, they remained to be committed to peace. Israel had, this year, moved ahead with the Hebron Protocol and the Note for the Record. From the beginning of the year, Israel had taken tangible steps for peace. Among other things, it had completed the redeployment in Hebron and transferred funds to the Palestinian Authority.
Commitments undertaken by the Palestinian side on 15 January of this year had not materialized, he said. The Palestinian National Covenant, which called for Israel's destruction through armed struggle, had not been revised. Security cooperation had not been strengthened, but had been cut off. The incitement to violence continued, as could be seen in the streets of Hebron. Terrorist organizations had not been effectively combated. Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists had been released from prison. There had not been a single case in which terrorist suspects had been transferred by the Palestinian side. Illegal arms had not been confiscated. The Palestinian police had not been reduced to the agreed level. Palestinian governmental activity in Jerusalem had not been halted.
The ironic reality was that Israel had met all its commitments and the PLO had met none, he said. Israel's concern was that the present special session undermined the Organization's work, as well as that of all those involved in the peace process. The content and tone of the Secretary-General's report were hostile. That report was an embarrassment to those involved in its preparation. It damaged the Organization's reputation and the valuable work done by its agencies, which were the "sources" referred to in the report. Acting as such "sources" was clearly outside their mandate. The use of assistance and funding for political ends raised serious concerns.
The draft resolution before the Assembly threatened to undermine international humanitarian efforts, he said. By seeking to politicize the Fourth Geneva Convention, the resolution threatened to create "a dangerous cocktail of the political and humanitarian spheres" which could poison genuine humanitarian efforts. Humanitarian efforts had always been based on the principle of neutrality. Israel had explained to the Assembly before that the Geneva Convention could not be considered applicable to the territories. Israel had acted in accordance with the Convention's humanitarian provisions, representing the first and only time the Convention's provisions with regard to occupied territory had ever been implemented. To ignore the many examples of actual occupation by signatories to the Convention and censure the only party ever to have implemented those provisions was "a scene from the theater of the absurd".
The draft resolution before the Assembly threatened to undermine the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, he said. The reams of Assembly resolutions passed over the years had not brought the two sides any closer to peace, while one document -- the Declaration of Principles -- had brought them to a new reality. No Member State should think that the current session would, in any way, advance peace in the region. On the contrary, focusing on Israel's alleged breaches of agreements while ignoring those of the Palestinian side, and sidestepping the agreed frameworks for dispute resolution, would only weaken the chances for peace. To the Palestinian side, such action indicated that the United Nations was a willing forum for bypassing the peace process. To Israel, it sent the message that taking security risks for peace and making tangible efforts for peace were efforts quickly forgotten.
The people of Israel wanted the peace process to work, he said. For that to be possible, a code of conduct must be followed. Violence must be removed from the negotiating table. Lines of communication between the parties must be kept open. Both parties must act in the spirit of accommodation and mutual respect. A culture of tolerance was a pre-requisite for an enduring peace. The international community must support the agreed framework for negotiations, and encourage compliance by both sides with the principles he had just outlined.
IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said the building of settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim had continued, with Israel publishing blueprints for new settler housing units in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Some 30,000 dunums of Palestinian land in the West Bank had been expropriated by Israel in 1997 for expanding settlements. Israel was implementing illegal measures to alter Jerusalem's character, legal status and demographic composition, including attempts to deal with Palestinian Jerusalemites as "resident immigrants", subjecting them to discriminatory immigration controls. That practice reduced the Arab presence in the city and threatened some 60,000 to 80,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites.
The Palestinian Rights Committee condemned all resort to violence, particularly against civilians, and recalled that the peace process had made progress because both parties had agreed to the basic principle of land for peace. The Committee deplored the Israeli Government's decision not to cooperate with the United Nations on the basis of the resolution adopted in April by the Assembly's tenth emergency special session. Determined action by the international community was required to stem and reverse the downward spiral in the peace process. It was hoped that the resumed session would help end the settlement policy and other unilateral measures taken by the Israeli Government, and help restore a climate of confidence in which negotiations between the two parties could be resumed.
NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said the Assembly would not have had to hold a special session if the Security Council had not failed twice in two weeks to adopt a resolution calling for Israel to desist from all its settlement activities. The Israeli settlement policy had continued unabated, in abject disregard of Israel's contractual obligations and of international law. Israel was fully aware of the illegality of its actions.
The Secretary-General's report, though not comprehensive, indicated that an avalanche of illegal measures had been taken by the Israeli Government in the occupied territories, he said. Such activities, which contradicted Israel's own commitments, dealt a fatal blow to peace. Israel had imposed obstacles on the Secretary-General's intended mission to the territories; the international community must reject such lack of cooperation.
The Secretary-General had also drawn attention to economic activities by individuals and companies relating to the Israeli settlements, he said. The international community must not ignore the fact that some quarters were supporting the economic growth of the settlements.
The report also referred to the grave political, geographic and economic results of the Jebel Abu Ghneim settlement, he said. That settlement would be the last link of the chain of settlements around East Jerusalem, effectively isolating the community.
Paragraph 22 of the report was of utmost importance, he said. It dealt with Israeli actions -- in particular the closure of the territories -- which impeded the ability of the Palestinian people to function. The report also referred to Israel's legal obligations as an occupying Power under the Geneva Convention, the applicability of which Israel continued to reject. The international community must address that rejection.
The international community was faced by one party's clear refusal to uphold its obligations, he said. The Assembly could not be ignored by a Member State; States must respect its resolutions. United Nations meetings and decisions did not jeopardize the peace process. The threat to peace in the Middle East came from the actions of the Israeli Government, which were not in accord with the spirit of peace.
Violence was a result of frustration, he said. The current Israeli Government bore complete responsibility for derailing the peace process through its continued disregard for the Arab Palestinian people and for international law. Peace in the region must be based on the principle of land for peace. The Government of Israel alone could decide whether the peace process was alive or dead. He called upon all Member States to support the current draft resolution.
F.A. SHAMIM AHMED (Bangladesh) said that three months ago the international community had called on Israel to cease its construction of illegal settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim. Sadly, Israel had ignored that call. It had also continued its economically crippling policies, with a view to eroding the capability of the Palestinian people to survive as an independent community. The Israeli Government was following a deliberate policy of destroying the peace process, with a view to depriving the Palestinian people of any mechanisms to pursue their goal of establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Israel had challenged the international community by ignoring its will, he said. That defiance must be addressed with courage and determination. Israel's continued and systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people constituted a crime against humanity. Those actions must be decisively addressed. It was ironic that Israeli illegal activities were being supported by some States and even some foreign businesses.
He condemned Israel's systematic efforts to change the demographic and legal character of Jerusalem and other occupied areas, and deplored its policy of destroying the economic infrastructure of the Palestinian community in the occupied territories. Israel had attempted to justify its actions by arguing that no mention had been made of the principle land for peace in either the Madrid Conference or the subsequent agreements. It had also contended that any reference to that principle would undermine the peace process. But what, other than land, would Palestinians expect from Israel?
Did Israel need to be reminded that increased frustration would lead to increased violence? he asked. For peace to proceed, mutual trust and confidence between the Palestinian people and the Israeli Government were urgently required. Despite some flaws, the peace process remained the only mechanism that could bring a climate of peace and stability to the region.
Bangladesh fully supported the just and legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for the establishment of their homeland, with Jerusalem as its capital.
MOHAMMAD J. SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates) said the resumed session reflected the international community's concern about the intransigence of Israeli policy, which amounted to an abrogation of its commitments to the peace process. Israel continued building settlements in Jebel Abu Ghneim and other Palestinian lands. It restricted the movement of Palestinian citizens, tortured them, and encouraged insults to and distortions of Islamic beliefs. Full responsibility for any reactions to such attitudes must rest with the Israeli Government.
The international community and the United Nations should shoulder its legal, political and historical responsibilities, without applying double standards, he said. The international community, and particularly the co-sponsors of the Middle East peace process, should pressure Israel to implement its commitments to that process and stop its settlements policy. Issues such as the status of Jerusalem should not be settled through the unilateral actions. Rather, they should be resolved through talks with the Palestinians. At the same time, negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks of the peace process should be accelerated.
GAAFAR M. ALLAGANY (Saudi Arabia) said the Secretary-General had indicated that Israel had not stopped its building new settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim, its construction of by-pass roads, or its confiscation of adjacent land. Israel was trying to impose a fait accompli on the international community. A resolution of the League of Arab States had called for a boycott of Israel until it complied with the terms of reference of the peace process. Israel's refusal to abandon construction at Jebel Abu Ghneim had contributed to the collapse of the peace process and to enhancing settler colonialism.
He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told the Israeli Knesset that zionism was not dead and that the building of settlements would be encouraged in various parts of the occupied territories. Israel planned to transfer some 50,000 Jewish settlers to the Arab area around Jebel Abu Ghneim, an action that would transform its demographic character. Some Palestinian Jerusalemites were also being denied their rights as citizens.
The European Union and others had spoken against settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim, but the Israeli Government had continued in its illegal actions, he said. The international community must take stronger action, as it did when other States violated international law. The return of Al-Quds Al-Sharif was crucial if peace was to be strengthened and war avoided. The international community, as represented by the Member States of the United Nations, should help support peace in the Middle East. No double standards should be applied dealing with victims and aggressors.
ARIZAL EFFENDI (Indonesia) said the report of the Secretary-General had confirmed that, two months after the adoption of resolution ES-10/2, Israel was persisting in construction of a settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim. That activity represented the first attempt to construct a completely new settlement on occupied Palestinian territory since the freeze imposed by the previous Israeli Government. It prejudiced the final status negotiations and constituted the "final link" in a chain of Israeli settlements around occupied East Jerusalem -- the final step towards isolating Jerusalem from the West Bank. The settlement would advance the forced alteration of East Jerusalem's religious and ethnic composition and further worsen the already devastated Palestinian economy.
Israel had also continued settlement expansion activities at numerous locations in the West Bank and Gaza strip, he said. That expansion, the commencement of new settlements, the building of roads and other sites adjacent to and between settlements, and the issuance of plans for new settlements were a poignant reminder of Israel's utter disregard of United Nations resolutions and of agreements reached with the Palestinians.
He said Indonesia was concerned over reports of private and corporate support for settlements from outside Israel, as well as about "sinister" Israeli practices, disguised as administrative measures, which had affected the legal status of thousands of Palestinians from Jerusalem. Israel's revocation of residency rights had made it impossible for those people to enter Jerusalem or to claim their rights to housing, health care, education and freedom of movement.
ALI SULAIMAN R. AL-SAEID (Kuwait) called on the international community to support the peace process by demanding that Israel stop building settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim and other occupied areas. Israel should be asked to cease all illegal administrative measures in Jerusalem, to accept the application of the Fourth Geneva Protocol to the occupied territories, and to implement Council resolutions 242 and 338, as well as other relevant international instruments. The United Nations should rise to its responsibility and save the peace process.
AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said that despite the overwhelming rejection of its policies by the General Assembly, Israel had persisted in violating international norms and treaties, as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Pakistan strongly condemned those policies. Israel's rejection of the principles of the Madrid peace process had jeopardized peace and had shattered the Palestinian people's expectations of self- determination through the establishment of an independent homeland.
The question of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, occupied by Israel since 1967, was at the core issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, he said. It remained central to any settlement, and lasting peace would be impossible without the return of Al-Quds, and of all occupied territories, to the Palestinian people.
He said that Israel's decision to build a new settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim had dealt a serious blow to the peace process. The international community must counter Israel's illegal attempt to annex Al-Quds by altering its demographic character and must take measures to neutralize the atmosphere of conflict and war in the Middle East. The Israeli leadership must concede to realities on the ground and resolve all pending issues with the Palestinian National Authority.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) commended the Secretary-General's efforts to dispatch a special envoy in order to accurately apprise Member States of the situation in the occupied territories. Israel's non-cooperation with that mission was predictable. Israel's obstruction of the Assembly's wish for such a visit ought to be condemned. Such a defiant attitude must be responded to in clear terms.
The peace accord was now in tatters, owing to the actions of the present Israeli Government, he said. The threat Israel now perceived was a result of its own actions. Israeli Jews could not flourish at the expense of their Arab neighbours. Israel's continued construction of Jewish settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim represented an effort to influence the final status negotiations, in which the issue of Jerusalem and its borders would be determined. The settlement would complete the process of encircling East Jerusalem by Jewish settlements, with the ultimate motive of strengthening its negotiating position and weakening that of the PLO in the final status talks. While the international community focused on Jebel Abu Ghneim, Israel quietly continued its other settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It was intolerable that foreign private companies and individuals were lending support for the settlements.
He urged Israel to understand the importance of keeping promises and honouring treaties and agreements into which it had willingly entered. It must heed the voice of the Assembly and respect the expressed will of the international community. Member States with close relations to Israel should counsel the Israeli Government to act responsibly. The international community should not condone aggressive policies such as those being pursued by the Netanyahu Government. The resolution before the Assembly must be fully implemented. Otherwise, the special session would be no more than a ritualistic condemnation of Israel which, as in the past, it would ignore.
NOR JELUDIN (Brunei Darussalam) said the decision by the Israeli Government to restrict the scope of the proposed mission of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy had represented a failure to comply with the Charter of the United Nations. It had further demonstrated the unwillingness of the Israeli Government to achieve a comprehensive and lasting solution to the situation in the Middle East. That Government had repeatedly claimed that the construction of settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim did not violate Israeli- Palestinian agreements. However, the final status of Jerusalem could only be determined through negotiations. The refusal to abandon the construction of settlements would further isolate Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. It represented the single most negative factor in the breakdown of the peace process. The stated policy of the Israelis to incorporate East Jerusalem as part of the "unified eternal capital of the State of Israel" was unacceptable to Brunei Darussalam. That policy would close the door on what Palestinians unanimously expected to be the future capital of a Palestinian state -- East Jerusalem.
He called on the Israeli Government to accept the de jure applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention to all territories occupied since 1967, and to comply with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), as well as with the resolutions of the General Assembly.
JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said the United Nations should salvage the peace process by standing up to Israeli settlements policy and to the intransigence which threatened to derail negotiations. The Palestinian people looked forward to the day when the United Nations would end their prolonged tragedy, save them from their occupier, and help them attain self-determination. The Organization's efforts in that direction had been thwarted by Israel's refusal to implement relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Bahrain supported the convening of a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, as requested by the draft resolution before the emergency session.
HERMAN LEONARD DE SILVA (Sri Lanka) said that continuation of Israel's settlements policy would affect the political and demographic aspects of the occupied territory. It would hurt the peace process and the negotiations on East Jerusalem's future status. Israel should abandon its unlawful settlements policy, stop building them, and cooperate with the Secretary-General, so as to enable him to carry out the mandate given him by the Assembly.
He urged all parties to continue the peace process, which the special session was meant to help put back on track, and to have Israel abandon a policy that had derailed the peace negotiations. Since matters affecting the occupied territories remained one of the gravest threats to international peace and security, they should be addressed with seriousness of purpose if the United Nations was to have any credibility.
SLAHEDDINE ABDELLAH (Tunisia) said the Secretary-General's report was replete with proof of illegal Israeli activities. It also noted restrictions placed by Israeli authorities which had hindered the Secretary-General from obtaining information. Israel had continued its settlement activities unabated. The report described the grave political, demographic, geographic and economic repercussions of the Jebel Abu Ghneim settlement.
For two months, the Palestinian people had been demonstrating against the settlement activity, while foreign support for those settlements had continued, he said. Israel also continued to implement other illegal measures aimed at changing the status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif. In addition, Israel continued to deny that the Fourth Geneva Convention was applicable to the territories, despite agreement on this point by the major humanitarian and international organizations. The report described many practices which violate the rights of the Palestinian people, including torture and detention.
It was clear that Israel had not implemented any of the measures demanded by the Assembly on 25 April, he said. Israel showed no intention of ceasing its illegal actions. It was, instead, persisting in its intransigence. Such measures should be renounced and contractual agreements must be respected. In the face of Israel's disregard of international law, the international community must take action. The Organization's credibility was now at stake. Israel could not stand alone above the law; the Charter applied to all States. The Assembly must take decisive action so that all its relevant Assembly resolutions were implemented and the peace process might proceed. The Palestinian people had the right to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
KIM CHANG GUK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said Member States should deal with the Middle East question with a correct understanding of the struggle for self- determination and of terrorist acts. There could be no peace in occupied territory. Where there was oppression, there was resistance. Since it was the right of the Palestinians to fight for independence and freedom in the occupied territory, their struggle for survival and self-determination was not terrorism. It was, therefore, a mockery of the United Nations Charter for Israel to define the Palestinians' resistance as terrorism.
The Middle East question should be resolved fairly and comprehensively, on the basis of the principle of land for peace, he said. The Israeli Government should desist from its occupation policy, stop the construction of the settlement at Jebel Abu Ghneim, and withdraw its forces from the occupied territories of Palestine and other Arab States.
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