Question of Palestine home
14 December 2000
th plenary meeting
Thursday, 14 December 2000, 10 a.m.
The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.
Agenda item 20
(c) Assistance to the Palestinian people
I call on the representative of France, on behalf of the European Union, to introduce draft resolution A/55/L.63.
spoke in French
): I have the honour, on behalf of the European Union and the other sponsors, to introduce the draft resolution entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian people", contained in document A/55/L.63. Since its publication, the following States have joined as sponsors of this draft resolution: Cyprus, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Togo.
In the current tragic circumstances, the sponsors of this draft resolution would like to stress the particular importance of providing assistance to the Palestinian people.
Through this draft resolution, the General Assembly expresses its appreciation to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, and to the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Terje Roed-Larsen. The Assembly also expresses its appreciation to the Member States, United Nations bodies and intergovernmental, regional and non-governmental organizations for their continuous efforts and assistance to the Palestinian people. This text welcomes in particular the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee held at Lisbon in June 2000. Such meetings allow for the coordination of international assistance efforts to the Palestinian people.
This effort must continue. That is why the General Assembly calls upon all parties to intensify their assistance in order to meet the urgent needs of the Palestinian people, in accordance with priorities set forth by the Palestinian Authority and with an emphasis on setting up institutions and on capacity-building. In this context, it also urges the international donor community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance to the Palestinian people. This text also calls upon Member States to open their markets to exports of Palestinian products on the most favourable terms.
The text reiterates that, in order for assistance to be effective, it is essential that it reach its destination without obstacles. More generally, free movement of persons and goods must be guaranteed. It is important also that the bilateral Paris Protocol on Economic Relations be implemented, so that, in particular, the tax revenues of the Palestinian Authority can be fully and promptly cleared. The Palestinian Authority must be in position to fully benefit from its financial resources.
In spite of the tragic events in the region, it is the hope of the sponsors that this draft resolution can be adopted by consensus. I wish to thank all parties concerned for the spirit of openness shown during the sometimes difficult negotiation of this text led by the European Union. The adoption without a vote of this substantial draft resolution would represent a positive gesture under the present circumstances. In our view, this gesture would go along the lines of the shared wish for a resumption of the dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
The General Assembly will take a decision on draft resolution A/55/L.63, entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian people".
Since its publication Belarus, Guinea, Monaco, Norway and Slovenia have become sponsors.
May I take it that the General Assembly decides to adopt draft resolution A/55/L.63?
Before giving the floor to speakers in explanation of vote, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.
I call on the representative of Israel.
(Israel): This year, as in years past, Israel has joined the consensus on the resolution entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian people", and I would like to explain our position in this regard.
Israel is committed to the goal of enhancing the economic growth and welfare of the Palestinian people, which we view as an investment in a better future for the people of the region. This goal has translated to a primary component of Israeli policy, which includes direct economic assistance to the Palestinians, cooperation on development and a wide variety of other projects that have yielded substantial results on the ground.
We welcome the concerted efforts of Member States, international financial institutions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to aid in the development efforts. Israel has been fully cooperating with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the United Nations Children's Fund, as well as with other international organizations, in implementing programmes aimed at improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
In this respect, it should be pointed out that Israel shares the hope that the United Nations Special Coordinator in these areas can assist in the crucial sphere of economic growth, enrichment and investment in the future. Israel is ready to cooperate with the Special Coordinator in this sphere.
Israel's participation in the consensus on the resolution should not be construed as implying any position regarding the present status of the areas referred to as "occupied territories". Additionally, our support does not carry any implication regarding Israel's position on the permanent status of those territories, which, in accordance with all Palestinian-Israeli agreements, is a matter to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians in the framework of the permanent status negotiations, to which we hope to return as soon as possible.
This year, changes were made in the text of the resolution, referring to the free passage of aid and the free movement for persons and goods. I would like to take this opportunity to stress that despite the recent crisis, Israel has continued and even expanded the free flow of humanitarian assistance and food to the areas under Palestinian Authority administration. In addition, the movement of goods and persons through Israel and Israeli-administered areas is restricted only to the extent that such movement impacts directly on security.
Also in this year's text, reference was made in paragraph 11 to the need to continue implementation of the provisions of the interim agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians. We welcome this addition to the text of the resolution. It reinforces our conviction that the Israel-Palestinian interim agreements continue to remain in force until the achievement of the permanent status agreement between ourselves and the Palestinians, which we hope will occur in the near future. In this regard, I would like to reiterate that Israel fully respects and complies with these agreements, including the provisions on the clearance of Palestinian tax revenues, which have already been transferred in full by Israel to the Palestinian Authority for the monthly periods of January to November of this year.
We have heard the only speaker in explanation of vote after adoption.
The meeting rose at 11.55 a.m.