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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

Commission on Human Rights
AFTERNOON
HR/CN/05/21
23 March 2005

COMMISSION CONTINUES DEBATE ON
VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND
FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS IN ANY
PART OF THE WORLD


Hears Personal Representative of High Commissioner
on Human Rights Situation in Cuba Present her Report


...

General Debate on the Question of the Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Any Part of the World


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DAVID LITTMAN, of
World Union for Progressive Judaism, speaking on behalf of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Inc., said representatives who wished to understand the true sense of the much-used terms "Occupied Palestinian Territories", "Palestine" and "international legality" should start with the 1922 Palestine League of Nations Mandate. Since Israel's independence in 1948, what had been witnessed was a state of active but suppressed hostility, waged by all the Arab States, by every military, political and economic means available. Israel must be the only State in the world whose people had not known a single day or a single night of peace. There should be an end to this for there to be peace and reconciliation in the Middle East for all.

DAVID LITTMAN, of
Association for World Education, said that a number of Middle East peace initiatives had been put forward recently regarding a future Palestinian State and to reach genuine peace with Israel, those included the Road Map and the "Geneva Initiative". However, none of these proposals addressed the issue of regional security, for which reason attention was once more drawn to the Association's peace proposal submitted in 1990 -- the "United States of Abraham". The new Palestinian leadership under Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas should break with a sterile past of death, destruction and corruption. A new spirit of mutual acceptance would flourish in the region when human rights and individual security and dignity for all, including safeguards for ethnic and religious minorities, became rooted in international law.

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ORNA KOHN, of
Habitat International Coalition, said she wished to draw attention to the Israel Lands Administration's policy of prohibiting Palestinian citizens of Israel from leasing Jewish National Fund lands, which amounted to 13 per cent of "Israel Lands"". That policy encouraged apartheid-like settlements and segregation along racial or ethnic lines. The Israel Lands Administration controlled more than 93 per cent of the land in Israel. Since 1948, large tracts of Arab-owned land had been confiscated or otherwise appropriated by the State, or by Zionist "national" institutions such as the Jewish National Fund, which enjoyed special status under Israeli law. As a public agency, the Israel Lands Administration should not be permitted to discriminate on the basis of nationality, or to pursue goals that violated the rights to equality and dignity. The Commission should investigate Israel's discriminatory land allocation policies, and reaffirm the principles of non-discrimination.

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