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SPECIAL BULLETIN ON

THE COMMEMORATION OF THE

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

2009


Contents
Page
I. Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People1
II.Texts of statements made and messages delivered on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 2009
Paul Badji (Senegal), Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People4
Ali Abdussalam Treki (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), President of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly 7
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations9
Thomas Mayr-Harting (Austria), President of the Security Council for the month of November 200912
Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority; message delivered by Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations14
Walid Khalidi, General Secretary of the Institute for Palestine Studies16
Palitha T.B. Kohona (Sri Lanka), Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories23
Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; message delivered by Maged A. Abdelaziz, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations 25
Walid Al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-sixth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers; message delivered by Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations26
Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi, President of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union; message delivered by Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the United Nations28
Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; message delivered by Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States to the United Nations29
Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East; message delivered by Andrew Whitley, Director of the UNRWA Liaison Office in New York31
Bill Fletcher, Member of the Steering Committee of the United States Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, on behalf of civil society organizations active on the question of Palestine33
Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations38
Closing statement by Paul Badji, Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People39
III.Messages received on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
A.Messages from Heads of State or Government
Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan40
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria40
King Hamad Bin Issa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain41
Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh43
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil44
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam45
Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso46
Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of China47
Mohamed Hosny Mubarak, President of Egypt47
Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India49
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia49
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran51
King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan53
Choummaly Sayasone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic55
Pakalitha B. Mosisili, Prime Minister of Lesotho55
Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia56
Mohamed Nasheed, President of Maldives58
General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania58
King Mohammed VI of Morocco59
Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia60
Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of Nicaragua61
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President of the Philippines62
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar63
Dmitry A. Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation64
Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal65
Kgalema Motlanthe, President of South Africa67
Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka70
Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand70
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia71
Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey72
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates73
Nguyen Minh Triet, President of Viet Nam74
B.Messages from Governments
Argentina76
Guyana76
Oman77
C.Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs
Sergei Martynov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus78
Jaime Bermúdez Merizalde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia78
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba79
Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana81
Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan82
Fawzi Salloukh, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanon83
Ny Hasina Andriamanjato, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Madagascar84
Moctar Ouana, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali85
Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico86
Walid Al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic86
D.Messages from Permanent Missions to the United Nations
Congo89
E.Messages from intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters
European Union91
Organization of the Islamic Conference: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General92
F.Messages from non-governmental organizations
Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization95
Caritas Jerusalem96
United Nations Association of Egypt97



I. COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

On 30 November 2009, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was observed at United Nations Headquarters, New York, and at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna, as well as in several other cities, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

All States Members of the United Nations, intergovernmental organizations, specialized agencies and other observers were invited to attend the special meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

At the meeting, statements were made by Paul Badji (Senegal), Chair of the Committee; Ali Abdussalam Treki (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), President of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly; Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; and Thomas Mayr-Harting (Austria), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2009. The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, read out a message from Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. Also, Palitha T.B. Kohona (Sri Lanka) made a statement in his capacity as Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

A keynote presentation was delivered by Professor Walid Khalidi, General Secretary of the Institute for Palestine Studies.

In addition, Maged A. Abdelaziz, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations, delivered a message from Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Bashir Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations, read out a message from Walid Al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-sixth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers; Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the United Nations, read out a message from Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi, President of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union; and Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations, delivered a message from Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. Andrew Whitley, Director of the Liaison Office of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in New York, delivered a message from Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, and Bill Fletcher, member of the Steering Committee of the United States Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, also addressed the meeting on behalf of civil society organizations active on the question of Palestine.

Closing statements were made by Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, and Paul Badji, Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People received messages from 26 Heads of State, 6 Heads of Government, 3 Governments, 10 Ministers for Foreign Affairs and the delegation of the Republic of the Congo, as well as from the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Messages were also received from three non-governmental organizations.


The special meeting was followed by the screening of a film entitled Jerusalem – the East Side Story in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

A Palestinian photo exhibit, “The United Nations and the Palestine Refugees, 60 Years Later”, was presented by UNRWA, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Luxembourg and under the auspices of the Committee.

The Committee also hosted a concert by Maqamat, an orchestra of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.

At the United Nations Office at Geneva, a special meeting was held on 30 November. The meeting was chaired by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Under-Secretary-General and Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who opened the meeting by reading the statement of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Desra Percaya, spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Babacar Mbaye, read the message of the Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. Statements were also made by Saad Alfarargi, representative of the League of Arab States; Babacar Ba, representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Hisham Badr, representative of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Kadija Rachida Masri, representative of the African Union; Matthias Burchard, representative of UNRWA; and Juliette Sayegh, General Arab Women Federation, on behalf of civil society organizations. Ibrahim Khraishi, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva, read a statement on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority.

At the United Nations Office at Vienna, a special meeting was held on 1 December 2009. Mohd Arshad Bin Manzoor Hussain, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations Office at Vienna, opened the meeting and spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, delivered the statement of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Friedrich Stift, Director of the Department for the Near and Middle East of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, read a message on behalf of the host country, and Norma Goicochea Estenoz, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations Office at Vienna, spoke on behalf of the Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. Zuheir El-Wazer, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Vienna, read out a message on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. Other speakers included: Mikhail Wehbe, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations Office at Vienna; Mohammad Badi Khattab, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations Office at Vienna, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Vienna; and Fritz Edlinger, President, Society for Austria-Arab Relations, on behalf of civil society organizations active on the question of Palestine.

A short documentary on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was shown at the end of the meeting. In addition, there was a dance performance by the “Al-Quds Group”, a Palestinian folklore troupe, and a photo exhibition was mounted by the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine.



II. TEXTS OF STATEMENTS MADE AND MESSAGES DELIVERED ON THE
OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, 2009

Paul Badji (Senegal), Chair of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]

Today, the Committee is holding a special meeting to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

It is my honour and pleasure to bid a warm welcome to His Excellency Mr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, President of the General Assembly; His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; His Excellency Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, President of the Security Council; His Excellency Mr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories; His Excellency Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations and representing Palestine at this special meeting; and Mr. Haile Menkerios, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

I would particularly like to welcome the presence at our meeting of Professor Walid Khalidi, renowned Palestinian historian and General Secretary of the Institute for Palestine Studies in Washington, D.C., who will be our keynote speaker this morning.

I also wish to warmly welcome all of you — representatives of Member States, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations and all those who have accepted the Committee’s invitation to participate in this solemn meeting.

Allow me at this point to make a statement on behalf of the Committee.

On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I would like to express our appreciation to everyone here for attending this special meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Our appreciation and greetings also go to those joining us from all over the world through the United Nations webcast system.

When the General Assembly decided on the annual observance of this day, in 1977, it was mindful of the responsibility of the United Nations towards the Palestinian people and of the need to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. Today’s gathering is a reaffirmation of the ongoing commitment of the international community to achieving that goal.

Sixty-two years ago, on 29 November 1947, the General Assembly, in its resolution 181 (II), provided for the establishment of two States in Mandate Palestine, one Jewish, one Arab. To date, only one State has come into being. The hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people for living in their own home remain unfulfilled. Generations of Palestinians in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem and in Gaza have lived, and continue to live, under the longest military occupation in modern history. Palestinian refugees in camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are still yearning for the end of the plight. Despite these never-ending challenges, the Palestinian people continue to hope that one day the dream of living in a State of their own will be realized.

The reality of the situation on the ground today is quite bleak. It gives us little reason to believe that the occupation will be brought to an end any time soon. The peace process is stalled. In the very land where a future Palestinian State is supposed to be established, illegal Israeli settlements continue to multiply. The refusal of the occupying Power to bring a halt to settlement expansion has become a major obstacle to the resumption of peace negotiations.

In East Jerusalem, the construction of settlements has been accompanied by the demolition of houses, evictions of Palestinian residents and other discriminatory measures. The situation around the holy sites of the city, in particular at and around Al-Haram Al-Sharif, remains tense. Any illegal or provocative action is prone to escalate into a wave of violence with far-reaching implications.

The construction of the separation wall on occupied Palestinian land continues, in spite of the ruling by the International Court of Justice. Together with more than 500 checkpoints and obstacles to movement throughout the West Bank, the wall stifles the daily life of the Palestinians.

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has always been a source of special concern to our Committee. After being subjected for more than two years to an almost total economic blockade, the Palestinians of Gaza had to endure a three-week military invasion accompanied by extraordinary violence. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the Israeli offensive, more than 1,100 of whom were non-combatants. Among the non-combatants killed were more than 300 children and more than 100 women. More than 5,000 Palestinians were injured; many were maimed for life. The Israeli side reported 14 deaths, including four civilians, and 182 injured. Although the ceasefire has by and large been observed since the end of the Israeli invasion, the economic blockade continues, allowing only for some basic relief in order to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Palestinian people needs and deserves our solidarity. Owing to the compelling imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians, that courageous people greatly needs our active solidarity. Developments on the ground clearly demonstrate how the occupying Power has been consolidating its hold on the Palestinian land and its resources. Since 1967, Israel has gained control of all aspects of the lives of the Palestinians.

The Palestinian people deserves our solidarity because it is still denied its inalienable national rights, defined by the General Assembly as the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty and the right of Palestine refugees to return to their homes and property, from which they had been displaced and uprooted.

The Palestinian people deserves our solidarity all the more because its leadership, under President Mahmoud Abbas, has vowed to achieve its national goals through peaceful negotiations. And the Palestinian Authority has demonstrated, through concrete steps in the territory under its jurisdiction, that it is serious in building Palestinian public institutions in accordance with widely accepted norms of transparency and good governance.

Our Committee is encouraged by the fact that international solidarity with the Palestinian people is stronger than ever. It manifests itself in a multitude of actions by Governments and intergovernmental and civil society organizations, as well as by individuals. Many Governments are actively involved in the pursuit of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Be it through the work of the Quartet, the Security Council, the General Assembly or other bodies, they are seeking to make a positive contribution to the two-State solution.

When, in December 2008, the Israeli army invaded Gaza, the international community responded immediately by calling for calm and demanding respect for the lives of innocent civilians. The rocket attacks by Palestinian groups indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians were also condemned. In their respective resolutions, the Security Council and the General Assembly called for a permanent and durable ceasefire. The Secretary-General intervened and personally visited Gaza.

At this point, Mr. Secretary-General, I would like to express our Committee’s sincere thanks for your efforts and your commitment to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The members of the Committee urge you to continue to see that the United Nations retains permanent responsibility for the question of Palestine until that issue is resolved in all its aspects, in accordance with international law and international legitimacy.

The international community’s solidarity with the Palestinian people was reaffirmed last March at the donor conference held at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where pledges of some $4.5 billion were made for Gaza’s reconstruction, although the bulk of the promised funds have still not reached the Palestinian people in Gaza. We also see a demonstration of solidarity in the work of various fact-finding missions undertaken by the United Nations and other organizations in the wake of the war in Gaza.

I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to state here, unequivocally, that our solidarity with the Palestinian people is not at Israel’s expense. It is certainly not an unfriendly much less hostile act towards the Israeli people. When the Committee criticizes certain policies and practices of the Israeli Government, it does so simply because such policies and practices violate international law, international humanitarian and human rights law and do prevent progress towards a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Our solidarity with the Palestinian people also manifests itself through the daily work of the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and other international and civil society organizations carrying out vitally needed activities that sustain the lives of the Palestinians. Today, we would like to pay a very special tribute to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which, on 8 December, will celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of its establishment. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Food Programme and numerous other United Nations entities are doing everything possible to ensure basic services to the Palestinians, in particular in Gaza.

Let us turn the spirit of solidarity into a collective power that can remove the obstacles in the way of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For our part, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will continue to pursue the mandate given it by the General Assembly until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are realized, the illegal occupation of Palestinian land is ended and a two-State solution is achieved, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

Ali Abdussalam Treki (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), President
of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly

[Original: Arabic]

I would like to express our deep gratitude to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its important work in promoting the cause of the Palestinian people.

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people is a solemn occasion for renewing our commitment to a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, a goal that eluded us for far too long, with disastrous consequences. This day is a reminder that the question of Palestine remains the oldest unresolved issue at the United Nations. It is an occasion to reflect on the situation, a situation of continued occupation, which has dispossessed the Palestinian people and subjected them to untold suffering and tragedy over the decades. The grave situation in the occupied territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip, has confronted us with the human cost of this unresolved conflict, a cost borne by Palestinian civilians. Their ordeal will continue until the question of Palestine is resolved and the occupation is brought to an end.

The continuing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip has forced 1.5 million Palestinian civilians into poverty and isolation. The Israeli military offensive almost a year ago further exacerbated the already desperate situation. International efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip and to assist its civilian population are blocked by Israel. The United Nations has repeatedly called on Israel to lift this inhuman and illegal blockade, but Israel continues to impose collective punishment on Gaza’s civilian population in defiance of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law and particularly in breach of its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel should heed the call of the international community to bring an immediate end to the stranglehold on the civilian population and to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Earlier this month, the General Assembly endorsed the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (A/HRC/12/48) and called on Israel and the Palestinian side to undertake independent, credible investigations towards ensuring accountability and justice. The report calls upon us to help to bring an end to impunity in the Middle East and to ensure accountability. Without justice, there can be no progress towards peace.

The renewed engagement by President Barack Obama to promote peace in the Middle East has inspired hope. The international community is strongly committed to supporting the peace process. But on the ground there remain serious obstacles to peace, and there has been no change. The Israelis continue to refuse to implement any relevant United Nations resolutions, which now number more than 100.

The situation in occupied East Jerusalem remains of grave concern. The continued construction of the illegal separation wall in the occupied territory undermines the peace process and violates United Nations resolutions. Continued Israeli actions to change the status of Jerusalem further endanger the viability of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. In addition, the excavations in the vicinity of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the attacks against Palestinian worshippers at the holy sites of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the Al-Aqsa mosque have provoked an already volatile situation in the occupied city. The ongoing construction of settlements in the occupied territory, especially in and around East Jerusalem, where Israel continues to demolish properties, confiscate land and evict Palestinians from their homes, must not be tolerated, as it constitutes a main impediment to the peace efforts. The recent announcement by Israel to construct 900 new settlement units in Gilo is another such step. Israel must abide by its international obligations and refrain from actions that prejudice permanent status negotiations.

The United Nations has consistently upheld the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and will continue to work for a just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, international law, the Madrid principles, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative. Those resolutions and agreements are the building blocks of a Palestinian State and must be implemented.

This afternoon, the General Assembly will consider the agenda item entitled “Question of Palestine”. As President, I would like to reaffirm the Assembly’s position that the United Nations has a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until it is effectively resolved, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions.

Our collective expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people also entails action and responsibility. On this occasion, I call for renewed efforts by the parties, supported by the international community, with the aim of establishing an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.

Here I wish to note that the bad situation in Palestine is no better than the situation of the peoples of other occupied Arab territories, including the occupied Golan and the Lebanese territories that are still occupied by Israel. I reaffirm our support until the Palestinian people gain independence and until the Arab lands are liberated.


Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

[Original: English]

It is a great pleasure to join the Committee today. I commend the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for keeping the international community’s focus on the question of Palestine. The question is as fundamental today as it was 62 years ago, when the General Assembly, in resolution 181 (II), put forth a vision of two States. Today, the State of Israel exists, but the State of Palestine does not.

The Palestinian people continue to struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination, a fundamental, universal human right enjoyed by so many others around the world. The international community continues to assist and protect the Palestinian people, including through the work of United Nations agencies, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East foremost among them.

However, our interventions must not be limited to managing the humanitarian dimension of this conflict. What is urgently needed is a political solution that addresses the roots of the conflict. It is vital that a sovereign State of Palestine be achieved. This should be on the basis of the 1967 lines, with agreed land swaps, and a just and agreed solution to the refugee issue — a State that lives side by side in peace with Israel within secure and recognized borders, as envisaged in the resolutions of the Security Council.

I welcome the commitment of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to a two-State solution. At the same time, I am deeply concerned that talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization have been suspended for almost a year.

I support the clear commitment and continuing efforts of the United States to bring about a resumption of meaningful negotiations on all final status issues, including the security of Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees and Jerusalem. The biggest challenge to this shared agenda is to create the conditions in which the parties have the trust and confidence to return to genuine and substantive talks.

On the Palestinian side, the Palestinian Authority has made significant progress in meeting its Road Map obligations in the West Bank and in building institutions to serve the Palestinian people. I call on all Palestinians to fight violent extremism, to refrain from incitement and to continue their unyielding struggle to build their own State institutions. These efforts have resulted in economic and security improvements, which should be sustained and extended.
I welcome initial steps taken by Israel to contribute to these positive trends and call on Israeli authorities to expand these measures so that change can become truly transformative.

I am deeply concerned that, in East Jerusalem and the remainder of the West Bank, illegal settlement construction continues. I have noted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent announcement of settlement restraint. While this is a step beyond earlier positions, it falls short of Israel’s obligations under the Road Map, particularly given the exclusion of East Jerusalem. I repeat my call on Israel to meet in full its Road Map commitments to freeze all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.

In addition, the barrier continues to restrict Palestinian access to key social services, agricultural land and East Jerusalem. As participants will recall, the International Court of Justice has stated that the barrier’s deviation from the 1967 line into occupied Palestinian territory is contrary to international law.

I am also concerned about the situation in Jerusalem. Actions such as the evictions of Palestinians and house demolitions, as well as the continued closure of Palestinian institutions in occupied East Jerusalem, run contrary to Israel’s Road Map obligations. I call on Israel to cease such actions in East Jerusalem, which stoke tensions, cause suffering and further undermine trust, and to reopen Palestinian institutions. I reiterate my belief that Jerusalem remains a final status issue to be negotiated between the parties.

As the Quartet has previously stated, unilateral actions cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community. Jerusalem should emerge as the capital of two States, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all. We should all want to see Jerusalem as a symbol of harmony, tolerance and peace.

A lasting solution to the Gaza crisis must still be found urgently. The coming winter season and its inclement weather raise serious concerns with regard to the humanitarian situation. The blockade of Gaza must be lifted, as requested by the Security Council in its resolution 1860 (2009), in order to allow for unhindered access for humanitarian aid and commercial goods and freedom of movement for people.

Consistent with this same resolution, efforts must also be made to address Israel’s legitimate security concerns, in particular by creating mechanisms aimed at preventing the smuggling of weapons into Gaza and putting an end to Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli civilians.

Ten months after the end of hostilities in Gaza and in southern Israel, the issue of accountability for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law has not been adequately addressed. I call on Israel and the relevant Palestinian authorities to conduct, without delay, credible investigations into the many reported allegations of serious human rights violations connected with the Gaza conflict.

The reunification of Gaza and the West Bank is also essential. There can be no two-State solution without a unified Palestinian territory. I support Egypt’s efforts in this regard.

Now more than ever, politics must be made credible. Those who try to undermine moves towards peace through violence or by changing facts on the ground must not be allowed to set the agenda. Vigorous international efforts are essential for advancing the political process, ending the occupation and achieving a solution to all permanent status issues.

The United Nations will continue to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East through negotiations based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008), previous agreements, the Madrid framework, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.

I will continue to engage all concerned to realize our shared goal of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.


Thomas Mayr-Harting (Austria), President of the Security Council
for the month of November 2009

[Original: English]

I would like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for inviting me to address this meeting in my capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of November.

We are gathering on this day to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Security Council remains committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.

Throughout the past year, the Council remained seized of the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, and continued to receive monthly briefings on the situation from the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator and the Department of Political Affairs and to hold open debates, including at the ministerial level. Since this event last year, the Council has adopted two resolutions — 1850 (2008) and 1860 (2009) — and one presidential statement (S/PRST/2009/14) on the situation in the Middle East. While the situation on the ground remains of serious concern to the Council, the international community has witnessed intensified diplomatic efforts to relaunch bilateral negotiations this year. Council members have consistently welcomed and encouraged these efforts and strongly hope that they will advance the process towards the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Security Council members regularly underscore the urgency of reaching a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. In its 11 May presidential statement (S/PRST/2009/14), the Council recalled its previous resolutions on the Middle East, in particular resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1850 (2008) and 1860 (2009), and the Madrid principles, and noted the importance of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

As the members of the Quartet stated on 24 September (see Press Release SG/2155),
Today I reiterate the Council’s call for renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community towards the realization of that vision. We encourage the Quartet’s ongoing work and regional and international efforts to support the parties in this regard.

To move towards the prompt resumption and early successful conclusion of negotiations between the parties and to improve the situation of the Palestinian people on the ground, the Security Council, in May, called upon the parties to fulfil their obligations under the performance-based Road Map, refraining from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations on all core issues. Members of the Security Council continue monthly to highlight this call.

We remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Members of the Council also wish to stress the urgency of the commencement of reconstruction activities. We wish to commend the laudable efforts of the humanitarian organizations and agencies on the ground, particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and its staff. We encourage all members of the international community to support the agency with financial contributions.

Transformative change on the ground is integral to peace. We welcome the Palestinian Authority’s plan for constructing the institutions of the Palestinian State within 24 months as a demonstration of the Palestinian Authority’s serious commitment to an independent State that provides opportunity, justice and security to the Palestinian people and is a responsible neighbour to all States in the region.

I wish to reiterate the Council’s encouragement of tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation, including in support of mediation efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States, as expressed in the 26 November 2008 resolution and consistent with Security Council resolution 1850 (2008) and other resolutions.

The international community should provide assistance to help to rehabilitate and develop the Palestinian economy, to maximize the resources available to the Palestinian Authority and to build Palestinian institutions.

During its open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict earlier this month (see S/PV.6216), the Council adopted resolution 1894 (2009) through which it affirmed its resolve to strengthen the protection of civilians in armed conflict, advance compliance of parties to armed conflict with their obligations under international law and to prevent and deter the recurrence of serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. I wish to reaffirm that resolve on this solemn occasion.

In conclusion, allow me to assure all present of the commitment of the Security Council to the ultimate goal of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and to the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for an independent and democratic State.


Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee
of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority; message delivered by Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer
of Palestine to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

Allow me at the outset to convey the greetings of the Palestinian people to all present and to all our friends in countries around the world who are joining us in the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I would like also to express our profound gratitude to the United Nations and its Secretary-General and to the Chairman and the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for their tireless efforts in raising awareness of and defending the rights of our people, rights which have been reaffirmed and enshrined in hundreds of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions beginning with the adoption of Assembly resolution 181 (II) in 1947, partitioning Palestine, and continuing through the current session of the General Assembly.

Of all the issues and problems that have faced the international community, only the question of Palestine has not gained the implementation of the resolutions related to it, which confirms the conviction that there is indeed a double standard when it comes to United Nations resolutions, wherein any resolution regarding Israel is not implemented, allowing Israel to continue to behave as though it were above international law.

It has been 61 years since the 1948 Nakba that befell our people, who, to this day, live either as refugees in camps in their homeland or in neighbouring countries or in the diaspora or continue to suffer under colonial occupation. They have lived under occupation since 1967, as all initiatives and negotiations undertaken with the Israeli side since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 have not yielded the results envisaged or hoped for by the international community, namely an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Throughout all of these years of the peace process negotiations, Israel has never ceased its settlement campaign, arrests, aggression and attacks against the Palestinian people, the latest of which was carried out in the Gaza Strip, during which war crimes were committed against the Palestinian people and their national institutions and infrastructure, as documented in the report of Justice Goldstone.

Furthermore, the current Israeli Government has taken a position in complete denial of and retreat from all of the commitments and agreements that we had reached with previous Israeli Governments. There is also a serious acceleration of the settlement policies and attempts to Judaize Jerusalem through the eviction and suffocation of its indigenous population, encircling their neighbourhoods with settlements in a flagrant threat to the Arab identity of the city and its Christian and Muslim sites. It has also gone as far as endangering Al-Aqsa mosque by the excavations being undertaken beneath it and around it and allowing the extremist Jews to invade its compound and surroundings, which threaten to expand the conflict to a dangerous religious dimension.

The concept of negotiations for the current Israeli Government is that they can do whatever they wish on the ground and that we can talk about whatever we want at the negotiating table. This is something that we cannot accept.

Yet, despite all of this, we assure you again, as we have always done, of our full commitment to a just peace as a strategic choice, and that we have never been an obstacle to the desired peace based on the resolutions of international legitimacy, the signed agreements, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative, which was adopted by the Arab and Islamic countries, and the Road Map, which was endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003).

We hope that everyone is aware of this and will support this responsible Palestinian position in order to achieve peace in the region and will work together to push Israel in this same direction, because its daily practices on the ground confirm that it does not want any step towards a comprehensive settlement of the conflict, as it continues its settlement campaign in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in grave violation of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy and turns its back on a resumption of negotiations to reach a just solution that guarantees an end to the conflict and the attainment of peace, security and stability for all of the peoples of the region.

It is time, after all of these years of negotiations that have not yielded results, for the international community, in particular the Security Council, to shoulder its responsibilities and to take immediate and decisive action that reflects the positions of the countries of the world, which have repeatedly called for the two-State solution and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, in order to bring an end to this conflict and give credibility to the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations.

On behalf of the Palestinian people and their leadership and on my personal account, I reiterate our profound gratitude for your support and appreciation for your solidarity over all these years, as well as to all friends and free, peace-loving peoples in the world, who stand by our people in their endeavour to achieve just peace. We assure you that we have faith that a just peace will be realized in our region and that right must prevail.


Keynote address by
Walid Khalidi, General Secretary of the Institute for Palestine Studies

[Original: English]

Control of Jerusalem has been a source of conflict between the West and Islam ever since A.D. 638, when Muslim Arabs captured Jerusalem from Byzantine Christianity. Except for the 100-year Crusader interlude in the twelfth century, and until its capture by Britain from the Ottomans in 1917, Jerusalem remained under Muslim sovereign rule for some 1,200 years. That is longer than Britain has been Norman and more than twice the length of time since Columbus discovered America. It is longer than Jerusalem was under Jewish sovereign rule in biblical times.

Historically, there never was a conflict between Islam and Judaism over Jerusalem. On the contrary, under the protection of Islam, Jews returned to Jerusalem after having been expelled from it, first by the Byzantine Christians and later by the Latin Crusaders. The Byzantine Christians had turned the Herodian Jewish Temple into a garbage dump.

A conflict between Judaism and Islam over Jerusalem developed with the advent of political Zionism. This was a mostly Russian Jewish nationalist movement which, towards the end of the nineteenth century, long before the Holocaust, aimed at the establishment, through massive immigration and colonization, of a Jewish State in a country, Palestine, 95 per cent of whose population was then Arab, both Muslim and Christian.

With massive British help after the First World War, and even more massive and continuing American help since the Second World War, Israel is what it is today. Because of this Western sponsorship, Israel’s drive for exclusive control and super-privileged status in both West and East Jerusalem and its determination since its crushing military victory in 1967 to turn the two halves of the city into what it calls its “united, reunited and eternal” Jewish capital, is seen by Islam as the latest phase in a historical conflict and as a latter-day Western crusade by proxy.

Such perceptions were exacerbated by the resurgence of irredentist religious passions among Jews and evangelical Christians triggered by the Israeli conquest in 1967 of the Muslim holy places in East Jerusalem. For the first time since the Roman Emperor Hadrian destroyed the Herodian Temple in A.D. 137, Israeli soldiers swaggered on what they believed to be the Temple Mount. That activated the deep messianism embedded in Zionism behind a façade of secular socialism, stirring the hopes of Christian millenarians while confirming the worst fears of Muslims. It is approaching midnight in Jerusalem. Some believe it is past the hour. What should be manifest are the extreme urgency and volatility of the situation in that intoxicating city.

A prevailing Western notion — the crux of the theory of the clash of civilizations — is that Islam lies outside the Judeo-Christian tradition. That is nonsense because Islam’s major premise is that it is integral to and, indeed, the culmination of the Judeo-Christian scriptural tradition. Central to Islam’s concept of God’s purposes is that He has revealed Himself to humankind since creation through a succession of prophets and scriptures. Foremost among those scriptures are the Hebrew Torah and the Christian Gospels.

Eighteen Hebrew patriarchs and kings are reverentially mentioned in the Koran. Islam gives David and Solomon higher status than Judaism does. According to Judaism, they are sinful monarchs; according to Islam, they are sinless prophets. According to the Koran, Abraham is a Muslim, the builder of the Kaaba, Islam’s most sacred shrine in Mecca.

Islam believes that because of God’s love for Christ, He raised him to heaven just before the crucifixion. Christ is thus alive today in heaven, according to Islam, and will return to Earth to usher in the millennium. According to Islam, Christ was born of Mary, a virgin, by the direct creative act of God. According to the Koran, Jesus spoke in his cradle, healed the sick and raised the dead — miracles that the Koran does not accord to Muhammad. Mary is mentioned reverentially in the Koran more often than in the New Testament.

Neither Judaism nor Christianity looks at Islam in the same way. Judaism does not share Islam’s reverence for Jesus and Mary. One might want to ask one’s scholarly colleagues how Judaism looks upon Jesus and Mary and where it considers Jesus to be today. Indeed, of the three faiths, Islam is the most ecumenical in its stance towards the other two.

Because of Islam’s perception of its kinship with Judaism and Christianity, much that is holy to Judaism and Christianity is holy to Islam, and much of that is centred in Jerusalem. Thus, for Islam, Jerusalem is thrice holy because of its Judaic, Christian and Muslim dimensions.

For Muslims, Jerusalem was the first direction of prayer — kiblah — before Mecca became their kiblah. Its holiness was further consecrated in a Koranic verse that describes a miraculous nocturnal journey — isra — by the Prophet from Mecca to Jerusalem. According to tradition, it was from Jerusalem that Muhammad ascended to heaven, to within two bow lengths of the presence of God. That ascension is known as the mi’raj.

The Prophet’s isra to and mi’raj from Jerusalem became the source of inspiration of a vast corpus of devotional literature concerning life beyond the grave. That literature is in circulation to this day in the languages of more than 1 billion Muslims: Arabic, Turkic, Farsi, Urdu, Hindi, Malay and Javanese. A very special link exists between Jerusalem and one of the five pillars of Islam — the five daily prayers, salat. According to tradition, it was during the Prophet’s mi’raj that, after conversations in heaven with Moses, the five daily prayers became canonical.

To commemorate the isra and the mi’raj, the Umayyad dynasty, based in Damascus, graced Jerusalem towards the end of the seventh century with two architectural gems: the mosque of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque, which form the Noble Sanctuary, Al-Haram al-Sharif, with their compounds and walls. The Dome is the earliest surviving Muslim building, while the inscriptions inside it are our earliest dated fragments of the Koran.

Through the centuries, succeeding dynasties ruling from Baghdad, Cairo and Constantinople embellished Jerusalem with mosques, theological colleges, Sufi convents, abodes for holy men, orphanages, souks, hospitals, hospices, fountains, baths, inns, soup kitchens, places for ritual ablution, mausoleums and shrines. Those buildings were maintained through a system of endowments. The revenues of entire villages in Palestine, Syria and Egypt were dedicated to those endowments. The donors were caliphs, sultans, military commanders, scholars, merchants and ladies of rank.

In 1947, the General Assembly resolved to partition Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State, with a corpus separatum for Jerusalem under United Nations trusteeship. The Arabs rejected the United Nations partition resolution in 1947. Why? Because it dismembered Palestine and gave the 30-per-cent Jewish minority 57 per cent of the country when that minority owned less than 7 per cent of the land.

The Zionist leadership accepted partition, but that acceptance was only verbal. At the same time, it prepared a master plan, called Plan Dalet, for the military conquest of the country, including the corpus separatum of Jerusalem. It is because Israel’s control of West Jerusalem is based on the military conquest of 1947-1948, in defiance of the United Nations partition resolution, that the international community has not accorded formal recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem to this day.

Within less than a week of the conquest of East Jerusalem in 1967, the Mughrabi Quarter adjacent to the Wailing Wall had vanished, together with the Abu Midyan mosque. The quarter had been consecrated as a Muslim trust by Al-Afdal, son of Saladin, for the benefit of pilgrims from North Africa. The Wailing Wall is known in Islam as Al-Buraq after the wondrous mount that carried Muhammad there on the night of the isra. In a predawn raid, Israeli bulldozers surrounded the Quarter and gave its inhabitants three hours to vacate their homes. That is how the plaza fronting Al-Buraq was created.

The regime governing the Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy places in Jerusalem had been traditionally known as the status quo. This was the accumulation of practices, privileges and constraints arrived at consensually over time. Unilateral action backed by military might to change the religious status quo in Jerusalem not only lacks sensitivity and prudence, but is courting disaster.

Before the end of June 1967, the borders of municipal East Jerusalem were unilaterally extended from 6 square kilometres to 73 square kilometres of occupied West Bank territory. This annexation was in deliberate and calculated violation of the Geneva Convention. On 29 June 1967, the elected mayor of East Jerusalem and his councillors were read an order of dismissal in Hebrew by an army officer. Since then, under the rubrics of the unification and reunification of Jewish Jerusalem, the Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem have been subjected to a menu of siege, harassment, intimidation, isolation, discrimination, displacement, infiltration, fragmentation, expropriation, demolition, de-Arabization and Judaization designed to demoralize and overwhelm them and, hopefully, induce their departure, fulfilling a long-cherished Zionist dream of an Arab-free Jerusalem.

All of this has been meticulously and commendably documented by your Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People under the able leadership of Ambassador Badji, as well as by the European Union.

Annexed East Jerusalem mushroomed into annexed greater Jerusalem, which mushroomed into metropolitan Jerusalem. Metropolitan Jerusalem now includes 634 square kilometres, or more than 10 per cent of the West Bank. In 1967, the Jewish population of East Jerusalem was zero. Today, there are about 300,000 Jews on West Bank soil in metropolitan Jerusalem. If this is natural growth, Israeli geneticists have discovered a remarkable drug. Meanwhile, even as we meet this morning, the separation wall is relentlessly snaking into, around and between the Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, mercilessly separating thousands of Palestinian residents from their homes, schools, hospitals, relatives, playgrounds, gardens, shopping centres and offices.

Manifestly, the target here is the heartland of Palestine and its future Palestinian capital, East Jerusalem. Israeli colonization in and around East Jerusalem aims at establishing geostrategic control, demographic domination, psychological browbeating, economic and social disruption, doctrinal affirmation, religious fulfilment and territorial expansion. Above all, it aims at the pre-emption of a viable two-State solution and the crippling of any newborn Palestinian baby.

Meanwhile, Jewish fundamentalists, abetted mostly by American evangelists, not only dream of rebuilding the biblical Jewish Temple on Al-Haram Al-Sharif, but have also been plotting to do so. Plot after plot to blow up the mosque of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque have been uncovered by the Israeli authorities.

The most infamous of these plots caused the roof of the Al-Aqsa mosque to collapse in 1969 as a result of arson. This atrocity triggered the establishment of the Islamic Summit Conference, which today includes 57 countries, many of whose representatives honour us today with their presence in this room. At least 20 per cent of Israel’s Jewish population favours destroying the Muslim shrines and rebuilding the Jewish Temple in their place.

To their credit, the United Nations and the international community in general never bought Israel’s unification and reunification ploy. A continual stream of United Nations resolutions calls upon Israel to cease and desist and to comply with and abide by international law, the Geneva Convention and the wishes of the international community. We applaud Member States’ persistent efforts in this regard. But Israel pays no attention. Why? Because the only country Israel takes notice of is the United States.

From my perspective as an observer over the decades, three deeply disturbing phenomena stand out in American decision-making on the Middle East. First is the increasingly influential role of Congress in the actual formulation of Middle East policy and the continuing acquiescence of the executive branch to this process. Legislatures are too attuned to parochial priorities to conduct the foreign policies of global Powers. Second has been the steady retreat of successive United States administrations from earlier principled positions on Jerusalem and on the applicability of international law and the Geneva Convention to Israel as the occupying Power of the West Bank and the Golan. Third is the continuing disconnect between developments on the ground in the Middle East and the diagnosis of cause and effect by the American foreign policy elite, both in and out of office.

Perhaps the most outrageous initiative of the United States Congress on Jerusalem was its endorsement in 1995 of the transfer of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to a specifically united and reunited, exclusively Jewish capital of Israel. This endorsement is already public law in the United States, thanks to the failure of former President Clinton to veto it.

Triumphalist Zionism has been increasingly in the ascendant in Israel and the Jewish diaspora since the crushing military victories of 1948 and 1967. That triumphalism is anchored in Israel’s nuclear monopoly and in the American guarantee of Israel’s military superiority against any combination of neighbouring States. Israel has received a tremendous infusion of human reinforcement from the recent United States-sponsored mass immigration of a million ex-Soviet Jews. Thanks to that infusion, Israel can send colonists in the thousands into East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan.

Israel derives vitality from the unstinting support of right-wing American evangelism. Its self-confidence is fed by automatic United States congressional circumvention of any undesirable initiative of the United States Administration and by the automatic veto by that Administration of any undesirable resolution of the Security Council.

The American Jewish community, though not monolithic on the peace process in general, is virtually unanimously hard-line on Jerusalem. Inside Israel, the principal leaders are engaged in a continuous outbidding competition with one another. Too often the arena for that competition is Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

Bibi’s disastrous authorization of excavations beneath the Western Wall of Al-Haram Al-Sharif in 1996 was an exercise in outbidding Peres and Barak on the left and Sharon on the right. Sharon’s catastrophic invasion of Al-Haram Al-Sharif in the year 2000, which triggered the second intifada, was an exercise in outbidding Barak on the left and Bibi on the right.

The asymmetry in the overall balance of power between Israel and the Arab world is compounded by intra-Palestinian disarray and the absence of an Arab centre of gravity. Soaring expectations were raised in the Arab and Muslim worlds by the new American Administration. Presidents whose middle name is Hussein do not grow in plenty in American orchards, but the swift transition by Secretary Clinton from her categorical “no” to settlements and to natural growth to her gushing depiction of Bibi’s moratorium, which excludes East Jerusalem, as unprecedented is not only a farce but an unpropitious augur of the future.

With regard to Israel, the United States is not an umpire or a referee. It is not a broker or a passive observer. Jewish settlement in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan is financed by unaudited official United States capital and tax-exempt private donations. It is defended by arms supplied by the United States, sustained by the United States mass media, shielded by United States diplomacy and often manned by armed United States-born colonists. The United States is a major part of the problem and the major actor in the solution.

Time is the crucial commodity here. The Israeli exploitation of time is stunning, as any visitor to the occupied territories can verify. Bibi knows America as well as he knows his face. A 10-month moratorium will take him to the doorstep of the next American elections. Mitchell is a superb diplomat, but the Irish conundrum is not analogous. It is not analogous. Why not? Because neither side in Ireland exploits negotiation time to revolutionize the demographic and physical landscape of the other.

Robust, sustained and strong-willed presidential intervention in the peace process is not an act of charity to Palestinians. It is in the supreme national interest of the United States and a giant contribution to global concord. Clearly, the current incumbent of the Oval Office does not lack good intentions, but does he have the time amidst his other momentous priorities, and does he really have the leverage over a Congress that is plus royaliste que le roi?

Is an honourable and peaceful solution for Jerusalem conceivable? Yes, it is. It must rest on the following four pillars: first, the demystification and deconstruction of the Israeli and American concepts of the unification and reunification of Jewish Jerusalem; secondly, no monopoly of sovereignty over both halves of the city either by Palestine or by Israel; thirdly, no aristocracy of religious rights, conferring pre-eminent status on any one of the three Abrahamic faiths; and fourthly, acknowledgement of the equality of the religious and non-religious dimensions of Jerusalem both for the Israelis, on the one hand, and for Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, on the other.

That concept of Jerusalem is based on inclusion, not exclusion; on sharing, not monopoly; on parity, not hegemony; on balance, not the usurpation of rights; and on separate but joint governance. The unity that currently exists in Jerusalem is the unity of an Anschluss. If partition applies to the whole country, a fortiori it applies to its metropolis. The Israeli and United States congressional concept of Jerusalem is a guaranteed recipe for indefinite conflict not only in Palestine but far beyond.

Our concept for Jerusalem could well become a paradigm for a historic reconciliation between Israel and its Western sponsors, on the one hand, and the universe of Islam, on the other.


Palitha T.B. Kohona (Sri Lanka), Chair of the Special
Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights
of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

[Original: English]

Building peace and ensuring security are fundamental to international diplomacy and, over the past six decades, have been an essential concern in discussions at the United Nations.

While the world has avoided a global conflict, many unresolved disputes and conflicts remain around us, challenging the values and aspirations of humanity. The issue of Palestine, which, in our view, is at the core of Middle East instability, has undoubtedly been one of the key items of concern in contemporary international politics. However, the full implementation of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people remains far from realization and is a matter of utmost disappointment for us.

This year’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People comes at a crucial time, when the hopes for a viable peace in the Middle East and a lasting solution to the issue of Palestine seem somewhat bleak. The extensive harm caused to civilian lives and property during the Gaza war early this year has shaken the confidence and trust between the parties to the conflict, hindering the commencement of any meaningful negotiations in the near future.

The deteriorating humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the continued Israeli siege have only added to the misery of the civilian population and stalled the momentum achieved during recent peace initiatives. However, with the continuing efforts at different levels to revive the dialogue between the parties to the conflict, hope is engendered and the stage for peace can be set again. We truly should join our hands in support of an independent and viable Palestinian State that coexists with the State of Israel in peace and security.

During this year alone, several United Nations-mandated bodies presented reports following investigations on different aspects of the situation in the occupied territories, including the forty-first report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (A/64/517), which I presented to the Special Political and Decolonization Committee two weeks ago. Each of these reports corroborates the findings of the others on the dire humanitarian situation in the occupied territories. The extensive discussions held in different United Nations forums following the presentation of these reports echoed in no uncertain terms the need for an expeditious resolution of the Palestinian question.
Among other things, the Special Committee was particularly concerned over the continued violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel’s Operation Cast Lead reportedly killed over 1,200 Palestinian civilians in Gaza, many of whom were women and children. The sanctions and blockade imposed by Israel preclude rebuilding the lost livelihoods of the Palestinians. Prospects for economic development and trade remain grim, perpetuating the dependency that afflicts the local society. Continued reliance on humanitarian assistance will therefore be inevitable.

Stringent restrictions on the flow of humanitarian assistance and other daily supplies into the Gaza strip have contributed to a worsening of the poverty and living conditions of the Palestinian population. Their rights to a decent living and the full enjoyment of other basic rights, such as access to health, education and shelter, are at stake.

The Special Committee observed that the human rights situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem remains precarious. Numerous roadblocks, checkpoints and permission systems have to a great extent constrained the freedom of movement of ordinary people. Illegal Israeli settlement activities, settler violence and the construction of the separation wall, in contravention of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, are a serious threat to the viability of a future Palestinian State.

Israeli security measures are often in excess of legitimate security concerns. The arbitrary imposition of administrative, legal and judicial measures, in defiance of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law have brought undue suffering to the Palestinian population in the occupied territories.

No solution for peace will be viable or bound to last unless it is couched in a process that seeks to redress injustice and afford equal protection and rights to all the people. On this solemn occasion, the international community ought to renew its commitment, within the mandates and capacities of our respective Governments and organizations, to ensure that the Palestinian people are accorded their inalienable rights as citizens of a sovereign State Member of the United Nations.


Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt,
on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; message
delivered by Maged A. Abdelaziz, Permanent Representative of
Egypt to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the pleasure to write on behalf of the people and Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, reiterating our full support for the brotherly Palestinian people and for their legitimate quest to regain and exercise all their inalienable rights, primary among which is their legitimate right to establish an independent and sovereign State of their own, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the two-State solution and all relevant terms of reference, including relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference and the Arab Peace Initiative.

As we seek to achieve the goal of establishing an independent Palestinian State, we highly appreciate the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the role it plays in reflecting the firm commitment of the international community to support all endeavours in achieving that noble goal, to fully restore all of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and to achieve a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. Such a solution must be an integral part of a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and is one of the requirements for achieving stability in the Middle East region.

In this regard, it is important to stress that efforts to resolve the question of Palestine must be undertaken through the intensification of the efforts by the entire international community to ensure the resumption of the negotiating process according to clear terms of reference and within a definitive time frame. Prompt agreement must be reached on the final status issues in a manner that is conducive to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State and that opens the door towards achieving comprehensive peace in the region through the withdrawal of Israel from all Arab territories occupied since 1967.

Egypt reiterates its call for the Committee to continue its work aimed at putting an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and to Israeli practices and violations of Palestinians’ human rights, especially the unjust and illegal siege of the Gaza Strip and Israel’s continued targeting of Palestinian civilians. An end must be put to all attempts by Israel to change the geographic and demographic features of the occupied Palestinian territories, including its intensification of settlement activities, confiscation of land and attempts to change the character of East Jerusalem. An end must also be put to the aggression against the sanctity of Islamic holy places and visitors to them, especially Al-Aqsa mosque, the continued building of the separation wall and other activities and practices that violate the norms of international law and international humanitarian law and that constitute unacceptable violations of human rights.

In this context, we were very pleased to host the special meeting convened by the Committee in Cairo in March 2009 to provide assistance to the Palestinian people, under the theme ‘International response to the humanitarian and economic needs of the Gaza Strip’, in support of the international community’s efforts and the important role played by the Committee.

I reaffirm Egypt’s steadfast commitment to continue to work to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation and to reach a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, in accordance with the rules of international legitimacy and the principle of land for peace.

I would also like to reaffirm our steady support for the activities of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and for the personal endeavours of its Chairman, as well as those of the other members of the Committee, aimed at mobilizing international support for the restoration of the rights of the Palestinians and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.


Walid Al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic,
in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-sixth session of the Islamic
Conference of Foreign Ministers; message delivered by
Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the
Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

It is our pleasure, Mr. Chairman, at this special meeting of the Committee on the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to express our great appreciation to you and to your Committee for the role you play every year in organizing this important international meeting. This meeting is an opportunity to remind the world of the tragedy of a people who have been suffering for 61 years. We highly appreciate the Committee’s sincere efforts, its solidarity with the Palestinian people and its support for their just struggle to recover their usurped legitimate national rights, in particular the right to self-determination and to the creation of their own independent and fully sovereign State on their national soil, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land, based on the relevant decisions of the United Nations.
As we commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we would like to draw attention to the actions of the Israeli occupying Power, the daily acts of aggression and barbarous practices against an unarmed people. These acts include the profanation of religious sites, the methodical demolition of houses, the confiscation of land, the destruction of crops and the arrest of thousands of innocent citizens, in particular elderly people, children and women.

Under these tragic circumstances, which are aggravated by the inhumane practices of the Israeli occupying Power, it is deplorable that the Security Council has been unable to take firm decisions to put an end to these practices, in particular the building of settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, especially Jerusalem, despite repeated demands by the majority of Member States and international public opinion.

Israel continues to arrogantly ignore the more than 600 resolutions and decisions adopted by the United Nations and its agencies and bodies, which call for the withdrawal of Israel from occupied Arab territories in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting solution in the region. Israel continues the construction of the apartheid wall and to chip away at Palestinian territory in an attempt to impose a status quo. The West Bank and Gaza are in effect two enormous prison camps, where the most elementary human rights and standards of human dignity are non-existent.

At the end of 2008, Israel launched a war of aggression against Gaza. It used lethal weapons in that war, leaving thousands of dead and injured behind them, including women, children and elderly people. All of this was carried out in complete disregard for humanitarian and other international agreements and conventions. This is borne out by the conclusions of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, established by the Human Rights Council and chaired by Justice Richard Goldstone. These conclusions are contained in its September 2009 report (A/HRC/12/48), which details the serious violations of human rights, international law and international humanitarian law and acts that could constitute war crimes and even crimes against humanity.

Last year, Israel redoubled its inhumane practices and its acts of aggression in occupied Jerusalem, in particular its aggression against Al-Aqsa mosque.

The Syrian Arab Republic, which hosts almost half a million Palestinian refugees on its territory, has long believed and continues to believe that a just, comprehensive and lasting peace can indeed be reached. This can be done by simple and straightforward means: by fully implementing the relevant United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1972), and 479 (1980) on the occupied Syrian Golan, and by revitalizing the peace process that began in Madrid in 1991, the Arab Peace Initiative endorsed at the Beirut summit in 2003 and supported by the States members of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in their successive meetings. The most recent of these was the meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs held in Damascus in May 2009.

Once again, I appeal to the international community to shoulder its responsibility towards the Palestinian people and to work seriously to put an end to the Israeli machinery of repression, destruction and terrorism, which contravenes all international norms and instruments. We greatly appreciate the Committee’s dedicated efforts, and we call on it to continue its support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle for the liberation of their stolen land, until they can once again enjoy their legitimate rights, in particular their right of return. I assure the Committee that the Syrian Arab Republic will provide all the support it needs to fulfil its noble task.


Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi, President of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union; message delivered by
Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Permanent Representative
of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

At the outset, I would like to convey to you, Mr. Chairman, the greetings of President Muammar Al-Qadhafi, Leader of the Revolution, Chairman of the Arab Maghreb Union’s Presidency Council and current Chairman of the African Union. I congratulate you on having organized this meeting to reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people. The international community’s annual observance of this occasion calls attention to the daily suffering of that people and its subjection to oppression and occupation.

We express our solidarity with those who, suffering from kidney disease, cannot get dialysis, and with those thousands of children who cannot find a roof to shelter them from the rain and cold and the thousands for whom there are no schools. We express our solidarity with the oppressed and the suppressed and with the 11,000 prisoners in Israeli jails, among them representatives of the Palestinian people. We express our solidarity with those whose houses are being demolished every day in the West Bank and with those who are killed so that their organs can be sold, as confirmed by a Swedish journalist who wrote that such practices are taking place.

Several weeks ago, two Israeli rabbis published a book stating the opinion that Israel has the right to kill anybody who poses a threat to Israel, including children. This is no secret: the book was published in Israel. We are not aware of any reactions against this racist point of view.

We express our solidarity with a people whose places of worship are violated every day and who have no defence other than their devotion to freedom and to their identity.

Today, we salute all honourable people in the world who are providing assistance to people in Gaza, whether they be from America, Europe, Asia or anywhere else. Assistance is coming to the Palestinian people in the name of the solidarity of all peoples with Palestine.

Mr. Chairman, I thank you for organizing this meeting, and I hope that this time next year the situation of the Palestinian people will be vastly improved and their rights fully realized.


Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States;
message delivered by Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer
for the League of Arab States to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

This year, the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People takes place against the backdrop of that people’s suffering, the denial of its basic rights and the continued Israeli occupation of its territory, along with the aftermath of the aggression against Gaza and the deterioration of the economic and social situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The war crimes against Palestinian civilians of which Israel is guilty must not go unpunished; they are flagrant violations of international law, conventions and agreements. The United Nations and its specialized bodies must urgently shoulder their legal responsibility with respect to these crimes, especially in the light of the findings of international commissions of inquiry and human rights organizations, including the Human Rights Council’s Goldstone mission and the Independent Fact-Finding Committee on Gaza established by the League of Arab States and chaired by John Dugard, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, who recently briefed the General Assembly in that regard. All these reports faithfully record the acts of the Israeli occupiers, including war crimes, and bear witness to deliberate attacks on civilians, the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields, the use of internationally banned weapons and violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention committed by the Israeli army by deliberately targeting civilians and destroying of civilian facilities, religious sites, hospitals and schools.
There is international unanimity on the Arab Peace Initiative and in support of international efforts towards a two-State solution and a just and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict on the basis of international resolutions and the agreed terms of reference. But the Arab position continues to face opposition in the Israeli Government’s attempts to sidestep those agreements while insisting on continued settler activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in order to create a new status quo that would change the demographic and physical nature of the occupied Palestinian territories and make it impossible for a Palestinian State to emerge.

I wish to stress the Arab position, which is to continue to support the proposals of United States President Barack Obama made in the framework of his commitment to a just and comprehensive peace in the region, on the basis of a two-State solution, and to endorse the United States position which calls for an end to the Israeli settlement policy throughout the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem. We thus express concern at the United States backing away from its position relating to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, which constitute a very serious impediment to peace in the region.

Israeli authorities continue to completely ignore all rules, agreements and human rights charters, thanks to the protection and immunity that Israeli State policies enjoy. That is because Security Council is unable to respond to the situation in the occupied territories. It is unacceptable that this situation should continue, because it reflects an impermissibly flagrant imbalance in international relations. We can no longer accept Israeli coercion. We can no longer continue to pursue the mirage of peace on Israel’s terms and undertake negotiations that are not serious and are a waste of time and effort, leading to no outcome whatsoever.

Israel’s position places upon us all the humanitarian, legal and political responsibility to take the steps that need to be taken if the next negotiations are to be serious ones leading to true commitments. Israel must not continue its policy of stalling, which enables it to continue with impunity to change the status quo in the Palestinian territories, thus making the creation of a Palestinian State impossible. The end of settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, the end of the unjust blockade, the reopening of border crossings, permission for the entry of basic goods to rebuild Gaza: all of this is necessary if a solution to the situation is to be reached.

Given the gravity of the situation, the League of Arab States reiterates the need to uphold international standards and the principles that have been endorsed by the international community, including the Charter of the United Nations and resolutions on the Palestinian situation and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Far from having a double standard, we aspire to genuine peace and the return of land to its real owners, thereby ushering in a new era in the Middle East.



Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of the United Nations
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East;
message delivered by Andrew Whitley, Director of the UNRWA
Liaison Office in New York

[Original: English]

I regret that I cannot be with you on this important occasion. After nine years of service to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Palestinian refugees, I shall be retiring from my office at the end of the year. Unfortunately, the reason that I cannot join you today is that I am currently on mission in Spain.

This moment — one when hopes of an early breakthrough in the peace process have once again dimmed, the national polity remains deeply split, the blockade of Gaza has persisted with cruel rigour for 28 months and the inhabitants of Nahr el-Bared camp, along with many other refugees, remain homeless — is an appropriate juncture to reflect on the importance of maintaining solidarity with the Palestinian people.

For the most part scattered from their homeland in the refugee camps, villages and cities of the surrounding region, as well as further afield in all corners of the globe, over the past 62 years Palestinians have shown extraordinary resilience. In the face of considerable adversity, they have educated their children and made them vital citizens of the world, without ever losing touch with their collective identity and burning desire for their own national State.

The Palestinians’ understandable and fully justified search for justice has, however, been matched with pragmatism. Contrary to an often repeated myth, the refugees have not been a passive, aid-dependant group. Rather, given half an opportunity, they have seized it, in the process contributing amply to the societies in which they live.

As the fateful story of the partition of Palestine, and the subsequent flight or expulsion of much of the indigenous population, began here in New York with the United Nations on this day in 1947, let us not forget how much the Palestinian people look to this body to live up to its convictions and the many resolutions that it has adopted in their favour. Hopes of a just and lasting solution may have been dashed many times, but the refugees have not given up hope that, one day, their time will come.

What keeps spirits alive in low moments such as those they have experienced lately is the realization that the vast majority of Member States in this global body share the Palestinians’ belief in the urgency of the need to bring an end to occupation and to exercise their right to self-determination.
The concept of the two-State solution may be looking a little ragged these days, but the alternative — a unitary State in which Palestinians would struggle for equal civil and political rights — is anathema to Israelis and a distant second-best goal for the vast majority of Palestinians, wherever they may live. Thus, we must continue to press ahead with efforts to achieve a viable Palestinian State, while remaining vigilant to those unilateral measures that might ultimately render the goal unachievable.

Attention has lately been focused on a series of steps taken by the occupying Power in East Jerusalem and in Area C of the West Bank, which remains under full Israeli control, that have made daily life increasingly difficult for Palestinians — among them, the most vulnerable, such as Bedouin nomads — and call into question the likelihood of being able to bring about a meaningful State, including East Jerusalem. The refugees, who make up about 40 per cent of the population of the occupied Palestinian territory, have suffered in equal measure with their non-refugee counterparts from such negative developments.

Despite improved security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel, incidents of humanitarian access in the West Bank are still running at the unacceptably high level of almost two a day. In the words of the World Bank, the West Bank remains a “shattered economic space”, in which its integrity as a viable socio-economic and political unit has been severely compromised.

In Gaza, meanwhile, we meet at a time when hopes are rising that Staff Sergeant Shalit will finally be released as part of a larger prisoner swap, which will remove yet another pretext for the maintenance of the blockade. Speaking as someone who has lived in Gaza throughout my term with UNRWA and who has known first hand the best of its people on so many occasions, the longer the blockade is maintained, the harsher the suffering of its people will be, the deeper their grievances will be and the more radicalized some will become. Surely that is not an outcome anyone would wish?

Solidarity with a suffering and wronged people can take many forms. It is expressed through lofty speeches on commemorative days such as this. It is seen through the many idealistic volunteers who travel to the West Bank and Gaza to work alongside Palestinians, to bear witness and to offer moral and practical support, much as young Westerners used to flock to the kibbutzim of Israel before and soon after the June 1967 war.

Solidarity is also shown through the financial support that donor Governments and private individuals give generously to voluntarily funded organizations, such as UNRWA, that serve the Palestinian people in many concrete ways to try and provide them with the services, opportunities and decent living conditions that are theirs by right. On Wednesday this week, we shall have our annual pledging conference in the General Assembly. It would be timely and extremely welcome if UNRWA were to receive new pledges of support from unexpected quarters, or the announcement of an increase in funding from those that have historically underperformed in that respect. The refugees and our 30,000-strong Palestinian staff, who live in great anxiety these days about the prospect of further reductions in their modest living standards, would be enormously relieved.

In closing, allow me to express my fervent conviction that, through collective efforts and shared recognition of the justice of the Palestinian case for their own homeland, that noble goal will be achieved one day soon.


Bill Fletcher, Member of the Steering Committee of the United States Campaign
to End the Israeli Occupation, on behalf of civil society organizations
active on the question Palestine

[Original: English]

I am here today to discuss the contemporary apartheid practiced by the State of Israel against the Palestinian people.

As an African-American in and from the United States, I am keenly aware of the similarities among the systems of Israeli apartheid, South African apartheid and the home-grown apartheid in the United States of America once known as Jim Crow segregation. Despite every effort of the Israeli State to wrap its actions in religious garments and to claim a God-given Judaic exclusive right for its actions, the description of the racial or national-ethnic differential that exists between the officially sanctioned Jewish citizens of Israel and the Palestinians within Israel — those in exile and those in the occupied territories — sounds all too familiar. It is also far from holy.

Notwithstanding the efforts of heroic individuals such as William Patterson, Paul Robeson and Malcolm X to bring the case of African Americans before the United Nations, the international ramifications of the oppression suffered here were often and conveniently ignored by the great powers of the global North. The South African apartheid system was, to a great extent, modelled on the Jim Crow system in the United States, a fact noted by many people in South Africa and in the global South. The United Nations failed to take up the challenge to racism in my own country a generation ago; it must not fail to take up the struggle against Israeli apartheid today.

The realities of the Israeli apartheid system, in contrast to that of South Africa, were often hidden from view, at least outside of Israel and, later, the occupied territories. It was, however, the close collaboration — including military and nuclear collaboration — between the Israeli regime and the South African apartheid regime at a point when the South African apartheid regime had become an international pariah State that raised more than a few eyebrows and encouraged many people to more closely examine the theories and workings of the two States.

The parallel between the Israeli apartheid system and the Jim Crow system under which African Americans suffered and died here in the United States also helps to explain a phenomenon that seems to puzzle many mainstream commentators. How is it that there exists such a relatively large reservoir of sympathy among African Americans in the United States for the cause of the Palestinians? It is a vicious slander to assert that such sympathy is based on anti-Jewish sentiment, though I would be naive to ignore that such sentiment does exist in some isolated quarters. Rather, for African Americans, we can, as one and the same time, stand with the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust and reject the Israeli apartheid system and its victimization of the Palestinian people. The horrors of the Holocaust, as the great Martiniquan writer Aimé Césaire pointed out, were not unprecedented, but found their basis in the brutal holocausts committed against the peoples of the global South by the colonial Powers and the settler States. It was based on that shared history that African Americans viscerally understood and, therefore, placed ourselves in opposition to the racist motivations that lay behind the actions of the Nazis and later the Italian Fascists in their persecution and then attempts at annihilation of the Jewish people.

Yet none of this — that is, none of the reality of the Holocaust suffered by European Jews — excuses what has happened to the Palestinian people since the Second World War, and especially since May 1948. And it is this that many people, in what is colloquially known as black America, understand so well. The Israeli apartheid system that expropriates land from the Palestinians, restricts mixed marriages, condemns Palestinians to separate and inferior education and repudiates their internationally recognized right to return to their land and their homes simply carries with it the same stench of the decadent and oppressive system that we came to know as Jim Crow oppression and segregation.

The work of this Committee and the attention that it devotes to the situation facing the Palestinian people receive insufficient notice in the mainstream media. As a result, the actual conditions of the Palestinian people are not fully understood in many quarters, most especially in the United States.

This year’s gathering comes at a critical moment. The release of the Goldstone report (A/HRC/12/48), the international attention it has received and its adoption by the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly are representative of a shifting discourse on the conditions of the Palestinian people and their struggle for self-determination and full human rights.

The challenge of the Goldstone report, however, is to move beyond discourse to a shift in actual policy to make real the report’s commitment to accountability. That is a challenge for all of us, but most especially for the United Nations. Because so far, despite clear evidence of the flouting of international law by the Israeli Government, through the violation of the Hague Conventions or the Geneva Conventions, when it comes to the occupation, few actual sanctions have been taken in defence of the Palestinian people or to punish the occupiers for their transgressions.

As a citizen of the United States of America I am reminded of this on a daily basis. As the Committee is aware, the Congress of the United States voted to condemn the Goldstone report. Distorting the findings of the report and declaring it to be biased, with no concrete evidence to support such allegations, not only disrespected Justice Goldstone, the report, the Human Rights Council and indeed the United Nations as a whole, as well as the Palestinian people, but also disrespected the intelligence of the people of the United States.

We in the United States and global civil society, however, have no intention of allowing the effort to bury the Goldstone report to succeed. It is, therefore, my hope that the planned Gaza Freedom March, scheduled for 1 January 2010, will be another opportunity to call attention to the Goldstone report, but also, and more critically, again bring to the world’s attention the continuing violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people of Gaza at the hands of the forces of the Israeli State.

Important as the Goldstone report is, the analysis of atrocities committed at the time of the Israeli aggression against Gaza represents only part of the overall picture. The Goldstone report opens the door to a broader discussion of the Israeli occupation and the question of the suppression of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, including the rights of the Palestinian refugees, and, equally important, the denial of full equality to the Palestinian minority who are citizens of the State of Israel.

The Israeli occupation has come to be broadly understood as an apartheid arrangement. Civil society around the world, including the United Nations-accredited International Coordinating Network on Palestine, has been working for years to build and broaden public understanding of that concept. Within the United States, the United States Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has made the issue of apartheid a major part of our work. The courageous stand taken by former United States President Carter in his book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, has dramatically helped to increase awareness of the dramatic similarities in the situation faced by Palestinians in the occupied territories and those faced by non-whites in apartheid-era South Africa. Whether one is discussing the illegal seizure of Palestinian land and its being granted to Israeli settlers, roads that are restricted to Israelis alone, the creation of an internationally condemned separation wall or the ethnic cleansing of occupied East Jerusalem, again and again the situation and circumstances conform to the norms that the United Nations established more than 35 years ago in defining apartheid as a crime.
What was particularly noteworthy, I might add, regarding the steps taken by the United Nations in the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid was that the Convention defined apartheid not as a crime limited to the South African context; as stated at the time, the crime of apartheid “shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa” (General Assembly resolution 3068 (XXVIII), annex, article II).

The plight of the Palestinian people is not limited to the actions taken in the occupied territories by the Israel Defense Forces and other Israeli Government agencies. While there are important distinctions to be made, the Palestinian citizens of Israel cannot be understood to be free and equal citizens of a country that denies them so many basic rights of citizenship. Rather, Palestinian citizens of Israel find themselves in a second-class status by comparison with those citizens officially recognized as being of Jewish background.

In the realm of education, for instance, Israel has operated what is, in effect, a racially segregated State school system since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. A recent and outrageous example demonstrates the logical conclusion of such a system. Writer Jonathan Cook reported that an Arab couple suffered the humiliation of the expulsion of their one year-old daughter from an Israeli day-care centre because six other Israeli parents — six parents of State-recognized Jewish background — complained that an Arab child was in the centre. The course of action available to this couple is very limited due to the nature of Israeli law. Cook went on to point out that Israel spends approximately $1,100 on the education of each Israeli student who can demonstrate the requisite religious/ethnic credentials to the Israeli State, compared with $190 for each Israeli student marked as Palestinian.

With regard to land ownership, it was reported in The New York Times on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of Israel’s independence — or for the Palestinians and much of the rest of the world, the Nakba — that Arabs occupy a tiny percentage of Israeli land, less than 7 per cent, despite the fact that they make up 20 per cent of the population.

In every major category, whether land or education, health or employment, a racial or national/ethnic differential exists between the officially recognized Jewish citizens vis-à-vis the Arab citizens of Israel. In fact, according to that same New York Times article, Arab families, whether Christian, Muslim or secular, are three times more likely to be below the poverty line than are officially recognized Jewish families.

The Israeli system of apartheid also includes the disparity regarding the rights of people to enter Israel. The Israeli law of return allows any officially recognized Jewish person from anywhere in the world, regardless of whether that person has any actual tie to the State of Israel, to arrive in the country and receive immediate citizenship, with all the rights and privileges that follow. Palestinians, who themselves were forcibly expelled from what is now Israel during the 1947-1948 war or later, are prohibited from returning to their homes; even if they still hold the key to their houses, despite specific requirements of international law, including General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

It is important to acknowledge the situation in both Israel the occupied territories in order to emphasize that the Israeli apartheid system is not limited to the occupied zones. The system of racial oppression or national/ethnic oppression that is so evident in the occupied territories is directly related to the manner in which Palestinian citizens of Israel are both viewed and treated. On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, this cannot be forgotten or glossed over. While the experience in Israel for the refugees and that within the occupied territories for Palestinians are not identical, the situation reflects the fundamental thinking of a racial-settler State of Israel that Palestinians, much like African Americans in the United States of America as described in an infamous court decision from the nineteenth century, do not have rights that Jewish Israelis are bound to respect.

I was recently sent a copy of a letter that was written in April 1948 in direct response to the news of the massacre of the Arab residents of Deir Yassin by Jewish terrorists. The letter, written by a naturalized American citizen of Jewish background and sent to the executive director of an organization known as the American Friends of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, read in part:
Members will have to forgive the poor grammar. The author was not known to be a fluid writer. His greatness lay elsewhere. His name was Albert Einstein. It is worth quoting Einstein and calling attention to his letter on this Day, for several reasons: first, to remind us that terrorists condemned by Einstein later gained international legitimacy when the Israeli State was recognized and that many of those same terrorists achieved positions in the military and in government.

Secondly, we should recall that Einstein, someone who had fled the persecution of the Nazis and who understood the full horror and implications of the Holocaust, was not prepared to use that historical reality to countenance the ethnic cleansing that was taking place in Palestine at the hands of individuals who claimed that they did not want the world to forget what had happened to the Jews.

Thirdly, Einstein recognized that there could be, what he called a “real and final catastrophe” in Palestine. Though that catastrophe happened to the Palestinians in 1948 and not to the Zionist colonizers, the failure of the Israeli State to repudiate its apartheid system and recognize the human rights of Palestinian people has set in motion events that could lead to a massive catastrophe for the people of the Middle East. With an Israel armed with 100 to 200 nuclear weapons and an escalating arms race throughout the region, a catastrophe could be beyond what even Einstein could have contemplated in 1948.

Einstein set an example, an example that many members of the Congress of the United States and alleged supporters of Israel would benefit from both remembering and understanding. Common sense says that oppression, discrimination and, indeed, genocide committed against one group never explains away or justifies crimes committed by that same group against another. The flouting of international law through an occupation lasting more than 40, years accompanied by clearly illegal colonial settlements, along with the institutionalization of a system of racial or national ethnic apartheid in order to guarantee that the subordinate group never exercises their human rights and instead disintegrates as a people into the dust of the Middle East, simply cannot be tolerated. Not only are the Governments represented in these halls called upon to take action against such criminality, but people of conscience around the world, including within Israel, must take and are taking a stand. Whether through public statements in the mainstream media, petitions or resolutions, or through boycotts, divestments and sanctions to bring non-violent pressure on the occupying Power, the international desire for peace, equality and justice for the Jewish Israelis and for the Palestinians, including Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, refugees and those under occupation, must move beyond conferences and fine words and materialize ultimately as actions that those who have perpetrated this oppression and who profit from the suppression of the Palestinian people will not only hear, but clearly understand.

I, again, am honoured to have been offered these moments to address this Committee, and I thank the Committee for recognizing that there is a civil society voice on the matter of justice for the Palestinian people, a voice that must be heard.



Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine
to the United Nations

[Original: English]

I just want to say that Palestine is very grateful to all those who have expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people today, to those representing Governments who are present here and to those who sent messages to express solidarity. We are grateful also to the civil society organizations and to the people in the gallery who are with us today to demonstrate their solidarity. This strong message of solidarity gives our people strength to continue the struggle to put an end to occupation and to have freedom and independence in our own independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
We are also very grateful to Professor Walid Khalidi for being with us and for making a brilliant presentation about Jerusalem. It is most befitting, given the occasion, that this year Jerusalem has been declared by the Arab nations as the Capital of Arab Culture. I believe that Professor Khalidi’s presentation constitutes an outstanding contribution to the efforts of all those who are celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and to all those who are celebrating Jerusalem as the Capital of Arab Culture.

I want to say also that this afternoon we will move into the General Assembly to begin the debate on the question of Palestine, and later on to adopt a group of draft resolutions. Relevant draft resolutions have been adopted in the Second, Third and Fourth Committees by overwhelming majorities, sometimes reaching close to 180 votes in favour. We expect a similar demonstration of solidarity when these draft resolutions are put to the vote, either tomorrow or the day after.

I invite all present and all their friends to be with us this evening to do two things: first, to enjoy an exhibition of photographs, set up in collaboration with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, about the Palestinian people before 1948 and after 1948; and, at 7 p.m., to move into the Economic and Social Council Chamber to enjoy together another demonstration of the resiliency of the Palestinian people through music: a concert by an institution named after a well-known Palestinian intellectual, Edward Said. I hope everyone will be with us also to commemorate the struggle of the Palestinian people and to celebrate Jerusalem as the Capital of Arab Culture.



Closing statement by Paul Badji, Chair of the Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]

Before adjourning this special meeting, I wish to thank everyone who has made this meeting possible, in particular the staff members of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, the Department of Public Information, the Office of Central Support Services and everyone who works behind the scenes.

As I mentioned earlier, this meeting will be followed by the screening of a film entitled “Jerusalem — The East Side Story”. Everyone is invited to attend this screening. I thank everyone for their participation.




III. MESSAGES RECEIVED ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

A. Messages from Heads of State or Government

Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

[Original: Farsi]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to express, on behalf of the Government and people of Afghanistan, our support to the rights of the Palestinian people, in particular, the right to self-determination and the right to an independent Palestinian State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.


Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria

[Original: Arabic]

On this international day to commemorate the sacrifices of the Palestinian people, that people continues to suffer from ongoing violations of its most basic human rights and to endure appalling human bloodbaths perpetrated by the tyrannical occupation, in the Gaza Strip in particular, as well as in the West Bank and the other occupied Arab territories. At the same time, there is ever more forceful international insistence on the need to respect human rights, self-determination and other issues that do not even begin to exist in Palestine.

As we commemorate this occasion today, the holy city of Jerusalem, which is central to three religions and the cradle of prophets, is being subjected to an ugly and vicious campaign aimed at Judaizing it and emptying it of its population. Day after day, we see that a series of tightly woven lines is being drawn in order to obliterate the features of the holy city of Jerusalem and destroy its Islamic and Christian character, making it absolutely essential for global action to prevent the Israeli occupation from committing any further crimes.

It is with great pain and sorrow that we recall the adversities, subjugation and oppression to which the Palestinian people is uniformly subjected while an intimidated world remains silent, blocking its heart and ears, and powerless to take action to protect a defenceless people whose only wish is to live in dignity and security as other peoples do.
The Israeli occupation has boldly fallen upon and destroyed the Palestinian people, that yearns to liberate itself from the tyrannical colonial yoke. The occupiers have set at nought every international law, convention, agreement and regulation and evaded any move that might have promoted international efforts to establish peace and stability in the Middle East, scorning even the wishes of international sponsors of the peace process.

The time has come for Israel to realize that its policy of evasion will not lead to success and will not solve problems. The question of Palestine will continue to trouble the conscience of the world and to be a source of trouble and a threat to the security of the region and the world for as long as Israel fails to respond to United Nations resolutions or the desire for peace that has been expressed by the Arab countries in their Initiative, and for as long as Israel fails to renounce its colonialist settler policies, which aim to change the situation on the ground and consolidate its occupation of Arab territories.

I reaffirm the absolute support of my country for the Palestinian revolution and the support of the Algerian people and Government for any initiative and genuine attempt to establish peace in the Middle East on the basis of the guiding international principles, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative, and lead to the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital, the return of the refugees to their homes and the withdrawal of occupation from all occupied Arab territories in Syria and Lebanon.

In conclusion, I can only express the greatest appreciation and recognition of this esteemed organization and the sustained efforts that it exerts with respect to the Palestinian question and in order to champion legitimate Arab rights, and hope that those efforts will be crowned by the establishment of a just, comprehensive and final peace in the Middle East that will ensure security, safety, stability and well-being for all its peoples.
King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain

[Original: Arabic]

We commemorate today the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is observed every year on the anniversary of the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 1947 concerning the partition of Palestine. It represents international recognition of special responsibility for the historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people and the justness of its cause. Since that day, the Palestinian people has suffered the consequences of brutal occupation of Palestinian land and a human, economic and social tragedy that is felt daily in lives weighed down by occupation, tyranny and siege.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has consistently upheld the rights of the Palestinian people and supported its legitimate struggle for the restitution in full of all its legitimate rights, and on this occasion reaffirms its absolute support for the struggle of the fraternal Palestinian people and its steadfastness in the face of occupation. Bahrain calls upon the international community to shoulder its responsibility for the future of the Palestinian people and its attainment of its established rights to self-determination and an independent State on its own land, with Jerusalem as its capital.

As we observe this commemoration, the Palestinian people continues to suffer. There is no greater international testimony of that suffering than is contained in the 2009 report by Richard Goldstone, which has withdrawn the veil which concealed from the international community the persecution and torture inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupying authorities. That report reaffirms the need for international action to provide protection for the Palestinian people living under the yoke of Israeli occupation, and for such action to be taken urgently. Circumstances require that the situation described in the report should be addressed without delay.

The events taking place in the Occupied Palestinian Territory threaten the security, stability and future of the region. A particular threat is posed by the Israeli occupying authorities’ repeated violations of the sanctity of the precinct of Al-Aqsa mosque, as well as Israeli provocation of defenceless Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip and every other part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Such violations create ever greater despair among the Palestinian and Arab peoples and make it imperative that the international community should conduct impartial investigations into those gross violations of human rights, international conventions and international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, and that individuals responsible for such violations should be brought to justice. Those flagrant violations, which are perpetrated against defenceless Palestinian persons, represent an attack on their fundamental freedoms and on all international and humanitarian values and norms.

We also call upon the international community to take a resolute stand in true solidarity with the Palestinian people and make its legitimate national rights a reality by providing political and financial support for the resumption of negotiations aimed at finding a solution to the final status and resolving such outstanding issues as Jerusalem, the return of the Palestinian refugees, borders, the removal of Israeli settlements and the provision of security and water within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Nothing will be achieved unless pressure is brought to bear on Israel and it is forced to respond to the relevant United Nations resolutions.

The Kingdom of Bahrain, which has consistently affirmed the need to pursue the Middle East peace process, urges Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue to exert peaceful endeavours to reach a just and comprehensive peace agreement along the lines of the Annapolis understandings and on the basis of the relevant international terms of reference, foremost among which are United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map, in order to prepare the climate for the ending of the struggle in the region and permit its peoples to make progress towards just and comprehensive peace. Other parties must be asked to honour their undertakings with respect to those international terms of reference. The Palestinian people, in common with the other peoples of the world, is entitled to establish an independent State, in the territory which Israel occupied in 1967 and with Jerusalem as its capital.

On this day, I take pleasure in conveying the most sincere good wishes to the struggling Palestinian people and in expressing the solidarity of the Government and people of the Kingdom of Bahrain with their brothers, the Palestinian people. We reaffirm our commitment to bringing about a peaceful, comprehensive and just settlement of the situation in the Middle East that will enable all its peoples to plan for a promising future in which all present and future generations will enjoy security, peace and well-being.


Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh

[Original: English]

On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting the just and legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and Statehood. We have no doubt that the Palestinian people have been subjected to unfathomable injustice and flagrant violation of human rights for decades. Bangladesh remains resolute in condemning indiscriminate use of force by the aggressors against the Palestinian people.

The Palestine crisis has been a sad episode in the history of mankind and it remains a source of contention and violence in the Middle East. Loss of innocent lives and immeasurable sufferings of an entire nation mark this crisis. We sadly observe that despite many peace initiatives, a free and independent homeland still remains illusive to the Palestinian people.

The most significant and relevant aspect of the international community’s expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people is the fulfillment of their fundamental right to a homeland, free of foreign occupation. We hope that the concerned parties would be sincerely implementing the relevant United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, the Arab Peace Plan and the Middle East Road Map.

On this auspicious day, we reiterate our demand that the international community takes serious steps in alleviating the plight of the Palestinian people and bring the peace process back on track with a view to establishing an independent State of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital.



Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil

[Original: English]

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict represents an unhealed scar in today’s world. There will be no durable peace in the Middle East without a permanent solution for this divisive issue. And with no peace in the Middle East, international stability will always remain at risk.

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Brazilian Government reiterates its firm commitment and support to the rightful endeavour of the Palestinian people to fulfill their legitimate aspiration to self- determination.

Brazil has expressed its condemnation of all acts of violence, which have already claimed too many innocent lives. The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip remains unacceptable. The plight of its inhabitants is a source of grave concern. Israel must fully abide by the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access and maintain the passages open. At the same time, militant groups in Gaza must refrain from acts of violence against the Israeli civilian population.

In the West Bank, it is essential that Israel freeze all settlement activities, including those to accommodate natural growth, and dismantle the existing ones, mainly those built after March 2001. The construction of the separation wall, found illegal by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, must also come to a halt.

Unilateral initiatives are not the answer. The international community has a duty to persuade the parties, Israelis and Palestinians, that both sides must show openness to dialogue.

Brazil is fully committed to the creation of a free, democratic and economically viable Palestinian State, according to the legitimate aspirations of its people, living side by side in peace and security, with the State of Israel, as established in relevant Security Council resolutions, and within internationally recognized borders.

We will continue to further increase our cooperation with the Palestinian people. Also, we wish to increase the scope of our contribution to a peaceful Middle East. Throughout its history, Brazil has embraced substantial numbers of immigrants from the Arab world. Likewise, there have been Jewish communities in Brazil since colonial times.
In July 2009, the Government of Brazil, in association with the United Nations Department of Public Information, organized the seventeenth International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East on the theme “Promoting Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue: a view from South America”. We brought together politicians, journalists, intellectuals and civil society groups from Palestine, Israel and South American countries.

Acceptance and respect towards the other, over and above any distinctions of race or creed, are fundamental values we all must share. Next year, Brazil will host the Third Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Rio de Janeiro. We believe that tolerance and reciprocal understanding can be the right path to peace everywhere.

Brazil is ready to give its backing to all international efforts to overcome the ongoing difficulties in the Middle East talks. We fully support the prompt resumption of negotiations to end the conflict and reach a two-State solution, based on United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, the Road Map and all previous agreements.

Dialogue is the only way ahead for a just and comprehensive agreement if we really want a lasting peace in the Middle East. Most importantly, the outcome of any negotiation should take into account the need for the full exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.



Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam

[Original: English]

I would like to express my warmest greetings and best wishes to all Palestinians on the International Day of Solidarity of the Palestinian People.

This day, however, is again a time for far more than expressions of friendship and goodwill. It is an anniversary on the international calendar that reminds us all of a solemn promise that the international community has yet to meet.

This promise, made in the highest councils of the United Nations, is to confer justice and dignity on the Palestinian people and bring their suffering to an end.

After more than 60 years, the Palestinian people and those in the occupied territories still cannot enjoy the inalienable rights that are the core of nationhood. The result that the international community has inherited is a situation that undermines all efforts to bring about a lasting peace, not only in Palestine but also throughout the Middle East region and even far beyond it.
This is why my Government and people once more commend the efforts of the members of the international Quartet who, on behalf of us all, are undertaking the arduous task of reaching a two-State solution, the foundation of which must be peace, reconciliation, generosity and common understanding.

In supporting their work, we also wish to commend the outstanding humanitarian contribution of UNRWA and express our appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for their role in helping to bring about a peaceful solution.

We reaffirm our continued solidarity with the Palestinian people and our support for all international efforts to offer them a new future.



Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso

[Original: French]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, allow me to express my warmest congratulations, on behalf of the Government of Burkina Faso and on my own behalf, and to reiterate to you my sincere encouragement in the accomplishment of your mission.

The creation of a Palestinian State within secure and internationally recognized borders is the best guarantee for achieving a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, consequently, comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

True to its ideals of peace, justice and freedom and to the principle of peaceful coexistence between peoples, Burkina Faso supports the efforts of your Committee and of the international community as a whole to reach a final settlement of the question.

This day of commemoration should inspire the search for ways and means to effectively implement the relevant agreements to which Israelis and Palestinians have voluntarily acceded.

While reaffirming Burkina Faso’s support for the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, I call on the parties concerned to show courage and mutual trust in order to establish dialogue — the only option to ensure stability in that region of the world.



Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of China

[Original: Chinese]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the special commemorative meeting in observation of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to express on behalf of the Chinese Government, my warm congratulations.

The Palestine question is at the core of the Middle East issue. China firmly supports the demands of the Palestinian people for restoring their legitimate national rights and establishing an independent sovereign State. The Middle East peace process now stands at a new crossroads. We hope that Israel and Palestine will stay committed to peace negotiations, adhere to the road to peace, and achieve the peaceful coexistence between the Palestinian State and the State of Israel and between Arabs and Israelis through negotiations at an early date on the basis of relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, the principle of “land for peace” and the Arab Peace Initiative.

An early, comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestine question will not only benefit the Palestinian people, but also contribute to peace and stability of the entire Middle East region. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China will remain committed to the Middle East peace process and work with the rest of the international community to play a constructive role in promoting peace, stability and development in the Middle East region.



Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the pleasure to write to you on behalf of the people and Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, reiterating our full support for the Palestinian people in its legitimate quest to regain and exercise all their inalienable rights, on top of which its legitimate right to establish its independent, sovereign and viable State with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the two-State solution, as well as all relevant terms of reference, including Security Council and the General Assembly resolutions, the Madrid principles, and the Arab peace initiative.

To achieve the goal of establishing the independent Palestinian State, we highly value the efforts of your esteemed Committee and its role, reflecting the firm commitment of the international community to support all endeavors aimed at achieving this noble goal, as well as assisting the Palestinian people to fully restore all its inalienable rights, leading to a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine as an integral part of the comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict and as one of the requirements of achieving stability in the Middle East region.

In this regard it is important to stress that achieving the solution to the question of Palestine has to be considered through the intensification of the efforts of all parties of the international community to ensure the relaunching of the negotiating process, according to clear terms of reference and a definite time frame and to reach a prompt agreement on the final status issues, including borders, security, Jerusalem, refugees and water, in a manner conducive to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State and that opens the door to the attainment of a comprehensive peace in the region through the withdrawal of Israel from all Arab territories occupied since 1967.

Egypt renews its call for your esteemed Committee to continue its work aimed at terminating Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories as well as the Israeli practices and violations against the Palestinian human rights, especially the unjust and illegal siege of the Gaza Strip and its continued targeting of Palestinian civilians, and facing all attempts by Israel to change the geographic and demographic features of the occupied Palestinian territory, including the intensification of settlement activities, confiscation of land, attempts to change the features of East Jerusalem, the aggression against the sanctity of Islamic holy places and against their visitors, especially Al-Aqsa mosque, and the continued building of the separation wall, as well as other activities and practices in contradiction to the rules of international law and international humanitarian law, which constitute unacceptable violations of human rights.

In this context, we were very pleased to host the special meeting convened by the Committee in Cairo last March, to provide assistance to the Palestinian people under the title “International response to the humanitarian and economic needs of the Gaza Strip,” in support of the efforts of the international community and the important role played by your esteemed Committee.

I reiterate Egypt’s steadfast commitment to continue working to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation and to reach a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East according to the rules of international legitimacy and the principle of land for peace. I would also like to reaffirm our lasting support for the activities of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and for your personal endeavors as well as those of the members of the Committee, in order to mobilize international support for the restoration of these rights and to establish an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

With my highest consideration and my best wishes to you and the members of the Committee for continued success.



Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

[Original: English]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is an occasion for us to reaffirm our steadfast support for the Palestinian people’s struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side and at peace with Israel.

India’s ties with the friendly people of Palestine are rooted in our common history. India has always stood by the Palestinian people in pursuit of their legitimate goals and their efforts aimed at economic and social development with dignity and self-reliance. Towards this objective, India extended budgetary support of $10 million to the Palestine National Authority earlier this year to support their work of reconstruction and development.

India remains convinced that lasting peace in the region will contribute to global stability and prosperity. Concerted and all round action is necessary to invigorate the peace process with the objective of achieving a durable, comprehensive and just settlement.

I take this opportunity to reassure the friendly people of Palestine of India’s unwavering support in their struggle for their legitimate rights and convey my best wishes and greetings to them.



Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia

[Original: Indonesian]
(Unofficial translation)

On behalf of the people and the Government of Indonesia, I take this opportunity to once again send my warmest greetings to all our Palestinian brothers and sisters on this solemn occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

It is my deep belief that we are on the last stretch of a long and historic journey. To that extent, I wish to reassure every Palestinian man, woman and child of the total support of the Indonesian people. I strongly reaffirm Indonesia’s steadfast solidarity with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for the full realization of their inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination and an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.

Last June in Jakarta, we hosted the United Nations Asian and Pacific Meeting on the Question of Palestine, with the theme, “Strengthening International Consensus on the Urgency of Achieving a Two-State Solution.” It was followed up by the United Nations Public Forum in Support of the Palestinian People. At those two events, Indonesia strongly underlined its support for the two-State solution as a mechanism for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict and fostering peace process in the region.

Despite the many hurdles on the path of peace, we believe in the viability of the two-State solution that would lead to a separate and independent Palestinian State. We are deeply committed to this solution as the basic minimum objective as we move forward. This is also a strategic issue because for us, to resolve the other problems in the Middle East is impossible unless we first resolve the Palestinian question.

In this connection, let me thank the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is one of the most successful agencies of the United Nations.

The paradox is that the unparalleled success of UNRWA, for 60 years, in providing to millions of Palestinian refugees emergency assistance, health care and education is at the same time the measurement of our failure to resolve the unfortunate situation in the region that gave birth to UNRWA in the first place. The real success of UNRWA would be when it is no longer needed.

I particularly want to take advantage of this International Day of Solidarity to encourage the ongoing talks among Palestinian factions aimed at unity. We urge Palestinians to keep in mind that this is a historic opportunity and that their work is on behalf of Palestinians past, present and to come.

We urge the international community to continue to demonstrate its readiness to support the efforts of Palestinians and to encourage every peace effort until peace and justice come to the region.

This International Day is but one day, but I remind every Palestinian that the support of the Indonesian people is perpetual. As you work faithfully and diligently towards the objectives of self-determination and an independent and sovereign State, you rest assured of our unflinching support.




Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

[Original: English]

The question of Palestine always reminds us of one of the most painful and bitter experiences that the world has ever faced. The innocent people of Palestine have been deprived of their all basic rights, including the right to self-determination, independence and national sovereignty, as well as life in their ancestral territory, for more than six decades.

During these years, the Palestinian people have been the victims of the most flagrant violations of human rights, such as inhuman and barbaric attacks, terrorism, destruction of residential areas and civil infrastructures, economic blockades, illegal detention, imprisonment and torture, and have been denied access to humanitarian aid by the usurper Zionist regime, especially the innocent Gazans. Since the establishment of the Zionist regime, millions of Palestinians, including their second and third generations, have become homeless. The fierce attack on Gaza, perpetrated by the Zionist regime in late December 2008, was one of the most tragic incidents in the human community which comprised a whole range of crimes, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Zionist regime’s ongoing policy of targeting the cultural identity of the Palestinian people and all monotheists of the world has serious effects on the demographic composition of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and would result in the destruction of the Islamic holy places there. By doing so, the Zionist regime is going to establish its dominance over all sacred places of this holy city. Moreover, the destructive consequences of excavation activities beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque and preventing Muslims free access to this mosque by building a separation wall between the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock can be mentioned as examples of other harmful measures of this usurper regime. There is no doubt that the history of the Zionist regime is studded with numerous cases of gross violation of human rights and international law and a huge number of bloody and brutal criminal activities.

The reasons for the continued impudence of the Zionist regime in perpetrating such criminal acts and the silence or passive reaction of its main supporters and the international community, especially the United Nations Security Council, are among the main issues that should be duly considered. In this regard, it should be emphasized that the innocent Palestinian people are the victims of some world powers’ collusion. The Palestinians are paying for the wrongdoings and ambitions of certain individuals and governments during and after the Second World War. Unfortunately, owing to the biased supportive policies of some of its permanent members in favor of the Zionist regime, the Security Council has not been able to duly examine the question of Palestine. The Security Council’s action during the Israeli regime’s military offensive against Gaza and also the politicized stand taken by some of its permanent members against the Goldstone Report are the most evident indication of their support for and complicity in the crimes perpetrated by the Zionists during their attack on Gaza. It is evident that the impunity of the perpetrators of these crimes and those who ordered them, especially political officials and military commanders and personnel of the Zionist regime, is among its most effective incentive to continue its criminal acts freehandedly.

Bearing in mind that the Charter of the United Nations stipulates that the prime responsibility of the Security Council is to determine threats to and breaches of international peace and security, it is a fair question to be asked as to why the massacre in Gaza, of which more than 80 per cent of its victims were Palestinian civilians, including innocent women and children, has not induced the Council to take a binding and forceful collective decision against the Zionist regime?

Taking into account its organization and strength, why has the United Nations system not been able to take any urgent and binding decisions to bring an immediate end to the inhuman and illegitimate blockade in a small area 360 square kilometers in size? It is important to know when the conduct of unilateral military aggression against certain countries is justified under the pretext of disarming them or combating terrorism in clear contravention of the Charter of the United Nations, why there is no political will to remove the blockade that has been imposed on the innocent people in Gaza for so many years?

This is a total disappointment to witness that the world is facing such a clear contradiction between the words and the deeds of so-called claimants of human rights and democracy. Today, this is an established fact that misuse of human rights, freedom and peace by certain powers as a political leverage is obviously hindering the decision-making process for the liberation of the innocent Palestinians. It is also a matter of great concern that contradictory and double standard policies pursued by those powers are the most important reason for the spread of violence and terror in different corners of the world.

Various plans and initiatives to solve the question of Palestine have been presented so far, with some of them being implemented to varying extents, but since the legitimate cause and basic rights of the Palestinian people have not been duly reflected in them, all of them have resulted in impasse or failure. In this context, we believe that the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is a valuable opportunity to examine various aspects of the question of Palestine, including the achievability of a just solution for this issue. In these kinds of circumstances, we have to take into consideration the root causes of the conflict, the factors encouraging the Zionist regime to persist in committing its criminal acts, and the reason for the inability of international authorities to protect the Palestinian people and confront the usurper regime.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, on the basis of its divine and humane commitments, has always supported the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people. We believe that holding a free referendum with the participation of all original owners of Palestine, including Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as Palestinian refugees, would play a vital role in the realization of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and shaping the political future of Palestine.




King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of Jordan

[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we have the honour to express our great thanks and sincerest appreciation to you and your Committee for the sustained efforts that you have exerted in defence of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and, in particular, the rights to self-determination and to establish a viable, sovereign, independent State on national Palestinian territory. Those efforts have played an important part in rallying international support for the Palestinian people and its just cause.

Your esteemed Committee has established its ability to deal promptly and effectively with developments in the region. It was one of the first to respond to the calls of our Palestinian brothers in Gaza during the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, and was present at various international forums in order to condemn the Israeli attacks, defend the rights of the Palestinian people and call for an end to its humanitarian suffering. The international meeting convened by the Committee in March 2009 provided an important and essential opportunity to consider ways of providing the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid and coordinating international reconstruction efforts.

The harsh living conditions that the Palestinian people must face in the Gaza Strip, which include increased levels of poverty, hunger, frustration and despair, have reached a point that demands immediate, earnest action to address those conditions, lift the siege and end the humanitarian disaster that is taking place there. We in Jordan will continue to provide every form of support for our Palestinian brothers and to use every possible means, at various international gatherings, to draw the world’s attention to the depth of their suffering.

We greatly appreciate the Committee’s full 2009 programme of important activities and international conferences, which have helped to focus the attention of Governments, international governmental organizations, civil society organizations and the various media on the pressing need to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli struggle on the basis of a two-State solution. We also appreciate Committee activities that have promoted communications with parliaments with a view to urging Governments to take essential steps in support of ending the struggle on the basis of a two-State solution that enjoys universal consensus, and providing the assistance required by the Palestinian people.

We should like to express our appreciation for the meetings that the Committee has held in various parts of the world with a view to increasing awareness of the extent of the tragedy being endured by the Palestinian people, and the injustice to which it is being subjected, as well as the gravity of Israeli settlement building and expansion activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the impact which those practices have on efforts to end the struggle and achieve the peace to which the peoples of the region aspire.

Today we repeat yet again our call for the struggle to end and for the Palestinian people to be empowered to establish, within a clear time frame, a viable, independent State, in the territory which Israel occupied in 1967 and with Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the accepted terms of reference and, in particular, the Arab Peace Initiative, which reflects a unified Arab stance on the realization of a comprehensive and lasting peace that will ensure true security and stability in the region.

Israel must desist forthwith from all the unilateral measures that it is undertaking and, in particular, the building and expansion of settlements, and abandon all measures designed to alter the features of occupied Jerusalem and erase its historical character. Those measures threaten sites that are holy to Christianity and Islam and include excavation under and around those sites and, in particular, the precinct of Al-Aqsa mosque. Israel must also abandon its policy of demolishing homes and enforcing the displacement of the Arab Muslim and Christian population. All such undertakings pose a genuine threat to efforts to establish peace and stability in the region.

The time has come to end the injustice and abuses from which the fraternal Palestinian people is suffering and to empower that people to exercise its natural and fundamental right to self-determination and establish its independence on its national territory. This requires Israel to take genuine steps towards peace and enter into effective negotiations that build on what has already been achieved and address all the final status issues within a set time frame on the basis of the accepted terms of reference, in order to reach a two-State solution as expeditiously as possible.

On this occasion, we should like to express our appreciation of your determination to dedicate future international meetings to consideration of the situation in Jerusalem and of bringing pressure to bear on Israel to halt its provocative measures in that city. Jerusalem is a symbol of Islam and has a special place in our hearts. Its protection and preservation will always be a priority for us.

We congratulate you on your noble endeavours and look forward to your continued mobilization of international support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and for efforts to bring peace to the region by finding a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue, which lies at the heart of the struggle in the region.
In conclusion, we greatly appreciate the constructive efforts of the Committee, and wish you continuing success in achieving your noble aims.



Choummaly Sayasone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

[Original: English]

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to express our sincere greetings to His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for the full realization of their inalienable rights, including their rights to self-determination and an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.

Today’s commemoration reminds us that the plight of the Palestinian people who live through tremendous suffering and abject humiliation under the brunt of the longest ever occupation in history, has not ended. Their plight has worsened, particularly in Gaza, as a result of the continuing punitive blockade and the Israeli military operations launched on 27 December 2008, which caused thousands of deaths and .widespread destruction. The continued expansion of illegal settlements and the illegal construction of the separation wall further add to the woes of the Palestinian people. These actions only exacerbate and complicate the situation, constituting the main reason for the prolongation of conflict and the failure of initiatives and solutions. The Lao People’ Democratic Republic is convinced that the continuing efforts by the international community will pave the way towards a permanent and negotiated settlement of the question of Palestine, leading to an independent and viable State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace with the State of Israel, within secure and internationally recognized borders.

On this solemn occasion, the Government and people of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic reaffirm their longstanding solidarity and unwavering support for the just cause and fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. We wish the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People every success in its endeavour.



Pakalitha B. Mosisili, Prime Minister of Lesotho

[Original: English]

Thirty two years ago, the United Nations called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The significance of this day to the Palestinian People is well known. Our hope was, and it still is, to make a positive impact on the impasse that has bedeviled the Palestinians. Each day that passes without a change in the lives of the Palestinians is a reminder to the world that we must renew our determination to fight the injustices perpetrated against the people of Palestine.

As the world marks this day today, Lesotho does so with a heavy heart. The situation in the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to deteriorate. It is marked by high tensions and instability due to the long Israeli occupation. The repression against the Palestinians occurs in daylight. We can all attest to the inhuman sufferings of the people of Palestine. The consequences of the aggression they continually face is obvious to all. The continuing Israeli settlement, including the so-called natural growth, is a cause for concern to my country. These activities are akin to colonization and have no place in modern day society. The forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinian residents of their land runs counter to Israel’s obligations under international law. We register the rejection of the Government and peoples of Lesotho, of these expansionist tactics by Israel. The attack on the West Bank and Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 is an indictment on the bona fides of Israel as a partner in the search for a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question.

History will judge us harshly if we silently watch the unjust treatment meted out to the Palestinians on a daily basis. Our silence and inaction would leave an indelible mark of failure on our character as a collective. We must not forget the Palestinians who perished in the struggle for the attainment of their inalienable right to self-determination. Indeed, we must continue with our clarion call that accountability must be exercised for violation of international law.

The way to achieving a just and durable peace in the Middle East is through negotiations. We implore the parties to return to the negotiations on the basis of the road map and the 1967 borders.

I would like to express the solidarity of the Government and people of Lesotho to the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and join their hope that this will soon be a reality.



Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

[Original: English]

I wish to express, on behalf of the Government and people of Malaysia, our sincere greetings to His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, and the people of Palestine, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

It is most unfortunate that after more than 40 years, the international community has still not found an amicable solution to this conflict. For far too long; we have witnessed a rise in the tide of hope for peace in the Middle East, only to have our hopes dashed in the face of Israeli violence. Most recently, we have witnessed the horrifying spectre of Israeli aggression, which was unleashed through Operation Cast Lead on Gaza late last year. The indiscriminate Israeli attacks killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and severely injured 5,000 more. Yet again, many of these victims were innocent children and women.

The continuous blockade imposed by Israel at the borders had further aggravated the situation by restricting the delivery of essential goods, persons and construction materials to the vulnerable groups in Gaza. This blockade constitutes a form of collective punishment, which is strictly forbidden by international law.

At the same time, the expansion of Israeli settlements, the construction of the separation wall, discriminatory housing policies, house demolitions, the imposition of a restrictive permit regime, continued closure of Palestinian institutions and the Judaization of East. Jerusalem, among others, have continued to wreak havoc on the social fabric of the Palestinian people.

The dehumanization of the Palestinian people is not only illegal and immoral, but also counter-productive to the aim of achieving genuine and lasting peace. Israel cannot, as it has so often done in the past, try to cloud the eyes of the international community by listing, at the United Nations and other forums, its actions undertaken to ameliorate the sufferings of the Palestinians. It must recognize itself for what it is—the source of conflict in the Middle East.

It is quite clear that peace in the Middle East can be achieved only when the international community is able to make Israel recognize its wrongdoings and hold it accountable for its policies of deliberate destruction. Only when all parties demonstrate honesty and sincerity, and implement all their commitments under international laws will a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine be found.

I wish to pay tribute to all Palestinians in their just struggle to live in freedom and dignity in a State they can call their own. The Palestinian people can count on Malaysia’s continuous strong support in their efforts to create an independent and sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and in their quest to achieve a just solution to their predicament.



Mohamed Nasheed, President of Maldives

[Original: English]

On this important occasion, on behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Maldives, I wish to reiterate the steadfast solidarity of the people of Maldives with our brothers and sisters in Palestine and our unwavering commitment to the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

I would also like to recognize the important contribution being made by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights to advance the just cause of the Palestinian people.

However, it is regrettable that the passing year is yet another one of continued violation of the rights of the Palestinian people. Maldives is particularly disheartened by the deadlock in the peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel and reiterates the necessity of an immediate freeze to all illegal settlement activities in the occupied territories.

Maldives believes that a return to the peace process in pursuit of a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute remains the best solution to realize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

As we mark today, the Maldives welcomes the renewed efforts by the international community to revitalize the process of dialogue between Palestine and Israel in the pursuit to finding a lasting and just solution to the Palestinian question and calls upon both Palestine and Israel to implement General Assembly resolution 64/10.



General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania

[Original: Arabic]

The leadership and people of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania stand shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinian people as it asserts its legitimate right to freedom and seeks, in accordance with the principles and resolutions of international legitimacy, to end the occupation and oppression that have been inflicted on it for more than 60 years.

The unjust siege to which the Palestinian people is being subjected and its daily experience of hunger, disease and maltreatment must prompt all people of good conscience to support that fraternal people, ensure that justice is done and promote peace and security in the Middle East. The region will continue to be a source of tension as long as there is no just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

The leadership and people of Mauritania are firmly convinced of the principles and resolutions of international law, which clearly support the struggle of the Palestinian people for justice and independence, and renew their call to all those powers which love peace and justice to take prompt action to implement the relevant United Nations resolutions.



King Mohammed VI of Morocco

[Original: Arabic]
(Unofficial translation)

As we commemorate the International Day of solidarity with the Palestinian People, it gives me great pleasure to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the members of the esteemed Committee for its untiring efforts in regional and international forums to uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

I commend the action of all those who have been working to support the just Palestinian cause as well as the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish an independent State, with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital. Because of its work, your Committee is held in high regard by all supporters and advocates of freedom, security and peace in the world.

I have sought to remain in close touch with your esteemed Committee not only because the Palestinian cause is a fundamental one for us, but also because I am keen to continue supporting the steadfast Palestinian people so that they may achieve their legitimate right to an independent homeland, in which their human dignity would be safeguarded and their cultural identity preserved.

As I firmly believe that peace is the only right approach to enabling all peoples in the region to overcome the causes of tension, I have .consistently called for negotiation and meaningful dialogue based on international legitimacy instruments, on the agreements signed between the parties concerned, and on constructive, peaceful initiatives, especially the Arab Initiative and the road map, so that a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Middle East question may be found.

Given the deterioration of the situation in the region due to Israeli intransigence, the international community is duty-bound to act effectively on the basis of a specific timetable in order to break the current impasse in the peace process. The aim is to avoid growing tension and an escalation of violence, end Israeli occupation of Arab territories and put an end to the tragedy of the Palestinian people.

I should like to reiterate my full, continuous support for my revered brother, His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas, for the legitimate Palestinian Authority, and for President Abbas’s constructive initiatives to uphold the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and shore up its negotiating clout. I firmly believe that the achievement of such an objective hinges on consolidating national unity, rising above all causes of dissension and discord, and placing the legitimate Palestinian cause above all other considerations.

In keeping with the sacred mission entrusted to me as Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, I shall pursue my untiring efforts and continue to work not only with the influential members of the international community - particularly the International Quartet — but also through the programmes and projects of the Bait Mal Al-Quds Al-Sharif Agency in order to support our steadfast brothers in Al-Quds, preserve the Arab-Islamic identity there, and safeguard the cultural and historical specificities of the city of Al-Quds as a place for tolerance and coexistence between the followers of the heavenly religions.

I also wish to avail myself of this opportunity to call upon the international community and donor institutions to provide further financial, economic and humanitarian assistance in order to enable the Palestinian people to fulfil their legitimate aspirations, above all for the establishment of an independent, fully sovereign, viable state, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, living side by side with the state of Israel in peace, security and concord, for the well-being of all peoples in the region.

I urge you to keep up your efforts and continue to support the just cause of our Palestinian brothers, and I pray that Almighty God grant you every success.



Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Namibia, I would like to express our appreciation to Your Excellency and, through you, to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for organizing this commemorative Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The People of Namibia have followed with grave concern the ever deteriorating political and security situation in that region. In this connection, I wish to reiterate Namibia’s unwavering support and solidarity with the people of Palestine. We encourage the Palestinian people to persevere and carry on with the liberation struggle until their inalienable rights to self-determination have been realized, in keeping with relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly.

As we restate our solidarity with the people of Palestine, we continue to support the full and unconditional implementation of the road map and the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.



Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of Nicaragua

[Original: Spanish]

The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of Nicaragua salutes the heroic Palestinian people and their leaders on this International Day and reaffirms its solidarity and support for their just struggle for the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State.

As in previous years on this date, we, together with the rest of the international community, renew our hope and commitment to find a solution to the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and to attain a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

The greatest desire of the Palestinian people is to find peace and live in harmony with their neighbours in a free, independent and viable State. This cannot be achieved, however, while the Israeli occupation and aggression continue and the Palestinian people, who are engaged in a heroic struggle under very difficult conditions, are unable to regain their legitimate ancestral rights and recover their occupied lands.

The intolerable situation of the Palestinian people has deteriorated even more as a result of the armed aggression of Israel, the occupying Power, from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, which was the cause of almost 1,500 deaths, mostly of innocent civilians, and several thousand injured. It also created a grave environmental crisis resulting from the toxic gases and white phosphorous unleashed by the occupying Power and the waste produced by lethal missiles, causing contamination which will negatively affect the Palestinian population, particularly girls and boys, for many years. The international community is demanding that those responsible for these massacres and disasters should be tried by impartial courts.

Despite repeated condemnations in international forums, including the Security Council, Israel, with the complicity of certain Permanent Members of the Council, is continuing to violate the most basic rights of the Palestinian people, including constant violations of the Palestinians’ right to life and to personal security through the indiscriminate use of force in violation of international law, international humanitarian law and human rights norms. These violations have created an extremely difficult economic, social and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, where Israel is continuing to expel persons of Palestinian origin from their homes and to expand illegal, exclusively Jewish settlements.

Nicaragua believes it is important to adopt confidence-building measures, which are necessary in order to give impetus to effective negotiation by the parties that will achieve progress towards the ultimate attainment of a just peace based on the recognition and existence of two free and sovereign States.

My Government advocates a politically just solution to the question of Palestine that is based on the various resolutions of the United Nations, particularly the resolution that establishes the right of return of the Palestinian refugees, and those resolutions that demand Israel’s withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied in 1967, in conformity with the principle of land for peace established at the Madrid Conference, and the Arab Peace Initiative, which will allow for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of Nicaragua and the people of Nicaragua support the just cause of the Palestinian people as a matter of principle, and, together with the rest of the international community, we consider it necessary to intensify international efforts to find a peaceful solution culminating in the creation of the Palestinian State, as a means of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.


Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President of the Philippines

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Philippine Government and the Filipino people, I am pleased to extend my felicitations to the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 30 November 2009.

The Philippines continues to support all United Nations initiatives which endeavor to find a just, durable and peaceful settlement of the Middle East conflict, in the hope of seeing a State of Palestine co-exist in peace and security with her neighbors.
Once again, the Philippines calls on all parties involved to find a common ground and work together to attain the aspirations for peace of the Palestinian people.

Through the revival of the peace process, the community of nations looks to the day when the Palestinian people could live freely and happily in a State they could call their own in peace and harmony with their neighbours.


Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar

[Original: Arabic]

I should like to thank the United Nations Office at Geneva for sponsoring this important event in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and to express appreciation to all United Nations bodies and, in particular, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories, for the endeavours which they exert with a view to highlighting the suffering of the Palestinian people. I should also like to underline that the Palestinian people must regain all its rights.

On this occasion, I should like to greet our Palestinian brothers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the diaspora, and reaffirm the solidarity with them of the Government and people of the State of Qatar in their just struggle to end the Israeli occupation of their territory, regain their legitimate rights and establish an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinian people has been harried under the yoke of occupation since 1967. That occupation is conducted using a wide range of illegal practices that flagrantly violate international humanitarian law and human rights. In December 2008 and January 2009, Israel perpetrated one of its very worst oppressive measures, namely, the iniquitous military onslaught on the Gaza Strip, that was already sinking under a tyrannical siege. That onslaught led to one of the gravest humanitarian situations in the world.

The whole world witnessed the loathsome violations that were perpetrated by the Israeli army in the course of that military operation, which were recently highlighted in the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict that was led by Justice Richard Goldstone. Those actions constituted a flagrant and unambiguous violation of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and contravened all relevant Security Council resolutions. Israel must therefore bear responsibility for the outcome of those violations and contraventions and must completely halt forthwith all illegal settlement activities, which are condemned by the international community. The settlement of occupied land is illegal for the purpose of so-called natural growth or any other reason, whether or not it is conditional and whether or not it is restricted to East Jerusalem or somewhere else.

Among the gravest of Israeli practices are the attempts to damage Islamic holy places. The Israeli authorities have resumed their former practice of provoking the sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims through violations of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa mosque and by permitting extremist settlers to attack that mosque and people worshipping there. Such policies, which are prejudicial to opportunities to establish comprehensive and lasting peace, merit the sharpest criticism and condemnation and must be terminated.

The State of Qatar has on many occasions affirmed that peace in the Middle East is a strategic choice that is based on the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map. On this occasion, we stress that Israel’s continued refusal to choose peace and establish a Palestinian State on all the Palestinian land occupied in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, does not promote the chances of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the region or serve Israel’s own interests.

The State of Qatar, which spares no efforts in providing material and political support for the Palestinian people, will continue to support that fraternal people, and will exert every possible endeavour until the Palestinian people obtains all its legitimate rights.



Dmitry A. Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation

[Original: Russian]
(Unofficial translation)

[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, Mahmoud Abbas]


Please accept my sincere congratulations on the event of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

I would like to reaffirm the solid support of the Russian Federation for the soonest realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to create an independent and viable State.
I am convinced that the attainment of national sovereignty by Palestine, based on internationally recognized principles, including the Arab Peace Initiative, will help achieve a universal and just settlement in the Middle East and will serve as a factor in improving stability and fostering mutually beneficial cooperation in the region.

Through international efforts and in close cooperation with you, we stand ready to further facilitate the renewal of the Palestine-Israeli peace process, providing intra-Palestinian reconciliation and the cessation of any type of violence. We will continue providing assistance in establishing the statehood and resolving the socio-economic difficulties of the Palestinian people.

I hope that through joint efforts we will be able to secure the continuous development of mutually beneficial relations and the bilateral political dialogue.

I wish you, Mr. Abbas, further success in your work, and to the friendly people of Palestine, I wish peaceful future, happiness and prosperity in their native land.



Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal

[Original: French]

Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 32/40 of 2 December 1977, we are today celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

On behalf of our Committee and on my own behalf, I wish to reiterate to the Palestinian people and their leaders our unwavering support in their legitimate quest for a viable, sovereign and independent State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Since our last ceremony, the situation in Palestine, particularly in Gaza, has gravely deteriorated, following the disastrous Operation Cast Lead conducted by the Israeli army, in violation of the relevant United Nations resolutions and of humanitarian international law.

I urge the Security Council to follow the lead of the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly by drawing all the necessary legal conclusions from the Goldstone report on the responsibilities arising from the Israeli intervention in Gaza.

Similarly, it is the responsibility of the Council, as the guarantor of international peace and security, to take firmer action to put an end to the Israeli policy of faits accomplis, which is characterized by confiscation of Palestinian lands, homes and other property, expansion of settlements, continuation of the construction of the separation wall despite the contrary opinion of the International Court of Justice, modification of the demographic character of East Jerusalem, and repeated attacks on Palestinian civilization and heritage, including the Al-Quds sacred mosque.

I should point out that, under international law, none of these illegal practices can confer legal title on the occupying Power.

Moreover, these practices constitute a serious obstacle to a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Once again, I call urgently on the Government of Israel to cease immediately its illegal activities, in order to pave the way for a resumption of negotiations.

I urge the Security Council and the Quartet to do their utmost to protect the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and to ensure the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance.

In pursuance of the monitoring and information mandate conferred on it by the General Assembly, our Committee must constantly remind international opinion that, in addition to Israel’s withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, the Palestinian people’s demands concern six issues which must be resolved as a prerequisite for a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These issues are as follows:

• The status of Jerusalem, the holy city of the three revealed religions
• The right of return of refugees
• The question of settlements
• The demarcation of borders
•. The sharing of water
• Security arrangements

After so many years of war that have only resulted in stalemate, it is time to admit that the conflict cannot be resolved through violence, whatever form it may take.

It is time to choose peace through dialogue, taking into account the legitimate concerns of the State of Israel to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders, and the equally legitimate right of the Palestinian people to live in dignity in a sovereign State under the same conditions.

I once again call on the Palestinian people to choose reconciliation and national unity in order to facilitate the realization of that right.

In its very first report to the Security Council in June 1976, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People rightfully noted that the question of Palestine was “at the heart of the Middle East problem”.

Thirty years later, that observation remains relevant.

Our Committee must therefore remain vigilant and active until it fully accomplishes its mandate towards Palestine, in the best interests of all the peoples of the subregion. Senegal will continue to work tirelessly in this regard, and I know that I can count on your support.

It is my ardent hope that by the time we celebrate the next International Day we will be celebrating the advent of a viable, independent and sovereign Palestinian State, living side by side and in peace with the State of Israel.



Kgalema Motlanthe, President of South Africa

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, I extend warm greetings to all Palestinians and to the Palestinian leadership on this occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

On this day, the international community, including South Africa, reaffirms its commitment to the Palestinian people and their struggle for liberation and self-determination. It is also a day on which world attention is focussed on the Middle East peace process. Peace has become an illusive concept in today’s world. In far too many areas of our planet, we see ongoing conflict which needs to be brought to an end, but we struggle to find the means to do so. This is more apparent in the conflict that we see in the Middle East, between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. It pains us to see the unrewarded quest for peace of both the Israeli and Palestinian people, given our own recent history of conflict.

The South African people have stood steadfast in support of the rights of the Palestinian people to a State of their own. Our Government has consistently supported the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with the will of the international community, such as Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 465 (1980), 681 (1990), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) and the Arab Peace Initiative. South Africa also realizes, along with the members of the Non-Aligned Movement, that as long as our brothers and sisters in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are not free, neither are we.
We reiterate calls for an end to the collective punishment being meted out on Palestinians in Gaza as the humanitarian situation there deteriorates daily. Today we reflect not only on a year that has seen indescribable suffering and humiliation resulting from a hitherto unprecedented escalation in violence against the civilian population of Palestine by Israel, but also on the fact that the military activity by occupying forces on Palestinian soil has increased substantially. The South African Government had unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms condemned the escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza, brought about by the launching of air strikes in December 2008 and of the ground invasion into Gaza by Israel on 3 January 2009, in response to rocket attacks from Gaza. South Africa maintained that Israel’s response to rocket fire from Gaza was disproportionate and in violation of international law, as Israel has specific obligations under international law as an occupying Power.

It should be noted that the South African Government also facilitated the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza following Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, together with South African non-governmental organizations, such as the Gift of the Givers Organization, the South African Council of Churches, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. The humanitarian consignment to Gaza consisted of medical equipment and supplies, foodstuffs and a team of South African doctors and journalists.

In further support of a free Palestine, South Africa hosted a cultural week to commemorate Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009. This was in support of an initiative undertaken by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to promote and celebrate Arab culture and encourage cooperation in the Middle East, which was launched in 1995 by the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization.

As a people also previously beset by conflict, South Africans understand the pain and suffering of a people exiled from the land of their ancestors. South Africans also note the humanitarian situation in which the Palestinians find themselves, with 70 per cent of Palestinians said to be living below the poverty line. As such, we call on both parties to the conflict to end the violence which causes untold loss and suffering. It is our wish that a negotiated settlement could be forged in which Israelis and Palestinians each have their own State and live together in peace as neighbours. We know from our own experience with conflict, that negotiation is the only solution to a peaceful settlement.

As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, it gives birth to opportunists who would prefer to see a volatile Middle East region. Threats to peace in the region are threats to world peace. The South African Government thus calls on all Palestinian leaders to work tirelessly to unite the Palestinian people, as a divided Palestine only serves the interests of those forces for whom a peaceful and prosperous Palestine, existing in peace with its neighbours inside internationally accepted borders, must not happen. South Africa continues to support the mediation efforts by the Arab world and Egypt in particular to achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and inter-Palestinian unity.

The South African Government’s clear position of support for the establishment of a viable Palestinian State is based on its firm belief that only a realistic two-State solution can bring lasting peace to the Middle East. In this vein, it is hoped that, by commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine, this act will focus world attention on promoting support for international peace efforts. The aim is to stop the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, salvage the political process and realize the vision of peace for both Israelis and Palestinians, based on the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel, within secure borders. We remain convinced that negotiations are the only means to end the conflict and bring peace and security to both Palestine and Israel, as well as to the entire region.

Issues of continued concern remain the impact of Israel’s separation wall as well as continued Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The South African Government also supports the demand by United States President Barack Obama that there should be a total freeze on all Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank, including on natural growth of the settlements. Continued settlement activity by Israel continues to jeopardize prospects of resuming negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships. The South African Government believes that we have the right to expect the United Nations and the Quartet to act in bringing their full influence to bear on both Israelis and Palestinians, but very specifically and most emphatically on Israel, to cease all acts that will further erode any progress towards restarting peace negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships.

The South African Government has without equivocation endorsed the findings and recommendations of the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone. South Africa reiterates its full confidence in Justice Goldstone recalling the prominent role he played in South Africa’s transition to democracy. Justice Goldstone, having worked on many other international issues, is reputed for his credibility as well as his high regard and respect for human rights.

The South African Government believes that the only way to bring about peace in the Middle East is to have a comprehensive and unconditional negotiated settlement to end the occupation of the Palestinian and Syrian territories. This will contribute towards peace and security throughout the Middle East region.

In the end there must and will be peace between Israel and Palestine. There must and will be peace between Israel and the Arab world. The violent days that have seen the deaths of so many innocent Palestinians and Israelis, brought about by the lack of courage to engage boldly in negotiations leading to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, must end and end soon.

South Africa remains ready to assist international efforts to achieve this objective.




Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka

[Original: English]

On the solemn occasion to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, on behalf of the people and the Government of Sri Lanka, I take this opportunity to reiterate our unequivocal and sincere support for the people and the Government of Palestine for their just struggle to achieve their inalienable rights, including the right to Statehood.

We remain deeply concerned about the widespread suffering and hardships the Palestinian people continue to undergo and the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We welcome the new efforts and commitments by the international community to reinvigorate the peace process. However, we are disappointed that no tangible results have been achieved for the two-State solution and the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

On this commemorative Day of Solidarity, I wish to recall my association with the cause of the Palestinian people for nearly 40 years during which I have advocated the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and a viable solution to the conflict. I sincerely hope that all peace initiatives that have as their main objective the realization of a two-State solution and the renewed efforts of the international community will enable the speedy creation of a Palestinian State co-existing with Israel in peace, harmony and prosperity.



Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand

[Original: English]

Each year on this day, the international community gathers to show their goodwill and support to the Palestinians who have endured suffering for decades. Years under occupation and in refuge have taken away their livelihood and deprived them of their freedom, inalienable rights to self-determination and legal right to their homeland.

On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand, I wish to offer my sincere solidarity with the Palestinian people faced with such hardship. It is in my hope and prayer that the Palestinian suffering will soon end and that peace and stability will be restored in the Middle East. To this end, Thailand supports the international efforts to push the peace process forward, based on the Quartet’s Road Map, relevant United Nations resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative. We will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and support the noble works of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, whose mission in improving the lives of millions of Palestinian refugees has continued for six decades.
I would like to thank the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for continuing to provide channels for voices of solidarity with the Palestinian people to be heard. It is this continued aspiration for peace that will stimulate all parties concerned to intensify their efforts in bringing peace and stability back to the region through peaceful means.



Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia

[Original: Arabic]

As Tunisia, in common with the rest of the international community, observes the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it reiterates its principled and steadfast support for the fraternal Palestinian people and its complete solidarity with it in its legitimate struggle to regain its national rights and establish an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

This occasion is being commemorated at a time when the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is seriously deteriorating as a result of Israel’s relentless pursuit of policies directed against the fraternal Palestinian people that include siege, the expropriation of land and the violation of holy places, and its continuing policy of expanding settlements and imposing crippling conditions that pose additional obstacles to the resumption of the peace process.

Because it wishes to empower the fraternal Palestinian people to regain all its legitimate rights, Tunisia is renewing its call for all the relevant international parties to redouble their efforts to bring Israel to implementation of the requirements for peace, foremost among which is the complete cessation of settlement activity and of attempts to alter the geographical and demographic status of the city of Jerusalem, and the acknowledgement of the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent State on its own land as part of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace that is based on the resolutions of international legitimacy, the terms of reference of the peace process, the Arab Peace Initiative and the two-State solution.

Tunisia expresses once again its appreciation of the efforts exerted by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People with a view to making those rights a reality and attracting world attention to the tragic conditions being experienced by our Palestinian brothers as a result of the continued Israeli occupation. Tunisia also reiterates its continued support for the efforts exerted by the United Nations and various international parties with a view to ending the suffering of the Palestinian people and empowering it to realize its aspiration for sovereignty, independence and a dignified life in its own secure and stable country.



Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey

[Original: Turkish]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reaffirm on behalf of the Turkish people, once again, our support for the just cause of the Palestinian people. In this context, we appreciate and support the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The fact that Turkey will be hosting an international meeting in 2010 which will be organized by the Committee is a solid indication of this approach.

The settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a longed-for atmosphere of peace and tranquility in the Middle East could be achieved only by the retrieval by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights.

Turkey has long been supporting the efforts towards a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Our country considers the settlement on the basis of two States living side by side in peace and within secure and recognized borders as the only option. In this vein, the achievement of national unity in Palestine and the reinvigoration of the peace process are a must.

Turkey will continue to actively participate in all international efforts towards the alleviation of the difficult circumstances that our Palestinian brothers are going through and to pursue this issue in international forums. We are also determined to maintain our material, moral and political support to our Palestinian brothers in the period ahead.

On this day, which symbolizes the solidarity between Palestine and the international community, we repeat our call to all members of the international community who respect fundamental human rights and freedoms and invite all parties to exert every effort for the settlement of this issue which has the tendency to become chronic, by bringing dialogue, compromise and the sense of responsibility to the fore.

On this occasion, I would like to reaffirm our support to the just cause of Palestine as well as our determination to be in solidarity with the people of Palestine and renew my heartfelt wishes for the well-being and happiness of the Palestinian people.



Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

[Original: Arabic]

On behalf of the Government and people of the United Arab Emirates, I have the honour to assure you and your distinguished Committee of our gratitude for and deep appreciation of your principled positions and noble efforts to strengthen the support of the international community for the Palestinian issue and expose the suffering endured by the Palestinian people as a result of the sustained hostile policies that are pursued by the Israeli Government.

This year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People comes at a time when the Palestinian issue is at an extremely critical and sensitive stage as a result of the continual increase in Israeli policies relating to the occupation of Palestinian land and violations of agreements, humanitarian law and the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy. The endeavours exerted by the American administration and the Quartet on the basis of the Road Map, which provided for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, had seemed promising. However, the international community was taken aback when the Israeli Government yet again demonstrated its genuine, hostile intentions towards the Palestinians and its determination to obstruct and thwart every effort or attempt to promote the realization of the Palestinian people’s aspiration for a legitimate, independent State.

That Government was not satisfied with terrorizing the Palestinian people and subjecting it to the most brutal forms of aggression, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity, as is testified by the Goldstone report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, but continued its policy of sealing off the Gaza Strip and the towns of the West Bank. It also continued its campaign of aggression and illegal settlement and construction of the separation barrier deep inside West Bank territory and around Jerusalem, thereby fragmenting Palestinian territory into small Bantustans that do not meet the least requirements for the establishment of any future Palestinian State as provided for by the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Road Map.

The United Arab Emirates rejects and condemns the serious violations and acts of aggression perpetrated by Israel and its other attempts to drain the peace process of all political import in order to serve its expansionist goals and cement the status of its occupation and its illegal annexation of the Palestinian territories. It has thereby created challenges to the work of the Palestinian Authority leadership, which feels that its hopes have been frustrated by the continuing inability of the international community to deal with any of those Israeli practices, which contravene international law and international humanitarian law as provided for by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. On that basis, we therefore hold the United Nations and, in particular, the Security Council and the members of the Quartet, responsible for all the Israeli Government’s persistent crimes against the Palestinian people, and call upon that Organization to take urgent measures, pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations, to induce the Israeli Government to abandon its policy of attacking the Palestinian people and withdraw fully and unconditionally from all the Arab and Palestinian territory which it has occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan; and enforce that Government’s full compliance with all its other legal and moral obligations under the agreements to which it is a signatory, the resolutions of international legitimacy and human rights protocols. We also demand implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, which include ensuring that the Government of Israel is held to account for its crimes and pays appropriate compensation to the Palestinian people.

In conclusion, while I reiterate the complete support of the United Arab Emirates for the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State on the national territory of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital, I call on the international community and, in particular, donor States and institutions, to redouble their support and their political, development, economic and emergency assistance to the Palestinian people and its national Government, thereby empowering them to achieve freedom, independence and a life of dignity and rebuild the development institutions that have been destroyed by the occupation and Israeli aggression, in an era in which the nations and peoples of the world aspire to a higher standard of living, whereby all parts of the world will enjoy peace, security, stability and prosperity.


Nguyen Minh Triet, President of Viet Nam

[Original: Vietnamese)
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to extend to Your Excellencies, and through Your Excellencies to the Palestinian people, greetings of solidarity and warmest congratulations.

Viet Nam has consistently supported the just cause of the struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable rights. Viet Nam is of the view that the Arab-Israeli conflict of which the Palestinian question is the nucleus can be solved only through peaceful negotiations aimed at a comprehensive and just solution on the basis of respect for the legitimate interests of all concerned parties, especially the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish a State of Palestine in their homeland. Viet Nam supports all regional and international efforts that will bring the Middle East peace process forward and urges the concerned parties to work together to realize the achieved agreements, thus contributing to peace and stability in the region.

On this occasion, the Vietnamese Government and people reaffirm the strong support for the just cause and the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. We firmly believe that the struggle of the Palestinian people, with the support of the international community, will achieve full victory.




Messages from Governments


Argentina

[Original: Spanish]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the honour to affirm the support of the Argentine Government for this very important event and to reiterate its conviction of the need to redirect the negotiation process towards a peaceful, just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Middle East conflict.


Guyana

[Original: English]

Today, Guyana joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Government and people of Guyana take this opportunity to reiterate their strong support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle for the full realization of their inalienable rights including the right to return to their homeland and to peacefully exist in an independent State.

The Palestinian people have for six decades suffered conflict and poverty without a permanent homeland. Guyana therefore calls upon the international community to strengthen all endeavors to ensure that this injustice is brought to an end.

The Government of Guyana has over the years advocated for a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the people of Israel and Palestine living in their independent countries in peace and harmony. Only through this medium could a solution be found for peace between the peoples of Israel and Palestine.

As a member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Guyana therefore renews its commitment to supporting all efforts towards a peaceful and just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the promotion of sustained peace in the region.



Oman

[Original: Arabic]

We take pleasure in expressing our gratitude and appreciation for the efforts made by your Committee to defend and enable the exercise of the rights of the Palestinian people, all of which are affirmed by resolutions of this international Organization.

On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we wish to commend you personally and the respected members of the Committee for the efforts that you exert and the assistance that you provide in drawing attention to the suffering of the Palestinian people living under the yoke of Israeli occupation. The Sultanate’s participation in the observance of this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People stems from its unwavering policies of support for the Palestinian people and its repeated demands for a just and comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine, in order to enable that people to live, as peoples in other States do, a life of dignity, in peace and security, within secure and internationally recognized borders.

As we commemorate this International Day, we should like to reaffirm that His Majesty the Sultan always gives top priority to the question of the Middle East, particularly the attainment of peace and security and a just and comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine, and to the need for full Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian territory and the Syrian Golan and all other areas that remain under occupation in southern Lebanon.

There is no question that the violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law perpetrated by Israeli forces during their brutal attacks on the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead demonstrated to the entire world the extent of the suffering of Palestinian civilians living under the oppressive rule of Israeli occupation. On this International Day, therefore, the international community must express its support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people, and bring the necessary pressure to bear on the occupying Power in order to allow progress to be made towards comprehensive peace.

We commend you once again for your efforts and those of the Committee, and assure you of the Sultanate’s full support for the Palestinian people and for a just and comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine, pursuant to the relevant Security Council resolutions and Arab initiatives, particularly the Arab Peace Initiative.





C. Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs



Sergei Martynov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus

[Original: English]

I have the honour to extend my sincere assurances of unceasing support and friendship on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

As a long-standing member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Republic of Belarus will remain a supporter of peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue within the framework of the United Nations. The Republic of Belarus will further exert efforts aimed at just and comprehensive exercise of the rights of the Palestinians.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express to you my best wishes of good health, well-being and success in your noble activity as well as the assurances of my highest consideration.


Jaime Bermúdez Merizalde, Minster for Foreign Affairs of Colombia

[Original: Spanish]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should be grateful if you would transmit the following message, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 1977.

By virtue of the ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between our peoples and Governments, I should like to reaffirm the solidarity of the Republic of Colombia with the Palestinian people and their leaders.

Colombia hopes that the observance of this symbolic date will serve as a reminder of the importance of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, and reiterates the need for dialogue, as the best way to ensure harmony in the region.

I should like to take this opportunity to reaffirm Colombia’s commitment to finding a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, that will allow all the peoples and States of the region to coexist in a favourable environment within secure and internationally recognized borders and enable the Palestinian people to exercise their rights and achieve economic and social well-being.



Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba

[Original: Spanish]
(Unofficial translation)

On behalf of the Cuban people and Government and myself, I have the honour to write to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, of which Cuba is honoured to be one of the Vice-Chairs, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, on 29 November.

As it has become traditional, in accordance with resolution 32/40 B, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1977, this date constitutes a proper occasion to remember the day that body passed resolution 181 (II) in 1947, on the partitioning of Palestine. The next year, this event resulted in the tragedy known as Al Nakba, in which more than three fourths of historical Palestine were forcibly taken away, 531 cities and small villages were destroyed, and 85 per cent of the population was expelled or displaced. Consequently, around 4.6 million Palestinian refugees still live dispersed all over the Middle East.

On such an occasion, we reiterate our solidarity and support to the Palestinian people, and firmly denounce the continued and illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel, which is the major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the region of the Middle East, which is marked by violence and instability.

The human damage caused by the aggressor has been irreparable. In the meantime, those accountable for these barbarous crimes have not been prosecuted and remain unpunished, since Israel is protected by the super-Power that continues to supply it with the financial resources and armaments with which Israel supports its aggressive policy, The Non-Aligned Movement, of which Cuba is honoured to be a member, strongly and immediately condemned this brutal military aggression.

These actions were the subject of an investigation by a fact-finding mission which, under the mandate of the United Nations Human Rights Council, recently submitted an objective report of high legal rigour, on the outcome of its work (Goldstone report). The report corroborates the serious violations of human rights denounced by Cuba and many other countries. The mission confirmed that both the previous blockade and the aggression against the Gaza Strip constitute a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian population in Gaza, and they were conceived for that purpose by the authorities of Israel.

The Goldstone report not only provides evidence for the numerous violations by Israel of the International Humanitarian Law, including the principles of distinction and proportionality, but also demonstrates that there was a clear intention to attack civilian objectives, as evidenced by the order given to the soldiers to make no distinction between military and civilian objectives.

Israel’s rejection of the findings of the fact-finding mission, a behaviour that Cuba and many member countries of the Human Rights Council condemned in the strongest terms, and its reluctance to cooperate in their implementation corroborate the disrespect of that Government for the will of the overwhelming majority of the international community, and its disregard, once more, for the resolutions and provisions of the aforementioned Council, the General Assembly and the Security Council.

The historical solidarity and support of Cuba for the just cause of the Palestinian people have been expressed also through the Non-Aligned Movement, for which it has been a top priority issue. Just in the last three years, the Non-Aligned Movement Coordinating Bureau has adopted 15 declarations on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, as well as on other matters related to the question of Palestine. The Non-Aligned Movement Committee on Palestine, of which Cuba is a member and recently concluded its mandate as Chair of the Movement, remains active. That Committee has permanently supported the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people and the enjoyment of their inalienable rights as the main requirement to achieve a just and definitive peace in the region of the Middle East.

The Non-Aligned Movement Conferences of Head of State and Government have reiterated this commitment at the highest level. During the fifteenth summit conference, held in July 2009 in Egypt, non-aligned countries reviewed once more the grave situation remaining in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and expressed deep regret at the suffering of its people owing to the prolonged and brutal Israeli military occupation. They likewise expressed grave concern at the fact that the Palestinians continue to be denied their inalienable rights, inter alia, the right to self-determination and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their territories, as well as the full enjoyment of their sovereign and independent State.

Cuba reiterates its demand for an end the inhuman and illegal blockade and the closure of crossing points to the Gaza Strip by Israel, which denies freedom of circulation to the Palestinian civilian population, including sick people, students and humanitarian personnel; prevents access to humanitarian assistance and basic necessities; and prohibits every economic and trade relation between Gaza’s population with other countries and the Palestinian population in the West Bank.

Moreover, my country reaffirms its grave concern at the intensification of the Israeli policy of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including the confiscation of new lands from the Palestinian people; to the construction and expansion of illegal settlements; to the construction of the Wall of Shame; to the demolition of houses and the imposition of arbitrary and racist restrictions on residence and circulation, through a permit regime and hundreds of checkpoints all over the occupied Palestinian territory, especially in and around the occupied East Jerusalem.
Such policies and measures by Israel constitute serious and flagrant violations of international law, the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations, including Security Council resolution 497 (1981), the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice on 9 July 2004.

Cuba calls for a peaceful, just, and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for the defense of the right of the Palestinian people to exercise sovereignty in an independent State, on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The successive General Assembly and Security Council resolutions demanding the withdrawal of Israel from Palestine and the rest of the occupied Arab territories must be implemented.

The international community cannot remain inactive in the face of the outrages and violations committed by Israel with impunity against the Palestinian people. There is a need to put an end to the cycle of violence in that territory, including its extension to the West Bank, and to immediately open the borders with Gaza, allowing the circulation of goods and people, and the mitigation of the grave humanitarian crisis.

On this historical date, my country reiterates that it will not cease to demand a just and definitive global peace for the Palestinian people and, in general, the peoples of the Middle East, as well as the strict respect for all their rights, without exclusion.

I avail myself of this opportunity, Excellency, to renew to you the assurances of my highest and distinguished consideration, and to reaffirm the support of the Cuban Government and people to the exercise of your important responsibilities as Chairman of the Committee.


Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional
Integration of Ghana

[Original: English]

The Government and people of the Republic of Ghana join the international community in reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and in renewing the bonds of solidarity with them in their just pursuit of an independent and viable State within well-defined and internationally-recognized borders.

Ghana reiterates her commitment to a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the question of Palestine and fully supports on-going initiatives aimed at bringing about a resumption of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian side on the basis of mutual trust and respect.
To this end, Ghana recognizes that meaningful and productive negotiations can only take place in an atmosphere of peace and security, and calls on the two sides to desist from any actions that might derail the peace process.

May this occasion make a decisive turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and usher in a new era of stability, sustained economic growth and shared prosperity between Palestinians and Israelis, two peoples whose fates are inextricably bound.


Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

[Original: Japanese]
(Unofficial translation)

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to express anew, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, my sincere hope for the realization of a Middle East peace wherein a Palestinian State and Israel can co-exist in a peaceful manner.

Japan is convinced that the two-State solution is the only path towards peace and prosperity in the region. Japan remains determined to continuously support President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority under his leadership, in seeking peaceful co-existence and mutual prosperity with Israel leading to a just and lasting peace. Japan believes that it is incumbent upon both Israel and the Palestinians to fulfil their obligations under previous agreements such as the Road Map in order to achieve steady progress in the peace process, and calls upon both parties to do so.

Japan is concerned about the current situation, in which the peace talks have yet to be resumed despite the efforts of both Israel and the Palestinians, as well as the international community. We have called upon Israel, and take this opportunity to reiterate that call, to freeze its settlement activities, including “natural growth” in the West Bank, which includes East Jerusalem.

With regard to conditions in the Gaza Strip, we are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation, which has not shown improvement even 10 months after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). In order to ameliorate the situation on the ground, Japan urges Israel to ensure smooth access for people and goods to the Gaza Strip. At the same time, Japan calls on Hamas to abandon its policy of armed struggle against Israel and reaffirms its support for Egypt’s initiative towards reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

Japan will make further active and constructive efforts to contribute to constructing a viable and stable economy in accordance with the Program of the Thirteenth Government announced by the Palestinian Authority last August. We are steadily implementing our assistance totaling US$200 million announced last March. With regard to the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative, a medium and long-term effort for economic development through regional cooperation in the Jordan River Rift Valley, Japan is firmly committed to continue to advance the project through regional cooperation with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.

Japan will remain actively engaged in the international efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.


Fawzi Salloukh, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanon

[Original: Arabic]

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we look back at painful episodes in the history of the Palestinian people and the Arab world. We remember the Nakba, which has continued for over 61 years to the present day. Generation after generation, millions of Palestinians are affected by the onerous legacy of occupation, incursion and forced displacement. The Israeli occupier is continuing its policy of settlement and the continual appropriation of land, in addition to a series of ongoing practices, including the demolition of homes and violation of holy sites, with a view to eradicating the cultural, historical and religious character of Jerusalem, and cutting links with the West Bank by means of the racist separation barrier and security checkpoints. Israel also continues to besiege the Gaza Strip and deprive its population of the most basic means of subsistence, denying entry to building materials that are vital for reconstruction and imprisoning tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Lebanon, being committed to all just Arab issues, foremost among which is the Palestinian issue, and because developments have direct consequences for its security and stability, affirms its commitment to the process of finding a just and comprehensive peace settlement for the region. It is beyond question that if such peace is to be found, Israeli occupation must end and a commitment must be made to the international terms of reference that are included in the Arab Peace Initiative. The right of return of the Palestinian refugees must be affirmed and their resettlement rejected. It goes without saying that it is only a comprehensive and just peace that can pave the way for the realization of our aspirations to build secure societies, bring about economic and social development and prevent the build-up of a climate conducive to the spread of feelings of despair, hopelessness and extremism. The right of return is a fundamental component of a just and comprehensive peace because it is an inalienable political, legal and human right.

Against that background, Lebanon calls upon the international community to shoulder its responsibility to ensure the financial resources necessary for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to provide those refugees with humanitarian and household relief while they await a final and equitable solution to their problems, on the basis of United Nations resolutions.

On this occasion of solidarity, we are hopeful that we may be about to see the end of international silence with respect to the suffering of the Palestinian people and the beginning of an international consensus on achieving justice for this unjustly treated people, whose suffering and forced displacement have been unduly prolonged, and for the other Arab peoples who have suffered as a result of Israeli occupation and military operations that have for decades brought instability to the whole region.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians cannot remain under threat and bombardment in wretched camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In order to express solidarity with the Palestinian people, the most important thing that the world and the United Nations can do, therefore, is to give renewed consideration to the international resolutions and affirm that they must be implemented in full, with the aim of establishing an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinian refugees must be enabled to return to their land in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative and that return, together with the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, will contribute not only to the ending of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle, but also to the establishment of stability in the region and the ending of decades of wars and tragedies.


Ny Hasina Andriamanjato, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign
Affairs of Madagascar

[Original: French]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Madagascar wishes to express its deep sympathy and encouragement to the Palestinian people, for whom life has been a tragedy for many years. Their plight is one of the major priorities of the international community.

Many peace initiatives have been undertaken with a view to achieving a comprehensive and final settlement of the conflict. Unfortunately, no significant progress has been made. There is still no just and lasting peace in the region, and the situation remains precarious.

Aggression continues, putting the Palestinian people in increasing danger. Peace and security in Palestine are deteriorating. Property is being destroyed on a massive scale and world peace is threatened.
There is an urgent need to put an end to the conflict in the region.

Madagascar therefore encourages the international community to continue and to redouble its efforts to restore peace in that part of the world.

We commend the efforts undertaken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and agencies of the United Nations system, specifically the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which plays a vital role in assisting Palestinian refugees.

We should also pay special tribute to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his involvement and dedication in the search for a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict.

It is absolutely necessary that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and peace negotiations be resumed unconditionally.

In that regard, Madagascar is honoured to lend its voice to that of the international community.

The annual celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People reflects the determination of the international community to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, who have been experiencing much humanitarian suffering for several years.

The exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights requires respect for the principles set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, including the sovereign equality of States, respect for human dignity and the right to self-determination, independence and national sovereignty.

Madagascar hopes that the day will come when two independent States — Israel and Palestine — live side by side in security and peace.



Moctar Ouana, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation of Mali

[Original: French]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am pleased to transmit to you and to the Palestinian people, on behalf of the Government of Mali and on my own behalf, my most sincere and warm congratulations. I should like to take this opportunity to reaffirm to you the constant and unwavering support of the people and Government of the Republic of Mali for the just and noble cause of the Palestinian people with a view to the establishment of an independent and sovereign State. It is my sincere wish that the implementation of the resolutions from the various conferences on Palestine will culminate in the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State at peace with its neighbours.



Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico

[Original: Spanish]

The celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People allows the community of nations to reiterate its commitment to contribute to the resolution of this pending item of the international agenda. Mexico reaffirms its unconditional support for the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and their aspiration to establish an independent, sovereign and politically and economically viable State coexisting in peace with Israel within secure and internationally recognized borders.

My country supports the prompt resumption of the peace negotiations supported by the political will and the commitment of all parties to the conflict. These negotiations must be carried out in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, the Quartet Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. We are convinced that political dialogue and observance of international law are the only instruments for achieving peace. Any solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict must be comprehensive and take into account the definition of borders and the rights of refugees, as well as the status of the city of Jerusalem.



Walid Al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic

[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it gives me pleasure to express our deep appreciation of the role played annually by you and your esteemed Committee in organizing this important international event, which reminds the world of the tragedy of a people that has been suffering for 61 years.

We also highly value your sincere efforts made in solidarity with the Palestinian people, in support of its just struggle to attain the legitimate national rights of which it has been despoiled, including the right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State on national soil, with Jerusalem as its capital, and to guarantee the right of return of the Palestinian refugees in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions.

As we observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we wish to draw attention to the fact that the Israeli occupation authorities continue, on a daily basis, to perpetrate all types of brutal crimes against this people. Those crimes include the desecration of places of worship, the demolition of homes, the confiscation of lands, the destruction of agricultural land and the detention of thousands of innocent people, including the elderly, women and children.

In the light of the tragic and deteriorating conditions brought about by inhumane Israeli practices, it is regrettable that the Security Council, notwithstanding the demands of the majority of United Nations Member States and the urgent appeals of the international community, has been incapable of adopting decisive resolutions aimed at putting an end to Israeli practices and, in particular, settlement building in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

Israel continues to flout the more than 600 resolutions, in which it is requested to withdraw from occupied Arab territory, that have been adopted by the United Nations and its various agencies with a view to establishing a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region. In order to impose its policy of creating facts on the ground, Israel is continuing to construct the apartheid wall of separation and gradually annex Palestinian territory. As a result of that policy, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been transformed into large prison camps which lack the most basic standards of human rights and dignity.

At the end of 2008, Israel launched an aggressive war on Gaza, employing lethal weapons and leaving thousands dead and injured, including children, women and the elderly, in violation of numerous international and humanitarian instruments. That is proved in the conclusions drawn by the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict led by Justice Richard Goldstone, which are contained in the report that was issued in September 2009. The report includes evidence of the perpetration by Israel of grave violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international humanitarian law, and of Israeli acts that amount to war crimes and, possibly, crimes against humanity. Israel has recently increased its humanitarian violations and hostile activities in occupied Jerusalem, particularly its acts of aggression against the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Syria, which hosts some 500,000 Palestinian refugees, has always considered that there is a clear path towards a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, namely, implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 497 (1981) concerning the occupied Syrian Golan. Implementation may be achieved through the resumption of the Madrid peace process, begun in 1991, and the Arab Peace Initiative, which was adopted at the Beirut Summit in 2002 and reaffirmed by subsequent Arab and international summits, the most recent being the Doha Summit, held in March 2009, and supported by member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference at meetings, the most recent of which was its meeting of ministers for foreign affairs, held in Damascus in May 2009.

Permit us to use your forum once again in order to call on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and take earnest action to stop the Israeli machine of oppression, destruction and terrorism, which violates all international instruments and norms.

We highly appreciate the efforts of your esteemed Committee and call on you to continue your support and aid to the Palestinian people in its legitimate struggle to liberate its usurped land and regain all its legitimate rights, including the right of return. We assure you that the Syrian Arab Republic will be forthcoming with the support necessary to enable you to carry out this noble task.




D. Messages from Permanent Missions to the United Nations

Congo

[Original: French]

On behalf of my delegation, I should like to thank you for organizing this day, which commemorates the struggle of the Palestinian people to regain their legitimate rights.

My country, the Congo, has always supported, as a matter of principle, the aspiration of the Palestinian people to a viable, democratic and sovereign State — an indispensable guarantee of their full enjoyment of the rights which have been confiscated for six decades and which were further undermined by Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands in 1967.

This occupation was the starting point of the constant violations, on a broad scale, of all the civil, political, economic, social, cultural and human rights of the Palestinian people.

We commend the efforts and tenacity of the Palestinian people in their struggle to affirm and exercise their inalienable rights under extremely difficult circumstances.

The desperate situation of thousands of people condemned to live in exile in refugee camps in neighbouring countries has been exacerbated by the catastrophic humanitarian, security and political situation in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem.

The current impasse in the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine can only make this general situation worse.

My delegation urges the main protagonists in this crisis to create the conditions of trust needed for a resumption of dialogue, which should lead to the creation of a Palestinian State living side by side with Israel in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.

My delegation is concerned about Israel’s continuing illegal practices in East Jerusalem, including settlement activities and construction of the separation wall, despite the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. These practices create a de facto situation that is intolerable in view of the prior agreements signed by the parties, including the Road Map, and the relevant Security Council resolutions and prescriptions of international law.
Settlement activities, characterized by the construction of new settlements and the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes for the benefit of Israeli settlers, must cease.

In this connection, the announcement made on 7 September 2009 authorizing the establishment of 455 new settlements, which will involve the construction of 14,000 houses near the village of Al-Walaja to the south-west of Jerusalem, combined with the violence and provocation seen in and around the holy city, can only exacerbate the tensions and undermine the efforts being undertaken to relaunch the peace negotiations.

The disastrous humanitarian situation in Gaza, a place which has so far been a veritable open-air prison for its people owing to the restrictions and blockades imposed by the occupying Power, deteriorated even further following Operation Cast Lead which was conducted by the Israeli forces from December 2008 to January 2009 and which led to serious allegations of violations of humanitarian law.

In this connection, my delegation, not wishing to see the impunity continue, welcomes the adoption on 16 October 2009 by the Human Rights Council of resolution S-12/1B endorsing the recommendations contained in the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone.

Given the suffering and deprivation that the Palestinian people are enduring, my delegation welcomes the enormous amount of work being done on the ground by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

This institution, which just celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, is a veritable lifeline for the Palestinian people.

This is why the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is rightfully considered the “humanitarian conscience” of the international community and should be recognized as such.

In conclusion, I wish to commend the major role played by the Committee, which you so ably lead.



E. Messages from intergovernmental organizations having received a standing
invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the
General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters

European Union

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the European Union would like to reaffirm its commitment to a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the basis of international law, relevant Security Council resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including land for peace, the Road Map, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative. The European Union reiterates its commitment to the two-State solution with an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State, comprising the West Bank and Gaza, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel. The European Union will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by both parties. If there is to be genuine peace, a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two States.

The European Union confirms its readiness to work actively with the parties, the United States of America, other Quartet members and Arab partners to achieve this goal. The European Union is ready to contribute substantially to post-conflict arrangements aimed at ensuring the sustainability of peace agreements, addressing also regional economic and security dimensions.

The European Union remains deeply concerned at the continued settlement activities, house demolitions and evictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including in East Jerusalem. It calls for an immediate end to settlement activities, including natural growth.

The European Union would like to see a durable solution to the Gaza crisis through the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). The European Union deeply deplores the loss of life during the Gaza conflict, particularly the civilian casualties.

The European Union stands ready to further develop and enhance its bilateral relations with the Palestinian Authority in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy. It will promote Palestinian State-building and intensify work in partnership with the Palestinian Authority towards further implementation of the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. This will involve a broad range of areas, including health care, education, governance, customs, public financial management, human rights and the rule of law. The European Union welcomes the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to develop an effective and reformed security sector and will cooperate towards additional improvement in restoring law and order, countering terrorism, implementing a more comprehensive security strategy and developing an effective and reformed security sector and criminal justice system. Civil police and justice will continue to be a focus of European Union support, through the assistance provided by the European Union Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support, the European Commission and Member States, and in close coordination with the United States and other partners.

In the light of further developments at the political level and on the ground, the European Union will carefully assess how its policies and programmes can promote concrete and early results on the path of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict.


Organization of the Islamic Conference: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General

[Original: Arabic]
(Unofficial translation)

The 29th of November every year is an opportunity to reaffirm the solidarity of the international community with the Palestinian people in implementation of General Assembly resolution 32/40. It is also a demonstration of the commitment of the United Nations to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people to restore all their inalienable rights.

On this occasion, it is my sincere pleasure to express the appreciation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and its Member States to the role of the United Nations, its organs and committees in informing of the Palestinian cause, and to the support and assistance it accords to the Palestinian people in their just struggle to restore all their inalienable national rights. In particular, I would like to commend the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the distinguished efforts which Your Excellency exerts in this regard.

The International Day of Solidarity with The Palestinian People comes this year amidst the escalation of the Israeli aggression on the Palestinians in all territories. The ferocity of Israeli violations of international law has exacerbated in the occupied city of Al-Quds where the Israeli occupation authorities are conducting a systematic operation aimed at altering the Arab-Islamic character of the city through Judaization, attacks on its holy sites, tampering with its history and attempting to alter its demographic fabric. This is being attempted through driving out the Palestinian population, seizing their lands and houses by force, and replacing them with foreign settlers in a flagrant violation of international law, international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention concerning occupied territories. The city of Al-Quds has recently witnessed massive expulsions of Palestinian families after the seizure of their houses in the Selwan district and the Sheikh Jarrah suburb in occupied east Al-Quds.

Meanwhile, Israel has intensified its violations of the holy sites of the occupied city of Al-Quds. The Israeli police are breaking into the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and allowing the most extremist Jews to enter its compound and pray in it, which will stir anger and result in further escalation of tension. Along with these provocative acts, the Israeli occupation authorities are conducting excavations beneath the holy Mosque, causing cracks in its walls and threatening its foundations in a flagrant violation of international law, which prohibits an occupying State from tampering, damaging or changing the existing condition of religious and historical sites in the occupied territories, Therefore, we reaffirm that these Israeli practices are rejected and null and void.

The expanded Ministerial Meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, held early this month, stressed that Al-Quds is central to all the Muslim Ummah and that any violation of its Islamic and Christian sanctities will result in a serious aggravation of the situation in the region, Therefore, the meeting called upon the international community to shoulder its responsibilities in preserving the historical and civilizational identity of the city of Al-Quds.

In addition to its violations in Al-Quds, Israel continues its policy of settlement, confiscation of Palestinian land, and building and expansion of settlements in an ongoing violation of international law and the decision of the International Court of Justice. Similarly, Israel continues to impose the unjust blockade on the Gaza Strip and deprives it from necessary materials, such as medicine, food and the construction materials needed for rebuilding what was destroyed by the latest Israeli aggression against Gaza, which left thousands of Palestinian families homeless even after one year has elapsed since the ordeal.

Israel’s disallowing of construction materials into Gaza to rebuild what was destroyed by its war machinery is a continuation of aggression and a perpetuation of the suffering of the Palestinian people, the victim of aggression. Thus, the international community must condemn such inhuman practices and compel the Israelis to lift the blockade on Gaza.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, since the early days of the war on Gaza, has called for bringing the Israeli war criminals to justice for the crimes they committed against unarmed civilians and also for the serious violations of international law committed during the brutal aggression. The Organization of the Islamic Conference and its member States also expressed support for the report submitted by Justice Goldstone to the Human Rights Council and called for the implementation of the decision of the Human Rights Council and the resolution of the General Assembly in this respect. It is high time for international justice to take its course and for Israel to submit to international will and to be compelled to commit to the provisions of international law which it has incessantly violated and acted as though it is an above-the-law State, immune to its provisions. We believe that the investigation commenced by Justice Goldstone must not only bring the Israeli perpetrators to justice to pay for their crimes but also prevent Israel recommitting such crimes.
The failure to find a just solution to the Palestinian cause, the core of conflict in the Middle East, has become a reason for instability in the region and a threat to international peace and security. Therefore, the international community should make serious and vigorous efforts to compel Israel to commit to the conditions of the peace process and to respect and implement the agreements and understandings reached in the context of this process.

In this vein, we are calling on the international community, its acting parties and sponsors of the Middle East peace process to pay due attention to the Middle East conflict and to build on the agreements and understandings reached in order to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement based on the legitimacy of international resolutions, the land-for-peace principle and the Arab Initiative. Such agreement must ensure the end of the Israeli occupation which started in 1967 and the Palestinians’ access to their inalienable national rights to freedom and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Ash-Sharqiya as its capital.

To conclude, I would like to affirm the solidarity of the Organization of the Islamic Conference with the Palestinian people in its pursuit of restoring its inalienable national rights, including the right to return, freedom, self-determination and the establishment of its independent Palestinian State on its national soil with Al-Quds Ash-Sharqiya as its capital.

I wish your meeting all success in reaching its noble goals.


Messages from non-governmental organizations

Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization

[Original: Arabic]

On 4 November 2009, we had the honour to receive your letter concerning the observance on 30 November 2009 of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In that letter, the Committee encouraged civil society organizations to declare solidarity with the Palestinian people. The commemoration includes the organization of local activities, meetings and exhibitions designed to demonstrate that solidarity.

The Afro-Asian Peoples’ Solidarity Organization demonstrates its solidarity with the Palestinian people throughout the year, because that people is alone in the world in not yet having obtained its right to self-determination, liberation and the establishment of an independent State.

We constantly make statements in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people in defence of its inalienable rights, and call upon local, regional and international non-governmental organizations to stand shoulder to shoulder with that people. We have done that with respect to the Judaization of Jerusalem, the continued building of settlements and the Goldstone report on war crimes. We have also called upon the Palestinian brothers to unite, given that unity is fundamental to the achievement of their goals.

The organization issues a weekly publication on the Palestinian question, and news of Palestine constitutes an important part of the monthly solidarity bulletin that is published by the permanent secretariat of the organization. A regular meeting of Arab solidarity committees will be held in Tripoli on 14 and 15 December 2009, and the issue of Palestine will be an important agenda item. Developments in the situation will be discussed, as will the Goldstone report and the choice of Jerusalem as Arab Cultural Capital for 2009. The aim is to muster the greatest possible Arab popular solidarity with the rights of the Palestinian people and ensure cross-border support.




Caritas Jerusalem

[Original: English]

Today, as we observe the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians, we remember the dispossession and displacement of thousands of Palestinian families as a result of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. For 62 years, Palestinians have been deprived of their inalienable right to self-determination, and a Palestinian State has not yet seen light. The 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has deepened the suffering and pain of the Palestinians; numerous political efforts and initiatives have come to pass over the past decades, to no avail, and the situation in the Palestinian territories is increasingly troubling.

Approximately 1,450 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,500 injured last year in Gaza and the West Bank, while the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip also caused severe destruction of property and infrastructure. The Separation Barrier, with more than 500 checkpoints and other physical barriers, continues to fragment Palestinian society territorially, economically, socially and politically. Israeli settlements also continue to confiscate thousands of acres of land and deprive thousands of Palestinian families of their livelihoods. Such actions not only constitute a blatant violation of international law, but also represent an egregious obstacle to peace and reconciliation.

Persistent and pervasive policies continue to undermine and disregard the rights and dignity of Palestinians. House dmo1itions, obstruction of movement, prolonged closures and daily humiliation at crossing points are among many of the realities that Palestinians must face on a daily basis. One may wonder how there can be a peace process when the daily fabric of life is torn apart, both overtly and covertly. Where, among their depleted resources, can Palestinians find the motivation for dialogue for new paths to peace to be forged?

The appalling act of Israel few days ago is a sign of the continuous episode of aggression and displacement against Palestinians. As the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the expansion of the Jewish Nof Zion settlement in East Jerusalem was being held, Israeli bulldozers demolished two Palestinian homes in Isawiyah in East Jerusalem.

The deteriorating situation in the West Bank and Gaza demands immediate action, both on the ground and by the international community, for nothing can justify the continuous and continual suffering of innocent men, women and children. It is now time for peace and stability between Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that a vision to end the occupation, to end the conflict and allow two States to live side-by-side is a vision of peace, justice and reconciliation between the two peoples of the Holy Land and is still possible despite the despair and hopelessness.
Solidarity needs action, and we therefore call on Governments and the international community to take concrete steps that will lead to peace and stability in this land. We appeal to all nations to work on the implementation of United Nations resolutions, international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, so that the establishment of a sovereign and viable Palestinian State remains not a dream, but holds a genuine hope of becoming reality.

We are certain that peace is possible, and therefore we pray to the God of all to bring peace, justice, and reconciliation to all of His children in the Holy Land.


United Nations Association of Egypt

[Original: Arabic]

On behalf of the members of the Egyptian United Nations Association who are meeting in Cairo to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the honour to thank the international organization for the support it extends in many fields to the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and to commend it for the firm and resolute stance it has taken against the Israeli violations in Gaza and the situation that it has witnessed for itself in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We trust that you will take whatever measures are necessary to stop Israeli settlement activity which, in Jerusalem, is endeavouring to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. We commend you for adopting a stance in defence of that mosque, which is enormously important for all Muslims.


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