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1. Mr. Al-Zayani (Bahrain) said that he was acutely disturbed by the information contained in the 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/60/380), indicating as it did that the human rights situation in the occupied territories had taken a further downward turn as a result of the increasingly repressive measures adopted by the Israeli forces with the aim of quashing all Palestinian aspirations for ultimate freedom from the occupation. Although it had been denied access to the occupied territories, the Special Committee had nevertheless exerted tireless efforts to gather that information, which painted a depressing picture of the humanitarian and economic conditions endured by the long-suffering Palestinians and Syrian Arabs living under armed occupation. In addition to its gross violations of human rights, Israel systematically pursued a policy of annexation and settlement that was illegitimate and contrary to various international conventions and United Nations resolutions, thereby posing a serious obstacle to the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. The recent developments in connection with Israeli settlements represented a further aspect of the Palestinians’ gradual loss of control over their national identity and lands, which were losing their contiguity owing to the construction of the separation wall, road closures and checkpoints. Such policies had a profound impact on life in the occupied territories, where the economy had shrunk, leading to higher unemployment and wider poverty.
2. He was perplexed by the relentless appetite for the demolition of homes, the destruction of property and the violation of rights provided for in international instruments, such as the right to life, freedom, personal security, education and worship. Furthermore, the suffering of the Palestinians had been heightened by the continuing construction of the separation wall, the details and effects of which were set forth in paragraph 37 of the Special Committee’s report. The wall also undermined the national identity of the Palestinians, as well as their legitimate demands for the return of their lands, which were being divided up into isolated patches.
3. In the occupied Syrian Golan, human rights were violated by a variety of Israeli practices, including the expansion of existing settlements, the construction of new settlements, the diversion of water resources and the burial of nuclear waste, while landmines laid close to villages and fields continued to threaten lives. There was a drain on the land and population and the economy was being linked to the Israeli economy. In addition, the civilization, history and geography of the occupied area was being systematically distorted with the aim of erasing its Arab character and wiping the Arab culture and heritage from the minds of its Syrian inhabitants. Such practices were apparently designed firmly to establish the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan in contravention of United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and General Assembly resolution 59/33 of 2004.
4. A just and comprehensive peace was a strategic option for which to strive through the implementation of the relevant United Nations resolutions and the fulfilment of all agreements and commitments, the Madrid terms of reference, the principle of peace for land, the Arab peace initiative and the road map. The suffering of the Palestinian people and of the Syrian Arabs in the occupied Syrian Golan would never end as long as the Israeli occupation and settlement continued. Nor would human rights and fundamental freedoms be safeguarded in accordance with international instruments until the Israeli occupation of all occupied Arab territories came to an end and the Palestinian people realized their inalienable rights and achieved the establishment of their own independent State on their soil, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Agenda item 30: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (continued) (A/C.4/60/L.9-L.12 and L.18)
Agenda item 31: Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (continued) (A/C.4/60/L.13-L.17)
5. The Chairman drew attention to draft resolutions A/C.4/60/L.9 to L.12 and draft decision A/C.4/60/L.18 under agenda item 30, and to draft resolutions A/C.4/60/L.13 to L.17 under agenda item 31.
6. Mr. Panggabean (Indonesia), introducing the draft resolutions under agenda item 30, (A/C.4/60/L.9 to L.12), said that the texts were much the same as those adopted at the previous session, with some changes to reflect recent developments. While there had been some positive contact between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, violence, restrictions and a humanitarian crisis still persisted in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
7. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.9 on assistance to Palestine refugees, he drew particular attention to the fifth and eighth preambular paragraphs and to paragraph 1. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.10 on persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities, he highlighted paragraphs 1 and 2 and the calls for humanitarian assistance to displaced Palestinians in paragraphs 3 and 4. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.11 on the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he drew particular attention to the ninth, tenth, thirteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth preambular paragraphs and also to paragraphs 5, 9, 10 and 11. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.12 on Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues, he singled out the first and fourth preambular paragraphs and paragraphs 1 and 5.
8. The sponsors hoped that the draft resolutions would receive the broadest possible support, reflecting the international community’s firm and continuing support for the important humanitarian work done by UNRWA under very difficult circumstances and for the Palestine refugees.
9. Mr. La Rosa Domínguez (Cuba), after deploring the situation that still prevailed in the occupied Arab territories and expressing support for the Palestinian cause and the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, introduced the draft resolutions under agenda item 31 (A/C.4/60/L.13 to L.17).
10. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.13 on the work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, he referred in particular to paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 and noted that the text reaffirmed the value of the Special Committee’s work by requesting it to continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices that were detrimental to the Palestinian people and requesting the Secretary-General to provide the facilities needed for it to perform its work. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.14 on the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories, he drew special attention to the provisions of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 4. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.15 on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan, he singled out paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.16 on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, he drew attention to the sixteenth to twentieth preambular paragraphs, detailing the systematic human rights violations stemming from Israel’s actions in the Territory, and to certain provisions of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. In draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.17 on the occupied Syrian Golan, he referred in particular to paragraphs 1 and 2.
11. He hoped that all delegations would vote in favour of those draft resolutions and thereby place on record their resolute backing for the Palestinian cause.
12. Mr. Zhang (Secretary of the Committee) said that draft resolutions A/C.4/60/L.9 to L.12 under agenda item 30 and L.14 to L.17 under agenda item 31 had no programme budget implications. As for draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.13, which would involve expenditure for the activities stipulated in paragraph 8 (a), (b), (c) and (d), he drew the Committee’s attention, under rule 153 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly, to a statement by the Secretary-General which, while drawing attention to the fact that administrative and budgetary matters properly fell within the purview of the Fifth Committee and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, as reaffirmed in resolution 45/248 B, section VI, indicated that the adoption of draft resolution A/C.4/60/L.13 would not entail any appropriation for the biennium 2006-2007 additional to the $237,500 allocated to the Special Committee from the total proposed programme budget of $67,493,200 under section 23, Human rights.
13. With regard to the draft decision submitted by the Chairman (A/C.4/60/L.18) under agenda item 30, on an increase in the membership of the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, he drew the Committee’s attention, again under rule 153 of the rules of procedure, to a statement by the Secretary-General indicating that any expenditure arising from the dedicated secretariat support expected to be required after the expansion of the Advisory Commission to 20 members from the current 10, called for in paragraph (b) of the draft decision, would be covered by UNRWA extrabudgetary resources for the biennium 2008-2009; no additional appropriation would therefore be required from the proposed programme budget under section 25, Palestine refugees, for the biennium 2006-2007.
14. Ms. Cousins (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union, asked the Committee to defer action on all the draft proposals before it. Good progress was being made in the consultations on some of them, but the European Union needed more time to finalize a few outstanding issues.
15. The Chairman said he took it that the Committee wished to defer action on all the draft proposals submitted under agenda items 30 and 31.
16. It was so decided.
The meeting rose at 11.05 a.m.
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.