Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

English (pdf) ||Arabic||Chinese||Français||Русский||Español||

Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS


        General Assembly
15 November 2001

Official Records
General Assembly
Fifty-sixth session
54th plenary meeting
Thursday, 15 November 2001, 9 a.m.
New York

President:Mr. Han Seung-soo ..............................................................(Republic of Korea)

The meeting was called to order at 9 a.m.

Agenda item 9 (continued)

General debate

The President: I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Youssouf Ouédraogo, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso.

Mr. Ouédraogo (Burkina Faso) (spoke in French ): ...


Attacking these injustices means necessarily that we have to find a solution to the question of the Middle East. The right of the Palestinians to establish an independent State, respectful of the existence and security of Israel, is a sine qua non here. Because of the continuing tension in that part of the world, convening a special international conference on the subject at the earliest possible date is necessary.


The President : I now call on His Excellency Mr. Hassan Wirayuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia.

Mr. Wirayuda (Indonesia): ...


In the Middle East, the killing of innocent Palestinians continues even while Israeli forces partially withdraw from occupied Palestinian towns. For as long as the inalienable right of the Palestinians to self-determination is being violated with impunity, there can be no lasting peace in that part of the world.


The President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel.

Mr. Peres (Israel): ...


America’s war on terrorism is the war of all of us. By “us”, I mean every country in this Assembly and every human being on this planet. Bin Laden claims that he fights crusaders, who no longer exist. Bin Laden claims that he wants to help the Palestinians, but in the eyes of the Palestinians, he is an obstacle, not an aid.

Israel made peace with Egypt and returned all the land and water without bin Ladens, without terror. We did likewise with the Jordanians — not because of terror, but because terror came to an end. At Camp David in July 2000, we offered the Palestinians practically all the land without bin Ladens, without terror. And if there remained a difference of 1 or 2 per cent, that does not justify the killing of thousands of men and women in America. Political differences do not justify murdering even a single child, no matter of which nation.


We pray wholeheartedly from the great and united city of Jerusalem, as we did in the early days of our existence, that we shall know again how to distinguish between good and evil, between tohu va’vo-hu — chaos — and a new tomorrow. Our region gave birth to the greatest prophets, their moral dictums setting the moral fabric of our society. They have guided us to trust and follow reason and realism. But we were forced to follow funerals more than reason. This has exacted a heavy price from Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze. It is time that we rediscovered the Ten Commandments, holy to all of us.

Right now it looks as if we are again sinking into the past. The emotional conflict is greater than the territorial gap. It is more difficult to muster the strength and summon the spirit than to divide the land. In spite of these difficulties, I daresay there is a hidden opportunity in the vast divide. I feel strongly that while we cannot recover lost time, we can introduce a new vista in the Middle East.

Until now, the world related to the Middle East. Now the Middle East has to relate to the new world. Our neighbours — Palestinians and Arabs — know that Israel is committed to contribute whatever it can to renew a real peace process — not by force, not by imposition, not by unilateral action, but through a negotiated agreement, an agreed peace. There is no peace but an agreed peace. Just as one cannot applaud with one hand, there cannot be a one-handed peace.

Problems, naturally, have a date of birth. Solutions must reach their maturity. It may not happen at once, but it will happen. Yesterday, you would hardly find, for example, support for a Palestinian State and, although this is not yet a formal policy of the Government of Israel, there is now support for Palestinian independence and for a Palestinian State. We do not want to dominate the Palestinians; we want them to breathe freedom, to create a new economy, to maintain their traditions, to enjoy the highest level of education and to provide real security to all parties.


The Palestinian Authority, which is a State in being, must establish one authority over all arms, all armies and all use of arms, not for the sake of Israel, but for the sake of peace and for the sake of its own destiny, so that bullets will not negate ballots.

As long as terror persists, Israel has no choice but to defend its people. The word “terror” does not describe an abstract dilemma for us. It refers to a reality of between 30 to 40 violent incidents every day — shootings, bombings, ambushes and killings. It is perpetrated by suicide bombers who have no respect for life, either their own or that of others. The only place they can be intercepted is at the point from which they depart.

Israel is, by definition, an experienced member of the anti-terror camp. We know that terror can never win if people protect and preserve their fundamental security. Terror is strong as long as anti-terror is weak and terror is frightening as long as people are afraid of it. Terror basically represents cowardliness and does not serve any real purpose. Terror neither follows justice nor serves goals. It is not a remedy; it is a malady.


The President : I call on His Excellency Mr. Samuel Insanally, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guyana and former President of the General Assembly.

Mr. Insanally (Guyana): ...


In keeping with the spirit and substance of our historic compromise, we must act responsibly to remove from our midst all threats to global peace and security. Foremost among these is the situation in the Middle East, at the core of which is the Palestinian problem, stemming from the persistent denial to an entire people of the enjoyment of their basic and inalienable rights. The peace process must be immediately re-engaged with seriousness of purpose and determination to put an end, once and for all, to the senseless violence and bloodshed which has been the unhappy fate of the Palestinian people and others. They, as well as all other peoples in the region, must be allowed to live in a State of their own, free from fear or want, within safe and secure borders. However, it is not only the Middle East which suffers from the ravages of conflict. In far too many places — in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe, the risk of violence is ever present, fuelled by a variety of factors and made more dangerous by the possibility of further conflagration. To avert these threats, we must fully utilize the machinery provided in the Charter for the peaceful settlement of disputes.


... His Excellency Mr. Souef Mohamed El-Amine, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Comoros.

Mr. El-Amine (Comoros) (spoke in French ): ...


This requires an objective political reading of the situation prevailing in areas of tension throughout the world. From that perspective, the situation in the occupied Arab territories, among other problems, calls for our attention today. The Palestinian people has the same right as every other nation on Earth to life, happiness, prosperity, peace and security. That is why, in respect for the law and in order to reach a just, lasting and definitive solution to this problem, the Comorian Government believes that an independent Palestinian State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is necessary. From another point of view, the United Nations has the responsibility to safeguard the welfare of peoples. That entails guaranteeing the conditions for a better life by protecting fundamental human rights.


The President : I now call on His Excellency Mr. João Bernardo de Miranda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Angola.

Mr. de Miranda (Angola) (spoke in Portuguese; English text provided by the delegation): ...


Angola is also concerned with the deterioration of the peace process in the Middle East, which has resulted from the recent intensification of the violence. We believe that a resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine will require negotiations. We therefore appeal to the parties to continue their dialogue and to abide by the agreements they signed and by the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.


The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Sudan.

Mr. Osman (Sudan) (spoke in Arabic): ...


With regard to the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, the Sudan expresses its deep concern at the stalemate in the peace process and reaffirms the need for total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories in accordance with United Nations resolutions. This will enable the Palestinian people to regain its sovereignty over its territories and establish its independent State with holy Jerusalem as its capital, and allow sisterly Syria and Lebanon to restore their sovereignty over all their occupied territories.


The Acting President : I call on His Excellency Mr. Abdullah Alsaidi, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yemen.

Mr. Alsaidi (Yemen) (spoke in Arabic): ...


Logically, it follows that the Security Council should put an end to the crimes committed daily by Israel against the Palestinian people forcing Israel to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories and to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy, first and foremost of which are Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). In this regard, the Republic of Yemen proclaims that it welcomes President George W. Bush’s statement on the necessity of establishing a Palestinian State with all the elements of sovereignty. This declaration has met with ever-increasing international support. Israel must realize that its security is bound up with its neighbour’s security and that its secure future lies in the inevitable acceptance of the Palestinian people’s right to establish their own independent State and in its respecting the Palestinians’ sovereignty over their territory.


The meeting rose at 1.15 p.m.

This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-178. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter