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        General Assembly
14 December 2007

Original: English

Sixty-second session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 39th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 8 November 2007, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. Wolfe ........................................................................................... (Jamaica)



Agenda item 68: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (continued )

(a) Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (continued)

(b) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action ( continued)*

Agenda item 69: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)*

*Items which the Committee has decided to consider together.

The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.


Agenda item 69: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued ) (A/62/184 and A/62/301)


34. Mr. Attiya (Egypt) said that the right to resist occupation was no less sacred than the right to self-defence, especially when facing illegal situations on the ground. Israel continued to prevent the Palestinian people from exercising their undeniable right to self-determination, through the establishment of an independent State on their occupied lands. ...


36. Egypt looked forward to specific recommendations by the Secretary-General on enabling the Human Rights Council to investigate and address the Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israel’s actions had contributed to the rise in poverty and unemployment to their highest levels in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem. Furthermore, the ability of the Palestinian people to exercise their legitimate right to self-determination and to establish an independent sovereign State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, had been severely curtailed.

37. He reiterated the importance of strengthening the United Nations role in dealing with the protection of the human rights of the Palestinian people, along with other Arab people who were under occupation and systematically subjected to violations and intrusion. Egypt also looked forward to greater engagement on the part of the Organization, through its role in the Quartet, in confidence-building efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace founded on the terms of reference of the peace process and the Arab Peace Initiative. His delegation also hoped for greater United Nations engagement in ensuring the enjoyment of the right to self-determination and other human rights by all people.


39. Mr. Nikooharaf Tamiz (Islamic Republic of Iran) ...


41. The gross and systematic violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories remained a matter of deep concern. The international community should continue to work to enforce the full implementation of all relevant United Nations resolutions, including Human Rights Council resolution S-1/1. His delegation welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 on implementation of General Assembly resolution 60/251 (A/HRC/4/17), which described some of the racist activities of the occupying Power.

42. Living conditions in Gaza were bleak. The indiscriminate and excessive use of force against civilians, the destruction of infrastructure and restrictions on freedom of movement constituted a gross form of collective punishment. The Wall currently under construction in Palestinian territory, checkpoints, settlements, house demolitions, targeted assassinations and other violations infringed a wide range of civil and political rights. The General Assembly must speak up for the human rights of the Palestinian people and demand an end to Israel’s occupation. Joint action against racism was urgently needed more than ever before. His Government stood ready to cooperate closely with the international community to eradicate that scourge.

43. Mr. Hijazi (Observer for Palestine) said that the Palestinian people had been victims of racism for nearly a century. Hundreds of thousands had been forcibly expelled, denied identity cards and stripped of their livelihoods and dignity. Generations had since been born and lived their lives as refugees. Currently, millions were denied the inherent human right of return to their homes, while any person of the Jewish faith born anywhere in the world enjoyed the right of immigration and citizenship. Israeli law guaranteed the right of so-called return based on religion and race, and Israeli politicians shamelessly referred to the supposed demographic danger posed by the indigenous non-Jewish Palestinian population.

44. The 40-year Israeli occupation constituted an illegitimate, institutionalized system of colonization, racial discrimination and apartheid. Israel, the occupying Power, had violated the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and other instruments of international human rights and humanitarian law.

45. Nearly 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, were denied the right to move freely within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the meantime, about 460,000 Israeli settlers enjoyed a sophisticated network of Israeli roads to which Palestinians were denied access unless they obtained a permit. The oppressive and often degrading permit system was a morally repugnant replica of the apartheid pass system.

46. Israel continued to construct the illegal separation Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, despite the clear ruling of the International Court of Justice in 2004 that the Wall and the settlements for which it was being built were illegal and must be dismantled. The colonialist Wall reflected the Israeli Government’s racist ideology of separation and exclusivity and thwarted the chances for an independent Palestinian State. The decades of oppression and racism experienced by the Palestinian people could be redressed only through the exercise of their inalienable right to self-determination.


52. Mr. Vundavalli (India) ...


53. India also commended the report of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (A/62/301). It had maintained unwavering support for and solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle to regain their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination. His country had consistently urged the resumption of a direct dialogue among the main parties through the Quartet principals and supported the Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (S/2003/529).


56. Ms. Halabi (Syrian Arab Republic) ...


57. In her own region, Palestinians and Syrians continued to be displaced by settlements based on a racist ideology that aimed to alter the demographic makeup of the occupied territories. The continued construction of the racist separation barrier by Israel displayed flagrant disregard for the very international system that had established it as a State in the first place. Israel behaved like a recalcitrant child towards the United Nations, which had presided over its birth but neglected to educate it properly. Former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and numerous United Nations reports had covered those issues, and his delegation looked forward to seeing them addressed at the upcoming Durban Review Conference.

58. The right to self-determination had been affirmed by the Charter of the United Nations, numerous General Assembly resolutions and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It was saddening to see the United Nations work diligently to ensure the right of self-determination for remote islands with populations of a few thousand while it failed to hold Israel accountable for depriving millions of Palestinians of that right. Ensuring the Palestinian people’s right of self-determination was a political and moral obligation for the international community that was being flouted daily by Israel and its supporters.


70. Mr. Al-Saif (Kuwait), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, recalled that at the afternoon meeting on Wednesday, 31 October, the representative of Israel had referred to a situation in Kuwait in 1991. What the Israeli delegate had said was a regrettable and unwise attempt to muffle the support of Kuwait for the Palestinian people and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967. It was notable that the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs referred to the latter only as “a United Nations human rights rapporteur”. A rapporteur for what issue? God and the rest of the world knew — excluding, of course, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

71. Unless Israel acknowledged and put an end to its occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights, it could count on Kuwait and most of the countries of the world to bring its flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law to the attention of the Committee and other international forums. Any problems that Israel had with what the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 had mentioned in his latest report would not go away with misleading statements by the delegation of Israel.

72. Lastly, he wished to cite the view expressed by a famous Israeli figure about the behaviour of his country. Avraham Burg, the Speaker of the Israeli Parliament from 1993 to 2003, had stated in an article written in 2003: “It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies”.


The meeting rose at 12.45 p.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.

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