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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
276th Meeting (AM)
GA/PAL/936
1 December 2003

SECRETARY-GENERAL MARKS DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIANS BY CALLING FOR INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE IN MIDDLE EAST


It Would Hold Israelis, Palestinians To Their Commitments Under Road Map, He Tells Committee



Secretary-General Kofi Annan today repeated his call for an international presence to help hold Israel and the Palestinians to their obligations and commitments under the Road Map, as he addressed the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Participating in the Committee’s observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, he said the terrible events of the past three years and the dire situation on the ground were proof that the more each side harmed the other, the more it wounded itself, increasingly jeopardizing chances for peace.  The parties must be judged not by their stated intentions, but by their actions.  The Israeli Government had declared its readiness to carry out its Road Map obligations, while a new Palestinian Authority Cabinet was in place with the declared intention of controlling violence and combat terrorism.  There was also hope that the two Prime Ministers might meet soon and that there would be another ceasefire.

[Under a 20 December 2002 agreement by the Quartet -- Russian Federation, United States, European Union and United Nations -- on the text of the Road Map, Israel and the Palestinian side would take a series of parallel and reciprocal steps culminating in a two-State solution by 2005.]

Speaking today on behalf of Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, Nasser Al-Kidwa, Observer for Palestine, said that the occupation’s grip had tightened in the past year, and the barbarism of the associated practices and repressive measures had become more marked.  In addition to its continued settlement of Palestinian land, Israel had continued to construct an “apartheid separation and expansionist wall”.  Such actions nurtured the seeds of malice and hatred, ending the prospects for peace.  The Palestinian Authority reiterated its appeal for the prompt dispatch of international observers to oversee implementation of the Road Map.

Detailing the disappointing setbacks to the peace process, Committee Chairman Papa Louis Fall (Senegal), said that both the Israelis and Palestinians had become increasingly frustrated and impatient over the stalled peace process.  Recently, however, promising developments, such as the confirmation of a new Palestinian Cabinet ready to work for a ceasefire, had indicated movement on the political front.  And, to reinvigorate efforts to get the two sides together again, the Security Council had reaffirmed on 19 November its vision of a two-State solution and emphasized the need for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

Chithambaranathan Mahendran (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the occupied territories, said that the vigorous implementation of Israel’s elaborate system of regulations, designed to enhance control over the Palestinian people, had created fear, despondency and hopelessness.  In addition, the nature of the separation wall had led the Special Committee to believe that it was to be a permanent border between Israel and the occupied territories.  Emphasizing that the international community must remain fully engaged in finding a negotiated settlement to the conflict, he called for the establishment by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of a “system of continuous cooperation” with the Israeli authorities.

Other speakers today included Security Council President Stefan Tafrov (Bulgaria) and General Assembly President Julian Hunte (Saint Lucia).

Also speaking today were the representatives of:  Malaysia (on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement); Iran (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference); and Mozambique (on behalf of the African Union).

Representatives of the League of Arab States, International Coordinating Network on Palestine, and the Palestine Liberation Organization also made statements.

Background

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met this morning in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

In its resolution 32/40 of 2 December 1977 and subsequent texts, the Assembly called for the annual observance of the day in recognition of the need to promote and support the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination, peace and independence.

Statements

PAPA LOUIS FALL (Senegal), Committee Chairman, recalled that 56 years ago, the General Assembly had terminated the mandate of Palestine and provided for the formation of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State”, with Jerusalem under a special international regime.  The State of Israel had been proclaimed without delay the following year, while the Arab State, which was to be for the Palestinians, had not yet come into being.  Israel had since occupied Palestinian territory, annexing land, displacing the population, destroying homes and property, and causing the loss of lives.  Palestinians today lived in appalling circumstances and were subjected to military raids and extra-judicial killings, individual and collective punishment, destruction of public infrastructure and the devastation of farmlands.  Palestinians had become refugees in their own homeland, deprived of their basic rights.  Finding a solution to the conflict had been a major concern of the international community.

Various initiatives had been undertaken, giving rise to hope that peace in the Middle East was within reach, he said.  In recent years, however, the relative calm had unravelled, igniting the Al-Aqsa intifada.  The death toll since September 2000 was now close to 4,000 - 2,947 Palestinians and 862 Israelis, including approximately 600 Palestinian children and 100 Israeli children.  Some 47,000 more Palestinians had been wounded.  Israel had intensified the construction of illegal settlements and outposts, road networks, and the demolition of Palestinian homes and property.  More than 5,000 settlers had moved into the occupied territory since January, bringing to 230,000 the total number of settlers.  As if the illegal settlement construction had not already deprived Palestinians of their ancestral land, the Government of Israel had embarked on the building of a separation wall in the West Bank.  The construction of settlements and the separation wall had resulted in the annexation of Palestinian land, predetermining the outcome of future negotiations, and seriously complicating any possibility of establishing a contiguous Palestinian State.  Those actions also further deepened the humiliation and inflamed the anger already felt by Palestinians towards the occupying Power.  Also, the Israeli army had conducted regular military raids, repeatedly reoccupying Palestinian cities, imposing closures and curfews, and causing great human suffering.

He said that the Committee, while recognizing Israel’s right to security, vigorously condemned the policy and practice of targeted assassinations.  It had also strongly condemned all terrorist attacks against civilians in Israel that did not have any moral justification and harmed the noble cause of peace and reconciliation.  The Committee also found it unacceptable that Chairman Yasser Arafat remained confined by the Israeli Army to his Headquarters in Ramallah.   The international community, by a vote during the Tenth Emergency Session of the General Assembly, had demanded that the occupying Power desist from any act of deportation and threat to the safety of the elected President of the Palestinian Authority, and it demanded an immediate end to that illegal imprisonment.

Such disappointing setbacks had had a direct and highly deleterious effect on humanitarian conditions in the occupied territory, he said.  Unemployment rates were excessively high, and frequent closures had made jobs and markets in Israel completely inaccessible to Palestinians.  Vast areas of agricultural land had been destroyed, and olive trees were now off-limits to their Palestinian owners.  Overall national income losses between September 2000 and May 2003 had reached $5.4 billion.  Both Israelis and Palestinians had become increasingly impatient and frustrated with the stalled peace process.  Meanwhile, several initiatives of both sides had emerged recently.  Such courageous efforts were a most welcome complementary track to efforts at re-starting discussions between officials.

He noted that promising developments had indicated movement on the political front.  Recently, the Palestinian Legislative Council had confirmed a new Cabinet, ready to work for a mutual ceasefire.  To reinvigorate efforts to get the two sides together again, the Security Council had, on 19 November, adopted resolution 1515 (2003), reaffirming its vision of a two-State solution and emphasizing the need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.  It had endorsed the Quartet’s Road Map, as well as earlier agreements.  The Committee had long held the view that the United Nations had a permanent responsibility with respect to the question of Palestine and would continue to promote support for the Road Map and the important work of the Quartet.

JULIAN ROBERT HUNTE (Saint Lucia), President of the General Assembly, said that in implementing its mandates, the Committee continued to play a central role in focusing the attention of the Assembly, the Security Council, the United Nations system and the international community on specific concerns and developments on the question of Palestine, which had been a priority issue for the Organization since its earliest years.

The commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, he added, constituted an affirmation of the United Nations’ unflagging commitment to the resolution of the Palestine question, and of its support for the Palestinian people’s aspiration to exercise the right to self-determination.  Furthermore, it provided the opportunity for the international community as a whole to reflect on that question, and to continue its vigorous pursuit of initiatives that not only made promises, but also delivered upon them.

Acknowledging that the current situation was fraught with danger and far from encouraging, he said the General Assembly had twice in the last two months reconvened the Tenth Emergency Special Session on “Illegal Israeli Actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories” to allow for the expression of concern on that critical issue.  It had also, by the terms of resolution ES-10/12 of 18 September 2003, demanded that Israel –- the occupying Power –- desist from any act of deportation and cease any threat to the safety of the elected President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat.  Moreover, the Assembly had recognized the danger posed by Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and expressed its opposition to them, as a grave violation of international law and an obstacle to peace.  By the terms of its resolution ES-10/13 of 27 October, the Assembly had drawn attention to the danger posed by the barrier and demanded Israel cease its efforts to build the separation wall.

History served as a constant reminder that problems between peoples and States could not be solved by violence and conflict, he concluded.  Since the creation of the United Nations, a majority of the Member States had exercised their right to self-determination, joining the Organization as sovereign and independent States.  Moreover, there was broad international consensus that the two-State solution was the only way to bring the long conflict to an end.  Thus, as the Assembly took up its consideration of the question of Palestine this afternoon, he anticipated that, given the current situation, there would be a focused and serious debate.

Secretary-General’s Statement

KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, joining those around the world who expressed the deepest solidarity with the Palestinian people in their continued suffering, noted that they remained stateless and oppressed.  In expressing solidarity with them, he did not ignore the suffering of the people of Israel, who remained insecure and terrorized.  The terrible events of the past three years, and the dire situation on the ground today, should be proof to all that the more each side harmed the other, the more it wounded itself, and the more it jeopardized chances for a peaceful settlement.

He said that Israeli actions -- extrajudicial killings, the use of heavy weapons against civilians, the demolition of houses, the continued expansion of settlements and the building of a barrier that cut deep into Palestinian territory -- had enhanced misery and feelings of helplessness among Palestinians, undermining efforts to curb violence and fuelling hatred and anger towards Israel.  They had pushed back the day when Israel would live without fear within secure and recognized borders.  Palestinian suicide bombings, on the other hand, had indiscriminately killed innocent Israeli civilians in acts of wanton and deliberate terrorism.  Those heinous acts could have no justification and must be consistently and unreservedly condemned.  They had destroyed efforts to build bridges of reconciliation and trust, and pushed back the day when Palestinians would live in peace and security within their own State.

Noting that the violence of the past three years had claimed thousands of lives on both sides, he said there was no military solution to the conflict.  The only solution lay in a political process resulting in a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on two States living side-by-side in peace within secure and recognized borders.  While recent efforts by civil society had made that point with courage and clarity, they were no substitute for official action.  The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority had made solemn commitments and they must act to meet them.  The Government of Israel had declared its readiness to carry out its Road Map obligations; a new Cabinet of the Palestinian Authority was in place with the declared intention of taking steps to establish law and order, control violence and combat terrorism.  There was hope that the two Prime Ministers might meet soon, and of another ceasefire.  Those tender shoots must be nourished.  At the same time, the parties must be judged not by their stated intentions, but by their actions on the ground.

The international community should be prepared to take bold action itself, he said.  The Security Council’s endorsement of the Road Map provided a strong platform for the Quartet and other members of the international community to assist the parties to implement the Road Map and to hold them to their obligations and commitments under it.  As he had stated to the Quartet, those efforts should be bolstered by an international presence on the ground.  Great efforts were also needed to address the humanitarian emergency and economic devastation experienced by the Palestinian people.  Abject poverty, unemployment, children out of school, and a strong overall sense of frustration and despair, were all part of their daily lives under occupation.  So, too, was the hardship caused by the severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, closures and curfews, roadblocks and checkpoints, and the construction of the separation barrier.  The Palestinian Authority’s institutions and its capacity to work with its people had been seriously undercut since September 2000.

He called on the international donor community to contribute generously in the present time of great need.  The Government of Israel must allow the fullest access by humanitarian convoys and relief missions to the civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territory.  Under difficult conditions, the United Nations provided a wide range of assistance.  Pledging to continue to work with all parties for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement, based on the relevant Security Council resolutions and the principle of land for peace, he asked everyone to reaffirm that peace was possible, as was the achievement of an end to occupation for Palestinians and the creation of security for Israelis.  The parties hurt their own cause by harming the other, or by waiting for the other to act first.

STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria), President of the Security Council, said the day of International Solidarity was one of remembrance and compassion for all those suffering from the conflict, a day on which the international community renewed its commitment to finding a solution to the conflict and, above all, a day of hope for peace.  The Council had kept the situation under close review, noting the ongoing violence, terrorism and destruction that had resulted in tragic loss of life on both sides, and expressing concern over the stalemate in the peace process and worsening situation on the ground.

While one of the priority areas of concern for the Council remained the continued acts of violence witnessed in the Middle East, he said the Council also remained fully aware of the seriousness of the humanitarian situation on the ground.  Easing the restrictions that had been placed on the movement of humanitarian personnel would enable the workers to reach those in need, and to improve the quality of life in the Palestinian territories.  Moreover, the international community should be generous in their support for such efforts.

Fully committed to a solution to the decades-old conflict, the Security Council would continue to support the untiring efforts for peace by the Secretary-General, he added.  The Council also appreciated of the constructive roles played by members of the Quartet and the international community, as well as the contributions of quiet, bilateral work.  Nevertheless, the primary responsibility for the solution of the conflict issue remained with the parties themselves. The Council stood ready to assist the parties in that endeavour.  The Council would continue to shoulder its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations for the attainment of a peaceful and final solution of the conflict.

NASSER AL-KIDWA, Observer for Palestine, reading out a statement on behalf of Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, said the past year had been a difficult one for Palestine in particular and the Middle East in general.  The occupation’s grip had tightened, and the barbarism of the associated practices and repressive measures had become more marked, particularly through the perpetration of war crimes against the Palestinian people.  In addition to its continued settlement of Palestinian land, Israel had continued to construct the apartheid separation and expansionist wall, whereby Palestinian land had been confiscated and the lives of thousands had been ruined.  Such action further nurtured the seeds of malice and hatred and put an end to the prospects for peace between the parties.

The current policy, he said, reflected Israel’s rejection of a final settlement and of the Road Map, and reflected that State’s insistence on striking at the Palestinian Authority, of blockading its elected President and persistently violating Christian and Islamic holy places, particularly in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron.  It was regrettable that during the same period, bombings and the targeting of civilians had also continued.  Such actions had been and continued to be condemned as prejudicial to Palestinian national interests.

He said that the Palestinian Authority, having accepted the Road Map and Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), and having announced its readiness to begin immediate implementation of the Road Map, continued to hope that a start would shortly be made.  It had also expressed support for the Geneva understandings, as they could provide an incentive to formal negotiations on the form of a final settlement between the two sides.  Given the unanimous international agreement in support of the Road Map, and of the two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders as a final solution, it was incumbent upon the international community to prevent either side from avoiding a settlement, or from inflicting continued suffering and bloodshed.  Thus, the Palestinian Authority reiterated its appeal for the prompt dispatch of international observers to oversee implementation of the Road Map.

Also expressing his appreciation of the historic role played by the United Nations in support of the Palestinian cause, he said despite Israel’s refusal to abide by the terms of resolution ES-10/13 of the Tenth Emergency Special Session, the international community must continue to bring pressure to bear as needed to end the building of the wall and the removal of its existing parts.  That effort should include recourse to the International Court of Justice as a means of opening the path towards the attainment of peace.  The actions of some States, which were conducting a campaign against the United Nations and its resolutions, in an attempt to undermine the legal and political basis of Palestinian rights, were unjust and ill-judged.  Those living in the region required that the relevant resolutions be affirmed and implemented, as a lasting, just and comprehensive peace could be built only on the sound basis of international law that acknowledged the rights of the Palestinian people and brought security and peace to all the peoples of the region.

CHITHAMBARANATHAN MAHENDRAN (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, said after a brief recess that the modern State of Israel had known war for most of its existence, while the Palestinian people had been in limbo, struggling to find the path to statehood.  In the last few years, the conflict between them had been at its most violent.  The Special Committee, established by the General Assembly in 1968, had reported each year on the conditions affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories, and this year, it had submitted its thirty-fifth report, a reminder that the occupied territories had been under occupation for 34 years.

He said the Special Committee had sought to convey its view that the living conditions in the occupied territories were not in accordance with contemporary international human rights norms, or with the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians in times of war.  The Israeli authorities had put in place a comprehensive and elaborate system of laws, regulations and administrative measures designed to meet the policy objectives of the Israeli Government, and to enhance control over the occupied territories and Palestinian people.  Their vigorous implementation had created a sense of fear, despondency and hopelessness among the Palestinian people.

During periods of violence, the exercise of such control by the Israeli authorities had made the lives of the Palestinians even more unbearable.  The erection of a separation wall had caused immense concern, hardship and interdiction of movement.  That had eroded their confidence in an early alleviation of their suffering.  The nature of the barrier had led them and the Special Committee to believe that the wall was to be a permanent border between Israel and occupied territories, thereby annexing considerable portions of occupied territory to Israel.

He said that bitterness and despair among the Palestinians had been caused largely by the lack of progress in the peace process, and of tangible benefits in the occupied territories.  That had made the situation one of greatest urgency.  Concrete steps should be taken to ameliorate the conditions under which the Palestinian people lived.  The Special Committee welcomed efforts by the diplomatic Quartet, and appealed to the international community to remain fully engaged in finding a negotiated settlement.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in consultation with the Secretary-General, should establish a system of continuous cooperation with the Israeli authorities, with a view to alleviating the dire situation.

RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia), reading a statement on behalf of Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi in his capacity as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), reaffirmed its steadfast support for and longstanding solidarity with the Palestinian people and their leadership in the quest for the full realization of their inalienable rights.  The Movement remained committed to ensuring the just and lasting peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, based on the rights of the Palestinian people to national independence and the exercise of sovereignty in their State –- Palestine –- within secure and internationally recognized borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.  Thus, NAM noted with regret that there had been setbacks in the implementation of the Road Map and urged both parties to work towards ensuring the plan’s honest and sincere implementation.

During the past year, the world had witnessed increased violence, death and suffering descend upon the Palestinian people, he said.  Israel’s adoption of harsh policies and practices and its disproportionate and excessive use of force were condemned, as were actions targeting innocent civilians, the destruction of Palestinian homes and property and its continued military campaign against the Palestinian people.  All Israeli settler colonialism activities should be ceased and further construction of the expansionist wall brought to a halt.  Moreover, the deteriorating economic and social conditions in the occupied territory were dismaying.

Both sides must realize that there was no military solution to the conflict, he added.  A new resolve to resume the political process at the negotiating table was badly required.  Furthermore, given the uncertainties prevailing in other parts of the region, the search for peace must be intensified.  The Palestinian question deserved the international community’s continued attention.

JAVAD ZARIF (Iran), speaking on behalf of Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi in his capacity as Chairman of the Thirtieth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, said that at a time when the Palestinian people were almost single-handedly resisting tanks and helicopter gunships and their blood daily painting Palestinian land, all States, especially Islamic nations, must assume an active role in addressing that situation.  Those countries should tap their huge potential in the political and economic spheres and take serious steps to assist the Palestinian people.

Despite some efforts, he said, much remained to be done to restore the full rights of Palestinians.  Today was a good opportunity for Islamic countries to review their policies and actions and to mobilize their full capacities in different areas, with a view to assisting their Palestinian sisters and brothers in their sacred struggle against the occupiers.

FILIPE CHIDUMO (Mozambique), reading a statement on behalf of President Joaquim Alberto Chissano in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union, said the International Day of Solidarity was of particular importance to that continental organization, which attached special importance to the right of self-determination.  The peoples of the Middle East would only live in lasting peace, stability and security through the effective pursuit of the peace process, and on the basis of the Road Map and land for peace.  The African Union stressed that any solution to the situation must encompass the full independence of the Palestinian State, living side-by-side within secure and internationally recognized borders with Israel.  All parties concerned were thus urged to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process.

SAID KAMAL, Assistant Secretary-General for Palestine Affairs of the League of Arab States, reading out a message from the League’s Secretary-General, Amre Moussa, said Israel continued to escalate violence against the Palestinian people in an indiscriminate manner and in blatant violation of international humanitarian law.  It also continued to besiege elected Palestinian President Arafat.  Those operations and practices had climaxed in the building of a separation wall, which would “kill” any possibility for a viable Palestinian State.  After the international community had condemned that racist barrier and the General Assembly adopted a resolution in that regard, the Arab Group had sought a consultative opinion from the International Court of Justice to help in efforts to get Israel to tear down the wall.

He said Israel had reacted violently to the spontaneous Al-Aqsa intifada of the Palestinian people against the continuing occupation, and in response to the lack of security and loss of hope.  Military oppression by occupation forces had attracted the attention of eight organizations.  Israeli practices, which included killings, destruction and obstruction of human aid operations, had been condemned in more than one international report and international organizations had called on Israel to abide by the Geneva Convention and alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people. 

Noting that the Israeli aggression had also extended to Syria, he said the Israeli Government intended to export its crises, due to the widespread opposition.  The peace process had been approaching complete collapse, ever since the assumption to power by Israeli extremists.  Unfortunately, absolute support by the United States for Israeli policies had given Israelis immunity and placed them above the law, thus rendering the Security Council impotent.  The League hoped the United States would resort to a policy of fairness and justice, in words and deeds.  The Israeli response to the recent call by President Bush had been arrogant and extreme, affirming, indeed, that work on the wall would not stop and that the decision was irreversible.

Was it not time for the United States to end the Israeli arrogance, especially since its political and economic aid was feeding that belligerence, he asked.  There was still time, though not a lot, for the United States to conduct a comprehensive review of its Middle East strategy.  No progress could be made on a security track without real progress on the political one.  The Palestinian Prime Minister had said he would not meet with his Israeli counterpart unless the latter displayed flexibility and willingness for a ceasefire.  The current political scene could be characterized by Israel’s procrastination and efforts to kill off the peace process.  Now it also aimed at causing the failure of unofficial initiatives, as well.  The League called for, among other things, an immediate guarantee of international protection for the Palestinian people, and an international observer mechanism to control the situation and stop Israeli violations, as well as supervise a halt to the construction of the separation wall.

PHYLLIS BENNIS, Co-Chairperson, International Coordinating Network on Palestine, while welcoming the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, also drew attention to the larger failure of the international community to end the occupation.  While the cruel illusions of the so-called Road Map had collapsed, the United Nations continued to be denied the central diplomatic role, mandated to it by the Charter, in favour of the false multilateralism of the United States-dominated Quartet.  Yet, as civil society around the world recognized, the United Nations had the responsibility to protect those languishing under military occupation, to restore the human rights of those illegally denied them, and to defend those unable to protect themselves.

She recalled the challenges facing the United Nations within the past year as the United States Government had defied the Security Council to wage an illegal, unauthorized war in Iraq and announced its intention to veto any future Council resolutions on the Middle East unless its unilateral demands were met.  The General Assembly’s action in responding to situations in which the Security Council had been prevented from acting –- through the Tenth Emergency Special Session –- constituted an important but insufficient demonstration of the virtual consensus existing within the international community on the need to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

At the September meeting of civil society in support of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, she recalled, it had been agreed that the top programmatic priority would be to oppose the construction of the separation wall.  Thus, while welcoming the Assembly’s resolution, which demanded the cessation of the wall’s construction, the clear legal violations inherent in its construction demanded a legal response.  The General Assembly should bring the issue to the International Court of Justice.  Moreover, it was time for the Assembly to take a greater initiative to craft a viable operational plan for the provision of serious international protection to Palestinian civilians living under military occupation.

FAROUK KADDOUMI, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, expressing appreciation for the messages of support, said the Palestinian people had made persistent, genuine efforts to find a solution.  Regrettably, Israel had not recognized the resolutions of the United Nations or taken into account the views of the international community.  Instead, it had constantly pursued an expansionist policy and employed all kinds of violence and aggression.  Israel had even begun to “absorb” land by confiscating ever more building settlements and constructing a racist wall of separation.

He said that in light of the continuing confiscation and destruction of houses and land, and the constant closures, it was unbelievable that Israel found support for its unjust positions and people to protect it from international action.  Actually, Israel was pursuing a Nazi policy by imposing closures on the Palestinians and depriving them of access to food and medicine.  That policy of aggression against the citizens of Palestine was also interfering with their free movement.  Despite all those terrorist actions, Palestine had agreed to a three-month ceasefire.  It was also putting an end to all kinds of violence.  Hopefully, Israel would respond to that peace-based approach, but its recent actions were proof that it deserved to be condemned.

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