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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
29 November 2001

updated: October 2004


SPECIAL BULLETIN ON

THE COMMEMORATION OF THE

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

2001



CONTENTS


Page
I. Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
1
II.Texts of statements made and messages delivered on the occasion of the
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Mr. Papa Louis Fall (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
3
Mr. Han Seung-soo (Republic of Korea), President of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
5
Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
7
Miss Mignonette Patricia Durrant (Jamaica), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2001
8
Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority, message delivered by Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations
10
Mr. John de Saram (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
12
Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered by Mr. Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations
13
Mr. Modibo Sidibe, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali, in his capacity as Chairman of the twenty-eighth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Mr. Moctar Ouane, Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations
14
Dr. Frederick J.T. Chiluba, President of Zambia and Chairman of the Organization of African Unity, message delivered by Mr. Roland Mwelwa C. Musambachime, Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations
17
Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, message delivered by Mr. Hisham Khodr Abbas, representative of the League of Arab States
18
Mr. Don Betz, on behalf of the international network of NGOs on the question of Palestine
20
Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization
23
Closing statement by Mr. Papa Louis Fall, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
13
III.Messages received on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity
with the Palestinian People
A.Messages from heads of State or Government
Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
25
Mrs. Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
26
Mr. Gennady Novitsky, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus
26
Mr. Jorge Quiroga, President of the Republic of Bolivia
27
Mr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil
27
Mr. Ricardo Lagos Escobar, Vice-President of the Republic of Chile
28
Mr. Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
28
Mr. Glafcos Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus
29
Mr. Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s
Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
30
Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
30
General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea
31
Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana
31
Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of the Republic of India
32
Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of the Republic of Indonesia
33
Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
34
King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
35
Mr. Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
36
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia
37
Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives
37
Mr. Eddie Fenech Adami, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta
38
Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius
38
King Mohammed VI of Morocco
39
Mr. Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia
40
General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan
41
Mr. Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Republic of Poland
42
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar
43
Mr. Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation
44
Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King of Saudi Arabia
45
Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal
47
Mr. Rudolf Schuster, President of the Slovak Republic
48
Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President of the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
49
Lieutenant General Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan
49
Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
50
Mr. Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of the Republic of Tunisia
50
Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Republic of Turkey
51
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates
52
Mr. Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
54
B.Messages from Governments
Argentina
54
Burundi
55
Uruguay
56
Venezuela
56
C.Messages from Ministers for ForeignAffairs
Mr. Vilayat Mukhtar ogly Guliyev, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan
57
Mr. Youssouf Ouedraogo, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso
57
Mr. Guillermo Fernández de Soto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia
58
Ms. Makiko Tanaka, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
59
Mrs. Lila Hanitra Ratsifandrihamanana, Minister for Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Madagascar
60
Mr. Mircea Geoana, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania
61
Mr. Farouk Al-Shara', Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic
61
Mr. Anatoliy Zlenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
62
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
63
Organization of African Unity: Mr. Amara Essy, Secretary-General
64
Oganization of the Islamic Conference: Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General
65
F.Messages from specialized agencies of the United Nations system
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization:
Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General
67
G.Messages from non-governmental organizations
68



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


On 29 November 2001, 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 and specialized agencies and observers were invited to attend the solemn meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

At the meeting, statements were made by Mr. Papa Louis Fall (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee; Mr. Han Seung-soo (Republic of Korea), President of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly; Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; and Miss Mignonette Patricia Durrant (Jamaica), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2001. The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, read out a message from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. Also, Mr. John de Saram (Sri Lanka) made a statement in his capacity as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

In addition, the representative of South Africa, Mr. Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, delivered a message on behalf of Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; the representative of Mali, Mr. Moctar Ouane, read out a message from Mr. Modibo Sidibe, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Mali, in his capacity as Chairman of the twenty-eighth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers; Mr. Roland Mwelwa C. Musambachime, the representative of Zambia, read out a message from Dr. Frederick J.T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia, in his capacity as Chairman of the Organization of African Unity; and Mr. Hisham Khodr Abbas, representative of the League of Arab States, delivered a message from Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. A statement was also made by Mr. Don Betz, on behalf of the international network of NGOs on the question of Palestine.

Closing statements were made by Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Mr. Papa Louis Fall, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Messages to commemorate the occasion were received from 29 Heads of State, 8 Heads of Government, 6 Governments, 8 Foreign Ministers, as well as the European Union, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Messages were also received from 7 non-governmental organizations.

The Solemn Meeting was followed by the screening of two films in the Trusteeship Council Chamber. A photographic exhibit on the question of Palestine was presented by the Committee and mounted in the Trusteeship Council Chamber during the Solemn Meeting and the film screening.

At the United Nations Office at Geneva, a Solemn Meeting was also held on 29 November. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Vladimir Petrovsky, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who opened the meeting by reading the statement of Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Hatem Ben Salem, spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Mr. Ibou Ndiaye (Senegal), representative of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, made a statement. Statements were also made by Mr. Saad Alfarargi, representative of the League of Arab States; Mr. Amadou Tidiane Hane, representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Mr. Thomas Markram, representative of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Ms. Sophie Asimenye Kalinde, representative of the Organization of African Unity; and Ms. Michelle Beg, who made a statement on behalf of the international network of NGOs on the question of Palestine. Mr. Nabil Ramlawi, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva, made a statement.

In addition, a Solemn Meeting was held at the United Nations Office at Vienna, on 29 November. Mr. Noel Buttigieg Scicluna, Permanent Representative of Malta 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. Mr. Steinar B. Bjornsson, Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, delivered the statement of the Secretary-General. Other speakers included Mr. Christian Prosl, Deputy Secretary-General of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria, and Mr. Fritz Edlinger, who made a statement on behalf of the international network of NGOs on the question of Palestine. Mr. Faisal Aweidah, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Vienna, read out the statement of Chairman Yasser Arafat. Representatives from 37 Member States and Permanent Observer entities, as well as officials of the host country, non-governmental organizations, other invited guests and United Nations staff members attended the meeting.


II. TEXTS OF STATEMENTS MADE AND MESSAGES DELIVERED ON THE
OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, 2001

Statement by Mr. Papa Louis Fall (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
[Original: French]

Moved by the enduring sense of shared responsibility which brings us together each year in the same forum and on the same date, a feeling rekindled by the events of recent weeks which transform this 29 November 2001, the Committee, through me, conveys to you, Mr. President of the General Assembly, Madam President of the Security Council, Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations, its warm appreciation of your participation which enhances the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

I naturally associate with this expression of appreciation, the distinguished representatives of the Member States, of the observers, of the organs and bodies of the United Nations system, and of the intergovernmental organizations and of civil society who have, as usual, graciously agreed to join us.

During the past year, the world has witnessed, with consternation, powerlessness or resignation, a disconcerting deterioration in the situation on the ground, resulting in an undoubted setback to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Fourteen months of confrontations, acts of violence and tragedies have brought about the death of a thousand people, including children and the elderly, and have left as many injured. Since 28 September 2000, the occupying Power has implacably imposed its law: lethal incursions into Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, the destruction of property on a massive scale, the establishment of new settlements and the enlargement of existing ones, military occupation, the closure of towns and a merciless blockade, paralysing economic activity, imposing hardship on populations and exposing them to rebellion and, at the same time, shattering what little remained of the fragile trust between the two parties.

On many occasions, and not without frustration, our Committee has stated its deep concern at this increase in violence which spreads distress, violates agreements that have been reached and subjects the Palestinian people to unbearable suffering, humiliation and collective punishments, the source of recurrent outbursts of rage and of blind or targeted repression.

At a time when the international community is quite legitimately engaged in a worldwide coalition against terrorism, desire re-emerges and hope is revived that conflicts that have lasted for so many years will at last, in their turn, be addressed in an equally resolute and all-encompassing manner.

Accordingly, in recent weeks, our Committee has taken note with appreciation of the slight hints of progress towards the revival of the peace process. It welcomed the meeting between Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres which helped to reaffirm the relevance of the ceasefire. Still more indicative and promising is the fact that the need to create an independent Palestinian State has been publicly acknowledged, remarkably, by the United States of America and the European Union, while - and this is an encouraging sign - the subject is no longer taboo in Israel, even at the highest levels of the State.

This is all the more true as, in the mind of the General Assembly and the Security Council, the key importance of the question of Palestine - an issue which is the enduring stumbling block of Israeli-Arab relations - is so all-embracing that it makes any lasting solution to the Middle East crisis subject to the inescapable precondition of the restoration to the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions.

With that in mind, our Committee continues to support the praiseworthy efforts made on the ground by the representatives of the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations in order to bring the parties together and encourage them to make a start on implementing the recommendations of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, the Mitchell Committee. In that light, the tone and content of the speech made at Louisville by the United States Secretary of State give grounds for judicious optimism in that Mr. Colin Powell was able to convey a positive, detailed and balanced picture of the peace process and of its ultimate objective.

In saying this, we are mindful of the fact that any settlement of the question of Palestine, and consequently of the Middle East conflict, must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which enshrine the principle of "land for peace" as reaffirmed by the Council in its resolution 1322 (2000) and by the General Assembly in its resolution ES-10/7 of 20 October 2000, adopted at its tenth emergency special session.

Accordingly, our Committee strongly urges Israel to comply with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and with the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. In that connection, allow me to emphasize how important in our view is the meeting of the Conference of the High Contracting Parties, scheduled for 5 December this year, to consider the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.

For there is no way in which peace can prosper or the development of the region be ensured, as long as Israelis and Palestinians, who are fated to live together, fail in their attempts to forge trusting relations, as sovereign States, within secure and internationally guaranteed borders.

In this context, the United Nations should remain seized of the question of Palestine until such time as the matter has effectively been resolved in all its aspects. In that connection, our Committee is delighted at the more than preponderant and visible role played by the Secretary-General and his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, with a view to bringing the parties back to the path towards peace.

For having jointly given an impetus to the process, the President of the General Assembly, the President of the Security Council and the President of the Economic and Social Council deserve, on the same basis as the Secretary-General, our heartfelt thanks, quite apart from the kindness they have conferred on us personally through their presence among us, demonstrating once again their keen interest in the work of the Committee and in careful monitoring of the issue of Palestine.

I thus have an opportunity to reassure Kofi Annan of our deep gratitude for his tireless efforts to establish peace in the Middle East through the active support he unfailingly gives to our Committee. I therefore welcome the highly significant presence of the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who, by being here, honours the opening ceremony of this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Once again I extend my congratulations to him and to those who devotedly serve the United Nations, foremost among them the entire staff and the assistants of the Secretary-General.

Accordingly, our Committee welcomes the effective participation in this ceremony of Ambassadors whose Heads of State and Government have been so kind as to convey messages of support and solidarity to the Palestinian people. With that in mind, I am gratified to welcome to this distinguished gathering the accredited representatives of the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Organization of African Unity and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, with whom the Committee intends to continue and strengthen its fruitful cooperation on the issue of Palestine.

To all these distinguished friends and plenipotentiaries, I wish to convey, together with our heartfelt thanks and our fraternal esteem, the assurances of the deep appreciation of our Committee.

In conclusion, I should like to seek the invaluable intercession and active participation of the international community in the joint efforts to resolve the issue of Palestine. The Committee particularly urges the co-sponsors of the peace process, the other Governments concerned, the United Nations system, the intergovernmental organizations and institutions, and the groups of civil society to continue their active commitment so as to secure ever wider support for the cause of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, permit me, lastly and above all, to proclaim our unshakeable commitment to this noble cause for the triumph of which we pledge ourselves to continue to work with devotion, perseverance and determination.

For the lesson of history is that the darkest moments of ill-fortune, anguish and doubt have always been succeeded by inspiring periods of peace and rebirth. The nations are well aware of this, together with the community of suffering people, who find in the hope of a better future the reasons to endure the turmoil of an unbearable present which, at the same time, shares common features with the inexorable advance of the human race towards the light.

I am particularly grateful to you for your welcoming presence and your generous cordiality. For dawn will soon be breaking in the Middle East, and the sun is already casting its first rays of peace on the wounded soil of Palestine.

Mr. Han Seung-soo (Republic of Korea), President of the fifty-sixth session
of the General Assembly of the United Nations
[Original: English]

I am very pleased to take part in this commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and to address this Solemn Meeting in my capacity as President of the General Assembly. The General Assembly, recognizing the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and supporting their aspirations to realize their rights, passed resolution 32/40 B, in December 1977, in which it declared that 29 November should be observed as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Ever since then, this day has become an annual occasion for the international community to renew its commitment to promoting the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people within the framework of lasting peace and prosperity in the region. Indeed, it is one of the most urgent and daunting tasks of the United Nations to bring lasting peace and economic prosperity to the region of the Middle East and, in particular, to the Palestinian people.

The 1991 Middle East Peace Conference, followed by the signing of the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, was warmly welcomed by the international community as a sign of hope and an indication of political courage and a genuine desire to achieve peace and stability in the region.

However, failure to implement the signed agreements and a steady deterioration of the situation on the ground led to the outbreak of violence in late September 2000. Ever since, we have seen a spiral of violence and an increasing number of casualties, which has led to a complete breakdown in the peace negotiations.

At the beginning of the violence last year, the General Assembly, at its resumed tenth emergency special session, adopted resolution ES-10/7, reaffirming that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region should be based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which embody the principle of "land for peace".

Our wish is that the Palestinian people will soon be able to exercise its inalienable rights, as called for numerous times by the General Assembly, namely the right to self-determination without external interference; the right to national independence and sovereignty; and the right to return to their homes and properties or, to receive compensation for those not choosing to return.

The lesson we have learned from the violence prevailing in the region since last year is that there is no alternative to the process of Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations based on international law and principles of mutual respect and understanding of each other 's needs and interests.

I believe, in this regard, that the recommendations of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee (Mitchell Committee) should serve as a road map guiding the parties concerned back to the negotiating table, and I therefore urge the parties to faithfully comply with the recommendations of the Committee.

Peace and economic development are inextricably linked to each other. Without economic development, peace is fragile. In that sense, I believe that the international donor community plays a very constructive role in providing a solid basis for lasting peace in the Middle East region. I encourage the donor community to continue and, indeed, to increase its economic assistance to the Palestinian people.

As it has done for many years, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) continues to play a vital role through its essential relief services. The Agency should be assisted in all possible ways by the donor community in order to meet the growing needs of Palestinian refugees.

This very afternoon, the General Assembly will take up the item entitled "Question of Palestine" and I look forward to a lively and constructive discussion. As President of the General Assembly, I would like to reiterate the Assembly's position that the United Nations has a special responsibility regarding the question of Palestine, until it is effectively resolved in all its aspects, in accordance with international law and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. It is incumbent on all of us to see to it that this objective is accomplished.

On this commemorative day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, I assure you that in my capacity as President and as a professional economist who served, on the secondment of the World Bank, as Financial Adviser to the Government of Jordan from 1974 to 1976, I will do my utmost to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Middle East region and of the Palestinian people. And let me take this opportunity to welcome the efforts of the Secretary-General, his Special Coordinator, the co-sponsors of the peace process and the European Union to resume and normalize the peace process.

In conclusion, I would like to commend the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Your Committee continues to take the lead in promoting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and supporting the peace process. In implementing the important mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly, your Committee has made and continues to make an important contribution towards peace, security and stability in the Middle East. I wish you every success in your mission.

Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
[Original: English]

Let me begin by congratulating His Excellency Ambassador Papa Louis Fall on his unanimous election last September as the new Chairman of this Committee. Your election, Mr. Chairman, reflects the Committee's appreciation - which I share - of your devotion, and that of your country, Senegal, to the quest for peace in the Middle East and for the exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights.

We meet at a critical time for the Middle East and the world. Escalating violence and significant loss of life, mostly among Palestinians, but also Israelis, have increased mutual mistrust and animosity between the two communities, and have undermined efforts to build bridges of reconciliation and partnership.

Since the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of October 2000, international and regional actors have made repeated efforts to bring the parties back to the negotiating table. Earlier this year, the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, chaired by former Senator George Mitchell, provided a balanced and sensible set of recommendations which, if implemented, would lead the parties from confidence-building steps to substantive negotiations. A ceasefire is now desperately needed. This would also be in accordance with the understandings on security-related issues reached under the auspices of CIA Director George Tenet. I believe that full implementation of the Mitchell recommendations offers the best route to a peaceful solution, based on resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace.

The horrific terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 have had a profound impact on events all over the world. In the case of the Middle East, there is a renewed sense of urgency to find a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine. I was encouraged to hear President Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres restate their commitment to security cooperation and dialogue at their meeting in late September. However, developments since then, in particular the assassination of Israeli Cabinet Minister Ze'evi and the incursion of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) into areas under Palestinian control, have made the situation even worse. The engagement of the international community - in particular of the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union, the United Nations, and Member States, including Egypt and Jordan - remains vital.

It is also essential now for the parties to preserve the achievements of the peace process and to do all they can to regain the path of peace and reconciliation. Both sides must realize that violence, and the excessive use of force, are the enemies of progress. I share the hopes expressed by President Bush and United States Secretary of State Powell that the Israeli occupation will soon end, and that two States - Israel and Palestine - will before long live side by side in peace with mutual respect and security. To this end, the expansion of settlements, assassinations, all acts of terrorism, economic blockades and incursions into autonomous areas should cease immediately.

The crisis of the past 14 months has had a catastrophic effect on the Palestinian economy. Repeated border and internal closures have led to a dramatic deterioration in living conditions and considerably increased unemployment and poverty rates, adding to the general sense of despair, frustration and anger felt among Palestinians. The international donor community has provided much-needed budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority and its institutions, and essential emergency relief to the Palestinian population. Further support will shortly be needed.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency continues to play a central role in responding to the rising needs of the refugee community. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and many other United Nations agencies are also active on the ground. Donor assistance remains vital, especially now, at a time of crisis and severe economic hardship.

In addition, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen, has been working very closely with the parties and with representatives of the international community in the region to support the peace process and to coordinate international assistance in the areas of emergency relief and development.

For my part, I will continue to work with all parties until a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine is achieved, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the principle of "land for peace". At the start of the new millennium, the Palestinian people should finally be allowed to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and to a State of their own.

Miss Mignonette Patricia Durrant (Jamaica), President of the
Security Council for the month of November 2001
[Original: English]

At the outset, I wish to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the kind invitation extended to me, in my capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of November, to participate in this annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This is a very special event, through which all of us in the international community demonstrate our solidarity with the Palestinian people and our commitment to the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, in accordance with United Nations resolutions.

The question of Palestine was first placed on the agenda of the United Nations more than half a century ago. Throughout this period, the United Nations has worked to resolve this issue. The Security Council, for its part, has been involved in this endeavour. Today, two of the Council's resolutions - 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) - are universally recognized as the bases for any durable solution to this question and constitute the foundation of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It is important to note that practically all agreements and understandings reached by the two sides as part of the Oslo process make clear reference to those landmark resolutions.

It is very disturbing indeed that the past year has been marked by a considerable and rapid increase in violence, as a result of which hundreds have lost their lives and thousands have suffered injuries. It would be irresponsible and utterly unacceptable to allow this situation to be perpetuated. A concerted and well-coordinated effort by all concerned is required to check the hostilities and stop the suffering and continuation of violence.

In the course of the past year, we in the Security Council have followed with great concern the situation on the ground. You may recall that the Council met on a number of occasions to discuss measures aimed at putting an end to violence and resuming the bilateral negotiations. Because it had been a particularly difficult year, the Council was encouraged by a number of diplomatic initiatives aimed at reaching a ceasefire and breathing air into the peace negotiations. The members of the Council were of the view that the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee and the Tenet understandings offered a practicable and reasonable way to reducing the level of violence, achieving a ceasefire and resuming the peace dialogue. As the crisis persisted, additional efforts were deployed by various international parties. In particular, the Council welcomed the statement issued on 25 October last by representatives in the region of the European Union, the United States, the Russian Federation and the United Nations Special Coordinator. The Council strongly supported that initiative as an important opportunity to prevent a further escalation of violence and the disintegration of the accomplishments of the peace process. The members of the Council are also hopeful that the position statement made by the United States Secretary of State Mr. Colin Powell on 19 November will allow the parties to overcome the deep-seated sense of mutual suspicion and mistrust and help them return to the negotiating table. In order to do that, the parties should unequivocally reaffirm their commitment to the bilateral agreements reached to date and demonstrate, through a tangible effort on the ground, the will to implement those agreements.

The Security Council will remain fully engaged and stands ready to assist the two sides through this critical period. We welcomed and strongly supported the highly instrumental and increasingly important peacemaking role played by the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan. His leadership role, his personal involvement in all aspects of the issue in the course of the past year and his close partnership with the members of the Council have been most helpful and have enjoyed great respect of the parties.

In spite of the enormous obstacles of the past year or so, the Security Council is hopeful today that the two sides will indeed be able to move forward along the road of reconciliation, putting bitterness and anger behind them. This is the only realistic way of forging a strong partnership for peace. Both sides should realize that their own future and that of their children rests in their hands. Working towards peaceful co-existence and good-neighbourliness will require a great deal of personal and political courage, wisdom and far-sightedness.

The Security Council highly values the close involvement of the international community in assisting the parties out of the impasse and in facilitating the continuation of the peace dialogue. We are also gratified by the vigorous economic and other assistance provided to the Palestinian people by the donor community and organizations, including the United Nations, and stress the importance of a coherent and sustained involvement of all concerned in this undertaking.

In conclusion, on behalf of all the members of the Security Council, allow me to assure you that the Council will continue to exercise its responsibilities under the Charter as regards the question of Palestine. We shall remain strongly committed to the goal of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, for the benefit of all parties concerned.

Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee
of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority,
message delivered by Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine
to the United Nations
[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to convey to you and to the international community, as well as to the United Nations and the peoples of the world, our deepest appreciation for the significant and influential role you are playing in the protection of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people as well as for providing all kinds of support for the just Palestinian cause and for strengthening its distinguished status among the issues of our contemporary world.

The persistence by the United Nations in commemorating this International Day, and the fact that this annual commemoration falls on the occasion of the adoption of the resolution on the Partition of Palestine into two States, the State of Palestine arid the State of Israel, incorporates the wise vision of the international community concerning the importance of establishing the State of Palestine as a basic element of international security and stability. It is also an expression of the credibility of the resolutions of international legality whose implementation in the Middle East has been obstructed, especially General Assembly resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III) and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978). This has kept our region in an ongoing state of turmoil and instability, which in turn has threatened, and continues to threaten, the entire international stability.

On this occasion I would like to reiterate, on behalf of the Palestinian people, that international legality will continue to be the legal and political point of reference for the resolution of all the issues of regional conflicts in the world and especially for the issue of Palestine. This issue of Palestine is the quintessence of the conflict in the Middle East for all Muslims and Christians the world over because it is the Holy Land and because of the dangers, aggressions and difficulties to which its Christian and Islamic holy places have been exposed as a result of the Israeli occupation, its expansionist and settlement greed as well as its attempt to Judaize and to commit aggression against the Christian and Islamic holy places.

I would like here to remind you that the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people require - in accordance with international legality - putting an end to the Israeli occupation and colonization of our land, Palestine. It also requires the consolidation of the right of return of the refugees, the exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to self determination, the establishment of their independent State, with holy Jerusalem as its capital, and the protection of their Christian and Muslim holy places. The realization of these rights on the ground necessitates a more active intervention by the United Nations and in particular of the Security Council. This intervention will provide serious support for the efforts that are being exerted now with the purpose of resuming the peace process and putting it back on its correct track in order for it to reach its aim of achieving a permanent and just peace in the Middle East. The escalating circle of violence in our region, the prime source of which is the Israeli aggression - as a result of which the number of martyrs has exceeded 1800 and 37,000 wounded, in addition to the military escalation, economic, financial and medical siege, the destruction of many facilities, homes, wells, factories and roads, the uprooting of trees and plantations and the expropriation of our money - indeed needs badly to be stopped by providing our people with immediate international protection, since the casualties as a result of the Israeli aggression - in human and economic terms - have so for exceeded all bounds.

The time has come for an effective international intervention for the implementation of the resolutions of international legality and for stopping the policy of double standards which has caused severe damage to the world Organization and the effectiveness with which its resolutions have been implemented over decades.

As I call upon you to work for the consolidation of international legality, its presence and resolutions, I would also like to assure you once again of the strategic choice of our people for a permanent and just peace, the peace of the brave, which will provide security and stability for the Israelis and the Palestinians as well as for the peoples of the region. Our hand will remain extended in order to consolidate this peace, for the sake of our children and their children, in the two States of Palestine and Israel. If destiny has so far precluded the birth of our State since the adoption of the Partition Resolution in 1948, then the facts and lessons drawn over a period of more than half a century affirm the inevitability of the establishment of our independent State, with holy Jerusalem as its capital, as soon as possible. This is the natural right of our people to self-determination. This is the deepest and soundest guarantee of security and stability in the Middle Fast, especially since the important speech made by President Bush at the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations this year on the Palestinian State. That speech was followed by the quadripartite meeting on this issue between the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations. Then came the explicit speech delivered by United States Secretary of State Powell on the same issue and on the immediate implementation of the Tenet Understandings and the Mitchell Report. This recalls the importance of quickly dispatching monitors to implement them as well as of quickly sending international observers along with them and cooperating with the Arab brothers in that respect and with the efforts of friendly States throughout the world.

I would like to salute you once again and express to you my appreciation for your sincere efforts in protecting the inalienable rights of our people. I would like to express my appreciation for your, outstanding efforts to realize a permanent, comprehensive and just peace in the region and in the land of peace, the blessed land of Palestine, because it is the basic element of stability in all of the Middle East and the world at large.

“Together till Al-Quds Ash-Shareef … by God’s help”
handwriting of the President


Mr. John de Saram (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
[Original: English]

I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me to be present on this important occasion and to address this distinguished gathering.

To the Palestinian people I have the honour to convey my profound respects and good wishes.

There are two principal channels through which the circumstances of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories are each year brought to the attention of the General Assembly. The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs in the Occupied Territories is one of them. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is the other.

I have the honour to be Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. It is in that capacity that I speak, and it is to the findings of the Special Committee that I shall today refer.

The Special Committee, at the conclusion of its visit to the region at the end of May last year, was of the view that, notwithstanding the very depressing circumstances in the occupied Palestinian territories, there were still, among some of the Palestinians who met with and made statements to the Special Committee last year, glimmers of hope that developments in the peace process might possibly, in the not too distant future, lead to tangible improvements in the unfortunate conditions in which the Palestinians in the occupied territories live out their lives.

There were, however, the tragic occurrences of the closing days of September 2000 in East Jerusalem, and the ensuing engulfing violence in the occupied territories that still continues.

The only conclusion that now seems possible to the Special Committee is that the occupation of, and the circumstances prevailing in, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza - the unrelenting cycle of violence and counter-violence and violence and counter-violence - are not conducive to the observance, nor indeed to the recognition, of human rights.

The Special Committee in its annual reports to the General Assembly has called attention to the existence in the occupied territories of systems of civilian and military control - laws, regulations, administrative procedures and discretionary practices - that are elaborate, extensive, discriminatory and, during periods of tension, oppressive.

The Special Committee has sought in its reports to the General Assembly to convey as full a sense as possible of the present, very troubling conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories. Such conditions are not in accord with contemporary human rights standards and obligations, nor with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians Persons in Time of War.

The conditions of the Palestinians in refugee camps, the Special Committee was informed, were particularly distressing. They had no means of subsistence outside the refugee camps and when there is a "state of siege" imposed, and the Palestinians in refugee camps are unable to obtain employment outside the camps, they and their families are without any subsistence resource; and we can imagine what such conditions of utter hopelessness mean for parents and children.

The sad and depressing reality is that in the harsh conditions of the occupied territories, the human rights of the Palestinians, are being ignored.

Until such time as the peace process is satisfactorily concluded, surely all should agree that it is of greatest importance that contemporary human rights standards and obligations and the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention must be fully recognized and honoured; and it is surely only in that way that the high tensions now prevalent in the occupied territories can be lowered.

The Special Committee was informed that the overall consequences of such a manner of occupation have been catastrophic on the occupied territories as a whole: disruption of trade and employment and the ensuing general poverty; disruption in the provision of health services; disruption in schools and in the lives of the children; disruption in the provision of public services; disruption in the education and lives of children, parents distraught and depressed; inadequacy of public revenues; and an all-pervasive cloud of frustration, desperation and hopelessness that appears to have enveloped the occupied territories.

It is unquestionable that there is a yearning for peace on the part of all the Palestinians who addressed the Special Committee.

For peace to be achieved, there has, of course, to be a return to the peace process.

I wish to conclude my statement, on behalf of all the members of the Special Committee, with these words: We hope and pray that there will soon be a return to the processes of dialogue and peace. The direct and indirect consequences of a general occupation of peoples and territories for such a long period of time are traumatic in the most profound ways - across the entire spectrum of human relationships - affecting so unhappily the occupied and the occupier as well.


Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and Chairman of the Movement of
Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered by Mr. Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo,
Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, I extend our warm greetings to all Palestinians on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Perhaps more than ever before, the international community is at an important period of history, filled with opportunities to translate the hopes of the people of Palestine into reality. In this regard, the Non-Aligned Movement welcomes the positive statements and actions of the United States, the European Union, European countries and the League of Arab States in assisting Israel and Palestine in rekindling the Middle East peace process. The Non-Aligned Movement welcomes the emerging international consensus on the need to create an independent Palestinian State based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace. Indeed this emerging consensus reaffirms the Movement's long-standing position of principle calling for the creation of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. The achievement of these ideals will meet the aspirations of the people of Palestine and bring lasting and comprehensive peace to the Middle East.

But the tragic events of the past year demonstrate that a lot more needs to be done to lift the hopes of the Palestinian people.

In the past year the international community has witnessed a dramatic deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries reiterates its condemnation of the excessive use of force by Israel towards the Palestinians, the incursions into and re-occupation of Palestinian-controlled territory and institutions, in particular Orient House, the extrajudicial killings, the continuing expansion and building of settlements, the blockades and other forms of collective punishment.

We wish to reiterate our common conviction that a just and lasting peace can only be achieved through peaceful negotiations. The full implementation of the recommendations of the Sharm EI-Sheikh Fact-finding Committee (Mitchell Report) provides a good basis for the parties to take the necessary steps to bring violence to an end. The deployment of a credible international presence or monitoring mechanism in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is necessary to verify the implementation of agreements.

The Movement is pleased with the reconvening on 5 December 2001 of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem. In this regard, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries urges Israel to make every effort to fulfil its obligations under the Convention.

Lastly, we wish to restate the Movement's position of principle that the United Nations, and in particular the Security Council, has a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine and commend the role played by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the peace process.

To all our Palestinian brothers and sisters, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries wishes to reaffirm that your struggle is for a legitimate cause and your suffering should not be allowed to drag on any longer. The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries recommits itself to assist in achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.


Mr. Modibo Sidibe, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali,
in his capacity as Chairman of the twenty-eighth session of the Islamic
Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Mr. Moctar Ouane,
Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations

[Original: French]

Every year on 29 November, the international community celebrates the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 1977, as an expression of its determination to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people to regain all its inalienable rights.

On this occasion, I am pleased to express the high regard of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and of all its member States for the United Nations, its organs and its committees for their efforts to promote and advance the Palestinian cause and for their tireless support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle to regain their inalienable national rights.

This year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People occurs at a time when Israel is continuing and intensifying its aggression against the Palestinian people, who are without weapons and who have already paid a heavy price for the intifida, with some 1,000 martyrs and 40,000 people injured.

Israel continues blatantly to violate daily the international conventions and commitments, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949. It carries out premeditated extrajudicial killings of Palestinian activists and leaders and harassment operations that have targeted hundreds of others. The Israeli occupier also systematically demolishes Palestinian homes and other buildings. Entire neighbourhoods have been completely destroyed and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been reduced to the status of refugees in their own countries.

For two years, Israel has also been imposing a very strict blockade at border crossings, thus blocking the movement of Palestinians, as well as of supplies and medical equipment. Hundreds of military blockades are isolating villages, and even neighbourhoods within the same municipality. Israeli occupation forces have also set up a real policy of apartheid in occupied Jerusalem.

Dozens of blockades have been set up and trenches have been dug around the city to prevent the faithful from going to mosques and churches: places of worship which are daily desecrated in acts of interference. The occupation of Palestinian towns and cities; repeated incursions; constant attacks on homes, economic facilities and schools; the systematic destruction of infrastructure; the blocking of funds belonging to the Palestinian Authority; and virtual paralysis in public life: these have all severely damaged the Palestinian economy, which is on the verge of collapse. Israel continues its delaying tactics with respect to implementing agreements that have been reached, in spite of international efforts to put an end to its aggression, which is now in its second year. Not only does Israel refuse to implement the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee and the Tenet agreements; it continues and steps up its aggression in an attempt to overthrow the Palestinian Authority, and openly pursues plans to murder Mr. Arafat and other Palestinian leaders.

The international community, which has shown its solidarity against terrorism, must not shut its eyes to the State terrorism practiced by Israel, which is a source of tension posing a threat not only to regional stability but also to international peace and security. It is therefore imperative to act immediately to put an end to ongoing and intensifying Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, to oblige Israel to respect agreements it has signed, and to ensure respect for resolutions of international legality.

Here, we cannot fail to note with satisfaction the new United States policy with respect to the establishment of a Palestinian State and to ending the Israeli occupation. It now remains to give concrete effect to the approach; mechanisms are needed to compel Israel to end its aggression and immediately to resume the peace negotiations at the point at which they were halted and on the basis of what had already been achieved in order to put a permanent end to occupation and to give the Palestinian people their freedom and enable them to enjoy all their national rights.

In that connection, the Organization of the Islamic Conference stresses that the only way to halt the deterioration of the situation and to ease tension in the Middle East is, first, to put an immediate end to ongoing Israeli aggression, to end the blockades and sieges imposed on the Palestinian people and to resume peace negotiations from the point at which they were halted, in line with the principles that made it possible to convene the Madrid conference, including the principle of land for peace, and in line with resolutions of international legality, specifically Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

The second requirement is to guarantee complete Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian territories, including the occupied city of Al-Quds, and a return to the lines of 4 June 1967.

The third is to put an end to the presence of Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories, and to halt all Israeli plans to build more settlements and to send more settlers; these acts are a flagrant violation of international law and of relevant United Nations resolutions, including those of the Security Council.

Fourthly, there must be an equitable solution of the problem of Palestinian refugees on the basis of international resolutions, including General Assembly resolution 194 (III), ensuring the return of those refugees to their cities and towns and the restoration of their property.

Finally, we must see the creation of a completely independent Palestinian State with sovereignty over all the occupied Palestinian territories, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Any initiative to find a solution to the Middle East problem and the Palestinian question must be in line with the criteria we have set out above. Otherwise, such initiatives will be doomed to failure.

On this occasion the international community must reaffirm its solidarity with the Palestinian people; it must step up and pool its efforts to put an end to Israeli aggression and to relaunch the peace process on the basis of the principles that made it possible to begin it 10 years ago at Madrid. Moreover, it is now the duty of the international community to assist the Palestinian people, to provide all the economic and financial assistance it needs in all areas, out of solidarity with the victims of Israeli State terrorism, and to support the Palestinian Authority to enable it to rebuild its institutions, to restore what has been destroyed by the cowardly Israeli occupiers and to renew the Palestinian economy.

I wish in conclusion, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to pay heartfelt tribute to the Palestinian people and to reaffirm the full support of the Islamic umma for that people and for the Palestinian National Authority in putting an end to aggression and enabling the Palestinian people once again to enjoy its inalienable rights, including its right to return, to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State of its own in its homeland, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.


Dr. Frederick J.T. Chiluba, President of Zambia and Chairman of the Organization
of African Unity, message delivered by Mr. Roland Mwelwa C. Musambachime,
Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations

[Original: English]

As you meet to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, allow me to state from the outset the significance of such a gathering to the people of Palestine, Israel and to all peace-loving nations. The people of Africa join the rest of the world in the quest for peace, unity and stability in the Middle East, a region where we all hope both Israel and Palestine will coexist in conditions of security and prosperity, and as sovereign and independent States.

The rights of the people of Palestine to self-determination and independence are recognized by the whole international community and are well documented by the United Nations. In this regard, on behalf of the people of Africa, I feel honoured to have been invited, in my country’s capacity as current Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), to send a message of support and solidarity to our brothers and sisters of Palestine.

We all have confidence in the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to resolve their differences. I know that, through our collective prayers, peace and love will prevail over hate and vengeance in the Middle East.

You are no doubt aware that the Organization of African Unity has on a continuous basis expressed grave concern at the lack of a solution to the issue of Palestine and its consequent ramifications in the entire Middle East region. This concern is justified because of its serious bearing on the freedom, liberty and inalienable rights of the Palestinians, who have been asking for nothing more than their fundamental right to exist as a people. Today’s solemn occasion is yet another demonstration from the international community and an unequivocal message that the Palestinians, just like anybody else, deserve the right to self-determination.

It is a matter of regret that the question of Palestine, which is as old as the United Nations itself, is still on the international agenda despite our great efforts towards the search for an acceptable and lasting solution. It is, however, clear that the peace process in the Middle East has been undermined by a lack of commitment by the parties involved. For instance, there have been a number of setbacks due principally to the increased cases of violence which are detrimental to any peaceful solution.

I am certain that I reflect the genuine view of the African continent in stating that honest dialogue between the two parties is the only way forward. While it may appear that the prevailing political tensions, characterized by violence and killings, may be difficult to overcome, dialogue still remains the only hope for creating the necessary conditions for a lasting settlement to the Middle East problem.

The position of my Government and, indeed that of the OAU, on Palestinian self-determination continues to be that of support and solidarity. It is our view that the noble vision of dialogue and peace in the Middle East must be complemented by respect for international principles and respect for the rule of law.

The OAU has strongly supported the Palestinian cause and will continue to do so until peace and security are attained in the Middle East. We are also happy that a consensus is emerging for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine, which will coexist with the independent State of Israel. This is the only lasting solution to the Middle East conflict. It is our hope that, sooner rather than later, the whole world will join in celebrating peace in the Middle East, as we did when the system of apartheid was defeated in South Africa.

I would like to conclude by stating Zambia's view, and that of the Organization of African Unity, that the two peoples are still the ultimate players in the conflict. The United Nations should, however, continue to influence global efforts towards a more stable and just international order. The United Nations should also play a more active role in stemming the increasing hostilities between Palestine and Israel.

It is in this regard that I wish to appeal to all States and other interested parties to lend a strong voice to the promotion of dialogue and peaceful negotiations between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, notwithstanding the current political malaise in that part of the world. The international community should reaffirm its commitment to this process. To our Palestinian and Israeli brothers and sisters, we say we love you all and wish you all the best of luck as you forge ahead in the quest for mutual understanding in the search for lasting peace and stability in your region.

May God bless you all.


Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States,
message delivered by Mr. Hisham Khodr Abbas, Chargé d’affaires
of the Office of the Permanent Observer of the League of Arab
States to the United Nations
[Original: Arabic]


I am pleased to address you today on behalf of the Secretariat of the League of Arab States to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - an event your distinguished Committee has been indefatigably organizing since 1978 - as an expression of our support for the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian Arab people. It also gives me great pleasure to convey to you the sincere congratulations of His Excellency Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and his profound esteem for the part played by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in assisting the Palestinian people and to assure you of our pride in and appreciation for your work.

This year we are observing this event against the backdrop of a steadily escalating Israeli military and political offensive against the Palestinian people and its National Authority in the occupied Palestinian territories where the Israeli war machine is conducting a full-scale war against the Palestinian people on a daily basis. This has led to an unprecedented deterioration in the situation of the population. These arbitrary actions have inflicted untold suffering on the Palestinians who have endured a blockade, starvation, assassinations, expulsions, the destruction of their homes and the bulldozing of their land and extrajudicial killings. You will of course be fully aware of this state of affairs, which once again highlights the need to create an international mechanism to protect this people and guarantee its fundamental and legitimate rights, which are enshrined in all the relevant international instruments and laws, international human rights legislation and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Taking advantage of the fact that broad sections of the international community have been focusing their attention on the United States-led military, political and media campaign against terrorism, Israel has been reoccupying Palestinian-controlled towns and villages and butchering the civilian population. These actions are an attempt to create a fait accompli on the ground which will lead - or so Israeli leaders believe - to the imposition of an Israeli peace on the region, or rather of a state of affairs that is neither peace nor war, this being the situation that best serves Israel's interests, namely domination and control. We feel it is important to stress at this juncture than any attempt to sideline or shelve the Palestinian issue - which is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict - or to abandon the Palestinians as prey to the Israelis will merely increase tension and instability in the region. Those States which play an active role in the international order must understand that a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian problem is of fundamental and vital importance to the region and the entire world.

Within this framework we should like to state that the League of Arab States welcomes the statements by United States President George Bush concerning the right of Palestinians to establish their own State and his insistence that the international resolutions must constitute the frame of reference for a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Middle East conflict. We also welcome the address given by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell outlining the United States plan for the peace process in the Middle East, which is based on a cessation of the Israeli occupation, in line with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the principle of land for peace and the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian State.

While we acknowledge that Secretary of State Colin Powell gave a positive and balanced speech, we would emphasize that the United States Administration must adopt a proactive and well-defined position and translate these words into actions. We would also caution against Israeli attempts to stymie any new United States initiative to put this plan into effect; indeed, the recent Israeli escalation and the killings and destruction are nothing but an attempt to pre-empt and frustrate this initiative.

We have followed with the utmost interest international developments in the wake of the horrendous terrorist acts committed in the United States on 11 September 2001, which caused appalling loss of life and enormous economic damage. The Arab States and the League of Arab States have condemned these bloody terrorist acts against civilians as wholly incompatible with the tenets of the revealed religions and moral and humane values. While we condemn these actions, we also totally reject any attempt to establish a connection between terrorism and the true religion of Islam, which over the centuries has made a constructive and sustained contribution which has enriched civilization; we would also stress the need to distinguish and discriminate between terrorist operations and acts carried out in accordance with the legitimate right of resistance aimed at putting an end to occupation and guaranteeing the right of self-determination: the international community has a duty to ensure that the Palestinian people is not deprived of this right, which is safeguarded by all the relevant international instruments. The Palestinian people is the victim of organized State terrorism perpetuated by the Israeli Government on a daily basis; its right to resist and confront this terrorism is indisputable and cannot be denied or called into question.

Many allegations and claims have been made recently about the so-called clash of civilizations or cultures. We, for our part, as the inheritors of an ancient civilization and distinguished culture, call for a dialogue between civilizations, a dialogue based on understanding and mutual respect for each other's culture and on coexistence and tolerance. We believe that the widespread references to and discussions of these ideas in the international media amount to a kind of ideological terrorism directed against the peoples of the Third World and more especially the Arab and Islamic peoples. We may have imagined that the 21st century had left behind racist and chauvinistic ideas together with the rest of the ideological baggage of colonialism, but this talk of the superiority of one culture over another suggests that they are still prevalent.

The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is an important opportunity to address an urgent appeal to peoples and Governments to stand by the Palestinian people and its national leadership to enable it to exercise its legitimate rights to freedom, stability and self-determination on an equal footing with other peoples. This will foster stability and security in the region and in the world as a whole and help defeat extremist and terrorist elements.

May God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.


Mr. Don Betz, on behalf of the international network of NGOs
on the question of Palestine

[Original: English]

Thank you for this opportunity to participate on behalf of the NGO network active on the question of Palestine. Representatives of this network, which has a global reach, are present in the gallery today. Earlier today fellow NGO spokespersons joined the United Nations ceremonies in Geneva. We are honoured to be here.

Last year at this time, sitting here in this same chamber, I said that it was a moment of unparalleled peril for the Palestinian people. The al-Aqsa Intifada was 62 days old, and the all too familiar pattern of escalating violence had already produced mounting Palestinian casualties. We NGOs called for closer collaboration with the United Nations and for international protection for the people in Palestine on the ground. Twelve months later, the danger is more acute.

A pattern of repression cannot be justified simply because it is familiar. Measures taken by the Israeli occupation forces, both military and civilian, are indefensible, except to those who proclaim that Palestine is a mortal threat to the State of Israel, recognized as the fifth most potent military power in the world today. The protracted Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has manifested itself in dramatic ways recently, with tanks flattening cars and grinding up narrow streets in West Bank towns. It also lives in a thousand humiliations a day and at the 260 Israeli checkpoints which render Palestine a disconnected collection of isolated atolls. These realities and much more are perpetual reminders for the Palestinians that their lives remain controlled by Israel as they have been for the 34 years of the longest occupation in the contemporary international system.

The numbing events of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent United States-led war on international terrorism have propelled the question of Palestine onto centre stage of popular discussion. A dramatic change in the constellation of power and influence is under way in the Middle East. As at few times in the recent past, world public opinion, especially in the United States, is asking questions about the occupation of Palestine, about its historical background and about the possible resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Importantly, these are issues the general public has not raised before. The mainstream public is ready to understand, perhaps for the first time, the stark reality of the question of Palestine. This is a teachable moment, a true global learning opportunity, with major implications, if effectively executed, for any sustained peace initiative. A practical immediate plan of action should include a comprehensive, coordinated and lasting campaign of information to provide the public with a true picture of the Israeli occupation and of the legitimate Palestinian resistance to occupation.

Now is the time for the United Nations, Member States and NGOs to actively collaborate once again and tell the story of Palestine as if for the first time. The tragedy of 11 September has launched a new dynamic for pursuing peace in the Middle East.

NGOs, as active members of civil society, have demonstrated their commitment and their active collaboration with the United Nations since the first NGOs were identified by the Organization during its preparation for the 1983 International Conference on the Question of Palestine. Over the ensuing 20 years, the emerging NGO network focused on the full implementation of United Nations resolutions as the sound basis for true peace.

Our immediate priority must be the most fundamental: to protect the people. Over the past year, several proposals have suggested the placement of external witnesses in Palestine. Several terms have been used to describe this proposed group: unarmed international observers, international presence, international monitors, and civilian/governmental presence among others. Regardless of title, their roles are identical and vital. Given the overwhelming military superiority and coercive power available to the State of Israel, the Palestinians, living on a remnant of the 1947 Palestine under the British Mandate, are at grave risk ... every day. The safety and security of the Palestinian people is an international obligation, as accepted by the United Nations, and it is incumbent upon all Member States literally to protect these people. This responsibility will be on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention on article I enforcement obligations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. But the international obligation does not stop there. The United Nations and its Member States are required to fulfil the Organization's relevant resolutions, which are well known to all of us, including General Assembly resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III) and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). An integral part of protection for Palestinians is the exceptional, sustained support for the NGOs and United Nations and government agencies on the ground actively aiding the people.

The occupation of Palestine and the accompanying repression of the Palestinian people living there is not well understood by the public. The United Nations, NGOs and others still have serious work to do to transform the common public misperception that the whole of Palestine is Israeli territory and that whatever Israel decides to "give" to the Palestinians is out of generosity and not a matter of law and right. Fundamentals must be stated and repeated. Minds and hearts need to be won.

Another example of contemporary Middle East mythology as understood by the American public is that Palestinians are the aggressors and it is Israel that is defending its homeland from a maniacal people. Whoever asks the simple questions, "Why is there this intifada?" "Why are these Palestinians mired in conflict with Israel?" "Why has this conflict continued for so many years?" Rarely are the Palestinians depicted as an occupied people struggling to establish their sovereignty in an independent State on a fraction of original Palestine. When these myths are challenged, when the realities of the question of Palestine are effectively communicated, the mainstream public comprehends what is happening perhaps for the first time. These decent, non-politicized people understand that "something is not right", and that it has not been for many years. This public is ready to know more, and able to ask their Governments for more answers. When the public has a sense of the occupation and the reasons why Palestinians have resisted for three generations, it begins to understand that the status quo cannot stand if peace is the actual goal.

The settlement expansion in the West Bank and Gaza continues unabated. Within minutes of United States Secretary of State Powell's significant mid-November policy statement outlining the parameters of peace in the Middle East, Israeli authorities responded with increased settlement growth and IDF bulldozers demolished more Palestinian homes in a defiant and grotesque display of power and control. The latest Israeli justification of continued settlement proliferation is that the freeze on settlements was conditional on the good behaviour of Palestinians as judged by the Israeli Government. The essential reality is that in 1967 there were no settlements and no settlers in the West Bank or Gaza. Despite explicit prohibition under international law, the settlements now number in the hundreds and the settlers in the hundred thousands. The efficacy of the rule of law has sustained another blow. These "facts on the ground" are clear obstacles to peace.

It is instructive to listen to the recently acquired empathy some Americans have now expressed for the plight of the Afghan people, whom they did not even notice but a few months ago. The story of Palestinian refugees pre-dates the trauma of Afghan refugees by three decades, yet it is clear that today, more is known by the media-watching public about the latter than the former.

As NGOs we have supported the recognition of the right of return for Palestinian refugees. But recognition of that right does not mean the eradication of the State of Israel. Israel should not exaggerate the issue to the point of blocking a solution. But the right of return does suggest that, at a minimum, an apology and compensation are right and just. Despite evidence linking the flight and non-return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes in Palestine, Israel has never offered a single expression of regret or remorse, even an indirect admission that they have built their State, their homeland, their lives, upon someone else's home and history.

Most immediately, the need is for the protection of the Palestinian people. The suffocating control that Israel and its IDF exercise over Palestinians every day must be lifted. The deaths last week of five children from the same family by a device purposefully placed in a Palestinian refugee camp stunned even the hardened veterans of this conflict. International monitors, including United Nations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, must observe and hopefully prevent the violation of human rights by all parties. As one NGO expressed it, "only international monitoring can create a path out of the circle of violence, counter-violence, revenge and counter-revenge".

Only when calm is restored can the international community proceed with ending the occupation and supplanting it with an independent Palestinian State within the pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem at its capital, side-by-side with the State of Israel in fulfilment of United Nations resolutions.

Ultimately, the question of Palestine is a human issue. It will be justly resolved only when peace and security are daily realities for Palestinians and Israelis. The quest is to be able to live a normal life. To that end, both the United Nations and its NGO network partners must renew their common commitment, guided by United Nations resolutions, to persist in the work of building an elusive peace, the foundation of a normal life.

In the past, the United Nations and the NGO network have been described by a British journalist as the "guardian angels" of the Palestinian people. Since 1983 and the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, NGOs, as a network, have joined with the United Nations in championing the rights of the Palestinian people. Now we have an exceptional moment in contemporary history to collaboratively tell the story of the Palestinian people to an awakened United States and world public opinion and to articulate a clear pathway to peace.

As NGOs we persist in our commitment never to be idle, nor dispassionate, nor silent. We embrace the opportunity to connect with the United Nations in fresh and effective ways on behalf of the Palestinian people and in the relentless pursuit of true peace.



Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department
of the Palestine Liberation Organization

[Original: Arabic]

It gives me pleasure, at the close of this commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to express to you, Mr. Chairman, and to all the other members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People our deep thanks for your constant efforts to support the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain its legitimate national rights.

I would like also to thank the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council for the month of November for joining today’s commemoration of the International Day. I thank them for their statements, in which they expressed the firm wish that all high-level officials and Members of the United Nations should continue to exert their utmost efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict – the core of which is the question of Palestine – in order to ensure stability and security on the basis of resolutions of international legitimacy.

It is also a pleasure on this occasion to express my thanks and appreciation to the heads of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States and non-governmental organizations for their messages and for their solidarity with the Palestinian people and their just cause.

My thanks go also to all the heads of State or Government and the ministers who have sent messages expressing full and firm solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to put an end to Israeli occupation and to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian State.

That international unanimity is evidence of the clear desire of peoples all over the world for peace and security in the Middle East, now that in recent months the world has witnessed the consequences of not dealing in time with such regional conflicts and international problems, and of failing to address such issues before they deteriorate and become extremely difficult to resolve. They then engender a sense of bitterness and hatred, which inevitably leads to violence and ultimately to the emergence of terrorism.

Perhaps we are now witnessing a new era of international solidarity in solving the problem of terrorism. But we must first make a serious attempt to resolve regional conflicts in a spirit of justice and equity and to ensure the legitimate rights of peoples. Human rights and the right to self-determination should be respected, and hegemony and domination should be rejected. This should be done through direct intervention by the United Nations and its machinery.

In closing, I would like to thank all participants for their presence and for taking part in this event.




Closing statement by Mr. Papa Louis Fall, Chairman of the Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]

Before adjourning the meeting, I wish first of all to convey the Committee’s thanks to the delegations of Malta and of Tunisia, which are representing the Committee at, respectively, the Vienna and Geneva commemorations of the International Day of Solidarity.

My thanks go next to the members of the staff of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services, the Department of Public Information and everyone else who has been working behind the scenes, visibly or invisibly, to organize and ensure the success of today’s meeting.

This year, owing to the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and, especially, to the special security measures in place in New York and at Headquarters, the exhibition of Palestinian art and the reception cannot take place as usual. However, I direct participants’ attention to the exhibit specially set up in this Chamber for today’s meeting, which is also on view as part of the permanent display on Palestine on the third floor of this building.

Also, immediately following this meeting, two videotapes will be screened in this Chamber. The first, entitled Gaza under Siege, portrays life in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa intifada. The second, entitled Mahmoud Darwish: As the Land is the Language, describes how the best known Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, portrays the injuries to and the heritage of his people. All those present are cordially invited to view these videotapes, on which additional information will be provided.

Once again, I wish to thank all those present for their attention and 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


Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria


[Original: French]

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like to convey my warmest and most sincere congratulations, and those of the Algerian people, to the Palestinian people and their leadership.

This commemorative Day comes at a time when the fraternal Palestinian people are still deprived of their legitimate right to live in peace on their ancestral land and are still living under the yoke of a brutal foreign occupation.

Algeria, which has ceaselessly expressed and demonstrated its support for the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people, would like once more to reaffirm its total solidarity with the fraternal Palestinian people on this memorable occasion. It is convinced that, like the Algerian people in their struggle against the forces of colonialism, the Palestinian people will find, in the heroic commitment of their children and the unflinching support of the international community, the resources necessary to reclaim their historical and legitimate rights - in their case, the right to establish their own sovereign State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

More than half a century has elapsed since the adoption by the General Assembly of its resolution on the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State. This decision has so far remained a dead letter, and the Palestinian people are still waiting to see this legitimate goal realized. The international community in general and the United Nations in particular have a duty to address this injustice by doing everything within their power to ensure the implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Palestine.

In the light of the tragedy of 11 September, which was unanimously condemned by the international community, it is incumbent upon us to address without delay the root causes and the sense of frustration engendered by the historical injustices in question and to find a just and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The recent fundamental change in the positions of the principal sponsor of the peace process and a number of other international players has nurtured hopes that a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue which satisfies the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and is in keeping with international legality will soon see the light of day.

On this solemn commemorative Day, I should like to reiterate Algeria's support for the Palestinian people and appeal as a matter of urgency to the international community as a whole and the United Nations in particular to redouble their efforts to ensure that peace negotiations between the parties resume immediately. I also urge them to restore the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular their right to establish their own independent State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

By virtue of the commitment it has shown to the Palestinian cause, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has made a valuable contribution to the just struggle of the Palestinian people. It now has a key role to play in continuing to mobilize further efforts and support to promote this noble cause until the day when the Palestinian people are finally able to enjoy to the full their legitimate rights.


Mrs. Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the people and the Government of Bangladesh join me in reaffirming our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their just and legitimate struggle for an independent and sovereign State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Bangladesh’s support for the cause of the Palestinian people has been principled and consistent. It emanates from our unflinching commitment to the cause of oppressed people everywhere. We firmly believe that peace cannot be achieved while occupation continues. The present violence and mindless acts of destruction in the Occupied Territories must be brought to an end. We strongly urge Israel to reverse all actions that have resulted in death, suffering, destruction and economic hardship for the Palestinian people.

Concerted and more vigorous effort by the international community is required for the restoration of the peace process. We believe that the full implementation of all the relevant United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), hold the key to a permanent and just solution to the question of Palestine.

The observance of the Day symbolizes the commitment of the international community to the just cause of the Palestinian people. Its observance this year will assume relevance only if there is meaningful progress within the next year towards an end to the violence and suffering of the Palestinian people and the establishment of a sovereign, independent State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.


Mr. Gennady Novitsky, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus

[Original: Russian]

I have the honour, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Belarus and on my own behalf, to convey to you our sincere and heartfelt greetings on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

On this important day for the Palestinian people and the entire international community, I should like to confirm the immutability of the position of the Government of the Republic of Belarus concerning the comprehensive realization of the inalienable rights of Palestinians, the most fundamental of which is the right to self-determination. We see no alternative to the creation of an independent Palestinian State on the way to the establishment of lasting peace and stability in the Middle East. The Republic of Belarus is also firmly resolved to further by every means the realization of the right of all the peoples of the Middle East to live in peace and security within their internationally recognized borders.

I greatly appreciate the consistent, practical efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the achievement of a peaceful solution to the Palestinian question, and I wish to express my confidence that, under your chairmanship, it will be able to continue in the future to make a substantial contribution to the realization of the just aspirations of the Palestinian people.


Mr. Jorge Quiroga, President of the Republic of Bolivia

[Original: Spanish]

In the spirit of the declaration adopted by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Rio Group on the crisis in the Middle East at the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, on behalf of my Government and the people of Bolivia, I wish to express my sincerest hopes that the process aimed at achieving a stable and lasting peace in the region through negotiations that take into account the interests of the parties reaches a successful conclusion based on the establishment of a State for the Palestinian people and security for the State of Israel within internationally recognized borders.


Mr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil


[Original: English]

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend, on behalf of the people and the Government of Brazil, my best wishes of peace and harmony to the Palestinian people.

Brazil reaffirms its firm support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle to bring about their legitimate aspiration to self-determination.

We deplore the recent tragic events in the Middle East, resulting in the deaths of many and injuries to thousands of innocent people. We are deeply saddened by this situation, and we extend our profound condolences and sincere sympathies to the bereaved families.

We reaffirm once again the responsibility of the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, for the implementation of its resolutions on the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. Just as it supported the creation of the State of Israel, Brazil calls for concrete measures towards the setting up of a Palestinian State that is democratic, united and economically viable. This is a moral debt owed by the United Nations. It is a task that must not be postponed.

Over the decades the international community has demonstrated its readiness to support the struggle of the Palestinian people and their quest for self-determination and independence.

Today, it is absolutely essential that all actors support the peace process and do everything in their power to help the parties through this most difficult phase.

Brazil firmly backs the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, on the clear understanding that only constructive dialogue and respect for agreements could lead to the establishment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region, taking into account the legitimate right of all countries and peoples of the region to security.

Once again at a critical moment for the Middle East, we wish to commend the Palestinian people for their endurance through long and difficult times and we reaffirm our conviction that peace must be the ultimate reward for its patience and determination.

It is our hope that violence will soon be over and political dialogue resumed, so that the Palestinian people can finally benefit from an environment of peace and stability, where it can concentrate on its development and prosperity and thus realize its full potential.


Mr. Ricardo Lagos Escobar, Vice-President of the Republic of Chile

[Original: Spanish]

To mark the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government of Chile wishes once again to express its recognition for the work done by the United Nations in the interests of peace in the Middle East and for the support offered to the Palestinian people by the Organization. It particularly appreciates the assistance given in the quest for better economic and social conditions and expresses its renewed support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the peace process.

It likewise hopes that, within the very near future, the road to dialogue will again be taken, the violence enveloping the region will cease and the concern of the international community will be aroused.


Mr. Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

[Original: Chinese]

Upon the convocation of the meeting marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, our sincere congratulations to the meeting.

Convened as it is against the background of ongoing volatility and a stagnant peace process in the Middle East, the observance of the Day this year carries great significance. The violent conflicts which have lasted for over a year have inflicted heavy civilian casualties and loss of property on Palestine. China expresses its profound sympathy with the Palestinian people for their plight and condemns Israel's use of force and economic blockade against Palestine. The continued Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have not only severely hampered the Middle East peace process but also had a negative impact on the stability and development of the world.

The Palestinian question is at the core of the Middle East issue. To seek a political settlement of the question through peaceful negotiations on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions on the Middle East and the "land for peace" principle is the correct approach towards realizing a lasting peace in the Middle East. It is our view that only with the restoration of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to found an independent State of Palestine, could the peace and security of all countries in the Middle East be guaranteed. We strongly call upon the international community to redouble its mediation efforts for peace in the Middle East and urge Israel to resume peace negotiations with Palestine at an early date so as to create the conditions for a just and comprehensive solution of the Middle East question once and for all.

As always, the Chinese Government and people will, along with the rest of the international community, work for and contribute to an early settlement of the question of the Middle East, including that of Palestine.


Mr. Glafcos Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like, on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus, to express our deep respect for and friendship towards the Palestinian people.

In addition, I should like to emphasize once more our full support for the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), so that a just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict can be accomplished.

Moreover, we look forward to the successful conclusion of all the efforts, within the spirit of the peace process and the fulfilment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, that encompass the creation of an independent State for the Palestinians.

The dream of the people of the area for genuine peace, and of all of us as well, has regrettably not been realized. The violence has continued unabated since September 2000. The tragic loss of so many innocent lives, particularly of women and children, and of bloodshed in general, must stop immediately.

We stand ready to extend our support and contribute tangibly and concretely to all the efforts for genuine peace and reconciliation among all the people in the Middle East.

Cyprus has demonstrated time and again its genuine concern and interest in the affairs of the Middle East, by becoming actively involved from the very beginning with the multilateral track of the peace process. Our firmly held goal is to bring the people of the Middle East closer together and improve their standard of living. The Government of the Republic has been studying ways and means to implement a program of economic assistance to the Palestinians, which derives from our determination to contribute effectively and significantly to the noble cause of establishing peace with justice, security, stability and economic prosperity for all the States in the region.

It is imperative and urgent for the dialogue between the participants to continue, however daunting the path to peace may be, because of the many obstacles and the innumerable difficulties along the way.

Gloom and despair must not be allowed to settle, nor can nihilism rule the day, for the lives of human beings are irreplaceable. This constitutes ample reason for all of us to redouble our efforts to bring the parties to the negotiating table once again, in order to complete their unfinished business and see that their journey towards peace is successfully completed.

We fervently hope and pray that the efforts for peace in the Middle East will not only continue but succeed as well. Not too long ago, certain historic steps were taken in order to fulfil the noble dream of generations. That dream envisages that war, bloodshed, suspicion and hate will be banished from the Middle East by demand of the popular will. The torch of the peacemakers will pass to the hands of the generations to come, and there is no turning back the clock on the road to peace. In achieving these goals, all should pledge and reaffirm their commitment, determination and persistence to the peace process, so that peace, justice, security, stability and prosperity may be established for all the people in the Middle East.


Mr. Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s
Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

[Original: English]

I extend firm solidarity to you and the Palestinian people on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Today, Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, are vigorously struggling for national independence and liberation by putting an end to the occupation of Israel.

I take this opportunity to wish you and the Palestinian people still greater success in the struggle to restore the legitimate Palestinian national rights.


Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

[Original: Arabic]

We are observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year against a backdrop of very grave developments throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, namely in the West Bank and West Bank towns, Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem.

I am sure you will concur that today the Palestinian people stands in greater need than ever before of the solidarity of the international community and the United Nations to stiffen its resolve in the face of the military force deployed by Israel, which has resorted to policies of assassination, repeated raids on Palestinian-controlled territories, closures and an economic blockade - all practices which are in flagrant breach of the international commitments assumed by Israel as an occupying Power.

Egypt is confident that the United Nations - and your distinguished Committee in particular - will do everything possible to show effective solidarity with the Palestinian people and its legitimate rights in its current ordeal, solidarity which must be commensurate with the unprecedented use of force by the Israelis and the gravity of the present crisis.

We believe that this deteriorating situation can only be contained by the faithful implementation of the provisions of the resolutions of international legitimacy - the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly resolutions - and by a commitment to implement the Mitchell report recommendations.

Egypt, which initiated peace in the Middle East over 20 years ago, remains committed to the fundamental objective of preventing a further deterioration in the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and fostering a climate conducive to a revival of the political dialogue and a resumption of the negotiating process.

I should also like to take the opportunity presented by the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to reiterate my esteem for you and the members of your distinguished Committee. I am pleased to take cognizance of your latest report concerning the activities of the Committee and the devoted efforts you are making to raise awareness of the Palestinian problem and to mobilize support and international solidarity to help the Palestinian people exercise its legitimate and inalienable rights. I should like finally to express the hope that we shall be observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People under more auspicious circumstances next year.


General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea

[Original: French]

I should like to take this opportunity, on the occasion of the celebration of the memorable day of 29 November, to convey to you my warmest congratulations and to wish your Committee every success in performing its noble task of defending the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in their heroic struggle to recover all their legitimate rights. I should also like to assure you of the active solidarity of the Government and the people of Guinea with the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle to determine their own future.


Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana

[Original: English]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is being observed this year at a very troubling time for the people of Palestine. The Palestinians have suffered a high number of deaths and injuries caused by intensified violence, and the imposition of closures as well as the restrictions placed on the movement of Palestinians have led to further hardship, affecting the Palestinian economy arid causing increased poverty and unemployment.

Guyana regrets the lack of progress in the peace process over the past year and the intensification of violence. The intensified violence over the past year and its consequences should make it clear that a just, lasting and comprehensive solution can only be achieved by peaceful means. It would require the commitment of the parties involved in the process to diligently and unceasingly work together until peace is achieved.

There is no justification for waiting for an end to violence before returning on the path to peace since, as we observed over the past year, violence has been met with more violence and the intensified violence has impeded the peace process. The responsible authorities must put measures in place aimed at ensuring that those responsible for violent acts are identified, apprehended and brought to justice.

The parties involved in the peace process must now build on the achievements of the past and persevere in order to accomplish even more in the future. Much of the groundwork has already been laid and the more recent initiatives such as the recommendation of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-finding Committee and understandings reached earlier this year with the assistance of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States merit greater attention.

In seeking a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian situation, the plight of the Palestinian refugees cannot be ignored. The refugees have benefited from the humanitarian services provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees In the Near East in areas such as education, health and social services, but the Agency has had to face new challenges arising from the current situation affecting the Palestinian people. It Is my hope that the international donor community would provide the financial aid that the Agency needs to carry out its duties under the current conditions and that constraints faced by the Agency in providing humanitarian assistance to the refugees will be minimized.

As the international community considers the issue of terrorism and measures to eliminate it, the implications with respect to the explosive situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have been receiving new attention. The international community, and more particularly those more immediately involved in securing peace in the region, should seize this opportunity to immediately begin efforts to secure a resumption of peace talks. It is my hope that in this new atmosphere, lasting peace will soon be a reality and the people of Palestine will finally be able to enjoy their inalienable rights in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.


Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of the Republic of India

[Original: English]


The International Day of Solidarity reminds the international community of the continuing struggle of the Palestinian people for their national aspirations. The unfortunate situation in the occupied Palestinian territory today underlines the urgent need for restoring calm and peace to West Asia.

India fully supports all efforts to break the cycle of violence, to bring about a ceasefire and to build mutual trust and confidence through the steps outlined in the Mitchell Report and the Tenet Plan. A definitive resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute should result in the creation of a viable State of Palestine, alongside Israel, within secure and recognized borders, in implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and of the principle of “land for peace” which has underpinned the peace process in West Asia. We call upon both sides to immediately resume negotiations focused on confidence building and with a vision for the future.

India appreciates the courage and untiring efforts of the Palestinian leadership led by President Yasser Arafat. We will continue to remain engaged with the Middle East peace process and to work for the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.


Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of the Republic of Indonesia

[Original: English]

On the solemn occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it is a distinct honour and privilege for me to reiterate, on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Indonesia, our unflinching support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their sacred struggle to attain their inalienable right to self-determination and to establish a sovereign independent State in their homeland, with Jerusalem as its capital.

It should be recalled that, 10 years ago, much hope and optimism was generated with the peace negotiations in Madrid in constituting the first step in the arduous process leading to the end of an intractable conflict in the region of the Middle East for it promised to increase mutual confidence between the concerned parties through measures on the ground, thereby setting the stage for a permanent status agreement. Given the good will, trust and vision that the historic process heralded and the current grave situation in the occupied territories, this commemoration stands out as a sombre and painful reminder that the winds of peace are being overwhelmed by the entrenched forces of occupation and violence.

Half a century later, while the rest of the world moves progressively forward in a new era of advanced scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs transforming every facet of human life, an entire people and nation lives under foreign occupation with all the untold sufferings attendant on the question of colonialism. It is a story chronicled in its tragic history of the imposition of gross injustices through long years of pain, disillusionment and unbearable conditions where generations of Palestinians have never known peace and development but are born and raised amidst conditions fuelling deep feelings of despair, anger and betrayal.

Civilization can best be characterized as the interaction of the world's societies leading to a moral consciousness and a sense of service to all humanity. Thus, the current situation of human misery befalling the Palestinian population cannot be justified by any means and requires some serious soul- searching by members of the international community. It is indeed a cruel twist of irony that while the United Nations focuses on the issue of human rights, including their promotion in developing countries, there is no greater flagrant violation of basic human rights than that of foreign occupation. Its existence in this twenty-first century is totally incompatible with the acceptable principles of friendly coexistence among States. Furthermore, it disregards the basic precepts of international law, especially by flouting the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and other relevant resolutions of the United Nations.

Undeniably, that solemn responsibility to the people of Palestine rests with the United Nations and its Member States. The reality is that, despite the recognition by the General Assembly of the right of the Palestinians to establish an independent State in accordance with resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 and the adoption of scores of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, the Palestinian people have yet to exercise their fundamental rights while they are subjected to living in dismal conditions with an economy that is slowly being strangled by the occupying Power. Today, as violent acts grip many parts of the world - from New York to Afghanistan, and from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem - it behoves the international community to maintain its focus on the question of Palestine, or the festering of this intractable conflict will have grave ramifications for the Middle East region and beyond. Furthermore, the Security Council is duty bound to maintain international peace and security in accordance with its mandate at all times and in all places, especially with respect to one of the most protracted conflicts on its agenda.

During the past year alone, the international community has borne witness to unabated violence in the occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in hundreds of casualties, particularly the killing and wounding of innocent civilians. Also alarming is the marked increase under the pretext of security considerations of acts of detention, the expansion of illegal settlements, policies of economic strangulation and human rights violations which have become the order of the day. It is hoped that wisdom and realism will prevail, especially as history has taught us time and again that foreign occupation, with its policies of force against peoples, serve only to strengthen their resolve to free themselves from the shackles of colonialism. Moreover, oppression can only lead to the perpetuation of a cycle of violence and terror with no end of peace in sight.

In the light of this dangerously explosive situation, it is imperative that the recommendations of the Mitchell Report are implanted at the earliest possible time as a basis to resume the peace process. For its part, Indonesia has steadfastly held that a just and lasting peace can only be permanently anchored if it is based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and on the land-for-peace principle. Undoubtedly a real peace should translate into tangible benefits to all, particularly to the Palestinians, for a life of tranquillity and human dignity in an independent and viable homeland of their own, and also for all States in the region to live within secure and recognized borders.

In observing this International Day of Solidarity, Indonesia lends its unwavering support to this noble struggle of the Palestinian people. It fervently believes that the people of Palestine will emerge triumphant, as their cause is a just and noble one and only they, the Palestinians, can rightfully determine their own destiny. It should be a destiny that yearns for freedom, independence and statehood with an equal place among the comity of nations. This will beckon a new dawn of peace and development to reign and flourish in the region of the Middle East.

May God Almighty bestow His blessings and wise guidance on all us.


Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

[Original: English]

In the Name of Almighty God

We are commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at a time when, regretfully, there is no bright prospect for the improvement of the situation of the Palestinian people. Palestinians, living in the occupied territories, are under the persistent threat of assassination, torture, intimidation, economic blockade, poverty and unemployment. Holy sites in the territories under the Israeli occupation are ruined and efforts are made with a view to drastically changing the demographic and geographic fabric of the Arab residential areas through Jewish settlement activities. Millions of Palestinian refugees are waiting to return to their homeland, while the Zionist regime refrains from recognizing their right to return.

The Israeli brutal acts continue at a time when competent international organizations have denounced, in their reports, the gross violations of human rights and international law, including violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in the occupied territories at the hands of Israelis. Undoubtedly, these activities run counter to customary international law and the United Nations resolutions. On this Day, drawing on our conscience and human dignity, all of us should express our solidarity with the people of Palestine and spare no efforts in stopping the expansionist policies and repressive activities of the Israel regime, which not only cause more tension and instability in the Middle East, but also are a real threat to international peace and security.

For the Iranian people, who always pay special attention to the Palestinian cause, this Day is an opportunity to renew their solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people. On behalf of the Iranian people, I wish to seize this opportunity to reiterate the unswerving support of the great nation of Iran for the just, legitimate and sacred Palestinian cause.

In conclusion, stressing the rightful stance of the Palestinian nation in seeking to achieve their rightful objective, I hope that the commemoration of this Day will mark the beginning of serious cooperation among nations and Governments towards the complete restoration of the rights of the people of Palestine.


King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like to thank you and your distinguished Committee for the sterling efforts you have been making for many years to support the Palestinian people and promote its inalienable rights.

Ever since the Palestinian people was expelled from its land, the Palestinian issue has been the main focus of our attention. In our dealings with the international community over the past decades, we have pursued the goal of restituting the rights of the Palestinian people and shall continue our efforts until this people regains the rights which are enshrined in United Nations instruments and recognized by the whole family of nations.

When the peace process got under way in Madrid with the assistance and blessing of the international community, we were among its staunchest supporters and backed United States, Russian and European efforts to ensure its success. We believed it was the first step towards ending the suffering of the Palestinian people and the beginning of a new era of coexistence and mutual understanding between the peoples of this region which have been exposed to the consequences of the conflict for many years.

Today, 10 years on, the peace process has reached an impasse. The Palestinian people is suffering as never before, and acts of aggression against it and violations of its rights are continuing unabated. We hope that the international community will again unite in solidarity and move swiftly to put an end to the spiral of violence in the Palestinian territories, halt the military escalation, return to the fundamentals of the peace process that won universal approbation and reaffirm its commitment to the agreements produced by this process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

The international community has a heavy responsibility to support the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people. A just and comprehensive peace ensuring stability and security in the Middle East can be achieved only by restoring these rights on the basis of international resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

We believe it is important to seize the favourable opportunity that exists today: we can discern on the horizon the outlines of a serious and genuine initiative to find a just solution which will enable the Palestinian people to recover its rights, foremost among which is the right to self-determination on its national territory and the right to establish a viable and independent Palestinian State. We are fully convinced that the United Nations, and your distinguished Committee in particular, will do everything possible to attain this lofty goal.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been one of the leading champions and supporters of the Palestinian people, its rights and its just cause and remains committed to this objective, which it will pursue in common with your distinguished Committee and the United Nations, if God permits.

We are very appreciative of and grateful for your devoted efforts and ceaseless endeavours to defend the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and trust they will be crowned with success.


Mr. Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to reiterate the unwavering policy of the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic of standing by the Palestinian people in the legitimate struggle for the exercise of their inalienable rights, primarily the right to national independence and sovereignty.

It is gratifying for me to note that during the past year there have been some welcome developments towards the resumption of the peace process. They include Mitchell Committee recommendations, the September meeting at Gaza international airport between the heads of the two sides and the October statement by the United States President concerning the creation of a Palestinian State.

Unfortunately, the military campaign started with the Al-Aqsa incident, has continued throughout the year resulting in the deaths of 670 Palestinians and injuries to more than 25,000 people. Worse still, there were attempts by the perpetrators to link the campaign with the international community’s battle against international terrorism. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic reaffirms its condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of the acts of violence and the excessive use of force against the innocent Palestinian people. It also repeats its call for the complete and unconditional implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement of 17 October 2000 and the Mitchell recommendations as well as other relevant resolutions of the United Nations so that the peace process may be brought back on track and the eventual solution of the Palestine problem secured once and for all.

In observing this important International Day, the Government and people of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic wish to renew their deepest sympathy and unshakeable solidarity with the Palestinian people in the latter’s lofty struggle for their dignified statehood and peaceful coexistence with their neighbours. We remain convinced that under the resolute stewardship of the Palestine Liberation Organization, with President Yasser Arafat as its leader, the Palestinian people’s long-cherished dream of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State will eventually come true in the not too distant future.



Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia

[Original: English]

On this solemn meeting to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government and people of Malaysia join me in reiterating our solidarity with and support for the Palestinian people.

We stand with others in the international community in expressing our grave concern over the plight of our Palestinian brothers in the quest to attain a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

Malaysia calls upon the international community to redouble its efforts to end the current situation and escalating crisis, which threatens peace and security in the region. It is imperative that the international community be actively involved to revive the peace process and effectively move it forward. Lasting peace will not be achieved and sustained without the implementation of an effective international mechanism to implement the relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, the principle of land for peace, as well as the agreements reached between the two parties.

Malaysia has always extended its firm support to the Palestinian cause and will remain so in the noble effort to establish an independent State of Palestine with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

As Muslims observe this holy month of Ramadan, the people of Malaysia join me in offering our prayers for peace in the Middle East region and for the fortitude and forbearance of our Palestinian brothers during this difficult period.


Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government and the people of the Maldives join me in reaffirming our strong commitment and unqualified support to the Palestinian people in their just struggle for the attainment of their legitimate and inalienable rights.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has been playing a crucial role in creating greater awareness, within the international community, of the plight of the Palestinian people. We commend the work of the Committee, which has helped to consolidate international support for the Palestinian people.

This year, the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has coincided with a period of renewed promises by world leaders to work ardently to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. Since the Madrid peace process began over a decade ago, we have witnessed on many occasions flickers of hope amidst renewed violence and increased tension. Yet there has not been a time when progress towards peace has been more compelling. The daily loss of life and the destruction and the indignities inflicted upon the Palestinian people are incompatible with our civilization. Against this background, I sincerely hope that the international community will demonstrate the same unity in resolving the question of Palestine as in the fight against terrorism. Needless to say, the power of international solidarity can certainly deliver the hopes of the Palestinian people, if all countries and peoples stand united and determined on this compelling issue.

On this solemn occasion, I earnestly hope that a comprehensive, just and permanent peace will be achieved in the Middle East soon, and that the Palestinian people will begin to enjoy stability and prosperity in the very near future in their own sovereign and secure State.


Mr. Eddie Fenech Adami, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta

[Original: English]

It is indeed a matter of deep regret that this year’s observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is being held against the background of an escalation of violence resulting in numerous deaths and injuries.

My Government has consistently condemned the use of violence and has associated itself with the call by the international community to spurn violence in favour of dialogue and negotiation. The tragic events witnessed in the past year have emphasized the urgent need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East region, on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

The Government and people of Malta call upon the parties in the region to end confrontation and to return to the negotiating table. The stalled political process must be relaunched in the interest of peace and reconciliation and above all in the interest of the peoples of the region.

Malta will continue to express its readiness to assist the peacemaking process in any way the parties and the international community consider feasible.


Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

[Original: English]

It gives me great pleasure to convey to you and the Palestinian people the friendship of the Government and people of the Republic of Mauritius on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The Middle East crisis remains one of the major preoccupations for the international community. When I addressed the 56th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 11 November 2001, I made specific reference to the creation of a Palestinian State and the need to find a lasting solution to the crisis, in the following terms:

I wish to reiterate the unequivocal support of the Government and people of Mauritius to the Palestinian people in their struggle for their legitimate rights. My country looks forward to the day when the flag of Palestine will be raised in their country.


King Mohammed VI of Morocco

[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which your distinguished Committee is organizing in its vigilance to enable this people to exercise its inalienable rights, we are pleased to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to you and the members of your Committee for the unceasing efforts you have made since it was set up by decision of the General Assembly in 1975.

The first recommendations submitted by your Committee to the supreme bodies of the United Nations still constitute the foundation on which an equitable settlement of the Palestinian issue must be based. They alerted all those involved to the fact that a comprehensive and just solution to this problem must be based on the resolutions of international legitimacy calling for Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including Al-Quds, and the recognition of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and especially its right to self-determination, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974.

We firmly believe that, by virtue of its firm resolve and hard work, your distinguished Committee has served the General Assembly very well and showed members of the international community the way forward in a process which ultimately led to the convening of the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991. That Conference marked a new departure, the beginning of a long and arduous road leading to the resolution of an enduring conflict which has frequently rocked the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Over the past decade, this Conference has produced a large number of agreements ratified within the framework of the Oslo talks between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and parts of these agreements have been implemented. This is an impressive achievement. Admittedly, difficulties have arisen at the level of practical negotiations and differences of interpretation of agreements that had already been ratified; but between one crisis and another, détente and progress have been achieved which, although limited, are a source of aspirations and a vision which, we hope, will carry us forward together to a satisfactory conclusion.

Just as hope was being rekindled in a more promising and better future, we were very distressed to see the region return, a year or so ago, to square one of this conflict. However, instead of dwelling on this phase of frustration and despair and taking the exaggerated view that it has all come to naught, we would rather insist that no attempt to turn the clock back will deflect us from our purpose: the resolve of international community is stronger than any contingency that may arise.

Permit us to recall in this context that, following the outbreak of the intifada and the aggravation of the crisis between Israelis and Palestinians, international efforts - including United States-led efforts - did not cease, but continued with a view to bringing the parties back to the negotiating table to resume work on the achievements of the transitional phase and final status negotiations.

The significant diplomatic realignment brought about by these international efforts - which has now come to light - and the new engagement of United States President George Bush’s Administration with the Palestinian issue are all grounds for optimism and convince us that there can be no final and lasting solution until the Palestinian people is able to found its independent State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

We, for our part, affirm, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, that we shall do everything in our power to enable it to exercise its rights. We do so in the conviction that Palestinian demands are just and legitimate and that this is our duty and responsibility as Chairman of the Jerusalem Committee.

In common with various individuals and groups in Moroccan society, we have wished this year to become more involved in the plight of our Palestinian brethren by contributing actively towards alleviating the daily suffering caused by the Israeli blockade of Palestinian areas. Given the large number of persons killed and injured since the outbreak of the intifada, we have taken the initiative, within the framework of our unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people, to dispatch a medical team and humanitarian aid to assist it. We have also instructed injured Palestinians to be given hospitality in Morocco so that particularly difficult cases can be treated in Moroccan hospitals.

Moroccan citizens have wished to join us in showing solidarity with their Palestinian brethren by joining a charity scheme under which they register donations with the banks as aid and the proceeds are transferred to the Palestinian people to help it face the challenges and coercion with which it is confronted.


Mr. Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia

[Original: English]

The Government and the people of the Republic of Namibia join the rest of the international community as the world once again demonstrates its solidarity with the people of Palestine. We in Namibia continue to share the pain and suffering that the people of Palestine endure; however, we also remain hopeful that a lasting peace will be achieved in the Middle East.

Namibia will continue to lend its weight to initiatives that are aimed at ending the bloodshed and reprisal attacks that have been witnessed in the last fifteen months. We are convinced that it is only through meaningful negotiations that a lasting solution can be found.

The State of Israel must observe the call of the United Nations Security Council and withdraw its armed forces from Palestine-controlled areas. This would be seen as a confidence-building measure and should go hand in hand with efforts by the Palestine Authority to curb the destructive activities of militants aimed at Israeli targets.

The suffering caused by this conflict has gone on for far too long. Many innocent lives have been lost. Livelihoods have been disrupted. This state of affairs must not be allowed to continue. The right of the people of Palestine to self-determination must be reaffirmed through the establishment of an autonomous and sovereign Palestinian State, which will exist as an equal neighbour with its neighbouring States, including Israel.

In this light, Namibia supports the deployment of a United Nations force that will keep the peace and bring an end to the bloodshed that has been going on since September 2000.

On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we join them in their quest for self-determination, peace, progress and prosperity. We remain confident that a peaceful solution will be reached that will enable the people of Palestine to live in peace and stability in a sovereign State and to determine their own future destiny.


General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan

[Original: English]

Pakistan joins the world community in observing today as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The past year has seen tragic reverses befall the Palestinians in their just and courageous struggle for the restitution of their national rights. The Al-Aqsa Intifada, which is now in its second year, has witnessed enormous Israeli excesses and brutality resulting in the death of over 800 Palestinians, thousands injured and the wilful destruction of their homes and property on a massive scale.

The international community is deeply concerned at Israel's deliberate policy of the use of excessive force, indiscriminate attacks against unarmed Palestinian civilians and targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders and activists. Israeli incursions into territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority, the unwarranted seizure of Orient House and the Palestinian offices in Jerusalem on 10 August 2001 and the unabated violence committed by Israeli security forces in key Palestinian cities, have gravely undermined the Oslo peace process.

The Israeli policy of debilitating economic blockades has shattered the Palestinian economy. The situation has been further compounded by the large-scale destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure and economic installations, the demolition of houses and the devastation of farmlands, including the razing of centuries-old olive groves. These callous Israeli actions have rendered a large number of Palestinians jobless and desperate.

Pakistan unequivocally supports the international calls for restraining Israel from aggravating an already tense situation in the Middle East and urges the resumption of negotiations leading to a just, durable and comprehensive peace settlement consistent with United Nations resolutions and the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people.

Today is a day of reflection and resolve. Today we reaffirm the unswerving and unflinching support of the Government and people of Pakistan for the Palestinians' cause. On this Day of Solidarity, we stand firmly with our Palestinian brethren in their just struggle to regain their inalienable national and human rights, including the right to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al Quds Al-Sharif as its capital and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland.


Mr. Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Republic of Poland

[Original: Polish]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am sending my heartfelt greetings and congratulations

Poland is following the developments in the territory of the Palestinian Authority with attention and concern. In the period prior to recent events we had noticed an improvement on the road to the creation of Palestinian national institutions. Within our means we have tried to assist in the resolution of everyday tensions which the leaders of the Authority have encountered in creating the backbone of the national economy and administrative structure. Our carefulness with regard to the progress of the process initiated by the Oslo agreements has been demonstrated by the attention of the authorities of the Republic of Poland to the initiatives linked with the social and economic regional development of the Middle East, as well as our country's participation in the planning for upcoming years of the programme of irrigation and recultivation of the Authority's terrain.

Unfortunately, the implementation of the Palestinian-Israeli agreements has encountered in the last year a number of grave setbacks and disturbances. They have awakened natural concerns in all who have supported the peaceful shift in Palestinian-Israeli relations and have engaged in the process of creating conditions to ensure its continuation and success; at the same time they have threatened a sense of common trust, indispensable in the creation of a strong foundation of peace in both Palestinian and Israeli societies.

Poland, as does the rest of the international community, supports the interruption of the spiral of violence as well as the realization of the recommendations of the Mitchell Commission and the proposals to relieve the current tension as suggested by George Tenet. These actions should lead to the rebuilding of trust between Israelis and Palestinians and the creation of a climate that would allow for a return to the negotiating table to continue efforts towards a stable peace. We are convinced that this is in the best interest not only of the Palestinians and Israelis, but also of the wide coalition of the free world that stands in opposition to the greatest threat of our time: terrorism.

I wish to take this opportunity to submit through you to the fraternal Palestinian nation our wish that it will be able to return as soon as possible to the building of the foundations of stable peace and cooperation with its neighbours.


Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar

[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like to take the opportunity to reaffirm the legitimate national rights of this people and to applaud its resolute struggle in the face of all the acts of injustice and violations of those rights it has suffered for over half a century.
We are gathered here today in an atmosphere charged with tension in the wake of the barbaric terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 against the United States of America in which thousands of innocent people died. International events since that date serve to remind us of the dangers posed by terrorism and the need to eradicate it and tackle its root causes through cooperation between all nations; for terrorism does not distinguish between its victims on the grounds of religion, colour or race, but strikes indiscriminately and poses a threat to the rights of all, rights established by religious law and international laws and customary practices.

Last month, Doha hosted an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which emphatically rejected spurious attempts to link Islam with terrorism and to blur the distinction between terrorism and the right of each people to determine its own destiny. In resisting Israeli occupation of their land, the Arab peoples are exercising a right enshrined in United Nations instruments and international law. We can but reaffirm these fundamental rights in the hope that the spotlight now being trained on the tragic events of 11 September 2001 in the United States will not blind people to the organized terrorism being inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli Government, which has taken advantage of this situation to exacerbate their tragic plight.

Israel is continuing to occupy land, kill civilians, impose a blockade on towns and villages, bomb and shell them, demolish homes, bulldoze agricultural land and launch incursions into Palestinian-controlled territory in contravention of the principles of international law and international legitimacy enshrined in the relevant United Nations resolutions. An international force of observers must therefore be stationed as a matter of urgency on Palestinian territory, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians.

We are profoundly saddened by the fact that, since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the Israeli forces of occupation have killed over 600 Palestinians and wounded thousands more, which constitutes a gross violation of the international agreements governing the protection of civilians under military occupation. Under these agreements, the above acts constitute war crimes for which the Israeli Government is fully accountable. The only remedy is to freeze settlement activity and dismantle existing Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, in accordance with Security Council resolution 465 (1980) and other relevant resolutions.

It is incumbent upon the United Nations, as the international organization responsible for ensuring international peace and security, to put an end to the abuses being committed by Israel, and the Security Council in particular has a duty to set about immediately applying the international resolutions relating to the Middle East and putting into effect all the resolutions of international legitimacy concerning the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Foremost among these rights are the right to self-determination, the right to establish an independent State on its national territory, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the right to compensation in accordance with the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

The recent statements by President George W. Bush relating to the establishment of a Palestinian State represent a very significant development which was welcomed by the Russian Federation, the European Union, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the African countries, the non-aligned States, the international community and the United Nations: it is a positive initiative which is in line with the resolutions of international legitimacy. We now look to the United States to move swiftly to put this important measure into practice in order to usher in a just and comprehensive peace for all States and peoples of the Middle East. We call upon the international community for its part to bring pressure to bear on Israel to put into effect all the agreements it has signed with the Palestinians - beginning with Oslo and ending with the Mitchell committee report and the Tenet recommendations. For peace in the region depends on establishing justice and removing potential threats, and this can only be achieved by reaching a final, comprehensive and equitable solution to the Palestinian question and the complete withdrawal of Israel from all the territories it occupied in 1967.

May peace and the compassion and blessing of God be with you.



Mr. Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation

[Original: Russian]

[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, Mr. Yasser Arafat]

Please accept my sincere congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The situation in the Middle East remains complicated: the confrontation around the Palestinian territories is continuing, the sufferings of the people are increasing, the number of victims is growing and huge material damage is being sustained. This situation is at variance with the basic interests of both the Palestinian people and all the other peoples of the Middle East region. Today, as never before, political will and decisive steps are needed from both sides in order to begin practical implementation of the Mitchell plan, which covers the key aspects of normalization: prompt cessation of the violence, confidence-building measures and resumption of political dialogue.

Overcoming the current crisis will open the way to achieving the strategic goal of a comprehensive and just settlement in the Middle East on the basis of resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) of the United Nations Security Council and the Madrid principles, first and foremost, the principle of “land for peace”. We are proceeding on the basis that the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and to the establishment of their own independent State, will be realized within this framework.

The Russian Federation, in cooperation with all the interested parties, will continue to do everything in its power for the establishment of lasting peace, stability and security in the Middle East.

I wish you, Mr. Arafat, good health and success, and I wish the fraternal Palestinian people a peaceful future and prosperity in their native land.


Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,
King of Saudi Arabia

[Original: Arabic]

As the international community observes the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is still struggling to regain its legitimate and inalienable rights, I take this opportunity to pray that Almighty God will grant success to your work.

The Government of Saudi Arabia is pleased to take part in this commemoration and is appreciative of the endeavours made by your Committee, which has shouldered the responsibility for defending the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to establish an independent State on its national soil, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

In participating in this observance in common with all other peace-loving States and authorities, the Government of Saudi Arabia stresses its commitment to the international principles, objectives and instruments which affirm the right of the Palestinian people - together with all other peoples - to self-determination. The Palestinian people has, without doubt, been deprived of and denied its rights, regardless of the numerous international resolutions calling for the restoration of those usurped rights.

The Government of Saudi Arabia is observing this International Day dedicated to the sufferings of the Palestinian people because it subscribes to the purposes, goals and principles enshrined in international instruments, notably the Charter of the United Nations, the Charter of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Charter of the League of Arab States, which provide that every people is entitled to self-determination and to gain independence; and the Palestinian people is the epitome of a people that has been deprived of its rights.

Since this question first arose, the Government of Saudi Arabia, with its firmly held principles and absolute conviction of the justice of this people's cause, has been unflagging in its offers of help at all levels and in a number of different forums, with a view to finding a just solution to the issue and ending the oppression, torture and material and moral dispossession being inflicted on the Palestinian people.

Saudi Arabia has aligned itself with the international community in upholding the cause of this people and has given its blessing to and supported peaceful efforts to restore its legitimate rights. It endorsed the peace process begun at Madrid in October 1991, which resulted in the holding of direct discussions between the Palestinian and Israeli sides and the conclusion of bilateral agreements providing for the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories and the transfer of further powers to the Palestinian Authority.

Saudi Arabia has been following with profound dismay current developments in the Palestinian arena, in particular the arbitrary actions taken by the Israeli army against the defenceless civilian population and the expulsion of hundreds of civilians from their homes and also the lack of movement in the peace process. It is concerned and displeased by the intransigence of Israel and by its policies, which have weakened and paralysed the Palestinian-Israeli track and have rendered meaningless the agreements signed with the Palestinian side. All the accords and pledges signed and proclaimed before the international community have been ignored, and Israel continues to destroy Palestinian homes and to pursue its settlement policy in the occupied territories and uses closures and blockades in order to subject the self-governing areas to all kinds of deprivation and starvation and impose collective punishment. It puts in place plans and measures aimed at changing the identity of Jerusalem and imposing a new status quo in that city, thereby exposing the region to more violence and instability.

Since the Madrid Peace Conference, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has steadily supported the Palestinian people in its bilateral negotiations with Israel to ensure that it recovers its legitimate rights. To that end it has been active at all regional and international levels and at international conferences and forums with the aim of bringing about a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Violence has recently erupted in the Palestinian territories as the Palestinian people have lost hope in the peace process between the two sides and the Israeli Government has taken savage repressive measures against the defenceless Palestinian people and imposed a stifling economic blockade on the territory of the Palestinian Authority. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken the initiative of proposing that two funds should be set up - a Jerusalem fund and an intifada fund - with a capital of one billion dollars; it has donated a quarter of this sum, thus fully discharging its financial obligations to these two funds.

The Government of Saudi Arabia is unwavering in its support for the peace efforts aimed at ending the Israeli occupation of Arab territory and implementing the relevant international resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the principle of land for peace. In accordance with the agreements concluded at the Madrid Peace Conference and the affirmation made by the Arab leaders at their 1996 Summit in Cairo, to the effect that the peace process represents a goal and strategic choice from which there can be no retreat, Saudi Arabia urges the members of the international family, and in particular the sponsors of the peace process (the United States of America and the Russian Federation), to bring all possible pressure to bear upon the current Israeli Government of Ariel Sharon to comply with the resolutions of international legitimacy adopted in relation to the Palestinian people and to submit to the will of the international community by honouring the undertakings it has made towards the Palestinian Authority and the international community, desisting from its obstruction of the peace process, ceasing settlement construction, halting its inhumane practices towards the Palestinian population and suspending strikes against civilians and the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. Any permanent and comprehensive settlement must include the return of the Palestinian refugees and the release of all prisoners and must resolve the issue of the settlements, which are in contravention of every international resolution, including Security Council resolution 465 (1980), the provisions of international law and the Geneva Convention.

The question of Jerusalem, which lies at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict, remains the focus of concern of the Arab and Islamic worlds and the essence of the Palestinian problem. This is because it is considered the first Qibla, the third holiest place for Muslims and the point of departure of the Prophet - God bless him and grant him salvation! - on his midnight journey to the seven heavens. Israeli practices and violations in this holy city can therefore only reflect negatively on the whole peace process, in particular in view of the fact that such practices are intended to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and to alter its religious and historical characteristics, and threaten to destroy the peace process and put an end to all hopes for peace in the region. We therefore appeal to the international community and to the United States in particular to take immediate and positive steps to end Israeli intransigence with regard to the most critical and delicate parts of the peace process, and to treat the issue of Jerusalem as the most significant component of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This issue must be resolved within the timetable set by the peace process and in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy, and in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 252 (1968) concerning Jerusalem. If there is to be credible justice and the basic rights of the Palestinian people are to be defended, it is both impossible and unacceptable to deal with this issue in a biased manner that differentiates between one people and another and one State and another. We find it appropriate here to affirm that this principle must be observed in accordance with the spirit of justice and equality, and in order to serve security and peace in the Middle East.

Finally, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can but reiterate its appeal to all sides to stand by the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause and stress the need to play an effective role in supporting the peace process in the Middle East so as to secure an end to the slaughter of the Palestinian people, the return of the parties to the negotiating table and the resumption of the peace process between the Arabs and Israel, thereby ensuring the full restitution of Arab rights on the basis of the resolutions of international legitimacy.

Saudi Arabia takes this opportunity to urge the international community to seize the initiative and bring pressure to bear on Israel to carry out the commitments it made at the Madrid Peace Conference and comply with the provisions of the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy. This will restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and guarantee stability for the region, serving the interests of all its peoples.

We pray that God will grant success to all in what is for the best.


Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal

[Original: French]

Disappointed as I am at the course of events in the occupied territories, I should nevertheless like to join the United Nations community in celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I should also like to a reiterate the wholehearted support of the Republic of Senegal for the heroic struggle of our Palestinian brothers and sisters to recover their inalienable rights, in particular the right to self-determination and to establish an independent State.

I should also like to take this opportunity to reiterate my friendship and fraternal regard for H.E. President Yasser Arafat. I should like in particular to praise his very pronounced sense of dialogue and compromise together with his extraordinary determination, lucidity and courage.

In reiterating our solidarity with the President of the Palestinian Authority, I exhort him to persevere along the difficult but noble path of negotiation.

I am particularly keen to encourage the parties directly concerned to return to the negotiating table, as the obstacles to a resumption of normal relations between Israel and Palestine have increased since the outbreak of the second intifada on 28 September 2000; this is due to the murderous incursions by Israeli forces in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem where they have spread death and destruction as they have occupied new areas, extended Jewish settlements and blockaded towns.

Faced with such a volatile situation, Senegal calls once more upon the international community, and in particular the co-sponsors of the peace process and the Security Council, to mobilize further efforts and fully assume their responsibilities to put an end to this tragedy.

With this in mind, it is a matter of the utmost urgency to implement the Mitchell Committee recommendations - namely to abide by the decisions of Sharm el-Sheikh and to resume negotiations on the basis of the principle of land for peace and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

Until a lasting solution is found, it is equally important that the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War should be rigorously observed.

We are fully aware that the path to peace is fraught with difficulties, but we must not let ourselves be discouraged or succumb to despair. We must rather remain optimistic and trust that good sense and reason will prevail, since it is clear that the State of Israel and the future Palestinian State are both entitled to exist and to enjoy peace and progress in security and dignity. This principle must be embraced by both parties in good faith and form the basis for a resumption of the peace process, since it provides the only possible key to a permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

In this context I should like to encourage the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People - a body which my country has had the honour of chairing since its establishment in 1975 - to do everything in its power to ensure that the noble Palestinian cause triumphs.

I should like to take this opportunity to reiterate my profound gratitude to H.E. Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who has made an outstanding contribution through his dynamism and constant support for the cause of the Palestinian people and peace in the region.

I hereby solemnly reaffirm the determination of Senegal to do everything with its power to create an independent Palestinian State and thereby contribute to the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, the cradle of the three revealed religions that have nurtured humanity with their unique message of fraternity, tolerance and reconciliation.


Mr. Rudolf Schuster, President of the Slovak Republic

[Original: English]

On 2 December 2001, twenty-four years will have passed since the adoption of resolution 32/40 at the 91st plenary meeting of the 32nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which commenced the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Slovak Republic welcomes this opportunity and in the name of solidarity, it supports the justified requirements of the Palestinian people.

Since 1977, the question of Palestine has been exposed to a raft of peripeteia. The Palestine Liberation Organization has gained international recognition. The intifada, which begun in 1987, lasted until the Declaration of Principles agreement of 13 September 1993, which served as a basis for the introduction of the Palestinian-controlled parts of the territory. Both signatories - Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Leader Yasser Arafat - and Shimon Peres shared the Nobel Peace Prize for these courageous efforts in the peace process in the Middle East. However, the road to a just and lasting peace is difficult and requires the patience and good will of all the parties involved in the conflict as well as persistent support by the international community.

Deeply concerned, the citizens of Slovakia took note of the Pa1estinjan people striving for freedom and independence as part of a peaceful solution of the problem within the framework of the United Nations resolutions. The Slovak Republic now reaffirms its stance and stands with the countries of the European Union in fully supporting the establishment of an independent Palestinian State resulting from the peace process, fulfilling more than 50 years of the steadfast endeavour of the Palestinian people to achieve freedom, independence and economic prosperity and become a full-fledged member of the international community. We strongly believe that a future Palestinian State will be a solid part of the world's security and economic trends and that its existence will be a welcome guarantee of the secure and independent existence of its neighbours as well as of other members of the international community.


Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President of the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

[Original: English]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People observed annually on this day at the United Nations is a significant event that serves to focus attention on the plight of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and their struggle to realize their legitimate rights and aspirations.

On this occasion, I wish to reiterate unequivocally Sri Lanka's firm and unwavering support for the people of Palestine in their continuing struggle under President Yasser Arafat's leadership to achieve their inalienable rights, legitimate aspirations and yearning for statehood.

Consistent with this policy, Sri Lanka has accorded formal recognition to a State of Palestine. It is deeply gratifying to note that there is growing international recognition of the urgent imperative to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian State as a just and durable basis for peace in the region.

I am profoundly saddened by the grave escalation of violence in the occupied territories and the consequent heavy loss of life, widespread injury and destruction of property. I wish to convey my deepest sympathies and condolences to all those who continue to endure this traumatic experience.

It is my fervent hope that the current initiatives to end the violence and resume the peace process will bear fruit, resulting in a lasting peace in the region.


Lieutenant General Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, President of the
Republic of the Sudan

[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am pleased to assure you of the complete solidarity of the Government and people of the Sudan with the intifada waged by the Palestinian people and its political leadership against Israeli occupation and aggression. The Government and people of the Sudan stand by the Palestinian people in its legitimate struggle to recover its land and establish an independent State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

The Palestinian people still faces criminal Israeli aggression of every description, a continuous and unprecedented blockade and assassinations and shelling on a daily basis which has destroyed civilian institutions and led to the martyrdom and injury of many defenceless Palestinians.

We hereby reaffirm the solidarity of the Government and people of the Sudan with the Palestinian people, which is forced to endure daily repression and incursions and blockades, and reiterate our demand that the international community adopt a just and effective position vis-à-vis Israeli actions against the Palestinian people and prevail upon Israel to implement the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy.


Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

[Original: English]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is an annual event that Thailand, together with the international community, solemnly observes every year. It is very sad to note that this year's commemoration ceremony takes place at a time when the ongoing violence in the occupied Palestinian territories has already claimed more than 900 lives. On behalf of the Government and the people of Thailand, I wish to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt sympathy and deep condolences to the Palestinians who have lost their loved ones and to those who have been forced to live their lives in miserable conditions.

I wish to reaffirm Thailand's stand in supporting a peaceful resolution to the question of Palestine based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the principle of land for peace. It has always been our fervent desire to see all parties to the conflict settle their differences through political negotiations rather than by resorting to violent means. In this regard, the Mitchell Report sets a good framework for dialogue and should be implemented in full, for it is only through negotiation that lasting peace can be attained.

Finally, I wish to join the world community in saluting all men and women whose determination and bravery in pursuing a peaceful resolution to the question of Palestine have sowed the seeds of peace which, one day, will find its way to grow in this historic land.


Mr. Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of the Republic of Tunisia

[Original: Arabic]

This year the international community is observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People as the Israeli army of occupation is continuing the dangerous escalation of violence in the occupied territories which began with the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000.

Israel is persisting with its policy of aggression towards the defenceless Palestinian people and settlement construction, practices that are incompatible with the most fundamental human rights and the relevant United Nations resolutions and the accords concluded between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

These practices are considered a flagrant violation of international instruments and customary law - notably the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War - and show total disregard for successive appeals by various international organizations, in particular the United Nations, calling for international legitimacy and the relevant United Nations resolutions to be respected.

The Tunisian Government has been monitoring the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories with deep apprehension. It reiterates its condemnation of the continuous acts of aggression by the Israeli army against innocent civilians, their property and holy places and the succession of political assassinations carried out by the Israeli apparatus. The Tunisian Government stresses once more its total solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people and its wholehearted support at various levels for the Palestinian people in its legitimate struggle to recover all its rights, including the right to establish its own State on its territory, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

The Tunisian Government would like to take the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People as an opportunity to urge all peace-loving forces to act swiftly to provide the necessary protection for the Palestinian people and to oblige Israel to put an end to its repressive practices and lift the economic blockade it has imposed on the occupied territories.

The Tunisian Government is wedded to peace and a political solution as a strategic choice. It reiterates its appeal to the international community and the sponsors of the peace process to step up their efforts to prevail upon Israel to recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and to enter the peace process purposefully and responsibly, with respect for international legitimacy and its frame of reference, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace.

The Tunisian Government notes with satisfaction the position expressed recently by the United States of America in support of the establishment of a Palestinian State. It hopes this position will be translated into practical actions and initiatives paving the way for an end to the violence and for détente, as well as for a resumption of negotiations with a view to finding a just solution to the Palestinian problem and achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.


Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Republic of Turkey

[Original: Turkish]

On the happy occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to reaffirm the support given by the Turkish nation for the just cause of the people of Palestine.

As we pass through a sensitive period that necessitates solidarity, the goal of achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East has gained even greater relevance and urgency.

At the core of the Middle East problem lies the extortion of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Palestine's assumption of its place in the international community, as a sovereign and equal member, will not only contribute to stability in the Middle East but also offer new economic and social opportunities to the peoples of the region. I would like to emphasize that we welcome and appreciate the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to this end.

The Turkish people deeply share the distress and pain that their Palestinian brothers have been suffering, which have become unbearable in recent months, and are exerting their best efforts, materially as well as spiritually, to end their grief.
It has become evident that the policies of oppression and siege have not brought security and peace to Israel either. One should finally understand the fact that the path to peace in the Middle East does not pass through security; rather, the path to security passes through peace. The current situation of violence serves only the opponents of peace; therefore, we firmly believe that the Governments of Israel and Palestine have a great historic responsibility to put an end to the current situation and to achieve a just settlement.

Turkey considers the return to the negotiation table and the resumption of peace talks to be the only viable solution with a view to reaching a comprehensive agreement that will enable Palestine and Israel to live side by side within their mutually recognized borders. The recommendations contained in the Mitchell Committee report, to be put into effect on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of “land for peace”, provide the fertile ground for negotiations.

In stressing the importance of the invaluable work of your Committee, I would like to reassure you, Mr. Chairman, that Turkey will continue to display its solidarity with the Palestinian people with greater determination. Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to extend to you on behalf of the Turkish nation and on my own behalf, my sincere wishes and support for the successful crowning of the just Palestinian cause.


Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

[Original: Arabic]

On behalf of the Government and people of the United Arab Emirates, I am pleased to convey to you and to the distinguished members of the Committee my great appreciation of and gratitude for the earnest and constructive efforts you have made in organizing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We observe this Day each year as an expression of the steady and firmly principled position of the international community in support of the just and legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to put an end to the Israeli occupation, recover its land and holy places and exercise its inalienable national rights on an equal footing with the other peoples of the world.

We also wish to take this opportunity to express our esteem for the sincere efforts made by Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and his personal envoy to the Middle East, to ensure the implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy.

The United Arab Emirates wishes to join actively in an annual observance that the United Nations has dedicated to the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in order to express its wholehearted support for the just and noble struggle being waged - at the cost of many pious Palestinian lives - by this people which refuses to accept humiliation and occupation and seeks its freedom and independence like all other peoples.

Notwithstanding General Assembly resolution 181 (II), which provides for the division of Palestine into two States - one Arab and one Jewish - Israel, which was established on Palestinian soil in 1948, deprived the Palestinian people of its right to an independent State after seizing two thirds of its territory and turning most Palestinians into refugees living in scattered camps and places of exile. Then in 1967 it moved to extend the area of occupation to include the rest of the Palestinian territory.

We are profoundly concerned at Israel’s dogged refusal to meet all the obligations set out in the relevant United Nations resolutions calling upon it to withdraw from all occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the Syrian Golan. We are also saddened that the Middle East peace process - in which so much effort has been invested - has reached an impasse, owing to the policies pursued by successive Israeli Governments of violating and reneging on their commitments and the agreements ratified as part of the peace negotiations. Furthermore, these Governments - and particularly that of the present Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon - have conducted campaigns of State terrorism against the Palestinians which include all kinds of acts of aggression, namely shelling, assassination, arbitrary arrest, the deliberate destruction of private and public buildings and institutions, the bulldozing of farms and the felling of millions of fruit trees, the confiscation of land and sources of water and energy, the extension of settlement activity, the reoccupation of land, the desecration of holy places, particularly in Al-Quds Al-Sharif, and finally the blockade and closure of towns and villages, preventing the movement of persons and goods and humanitarian supplies.

The United Arab Emirates wishes to repeat that it condemns in the strongest possible terms all these grave Israeli abuses, in particular those relating to the confiscation of land and natural resources and colonialist settlement activity, as invalid and illegal: they constitute a flagrant material, legal and political breach of the provisions of international law and international human rights legislation, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the resolutions of international legitimacy and particularly resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace. We also emphasize that we shall pursue our firmly principled policy in support of the intifada of the Palestinian people and the measured decisions of the Palestinian Authority rejecting this aggressive course of action adopted by the Israelis. We hold the Israeli Government to account for the disastrous consequences of its settlement plan, which is totally at odds with the approach adopted by the other States of the region, an approach geared to peace and security in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

While we welcome the position recently adopted by the United States of America which is committed to ensuring the establishment of a Palestinian State and building peace in the region, we urge this friendly country, as the foremost sponsor of the Middle East peace process alongside the Russian Federation and the EU countries and other countries active both within and outside the Security Council, to take prompt action to provide the necessary protection for Palestinians and their political, economic and social interests from the oppression and control of the Israeli armed forces. We also request the United States to put pressure upon the Israeli Government and induce it to withdraw immediately from all the Palestinian lands it has illegally occupied, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, and to honour its other legal commitments, above all to dismantle and remove the settlements, to release Palestinian and Arab detainees and to allow refugees to return to their homes.

Furthermore, we look forward to the proclamation in the near future of the foundation of an independent Palestinian State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, as a basic condition for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. We also look to the international community to redouble its efforts to enable the embattled Palestinian people to attain this just and legitimate ambition. Finally, we call upon the international group of donor countries to step up their financial, economic and technical assistance to the Palestinian people to enable it to rebuild its towns and villages and its national economic, social and humanitarian institutions which have most regrettably been destroyed by the Israeli war machine.

May God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.


Mr. Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

[Original: English]

On the observance 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, my warmest greetings of solidarity.

The Vietnamese Government and people are closely following with deepest concern the ongoing situation in the Middle East and the resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict. We welcome the new efforts by the concerned parties to resume the Middle East peace process which has been blocked for more than a year and hope that these efforts will soon be materialized. We are of the view that, together with international efforts, the concerned parties should control the situation, put an end to violence and implement fully the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, and step up negotiations so as to come to a just and lasting solution to the Palestine - Israel conflict. Such a solution must ensure the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, to return and establish an independent Palestinian State on their homeland, as well as the legitimate interests of all the parties concerned under the principle of "land for peace" and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1322 (2000), as well as other relevant agreements.

On this occasion, the Vietnamese Government and people reaffirm their consistent support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people for their fundamental rights. In October of last year, Viet Nam hosted the Democratic Lawyers' World Conference, which devoted an entire day to the expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. We are deeply confident that the struggle of the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, will achieve its full victory.



B. Messages from Governments

Argentina

[Original: Spanish]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government of the Argentine Republic again expresses its support for the celebration of this important event.

The Argentine Government reiterates its firm conviction that peace in the Middle East must be achieved on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), the Madrid and Oslo agreements, the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of Washington, the Wye River Memorandum and the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum. The effort and the determination to negotiate evinced by the signing of the agreements currently in force between the parties must continue and must deepen, so that an equitable solution benefiting both parties may be reached.

As in previous years, Argentina repeatedly expressed its concern, in 2001, at the continuing acts of violence in the Middle East and urged the parties to the conflict to renounce the use of force, carry out the agreements they have signed and resume negotiations. I take this opportunity to repeat our previous call to both parties to redouble their efforts to prevent an escalation of violence.

Out of solidarity with the sufferings of the population of the Middle East, my Government considers that the recommendations of the Mitchell Plan offer Palestinians and Israelis a valuable additional tool for arriving at a peaceful, just and lasting solution to the dispute.

Argentina likewise maintains that the economic and social development of the Palestinian people is essential in order to promote dialogue between the parties and, in the future, to support the joint endeavour that lies before them. For that reason, it values and encourages contributions from any country that is able to cooperate to that end. Starting from that premise and within the bounds of its possibilities, between 1996 and the year 2000, my country participated in town planning schemes for the municipalities of Gaza, Rafah, Khan Yunis and Bethlehem through the “White Helmets” initiative.

Lastly, may I remind you that the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in its own territory and to establish an independent State, as well as the right of its neighbours to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders, continue to be the two principles guiding my country’s policy on the Middle East.

Burundi
[Original: French]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People bears witness to the great importance which the General Assembly attaches to the Palestinian question, respect for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement in the Middle East.

Since 1974, the General Assembly has specifically recognized the Palestinian people's right to self-determination under the Charter of United Nations and in this context has reaffirmed the inalienable nature of that right. Since then, the Palestinian question - which now far exceeds its original framework - has become a matter of the utmost political importance; indeed the General Assembly views it as the crux of the Middle East problem. International public opinion is increasingly aware that the Middle East conflict will only be resolved if the Palestinian people recover their natural and inalienable rights.

Moreover, you will recall that when the Oslo accords were signed the entire world rejoiced, because the Palestinian people appeared to be embarking on a new phase of their history distinguished by a desire for peace and progress.

However, those hopes were soon dashed. The international community now stands powerless before the terrible machinery which was set in motion in the year 2000 and has killed and injured hundreds of people on the Palestinian and Israeli sides in flagrant breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Government of Burundi, which has steadfastly supported the restitution of the rights of the Palestinian people, would like to take the opportunity to reiterate its solidarity with the Palestinian people in their efforts to recover their sovereign rights. It would also urge the United States Administration to pursue its efforts to mediate between the Palestinian and Israeli sides so that these two peoples may speedily achieve peace and stability once again through peaceful negotiations.

The Government of Burundi is firmly convinced that strict adherence to the Oslo accords will yield peace and stability to the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and also make an extraordinary contribution to development and progress throughout the Middle East.


Uruguay

[Original: Spanish]

In honour of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay renews its warmest wishes for the establishment of a just and lasting peace that will promote the well-being of the Palestinian people, guarantee their rights and secure stability in the countries of the region.

Uruguay reiterates its firm support for the peace process, as the only valid instrument for the achievement of peaceful coexistence, within the framework of international law and the principles of the United Nations.

In view of the facts, which are well known, and deeply concerned at the suffering and loss of human life on both sides, the Government of Uruguay urges all parties involved in the conflict to do their utmost to end the confrontations and to continue with negotiations on an agreement as a means of achieving peace once and for all in the region.

Venezuela

[Original: Spanish]

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its satisfaction on the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in accordance with the mandate given by the General Assembly in its resolution 32/40 B, which set 29 November as the date for the celebration. In that regard, the National Government extends to the Palestinian people and to the Palestinian Authority its commendations and congratulations on this most significant occasion.

We have lent our firm support to various initiatives taken to curb the violence and to give renewed impetus to the peace efforts. Venezuela encourages the parties to continue their efforts to reach a solution within the framework of the peace process in the Middle East. It is only through dialogue and cooperation that progress will be made towards the achievement of a just and lasting peace that will help consolidate stability, security and development in the region and improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people and their economy.

Venezuela reaffirms its support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular for their right to self-determination, which should lead to the creation of a Palestinian State, and endorses the right of States in the region to exist within safe and internationally recognized borders. Venezuela further believes that a just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

Venezuela once again joins the international community in supporting the full implementation of the rules of international law, the agreements adopted and United Nations resolutions as a means to the realization of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.




C. Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs


Mr. Vilayat Mukhtar ogly Guliyev, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan

[Original: English]

I have the honour, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to express support to the Palestinian people on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The peaceful resolution of the question of Palestine and the establishment of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East has remained for more than fifty years the core problem of the entire international community. In this regard, it is necessary once again to stress the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the question of Palestine.

Azerbaijan has always stood by the Palestinian people and rendered its strongest support for the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian State.

We consider that the international community should seize the current momentum and exert additional efforts for the speedy implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly and the principle of land for peace.


Mr. Youssouf Ouedraogo, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs
of Burkina Faso

[Original: French]

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like to wish you and the other members of your Committee every success in the task with which you have been entrusted.

This commemoration is taking place in a political climate dominated by the terrorist attacks against the United States of America on 11 September 2001.

Burkina Faso condemns these barbaric and cowardly acts and urges all peoples that love peace and justice to combat terrorism in every shape and form.

It is interesting to note that the month of September 2001 also marked the first anniversary of the unprecedented upsurge in violence in the occupied territories.

The resurgence of the intifada reminds us that without tolerance and mutual understanding there can be no peace in the Middle East.

On this commemorative Day our thoughts go out to all the martyrs of the Palestinian cause: men, women, children, the elderly, refugees and all the non-Palestinian victims.

It is more important today than ever before that the international community in all its diversity, the United Nations and the Islamic Ummah in particular join forces to achieve a negotiated settlement.

The Palestinian people have inalienable and indestructible rights, namely the right to life and the right to a homeland.

The Palestinian people have a right to come and go on their land as they please, to work their land and to enjoy the fruits of their labour; and they are entitled to health, education and a radiant and prosperous future like all other peoples.

The United Nations must assume its responsibilities to ensure that all these demands are satisfied and, to this end, must secure compliance with the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions concerning the Palestinian issue in order:

Long live the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People!


Mr. Guillermo Fernández de Soto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia

[Original: Spanish]

Since the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II), Colombia has consistently supported the right of the Palestinian people to fully realize their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to establish an independent State.

For more than half a century, the Palestinian question has remained unresolved despite the tireless efforts of the United Nations, particularly the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Colombia believes that the United Nations can play a decisive role in the just and lasting solution of the situation in the Middle East, of which the Palestinian issue is the crucial element.

The situation in the Middle East has fallen into a spiral of violence which benefits no one. Nor does the serious economic plight of the Palestinian people contribute to the creation of conditions conducive to a process of real peace. The current wave of violence is particularly regrettable since only a few months ago the parties were so close to achieving a settlement.

The lessons of history are clear. It is necessary to seize the opportunities for peace that present themselves. Furthermore, it is important to bear in mind that it is much easier to erode a peace process than to build it. In that regard, we would like to appeal once again to the parties to do their utmost to put an end to the violence, to normalize the situation, so that negotiations can be resumed on grounds that are acceptable to all.

Colombia, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, has participated in a most constructive spirit, with the sincere hope of contributing to the establishment of conditions conducive to an end to violence in the Middle East, the resumption of negotiations and the goal of a lasting and just peace in the region.

On this occasion, on behalf of the President of the Republic of Colombia, Dr. Andrés Pastrana, the people of Colombia and myself, I have the honour to convey to the Palestinian people, and their distinguished leaders, a very cordial greeting and sincere wishes for their well-being and progress.


Ms. Makiko Tanaka, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

[Original: Japanese]

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to extend my best wishes on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

I regret that my message on this occasion, which I am conveying for the first time as Foreign Minister, is not filled with words of joyful celebration. I am gravely concerned about the ongoing clashes between the Israelis and Palestinians, and deeply saddened at the almost daily loss of precious lives among the civilian population, most of whom are Palestinians. I wish to convey my profound condolences and sincere sympathy to the bereaved families.

Ever since this round of hostilities erupted last year, Japan has repeatedly called upon the parties concerned to exercise maximum self-restraint to end the violence and maintain a dialogue. Since assuming my post as Foreign Minister in April, I myself have taken every opportunity to urge the parties to break out of the vicious circle of violence and rebuild mutual confidence so that the peace negotiations can resume in accordance with the recommendations of the Mitchell Report. In the course of a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, I requested that the Israeli army be withdrawn from Palestinian territories as soon as possible so as to avoid a further escalation of violence. In a subsequent telephone call to Chairman Yasser Arafat I informed him of my conversation with Foreign Minister Peres.

Japan, as a friend of the Palestinian people, has extended various assistance amounting to more than US$600 million since 1993. We have steadfastly supported their right to self--determination, including their inalienable right to establish an independent State.

Aware of our sacred responsibility to leave a more peaceful and stable society to future generations, I sincerely hope that our efforts will bring peace to the Palestinian territories. I wish to affirm that Japan, as a manifestation of its solidarity with the Palestinian people, will continue its efforts to help them achieve this objective.



Mrs. Lila Hanitra Ratsifandrihamanana, Minister for Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Madagascar
[Original: French]

On this day, Thursday 29 November 2001, we are celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 32/40 of 2 December 1977.

As a member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Madagascar would like to take this opportunity to reiterate its unflagging support for and solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.

In this new millennium, and particularly in 2001, the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, the time has come to renounce violence and embrace dialogue and negotiations on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

This problem has lasted far too long, claiming victims on a daily basis, in particular women and children.

On this day, 29 November 2001, we reiterate our constant appeal to both sides to respect the provisions of existing documents and in particular to apply the Mitchell Committee recommendations, which should put an end to the violence.

Among the international measures aimed at finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we would draw attention here especially to Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) of 10 October 2000, which reaffirmed the principle of land for peace.

For Madagascar, the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are non-negotiable. Like all other peoples, the Palestinians have a natural right to live on their own territory and exercise their most fundamental rights there.

At this critical juncture when the entire world is still reeling from the shock of the tragedy of 11 September 2001, the United Nations must assume its permanent responsibility to maintain peace and security throughout the world.

We are convinced that the United Nations, with the support of the international community, will succeed in this task and we remain hopeful that one day we shall see the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people fully realized.


Mr. Mircea Geoana, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania

[Original: English]

The anniversary of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People gives me the pleasant opportunity to convey to you my warm and sincere congratulations, along with my best wishes for your good personal health and happiness, as well as peace and prosperity for the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian Authority is considered an important partner of Romania in the Middle East, a region with a great potential, whose stability and peaceful development are of interest to the whole world.

I would like to express my hope that the efforts of the international community aiming at re-launching the negotiations will lead to the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the region and the creation of the independent Palestinian State.



Mr. Farouk Al-Shara', Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic

[Original: Arabic]

I wish to convey to you my appreciation for the role played by your Committee in organizing this important international gathering, and the pleasure that it gives me to join you in an annual observance that the United Nations has dedicated to the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The Palestinian people has not submitted to occupation and has rejected the unjust conditions set by Israel in the negotiating process; it has waged its valiant intifada for over a year, made great sacrifices and fought courageously against the brute force of the Israeli occupier to extend its rule over its national territory, establish an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital and secure the right of return. All this is in accordance with United Nations resolutions and international law. The Syrian Arab Republic will continue steadfast in its defence of the just cause of the Palestinian people and its legitimate rights. The inhabitants of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Arab Golan are also exposed to massive human rights violations, and are struggling equally courageously to end foreign occupation. Israel is responsible for aborting the peace process, since it has persistently refused to implement Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and has reneged on the commitments and undertakings it made during many years of arduous negotiations.

From this international rostrum, we call upon the Security Council and the international community to assume responsibility for the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, based on the implementation of United Nations resolutions, which provide for complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 and from the Lebanese territory still under Israeli occupation - including the Shebaa farms - to the internationally recognized borders and guarantee the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people.

We should also like to use this rostrum in order to urge the international community to take note of the serious threat posed to the situation in the Middle East by repressive Israeli actions which have brought back a climate of tension and violence to the region and also of the need to put an end to the daily slaughter of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli forces of occupation. We have witnessed the killing of civilians - including women, children and the elderly - the demolition of homes and the confiscation of land in open defiance of United Nations resolutions and violations of international instruments, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the Additional Protocol I thereto of 1977. We would also draw your attention to the hostile threats directed against the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon.

We acclaim the efforts of your distinguished Committee, which has been untiring in its support for the struggle of the Palestinian people and its legitimate rights. Together with the rest of the international community, we look forward to the day when the Israeli occupation and the usurpation of Palestinian rights will come to an end and the region will enjoy a just and comprehensive peace that will ensure security and stability in the Middle East and the world at large.


Mr. Anatoliy Zlenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
[Original: English]

Allow me to convey to the people of Palestine, as well as to you, Sir, and to all the distinguished members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People my sincere greetings on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Availing myself of this opportunity, I would also like to congratulate you upon your recent assumption of office of the Chairman of the Committee and wish you every success in fulfilling your responsibilities.

As one of the founders of the United Nations and members of the above-mentioned Committee since its inception, Ukraine has always attached great importance to the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians for justice, freedom, dignity and sovereignty are well understood and shared in Ukraine, which regained its independence just a decade ago. Today, I take this opportunity to reaffirm my country’s recognition of and support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self--determination and statehood.

Against this background, it is with deep concern that we witness the current situation in which Israeli-Palestinian relations continue to slip down a critically dangerous slope. The past fourteen months alone have been marked by a dramatic increase in violence which has caused the death of hundreds of people, mostly Palestinians, and injuries of thousands, while pushing the parties farther apart than ever before over the past decade. It is more than evident that the time to reverse the present tragic situation in order to stop the human suffering and ensure the realization of the long-awaited dream of the Palestinian people of establishing their own State is long overdue.

To this effect, I am certain, the parties to the conflict should undertake resolute and immediate actions to enforce a ceasefire and stop the bloodshed, prevent further escalation or' violence and create the necessary preconditions for returning to the negotiating table. I believe that the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee and the Tenet plan still constitute a solid basis for curbing the ongoing crisis and resuming the negotiation process based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the principle of land for peace, as well as the principles laid down at the Madrid conference and in the Oslo accords.

At the same time, in my view, the present situation in the Middle East requires a more decisive engagement of the international community, with the United Nations at the forefront, renewed diplomatic efforts by the co-sponsors of the peace process and all other international parties in order to assist the two sides in overcoming their animosity and restoring the peace dialogue. Proceeding from that, Ukraine welcomes the respective statements issued last October by the representatives in the region of the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations Special Coordinator, as well as the statements of position made most recently by United States President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell. My country regards the personal involvement of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the process of the Middle East settlement as critically important and encourages him to continue his mediatory activities.

As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, my country stands in favour of a more active role of this United Nations body, entrusted with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in searching for ways to resolve the current crisis and bring about the resolution of the issue of Palestine. My country actively contributed to the adoption of Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) in October 2000, which gave an adequate and prompt response to the violence that broke out in late September 2000 in Jerusalem. It is regrettable, however, that since the adoption of that resolution the Security Council has not found itself in a position to adopt unanimously new effective decisions in this regard in exercising its Charter obligations. We hope that the Security Council will find it possible to reconsider such an approach shortly.

For its part, my country stands ready to continue making its practical contribution to the international diplomatic efforts under way. In this context, it is worth mentioning that Ukraine has recently offered the Israeli and Palestinian sides its good offices, suggesting to provide the venue on its territory for their resumed negotiations at any appropriate time. To our satisfaction, this initiative was well received by both sides. Let me also recall another important event that took place recently in the relations between Ukraine and Palestine, that is, the opening of the Diplomatic Mission of Palestine in Kyiv last October. In our view, this has not only broadened the channels of communication between the Ukrainian Government and the Palestinian Authority, thus fostering the development of our bilateral relations, but may also contribute to the efforts aimed at facilitating the normalization of the situation in the Middle East.

Finally, I would like to express our fervent hope that peace will return soon to the entire Middle East region and that the people of Palestine will enjoy living in peace and prosperity in their own country alongside their Israeli neighbours. Ukraine remains committed to achieving this noble goal.




D. 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: French]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the European Union would like to reiterate its firm commitment to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The European Union would like today to pay its respects to the families of the victims of the clashes. It is profoundly saddened by the heavy toll of the violence and strongly condemns the economic and social consequences of the measures taken against the Palestinian population. It calls for the rapid restoration of the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the Palestinian territories and the lifting of all restrictions, in particular on the passage of humanitarian aid.

It is absolutely imperative to put an end to the escalation of violence. The European Union reiterates its appeal to both sides to take all possible political, security, economic and social measures to bring about a resumption of negotiations on the basis of the Mitchell Committee recommendations without any preconditions. There is no other means of achieving a just and lasting settlement which satisfies the legitimate expectations of the peoples of the region, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the principles adopted at the Madrid Conference - in particular the principle of land for peace - and the Oslo accords and subsequent agreements. The European Union confirms its commitment to the establishment of a viable, sovereign, peaceful and democratic State for the Palestinians that will guarantee Israelis the right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.

The parties concerned must resume their dialogue without further delay. The European Union reiterates its willingness to support this process in close cooperation with the other partners concerned

It also confirms its commitment to continue its technical and economic aid for the Palestinian people and to contribute to the strengthening of Palestinian institutions representing a peaceful and democratic State governed by the rule of law.


Organization of African Unity: Mr. Amara Essy, Secretary-General

[Original: French]

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reiterate the unswerving support of the Organization of African Unity for the Palestinian people in their unceasing struggle to recover their inalienable rights.

I should like to convey my sincere congratulations to the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its constant efforts to raise public awareness of the Palestinian issue.

The Organization of African Unity, which since its foundation has always supported peoples in their struggles for independence and self-determination, supports the just cause of the Palestinian people and urges a return to peace in the Middle East and a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue. It is precisely in this framework that the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity, meeting at Lusaka in Zambia from 5 to 8 July 2001, adopted decision CM/Dec. 600 (LXXIV) on the question of Palestine which, inter alia, reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to exercise their inalienable national rights, including their right to return to their homes, to recover their property, self-determination and the establishment of an independent State on their national soil, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the principles of international law and other pertinent resolutions of the United Nations.

Unfortunately, the situation in the Middle East has deteriorated since July 2001. In fact, we have witnessed an upsurge of violence and increased loss of human life, damaging the prospects for dialogue which offers the best - and indeed the only - path to a peaceful solution to the Middle East problem.

I should like to take this opportunity to appeal to the Israeli and Palestinian authorities in particular to resume direct negotiations in order to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region. At this critical juncture, when peace is under threat in the Middle East, it is the responsibility of the international community to ensure that the peace process reaches a satisfactory conclusion. I assure you that the Organization of African Unity will pursue its unremitting efforts to support the peace process in the Middle East until a just solution has been found to the Palestinian problem, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.


Organization of the Islamic Conference: Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General

[Original: Arabic]

On 29 November, the international community marks its annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 32/40, adopted in 1977, as an expression of its commitment to assist the Palestinian people in its just struggle to regain all its inalienable rights.

On behalf of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, permit me to express my appreciation to the United Nations and its various bodies and committees for the efforts they make to clarify and expound to the world the question of Palestine and for the steady and continuous assistance they provide to the Palestinian people in its just struggle to regain its established national rights.

This year’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People comes as Israel is escalating its aggression towards the defenceless Palestinian population for the second year in succession: so far some 1000 Palestinians have been killed and over 40,000 injured. In addition, Israel is violating international instruments and customary law on a daily basis, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, since it is carrying out deliberate extrajudicial killings of Palestinian militants, leaders and politicians: these targeted killings have claimed hundreds of victims so far. The Israeli occupying forces are also undertaking large-scale operations to destroy Palestinian buildings and homes, and entire Palestinian districts have been razed to the ground and tens of thousands of Palestinians have recently become refugees in their own homeland. For the second year in succession Israel has hermetically sealed off border crossings, preventing the movement of Palestinians and the arrival of food and medical supplies, and has fragmented Palestinian territories by setting up hundreds of military checkpoints which have cut off towns and villages - and even town neighbourhoods - from each other. Furthermore, the Israeli forces of occupation are implementing a policy of racial segregation in occupied Jerusalem, which is ringed by dozens of military checkpoints and trenches that prevent worshippers from reaching their mosques or churches; they are also violating and desecrating these places of worship and interfering in their internal affairs on a daily basis.

The continual incursions into Palestinian towns, the constant shelling of homes, business premises and teaching establishments, the destruction of infrastructures, the blockade, the seizure of funds owed to the Palestinian Authority and the suspension of public life have all but wrecked the Palestinian economy, pushing it to the brink of collapse.

Furthermore, Israel is still shirking and evading implementation of the agreements and accords already in place, despite international efforts to end the aggression, which is into its second year; it is refusing to implement the Mitchell Committee recommendations and the Tenet accords and is insisting on continuing its aggression and is using increasingly harsh methods, threatening to annihilate the Palestinian Authority and mooting plans to assassinate the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, and other Palestinian leaders.

The world, which is today united against terrorism, must not overlook the fact that the State terrorism being committed by Israel, which is to blame for the tension in the region, threatens not only the stability of the Middle East, but also international peace and security. An immediate initiative is therefore needed to put an end to the continuing and increasing Israeli aggression towards the Palestinian people and to compel it to implement the agreements that have been signed and the resolutions of international legitimacy. In this context we welcome the new American position on the establishment of a Palestinian State and the ending of the Israeli occupation, and call for this position to be put into effect by means of mechanisms compelling Israel to end its aggression and immediately to resume the peace process at the point at which it was broken off, on the same basis as before, with a view to terminating this occupation, achieving freedom for Palestinians and enabling them to exercise all their national rights.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference would like to take the opportunity to emphasize that the only means of putting an end to the deteriorating situation and defusing tension in the Middle East is to implement the following measures:

· An immediate end to the constant Israeli aggression, a lifting of the blockade and closures imposed on the Palestinian people and a return to the peace process at the point at which it was broken off and on the basis on which it began in Madrid, including the principle of land for peace and the resolutions of international legitimacy, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III);

· A complete Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and a return to the borders of 4 June 1967, including occupied Jerusalem;

· An end to the presence of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and a complete halt to Israeli plans to establish more settlements and attract more settlers, given that this is a flagrant violation of the relevant international laws and General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. A just solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees based on the resolutions of international legitimacy, including resolution 194 (III), so as to guarantee that they are able to return to their towns, villages and properties;

· Finally, the establishment of an independent Palestinian State exercising full sovereignty over all the occupied Palestinian territories, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Any attempt to find a solution to the problem of the Middle East and the Palestinian issue is doomed to failure unless it seeks to implement the above points. We call upon the international community on this occasion to reaffirm its solidarity with the Palestinian people and concentrate its efforts and work together in order to put an end to Israeli aggression and re-establish the peace process on the bases and principles on which it began ten years ago in Madrid.

We also urge the international community today to lend the Palestinian people a helping hand and provide economic and financial support in all areas to assist the victims of Israeli State terrorism and to help the Palestinian Authority rebuild its institutions and whatever else has been destroyed by tyrannical aggression and put the Palestinian economy back on its feet. Finally, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, I should like to express my admiration and respect for the Palestinian people and reaffirm the solidarity of the Islamic Ummah with Palestinians and their National Authority to enable them to put an end to the aggression and recover their established and inalienable national rights, including the right of return and self-determination and the right to establish an independent Palestinian State on their national soil, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.




E. Messages from specialized agencies of the United Nations system


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization:
Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General

[Original: English]

This year's International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People takes place in a particularly difficult international context during a year proclaimed by the General Assembly as the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations. The present situation in the Autonomous Palestinian Territories is all the more tragic as it follows a period of dialogue which had raised widespread hopes for a peaceful solution.

Since the beginning of the so-called second intifada one year ago, a most dangerous escalation of violence in the occupied Palestinian Territories has occurred. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and wounded, blockades and closures have paralysed the Palestinian economy, and the growing despair is giving rise to a spiral of increasing suffering and extremism on all sides. All of this stands in sharp contrast with the situation one year ago.

In my message of 29 November last year, I recalled with great emotion the growing hopes for peace and prosperity during my visit to Bethlehem in December 1999, reflecting the generous response from the international community in support of the rehabilitation of Bethlehem's cultural, historical and religious heritage and the improvement of its quality of life. The occupation of the holy city of Bethlehem at the end of last October reduced all of these hopes and international efforts to virtually nothing.

More than ever, the values which are at the heart of UNESCO's mission – tolerance, dialogue, respect and mutual understanding - must be at the forefront of international priorities. In this spirit, UNESCO will continue to spare no effort through its action in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, and especially through its special Programme for Palestine, whose third phase has just been completed. I am pleased to report that the necessary measures have been taken to strengthen UNESCO's office in Ramallah so that the Organization's presence in the field may be enhanced.

When opening the 31st session of the General Conference on 16 October 2001, I called for the launch, under the auspices of UNESCO, of "an international effort in favour of the safeguarding of the heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem". It seems to me that this is a propitious moment for a significant and conspicuous act by the international community that would express its sense of unity and its desire to pull together in a major endeavour of cooperation, concord and peace.

I wish hereby to reiterate the steadfast commitment of UNESCO to assist the Palestinian people in their reconstruction and development efforts and to support initiatives aimed at achieving a peaceful settlement of the Middle East crisis so that a stable and prosperous Palestine may at last emerge. In this spirit, I invite all men and women who believe in justice to heed the voice of reason and to share with us, on this Day of Solidarity, our moral responsibility towards the Palestinian people. Only through a common effort can we build a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.



F. Messages from non-governmental organizations

Messages were also received from the following non-governmental organizations:

Association des études internationales: Mr. Rachid Driss, President

Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue: Mr. Latif Dori, Chairman

Cyprus Solidarity Committee (EPAL): Mr. Donis Christofinis, Secretary-General

Federación de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos: Mr. José Antonio Gimbernat, President

Indo-Arab Friendship Association: Mr. A.K. Zainudin, President

International Progress Organization: Mr. Robert W. Thabit, Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Society of Inash El-Usr Al-Bireh/Palestine

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