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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Réunion du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/approbation du projet de résolution sur la question de la Palestine, déclaration sur le 40ème anniversaire de la résolution 242 du Conseil de sécurité - Communiqué de presse (20 novembre 2007) Français

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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
20 November 2007

General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
305th Meeting (PM)



Committee Marks Adoption of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967); Palestine’s
Permanent Observer Says Officials from Both Sides Preparing for Annapolis Meeting

The General Assembly would demand that Israel comply with its obligations under international law and immediately cease construction of the separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, according to a draft resolution -- one of three -- approved this afternoon by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The Committee also adopted a draft statement on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 242 (1967).  The three other draft resolutions called for measures to be taken by the Committee, the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Department of Public Information on the question of Palestine and in light of recent developments in the Middle East.

According to the first text on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the Assembly would demand that Israel stop building the wall, completely cease all Israeli settlement activities in the Territory and in the Occupied Syrian Golan, and fully implement relevant Security Council resolutions.  Further to the draft, the Assembly would call upon Israel to cease its unilateral actions in the Territory aimed at altering its status and character including by land annexation, thus prejudicing the final outcome of peace negotiations.

The Assembly would call upon the parties to the conflict, with the support of the Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union and Russian Federation) and other interested parties, to exert all efforts necessary to halt the deterioration of the situation, to reverse all measures taken on the ground since 28 September 2000 and to immediately resume direct peace negotiations to conclude a final settlement on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, the Madrid Conference and the “Road Map”.

Further to that draft, the Assembly would stress the need for a speedy end to the reoccupation of Palestinian population centres, by removing all Israeli checkpoints erected within the Territory, as well as the immediate and complete cessation of all acts of violence, including military attacks, destruction and acts of terror.  It would stress the need for both parties to fully implement the 15 November 2005 Agreement on Movement and the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing and for Israel to cease its closures of all crossings in and out of Gaza, which had devastated the socio-economic situation there, and to allow for the unimpeded movement and access of humanitarian personnel and supplies.

The Assembly would also stress the need for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem; the realization of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and an independent State; and a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.  It would urge Member States to expedite economic, humanitarian and technical assistance to the Palestinians to alleviate their current humanitarian crisis.

Under the terms of the text on the Committee, the Assembly would request it to fulfil its mandate aimed at helping the Palestinian people realize its inalienable rights with a view to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine.  The Committee would also be requested to support the Middle East peace process and to mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people.

The draft on the Secretariat’s Division for Palestinian Rights would have the Assembly ask the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division with the necessary resources to carry out its work programme, including consulting with the Committee and monitoring developments relevant to the question of Palestine.

According to the draft on public information, the Assembly would consider that the Palestine special information programme on the question of Palestine was very useful in raising international awareness and was effectively helping to create an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and supportive of the peace process.  It would ask that the Public Information Department, in full cooperation with the Committee, continue its special information programme in the 2007-2008 biennium, in particular, to disseminate information, update publications on peace efforts, expand audio-visual materials and organize fact-finding news missions, seminars and training events for journalists.

The statement, orally revised during the meeting, on the fortieth anniversary of the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 242 (1967), recalls the text, by which the Council emphasized “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”, and called for “the withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied” in the conflict.  Although the resolution was clear, four decades later, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem remained under Israeli military occupation, and the Palestinian people had been denied the right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty in their own land.  The Committee called for a reinstatement of resolution 242 (1967) today.

The Palestinian civilian population had suffered exceedingly, long subjected to daily violence, subjugation and humiliation, the statement also said.  The occupying Power continued to confiscate vast areas of Palestinian land, constructing and expanding settlements, establishing settler outposts, moving its own population to the Occupied Territory.  The separation wall being constructed in the Occupied West Bank and around East Jerusalem had substantially worsened the conditions of occupation, separated Palestinians from Palestinians, and further complicated their movement.

The Committee strongly urged the world community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to take appropriate and urgent action in accordance with its article 1, to ensure respect for the Convention.  (For the text of the full statement, see Press Release GA/PAL/1067.)

The Permanent Observer for Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said that there had not been any significant change on the ground regarding the suffering of Palestinians.  Incursions had continued in Gaza and the West Bank, including in villages that had demonstrated peacefully against the separation wall.  Scores of individuals were injured weekly by the Israeli army for non-violent resistance.  There were now 560 checkpoints in the West Bank and more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in jail.  Israeli authorities occasionally released a few hundred prisoners, but then detained a few hundred more.  The isolation of the Gaza Strip continued, suffocating the local population and exacerbating the difficult humanitarian situation there.

Palestinian officials were engaging in intense negotiations with their Israeli counterparts to prepare for the United States-sponsored meeting, to begin on 26 November, in Annapolis, Maryland, he said.  Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had met on Wednesday, but he could not report that both sides were close to concluding a serious, substantive document to be submitted at Annapolis.

He urged that a peace treaty be negotiated in a reasonable time period, such as six months, and he appealed to all of Palestine’s friends, especially those with good relations with Israel, to exert all efforts to allow both sides to evolve such a document that addressed the conflict’s core issues.

The Palestinian leadership had been receiving many Heads of State and foreign ministers recently, and it appreciated their efforts to help reach common language for a peace treaty, he noted.  President Abbas would also attend an important meeting of Arab foreign ministers to decide how to collectively advance a clear Arab strategy in Annapolis on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative.

He added that the Annapolis meeting came at a significant time, during the fortieth anniversary of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and adoption of General Assembly resolution 181.  Earlier today, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved, by 172 votes in favour to 5 against, with 5 abstentions, a resolution affirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.  Also this morning, during the Security Council’s meeting on protection of civilians in armed conflict, the Palestinian delegation pointed out the inaccuracies in the Secretary-General’s report on that subject with regard to suicide bombings in Israel.  The report stated that such bombings had risen, when evidence on the ground showed that the opposite, in fact, was true.  He stressed the importance of correcting such falsifications.

Committee Chairman, Paul Badji ( Senegal) noted that the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People would take place on 29 November, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The Assembly debate on the question of Palestine would also begin on that day.  He also noted the opening of the Palestinian cultural exhibit, entitled “Palestine:  A Continuing Legacy”, which would take place at the public lobby of the General Assembly building at 6 p.m., followed by a concert by Palestinian-American musician, Simon Shaheen, performing Arab classical musical infused with jazz.

The Committee was established in 1975 by the General Assembly to recommend a programme of implementation to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, and to return to their homes and property.  The Committee reports annually to the Assembly, which had expanded the Committee’s mandate and established the Division for Palestinian Rights within the Secretariat.  Chaired by Senegal, the Committee has 22 members and 26 observers.

The Committee had welcomed the 1991 Madrid peace process and the 1993 Declaration of Principles.  It supported the two-State paradigm in which Israel and Palestine live side by side within secure and recognized borders.  It had also welcomed the Road Map laid out for achieving that goal, as set out by the Quartet.

The Committee will meet again at a time to be announced.

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For information media • not an official record

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