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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
27 October 2009

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

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

Daily Press Briefing by the Offices of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
and the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Jean Victor Nkolo, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General


**East Jerusalem

In light of today’s events in East Jerusalem, in which Israeli authorities demolished the homes of six Palestinian families, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reiterated its call for an immediate and unconditional halt to such actions.  It urged Israel to protect the civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory from further displacement and dispossession.  Noting that 26 Palestinians, including 10 children, lost their homes today, OCHA added that it has repeatedly called on the Israeli authorities to halt forced evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Such actions run counter to international law and have a serious and long-term negative impact on Palestinian families and communities, OCHA said.


**Questions and Answers

Question:  Michèle, the report of Amnesty International on “Troubled Waters” has said that in Gaza there has been such a short supply of water that it is parched completely.  And against that, on the sides, Israeli settlers have water, their lawns are greener over there.  What is it that the Secretary-General and the international community can do to ask, to persuade Israel, to open up these, at least some sort of crossing, to allow water and some supplies to come in?  These people will die like this, you know.

Spokesperson:  We are aware of the disturbing report of Amnesty International on that issue, and what I want to say is that Palestinians share the right to fresh water with all their neighbours, and to its equitable distribution.  I think this is something that is, of course, a recognized right.

Question:  [Inaudible] speaking to the Israeli authorities again and again but…

Spokesperson:  On this specific issue, I cannot answer whether they have been talking about this specific issue.  It has been certainly addressed by our people on the ground on a regular basis –- the same way, as I said yesterday, that the whole Gaza situation has been addressed also by us on practically a daily basis.  Yes, Matthew.


Briefing by the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

Thank you Michèle.  Bon après midi.  Good afternoon.

On the Report of the Independent International Fact Finding Mission, the Goldstone report; yesterday, 26 October, the President of the General Assembly, Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki received a letter from the Arab Group in New York requesting consideration of that Report by the General Assembly plenary during the first week of November.  Earlier today, in fact a few hours ago, the President has also received a letter from the Non-Aligned Movement expressing the support of its 118 members to this request.  To recall, the President of the General Assembly received a letter from the President of the Human Rights Council, transmitting the report of the twelfth special session of the Council along with its resolution S-12/1.  This resolution recommends that the General Assembly considers the Report during the main part of its sixty-fourth session.  The President of the General Assembly will also receive today Justice Richard Goldstone.  That’s what I have for you.  Any questions?  Yes.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  The Israeli Interior Minister was quoted yesterday as saying that the Israeli Government will be investigating some 23 cases of abuse on civilians in Gaza itself and it does not need what it has labelled as the ‘unprofessional’ report by Goldstone to investigate these cases.  Is the General Assembly aware that the Israeli Government is not going to be taking any of the recommendations the General Assembly has to offer, or the UN itself, and that it’s going to conduct its own internal private investigation?

Spokesperson:  The General Assembly is not aware of any communication that might or might not have been made by the Israeli Government to the General Assembly in this regard, so I, I really cannot comment further.  We haven’t received anything from the Israeli Government in that regard.  Yes Masood.

Question:  I just want to be clear.  So, has the President fixed a date as yet on the session asked for by the Arab Group?

Spokesperson:  The date, the date will be fixed in the course of the first week of November when Member States come together in order to consider this.  The President is and continues to consult when it comes to the date itself, we have to wait for next week.  As I said earlier, it is only yesterday that the President of the General Assembly received a letter from the Arab Group and a few hours ago another letter from the Non-Aligned Movement, so we have to allow this process to proceed normally.  A date has not been formally fixed yet.

Question:  Is there going to be any involvement with the Israeli Government?  Because it seems that with this 100 and what did you say, 118-member Movement and the Arab Group, that the General Assembly President is, is seeking, next, in the first week of November to move ahead with the recommendations of the Goldstone Report.  As I just mentioned, the Israeli Government is saying that that report is unprofessional and unfounded in terms of its findings.  Is there any suggestion or opportunity to get the Israeli Government involved in that meeting in the first week of November?

Spokesperson:  Well, Israel is a Member State of the General Assembly, which comprises 192 Member States.  This report is going to be considered by the General Assembly plenary, meaning by all Member States.

Question:  Yes, I’m aware that Israel is a Member of the General Assembly.  What I’m asking is, it seems that this is being coordinated outside of any kind of participation by the Israeli Government?

Spokesperson:  Not at all.

Questions:  So they are, according to you, participating?

Spokesperson:  Well, all Member States will be participating in this process.  The letters that we have received so far are letters from specific groups.  This does not preclude other letters from other groups or Member States at all.  No further questions?  Yes, Mathew.


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For information media • not an official record

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