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        Security Council
S/PV.4734 (Resumption 1)
4 April 2003

Security Council
Fifty-eighth year
4734th meeting
Friday, 4 April 2003, 3.30 p.m.
New York

President:Mr. Aguilar Zinser (Mexico)
Members:Angola Mr. Gaspar Martins
Bulgaria Mr. Tafrov
Cameroon Mr. Tidjani
Chile Mr. Valdés
China Mr. Wang Yingfan
France Mr. De La Sablière
Germany Mr. Pleuger
Guinea Mr. Traoré
Pakistan Mr. Akram
Russian Federation Mr. Lavrov
Spain Mr. Arias
Syrian Arab Republic Mr. Mekdad
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mr. Steven
United States of America Mr. Williamson


Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts

The meeting was resumed at 3.35 p.m.


Mr. Mekdad (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): We met today for two purposes. The first is to honour Sir Jeremy Greenstock and express how much we respect the efforts he has made now that the Chairmanship of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) is passing to Ambassador Arias. The second was a quick overview of the CTC’s achievements and tasks for the next stage to come.

However, the Israeli representative, who made his statement just before the morning meeting adjourned, did not respect the occasion or the reason why we met. In the manner of a bankrupt merchant, he came back to his old, tattered account books to dig up a number of lies and to fulfil the role entrusted to him to deceive and mislead the Security Council and distract it from its true task of combating terrorism — terrorism that is perpetrated by his Government and army in the occupied territory. Yesterday’s daily press briefing by the United Nations Department of Public Information to journalists attests to this. The briefing cited a press release issued by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which reads, in part, as follows:

“In the early morning on 2 April, Israeli military forces broke into and occupied a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) girls’ school in Tulkarem refugee camp in the West Bank, and proceeded to use the school as a detention centre for male residents of the camp between the ages of 15 and 40. The Agency strongly protests this flagrant violation of United Nations privileges and immunities and the continuing denial of UNRWA’s access to the school and the camp as a whole, which has been declared a closed military zone.”(PAL/1940).

A full camp of innocent people is a closed military zone, and the school is used for detention and harassment. The press release goes on the state that UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen called the occupation of the Agency’s school ‘a violation of international legal norms’ and called on the Israeli authorities ‘to leave UNRWA’s school and allow UNRWA access to its other facilities in the Tulkarem camp ... so that essential services can be restored to the refugees.’”

Is this not terrorism, by definition? Have other aggressors, except perhaps during the Second World War, committed similar acts? Now the representative of Israel points a finger of accusation at others. Once again, if this is not terrorism, what is it then? The representative of Israel has tried to portray the butcher as victim. However, he has not and will not succeed, because, as everyone knows, what takes place in the occupied Arab territories is a result of Israeli terrorism and Israel’s continuing occupation and unprecedented oppression of the Palestinian people and its aspirations to dignity and self-determination.

Even more astonishing, the representative of Israel points a finger of accusation and names and shames, so to speak, other parties. This is laughable indeed. It would seem that the representative of Israel to the United Nations is again ignorant, and to date, seems not to be aware that this particular Security Council has adopted dozens of resolutions that accuse and condemn Israel itself. The United Nations and the Security Council have named and shamed and condemned Israel in dozens of resolutions. However, Israel has resisted international legitimacy and continues to defy it.

In brief, because of the formal nature of this occasion, I should merely like to say that last year alone, more than 2,600 innocent Palestinians were killed by the Israelis, including women, children and the elderly. The Palestinians have done nothing during the past three months, at least, while Israel for its part, during the same period, has killed 300 Palestinians in cold blood without justification. Yesterday alone Israel killed seven innocent Palestinian civilians.

I ask the Council: who is the terrorist? I would repeat: Palestinians living in Syria are victims of Israeli terrorism. They have been displaced by force from their homes and villages and towns. We believe that the only solution is for those people to return to their homes, then there would be no terrorism. There would be no acts of violence, as some call them. We say that those Palestinians have the right to express their hopes and aspirations. They have the right to defend their dignity and protect their rights. It is not the duty of Syria or of any other party to oppress or silence the Palestinians, as Israel wishes. The Palestinians have the right to express themselves under human rights principles and international law. Israel is wrong once again if it believes that Syria can disregard the Palestinians’ right to self-expression.

In conclusion, I must return to the purpose of this meeting. I should like once again to congratulate Ambassador Greenstock on all his achievements. I am sorry that the representative of Israel attempted to torpedo the occasion; however, he has failed in that effort. I would emphasize that Syria will continue to fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.


The meeting rose at 5.45 p.m.

This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council . Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A.

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