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Répercussions économiques et sociales de l’occupation israélienne sur les conditions de vie du peuple palestinien dans le territoire palestinien occupé - Débat de conseil économique et social - Communiqué de presse (extraits) Français
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Source: Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
25 July 2012


Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/6543

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

Economic and Social Council
2012 Substantive Session
44th & 45th Meetings (AM & PM)


ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL CONTINUES GENERAL SEGMENT, TAKES UP MATTERS

REGARDING DECOLONIZATION, REGIONAL COOPERATION, ENVIRONMENT

Council Weighs Socio-economic Impact of Israeli Occupation on Palestinian
Territory; Considers Reports on Habitat Agenda, Committee on Development Policy

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Background

The Economic and Social Council continued its general segment today, taking up a number of issues. ...

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It also had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/67/91-E/2012/13) containing a report on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan. Related draft resolutions were to be introduced (documents E/2012/L.21 and E/2012/L.22).

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Decolonization and Regional Cooperation

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Next, RIMA KHALAF, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), introduced the Secretary-General’s note which contained ESCWA’s report on economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/67/91–E/2012/13).

She said Israeli measures affecting Palestinians were increasingly being viewed as institutional and systemic rather than ad hoc, as the note documented. Under the Israeli occupation, Palestinians had continued to suffer deaths, injuries and incarceration. Among those killed during the reporting period were 12 children. In violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel continued its policy of demolishing Palestinian structures and homes.

Another blatant demonstration of a policy aimed at altering the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory was Israeli settlement construction, which was illegal under international law, she said. The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing had concluded that Israeli settlements were the “new frontiers of dispossession of the traditional inhabitants […] of the Palestinian territory”. In total, around 40 per cent of the West Bank had been seized by the Israeli authorities for settlement use. The reporting period had witnessed a disturbing 30 per cent increase in settle attacks against Palestinians.

She went on to say that Israel continued constructing the 708-kilometre-long separation wall, contrary to international law. The wall de facto annexed some of the most fertile lands in the West Bank, directly affecting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and completely severing East Jerusalem from the rest of the territory. The Israeli five-year blockade of the Gaza Strip constituted a sustained case of collective punishment imposed on an entire civilian population. In violation of international law and relevant conventions, Israel not only prevented Palestinians from accessing and utilizing their natural resources, but also depleted, endangered and polluted them.

Palestinians lived under conditions of significant water stress, she continued, emphasizing that economic and human development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was arrested by Israel’s exploitation and deliberate “de-development” policies. Unemployment remained high at an average of about 21 per cent for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and a “staggering” 30.3 per cent in Gaza alone. Further, Gaza’s gross domestic product (GDP) remained at 35 per cent lower than its 1994 level. Social and health indicators were also worrying, including a high rate of depression among pregnant women and the harassment of school children and teachers by Israeli settlers, she said.

General Debate

YUSRA KHAN ( Indonesia) said it had been far too long that Palestinians had suffered at the hands of the occupiers of their lands. Israel had defied all calls for peace and there had been no sincere attempt to stop the killing of civilians. Palestinians’ livelihoods had been systematically cut off by over 250 types of obstacles to their movement. Indonesia shared the Palestinian people’s aspiration to achieve freedom and reiterated support for their full United Nations membership.

She said it was important that the two parties resume peace talks and adopt a more positive stance, efforts that must be accompanied by international support to ensure progress for Palestinian state-building efforts. General Assembly resolution 66/118 factored into those efforts, and Indonesia joined the call for Israel to stop violating international humanitarian law. Indonesia also was deeply committed to providing support for Palestinian state-building, through capacity-building programmes for Palestinian human resources. It reiterated its solidarity with Palestinians for an independent Palestine on the basis of 4 June 1967 borders.

SÉRGIO RODRIGUES DOS SANTOS ( Brazil) highlighted Israel’s lack of compliance with international humanitarian law. Development strategies played a key role in sustainable peace, a fact widely recognized by the United Nations and international financial institutions. Israel was an obstacle to the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to establish an economic and material basis for a Palestinian State. The fact that the occupation was not receding, and was compounded by continued settlement building, endangered the prospects for a two-State solution. Brazil was troubled by restrictions of movement, checkpoints and administrative measures that hindered Palestinians’ access to basic services. “This unjust system translates into hardships for the Palestinian population,” he said.

Gaza was also a deep concern, he continued. The area’s unemployment was the most eloquent testimony of the impacts of the blockade, which he urged Israel to lift. A forum set up by India, Brazil and South Africa was sponsoring projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, such as a sports centre in Ramallah and rehabilitation of the hospital centre for the Palestinian Red Crescent. The unsustainable economic landscape in Gaza and the West Bank was a reminder of the risks of political inertia, as persistent hardships only fuelled radicalism. He urged an end to the occupation and a realization of the Palestinian economic potential.

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RABII ALHANTOULI, representative of the Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, said the report reflected clearly the vast suffering and losses endured by Palestinians caused by Israel. Losses to the Palestinian economy ranged from $6 billion-$7 billion annually, which equalled more than 84 per cent of the area’s gross domestic product (GDP). With the end of the occupation, the Palestinian economy would be able to ensure sustainable development, and hence, the independent State of Palestine would not need foreign aid, which usually was associated with political conditions.

“The Israeli occupation is the main devastating factor for the Palestinian economy,” he said, and a parallel source of income generation for the occupying Power, as the confiscation of Palestinian land provided it with opportunities to invest in the construction of illegal settlements. Women, men, elderly and children were enduring illegal practices, including abuse at Israeli military checkpoints. Attacks also were carried out by militias of illegal Israeli settlers against unarmed Palestinian civilians. Despite those difficulties, Palestinians still hoped for a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-State solution along pre-1967 borders. He urged the Council to support the draft resolution submitted under the agenda item, as it contributed to upholding the economic and social rights of peoples, especially those living under foreign occupation.

RABEE JAWHARA ( Syria) said the facts and figures in the ESCWA report were only the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the immoral practices of the Israeli occupation. Israel continued to impose a policy of killing and terrorizing citizens. The most recent massacres had taken place on 15 May and 5 June 2011 during a commemoration of Al Nakba. Syria, in a letter to the Secretary-General, had offered information on those two events, which had only added to the long list of crimes against humanity by Israel. Israel continued to prevent humanitarian workers and those from non-governmental organizations from accessing the occupied Syrian Golan.

“These are important facts that must be underscored,” he said, especially now when international voices were being raised about ensuring access to humanitarian aid in conflict areas. Israel was “starving” Syrians in the Golan. Its soldiers had used natural resources and deprived Syrian residents of that land by limiting their exploitation to Israeli settlers alone. Moreover, the occupying Power had set fire to Syrian villages. Israel also had deprived Syrians of their main sources of income by destroying olive trees and imposing a siege that aimed to deprive Syrians from marketing their apple crops. That had increased poverty and unemployment in the area. Resolutions remained unimplemented due to countries that supported Israel’s inhumane practices against the Arab people.

SHULAMIT YONA DAVIDOVICH ( Israel) said she did not intend to refute every allegation raised, as that would not advance any professional discourse. In any case, there was a debate on the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian Question under way in the Security Council today. The Economic and Social Council was not the place to discuss such political issues.

Not surprisingly, presentations made today ignored the rocket fire from Gaza, and ignored that Hamas’ brutal rule had caused hardships for Palestinians in Gaza. It was unbelievable that the Syrian representative would speak on such issues, when that country’s own regime had raped and tortured Syrian civilians to maintain its brutal rule. Today’s discourse did not serve anyone who sought a peaceful resolution in the Middle East. It only demonized Israel and blocked any avenue for peaceful reconciliation.

MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN ( Bangladesh) said the situation in the Palestinian Territory as reported by ESCWA was “just appalling” and it was deteriorating by the day before the eyes of the international community. Human rights law appeared to be subdued, given the occurrence of such violations, including reports of torture, as well as destruction of property and unabated construction of settlements, which were in utter disregard to international law. His delegation invited all concerned parties seeking a peaceful solution to join in exerting pressure on Israel to stop the construction of illegal settlements and fall back to the 1967 borders in compliance with United Nations resolutions.

VICTOR OVALLES-SANTOS ( Venezuela) said his delegation joined in the condemnation of Israel, making a strong appeal to Israel to end its unjust blockage and other illegal activities. Denying access to water and other daily needs was a clear violation of international humanitarian law. Israel continued to prevent Palestine from economic and social development in a legitimate way.

Right of Reply

The representative of Syria, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the “representative of the occupation” had tried to distort the crimes being committed in the occupied Arab territories, which violated human and moral principles. The situation in Syria had resulted from terrorism and extremism that was backed by countries aiming to undermine Syria in service of Israel, in order to help it with its occupation.

A representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine thanked those who had expressed support for international law and the rights of Palestinians living under occupation. He also thanked the Council for paying the necessary attention to today’s agenda item. He regretted that Israeli delegate’s comments were “not very serious”. Indeed, there was a debate in the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. The Economic and Social Council was discussing the economic and social aspects of that issue. The Israeli side was still “lost in its delusions” and took a defensive position. That must stop. The relevant resolutions must be implemented because words had fallen on deaf ears in the occupying forces.

Introduction and Actionon Texts

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Ms. DAVIDOVICH ( Israel) said her delegation was not a member of the Economic and Social Council, but wished to record its objection to document E/2012/15.Add.2, which contained ESCWA resolution 307 (XXVII). That text would not help Palestine’s path to statehood. Such a path should be sought through direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine, and not through talks carried out in New York or elsewhere. A unilateral step taken by Palestine would only take the process further away from its goal.

LARBI DJACTA (Algeria), taking the floor on behalf of “Group of 77” developing countries and China, as well as Turkey, introduced the draft resolution entitled economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (document E/2012/L.21).

He said the text stressed the need to preserve the territorial contiguity, unity and integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as to and from the outside world. Also by the text, the Council called on Israel to restore and replace civilian properties, vital infrastructure, agricultural lands and governmental institutions that have been damaged or destroyed as a result of its military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Further to the text, he said, the Council would call on Israel to end immediately its exploitation of natural resources, including water and mining resources, and to cease the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and reiterated the importance of the revival and accelerated advancement of negotiations of the peace process on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid Conference, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Road Map.

He said operative paragraph 16 was similar to that of last year’s resolution, but reflected the current reality on the ground. Lastly, he urged the member states on the Council to adopt the text by consensus.

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For information media • not an official record

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