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

Le Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien approuve les projets de résolution en vue d'être adoptés par l'AG - Communiqué de presse Français

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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
24 November 2006

General Assembly

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

Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
297th Meeting (AM)



The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People this morning approved four new draft resolutions for General Assembly adoption calling for measures to be taken by the Committee, the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Department of Public Information in light of new developments in the Middle East, including the assassination of Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon’s Minister of Industry, on Tuesday.

By the first text, the General Assembly would request the Committee to continue extending its cooperation and support to civil society organizations to mobilize international solidarity and support for the Palestinian people, particularly during this critical period of humanitarian hardship and financial crisis, with the ultimate aim of achieving the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights through a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.  The Committee would also be requested to continue involving additional civil society organizations in its work.

The draft on the Secretariat’s Division for Palestinian Rights would have the Assembly call on the Division to assist the Committee in implementing its mandate and would request the Secretary-General to continue providing the necessary resources to the Division toward that end, including by enabling the two to work together to organize international meetings and conferences, to liaise and cooperate with civil society, to develop and expand relevant documentation for the widest possible dissemination and to provide for the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority.

By another draft, on the Palestine special information programme within the Department of Public Information, the Assembly would reaffirm that the United Nations has a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until it was satisfactorily resolved in all its aspects in accord with international legitimacy.  It would request the Department to continue its special information programme for the 2006-2007 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.

Finally, by a draft on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the Assembly would encourage the Security Council to become more active in efforts in that regard, including by engaging the Quartet.  The Assembly would call on the parties themselves to exert all efforts to halt the deterioration of the situation and reverse measures on the ground since September 2000, and to immediately resume direct peace negotiations.  The international community would be called on to take immediate steps aimed at resuming the peace negotiations and reviving the peace process, including through confidence-building measures.

The Assembly would also note that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank and the dismantling of settlements was a step towards implementing the Road Map.  The Assembly would emphasize the need for the parties to resolve all remaining issues in Gaza, including durable arrangements for border crossings and ports, also emphasizing the need to implement the Agreement for the Rafah Crossing.  Finally, the Assembly would demand that Israel strictly comply with obligations as the Occupying Power and that it cease all unlawful and unilateral actions aimed at altering the character and status of the Territory, including by de facto annexation of land that would prejudge the final outcome of peace negotiations.

After expressing his sincere condolences to the people and Government of Lebanon in connection with the assassination of Mr. Gemayel, Committee Chairman Paul Badji of Senegal, said he hoped that people there could reconcile themselves and work towards unity.

He said he wanted the Committee to take note of several activities that had occurred since its last meeting on 4 October, including a Security Council meeting on 9 November, when he had presented the Committee’s concerns about the Israeli incursion in Beit Hanoun that had resulted in a dramatic loss of Palestinian civilian life, injuries, and destruction of property.  The Council had met two days later, to vote on a draft resolution, condemning Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, as well as Palestinian rocket fire into Israel, and calling for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.  However, that draft had not been adopted because of one Permanent Member’s veto.

The Human Rights Council had also adopted a resolution calling for a halt to the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip and setting up a fact-finding mission to be sent there.  In addition, on 17 November, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution on Illegal Israeli Actions (document A/ES-10/L.19), introduced by Qatar, condemning Israel of civilian deaths that occurred in Beit Hanoun and asking the Secretary-General to set up a United Nations probe into that incident.  Four days later, Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari had briefed the Council on recent developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the alarming escalation of violence between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Ammar Hijazi, observer of Palestine, took the floor to say that, after several meetings to discuss Israel’s repeated gross violations of human rights, the international community -- in its vast majority -- had adopted a firm position towards Israel’s disdain for international law and Palestinians’ rights, in its tenth emergency special session on 15 November.  Although the adoption of the resolution should have sent a clear message to Israel to cease its military aggression against the Occupied Palestinian Territory, it had instead responded by snubbing the international community, and the international laws and customs, of the United Nations.  Furthermore, Israel had only escalated its military aggression.  In the month of November alone, Israeli occupying forces had killed over 113 Palestinians, 35 of which were children.

He said that, while Palestinian factions had been working hard to reach an agreement on the formation of a national unity government, the humanitarian situation -- particularly in the Gaza Strip -- had seriously deteriorated.  Palestinian factions were, therefore, working on an initiative to propose an end to the firing of rockets into Israeli towns, in exchange for an end to Israeli military aggression on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  However, Israel had outright dismissed that good-will gesture.  Despite that, Palestine would continue to work tirelessly with the international community in ensuring that Israel’s flagrant violations of international law were stopped.

The Committee then considered the United Nations Asian Meeting, to be held in Kuala Lumpur on 15-16 December, to be followed by a forum there, of civil society in support of the Palestinian People on 17 December.

Moving on to next steps, the representative of Egypt asked when the tenth special session would resume.  The Chairman responded that consultations were indeed taking place and that resumption could happen on 4 December, rather than 5 December, to avoid conflict with an expected debate in the Security Council.

The representative of Qatar clarified that, as his country was presiding over the Security Council for the month of December, it had decided on sustainable peace as the theme.  The date agreed upon preliminarily was, in fact, Thursday, 7 December.

Finally, the Chairman noted that observance of the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People would take place on Wednesday, 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 begin on 29 November in the afternoon.

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 has expanded the Committee’s mandate and established the Division for Palestinian Rights within the Secretariat.

The Committee has welcomed the 1991 Madrid peace process and the 1993 Declaration of Principles.  It supports the two-State paradigm in which Israel and Palestine live side by side within secure and recognized borders and has welcomed the Road Map laid out for achieving that end as set out by the Quarter of the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russian Federation.

Finally, The Committee promotes international support and awareness of the question of Palestine.  Chaired at present by Senegal, the Committee has 22 members and 26 observers.

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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