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        General Assembly
3 October 1996

General Assembly
Official Records
Fifty-first Session
21st plenary meeting
Thursday, 3 October 1996, 3 p.m.
New York

President: Mr. Razali Ismail ...........................(Malaysia)

The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.

Agenda item 9 (continued)

General debate

The President: I call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, His Excellency Mr. Pavol Hamñík.

Mr. Hamñík (Slovakia): ...


Maintaining peace and security in other parts of the world is of no lesser importance. Preserving the continuity of the peace process in the Middle East is an important part of that. We must not allow the peace process to end and the results achieved so far to be destroyed.


The Acting President: I now call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, His Excellency Chief Tom Ikimi.

Chief Ikimi (Nigeria): ...


For several decades, the Middle East question has engaged the attention of the international community. Nigeria has been concerned with the various wars and acts of terrorism which have brought incalculable loss of life and property to that region. There can be no question but that we will continue to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable right to a homeland. There is an increasing awareness, even among the countries of the region, that the right of Israel to live within safe and secure borders can no longer be denied. We call on all parties to intensify their efforts to ensure that the peace process in the Middle East remains on course.


The Acting President: I now call on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Zaire, His Excellency Mr. Jean-Marie Kititwa.

Mr. Kititwa (Zaire) (interpretation from French): ...


The situations in Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Liberia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and the Middle East are all causes for the concern weighing on international peace and security. The United Nations, which is already seized of these issues, should continue its efforts with the encouragement of every one of us.


We are now living in a period of extraordinary contrasts. Despite the historic successes of our Organization - including independence for many countries, the peace process under way in the Middle East, the end of the South African saga and the perceptible tendency of the United Nations towards universality - we must observe with some bitterness that areas of tension have flared up worldwide, sparking anarchy, despair, poverty and death.


The Acting President: I now call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea, His Excellency Mr. Lamine Kamara.

Mr. Kamara (Guinea) (interpretation from French): ...


On the Middle East, my Government remains greatly concerned by the latest developments in Jerusalem, in Gaza and in the West Bank. The seriousness of these events could jeopardize the peace process. We are convinced that rapid approach of Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip, in Jericho and in the West Bank, and the necessary continuation of the peace process are the responsibility of the entire international community. This is why my delegation solemnly calls upon all the parties involved with the Middle East conflict, especially Israel and its Arab neighbours, to continue courageously on the path of peace, through the pursuit of negotiations, in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions and the Peace Agreements.


The Acting President: The Observer of Palestine has asked to be allowed to reply to a statement made by one of the speakers in the general debate. I shall call on him on the basis of General Assembly resolutions 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974 and 43/177 of 15 December 1988, and particularly on the basis of the ruling made by the President of the General Assembly at its thirty-first session and of the precedents established in similar circumstances during subsequent sessions of the General Assembly.

Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) (interpretation from Arabic): The representative of Israel, Mr. David Levy, spoke before the General Assembly this morning. In his statement he confirmed Israel's defiance of the international community and its violation of Security Council resolutions concerning a very important question, namely the legal status of the Holy City of Al Quds. In speaking of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel he repeated the myths of thousands of years.

As a matter of fact, United Nations organs, and especially the Security Council in many resolutions, have confirmed that East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, to which the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 is applicable. The Security Council has declared null and void all legislative and administrative measures adopted by Israel to change the city's legal status or demographic composition. It has called upon Israel to annul these measures and not to repeat them, and for Member States not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

All the States of the world have agreed not to recognize illegal Israeli measures which would name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This applies not only to occupied East Jerusalem, but also to West Jerusalem, which was under Israeli control before 1967.

We should not forget that General Assembly resolution 181 (II), which Israel considers the legal basis for its existence, decided to consider Jerusalem a separate international entity. In addition to this, we must remember that both the Israeli and Palestinian sides agreed, in the 1993 Declaration of Principles, which is binding on both parties, to negotiate the status of Jerusalem in the second phase of negotiations.

Consequently, any Israeli measures to establish a new fait accompli in Jerusalem or to enforce its claims violate agreements between the two parties. First and foremost among those measures was the opening of a tunnel under the western wall of the Holy Shrine. Prior to that, Israel destroyed the community centre of the Burj Al-Laqlaq Association in the Old City.

This leads us to the other policies pursued by the Government of Israel since it assumed power. I can refer here to the non-implementation of provisions of the Agreement that are now due to be implemented, especially withdrawal from the city of Al-Khalil and from Area B; the continued blockade of Palestinian territory; the prohibition of the movement of persons and goods in violation of the economic part of the Agreement; and the continued settlement policy on occupied Palestinian lands, including Jerusalem, which is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and of agreements between the parties.

We view as positive the meetings between leaders of the two parties, including the summit meeting which was organized by President Clinton and which ended yesterday. Yet, regrettably, these meetings have not achieved the necessary changes in Israeli policies and positions. The situation created by these policies is extremely dangerous, because they have caused unbearable suffering on the part of the Palestinian people.

We must admit, before the international community, that the Middle East peace process is facing a great danger. It is facing a serious crisis because of Israeli policies and positions. We hope that - with the help of the international community and the United Nations and with the direct contribution of the co-sponsors of the peace process and of the other actors in Europe - the status of the negotiations can return to what it was before the recent crisis. This should include the closing of the tunnel in accordance with Security Council resolution 1073 (1996), and an end to the blockade of Palestinian towns and villages, in which tanks are being used. We also hope to see a serious change in the Israeli position, with a commitment to the effective implementation of the agreements that have been entered into and with Israel refraining from any act that would violate the agreements and render them useless.

Let us work together to rescue the peace process and to agree on the basis of these agreements. We hope to reach a peaceful and just solution to the Palestinian question and to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.


The announcement of voluntary contributions to the 1997 programmes of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East will take place on Thursday, 5 December, in the morning.

The meeting rose at 5.45 p.m.

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