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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
29 November 2007



SPECIAL BULLETIN ON

THE COMMEMORATION OF THE

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

2007






CONTENTS
Page
I.
    Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
1
II.
    Texts of statements made and messages delivered on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 2007
    Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
4
    Srgjan Kerim (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), President of the sixty-second session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
7
    Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
9
    R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa (Indonesia), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2007
11
    Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority, message delivered by Yasser Abed-Rabbo, Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization
12
    Hamidon Ali (Malaysia), Vice-Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories
14
    Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered by Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations
16
    John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union, message delivered by Robert Tachie-Menson, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Ghana to the United Nations
17
    Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, message delivered by Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States to the United Nations
18
    Inam ul Haque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-fourth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations
20
    Chris Ferguson, Representative of the World Council of Churches to the United Nations, on behalf of the International Coordinating Network on Palestine
23
    Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations
27
    Closing statement by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
30
III.
    Messages received on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
A.
    Messages from Heads of State or Government
    Hâmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
32
    Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria
32
    King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain
33
    Fakhruddin Ahmed, Chief Adviser (Prime Minister) of the Caretaker Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
35
    Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil
35
    Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile
37
    Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
37
    Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
38
    Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
38
    General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea
39
    Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
40
    Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia
41
    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
42
    King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
43
    Choummaly Sayasone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
45
    Fouad Siniora, Prime Minister of Lebanon
46
    Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia
47
    Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives
48
    Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
49
    Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius
50
    Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico
51
    Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia
51
    Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of Nicaragua
52
    Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, President of Nigeria
53
    Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan
53
    Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar
55
    Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation
56
    Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal
57
    Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
59
    Omer Hassan Ahmed al Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan
59
    General Surayud Chulanont (Ret.), Prime Minister of Thailand
60
    Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia
61
    Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey
61
    Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates
62
    Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
65
B.
    Messages from Governments
    Dominican Republic
66
    Republic of Guyana
66
    Republic of South Africa
67
C.
    Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs
    Sergei Martynov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
71
    Fernando Araujo Perdomo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia
71
    Masahiko Koumura, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
71
    Marcel Ranjeva, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar
72
    Walid al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic
74
D.
    Messages from intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters
    European Union
76
    Organization of the Islamic Conference: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General
77
E.
    Messages from civil society organizations
    The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
79
    International Coordinating Committee on Palestine
80
    Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America
81
    World Federation of Trade Unions
81
    World Young Women’s Christian Association
83





I. COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

On 29 November 2007, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was observed at United Nations Headquarters, New York, and at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna, as well as in several other cities, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

All States Members of the United Nations and specialized agencies and observers were invited to attend the special meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

At the meeting, statements were made by Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee; Srgjan Kerim (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), President of the sixty-second session of the General Assembly; Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; and R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa (Indonesia), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2007. The Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Abed-Rabbo, read out a message from Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. Also, Hamidon Ali (Malaysia) made a statement in his capacity as Vice-Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

In addition, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, delivered a message from Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Robert Tachie-Menson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations, read out a message from John Agyekum Kufour, President of Ghana, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union; Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States to the United Nations, delivered a message from Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; and Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, read out a message from Inam ul Haque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-fourth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers. Chris Ferguson, Representative of the World Council of Churches to the United Nations, on behalf of the International Coordinating Network on Palestine, also addressed the meeting.

Closing statements were made by Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, and Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People received messages from 28 Heads of State, 7 Heads of Government, 3 Governments, and 5 Ministers for Foreign Affairs, as well as the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Messages were also received from five civil society organizations.

The special meeting was followed by the screening of a film entitled Knowledge is the Beginning: Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library auditorium.

A Palestinian art exhibit “Palestine: a continuing legacy” was presented under the auspices of the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations. The opening ceremony was followed by a performance by a group of Palestinian musicians Simon Shaheen and Qantara.

At the United Nations Office at Geneva, a special meeting was held on 29 November. The meeting was chaired by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who opened the meeting by reading the statement of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Victor Camilleri, spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, spoke in his capacity as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. Statements were also made by Saad Alfarargi, representative of the League of Arab States; Babacar Ba, representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, representative of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Kadija Rachida Masri, representative of the African Union; Juliette Sayedgh and Thomas Getman, NGO representatives. Mohammad Anis Al-Qaq, General Delegate of Palestine to Switzerland, read a statement on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian National Authority.

At the United Nations Office at Vienna, a special meeting was also held on 29 November. Leslie Mbangambi Gumbi, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations Office at Vienna, opened the meeting and spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, delivered the statement of the Secretary-General. Ralph Scheide of the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Austria, read a message on behalf of the host country. Other speakers included Norma Goicochea, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations Office at Vienna, on behalf of the Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Fritz Edlinger, an NGO representative; Mikhail Wehbe, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations Office at Vienna; W. Shahbaz, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Office at Vienna, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; and Triyono Wibowo, Permanent Representtive of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Vienna. Zuheir El-Wazer, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Vienna, read out a message on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. Representatives from 44 Member States and Permanent Observer entities, as well as officials of the host country, non-governmental organizations, other invited guests and United Nations staff members attended the meeting.

A short documentary on the separation wall was shown at the end of the meeting.





II. TEXTS OF STATEMENTS MADE AND MESSAGES DELIVERED ON THE
OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, 2007

Statement by Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]

Today, as in past years, the Committee is holding a solemn meeting to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

It is my honour and pleasure to warmly welcome His Excellency Mr. Srgjan Kerim, President of the General Assembly; His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; His Excellency Mr. Marty Natalegawa, Permanent Representative of Indonesia, President of the Security Council; His Excellency Mr. Hamidon Ali, Permanent Representative of Malaysia, Vice-Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories; Mr. Yasser Abed-Rabbo, Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and representative of Palestine; and Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

I convey my warmest appreciation in welcoming all of you - representatives of Member States, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations and all of those who have accepted the Committee’s invitation to participate in this solemn meeting. By taking part in this commemorative ceremony, we wish to solemnly express here our full and complete solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people and pay wholehearted tribute to all those who have dedicated their lives to bringing about peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Allow me at this point to make a statement on behalf of the Committee.

We are greatly honoured by the presence of so many distinguished guests at today’s solemn meeting.

The inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, defined by the General Assembly as the right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty and the return of Palestine refugees to their ancestral homes and lands, do not simply represent a political issue and an essential part of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They also represent an enduring human story - both individual and collective. Their story is one of suffering, sacrifice and perseverance in the face of adversity, which finds few parallels in modern history. The courageous journey of the Palestinians - many of whom have been dispossessed, driven away and forgotten about for so long, but who nevertheless stand proud, hopeful and uncompromising in their insistence that their legitimate rights be respected - resonates deeply with people worldwide. On this solemn occasion, we reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Palestine.

This year’s observance is particularly meaningful because of the convergence of several important anniversaries. It was 30 years ago that the General Assembly called for the International Day of Solidarity to be observed annually. It was 90 years ago that the British Government issued the Balfour Declaration encouraging the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine. It was 60 years ago that the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II) partitioning mandated Palestine. It was 40 years ago that, following the 1967 war, Palestinian land came under Israeli occupation, which has continued up until this day. Finally, it was 20 years ago that the Palestinians as a people stood up to the occupation, and the world learned a new word: intifada.

Those and other fateful events have defined the destiny of the courageous Palestinian people over the decades. The Palestinians remain in limbo; they are dispersed, exiled or internally displaced on their own land - stateless in their own country. They live under the yoke of the occupation. Over the years this long and interminable occupation has been accompanied by the occupier’s increasingly disproportionate and arbitrary use of military force against the civilian population; the taking of Palestinian land for the construction of settlements and, more recently, the separation wall; and repeated acts of collective punishment and grave violations of international humanitarian law.

An already impoverished and overcrowded Gaza Strip has been choking in recent months under an increasingly suffocating Israeli blockade. Designated a “hostile territory” by Israel, that part of the Palestinian territory experiences shortages of everything, including life-saving medicines for its population, which is now faced with cutbacks of vital fuel and power supplies.

Our Committee has repeatedly condemned all attacks against civilians, both Palestinian and Israeli, including the Palestinian rocket attacks originating from the Gaza Strip. However, to force nearly one and a half million Palestinians to live a life of deprivation is both illegal under international law and morally unacceptable. The situation has been further exacerbated by internal Palestinian tensions, culminating in an armed takeover of the Gaza Strip by Palestinian militias. The Committee urges the Palestinians to unite behind President Mahmoud Abbas, the elected leader of the Palestinian people, and to respect the legitimate institutions of the Palestinian Authority.

The question of Palestine has frustrated the peacemaking efforts of the international community for a very long time. On the conceptual level, however, the progress made in the past decades has been nothing short of remarkable, as the inalienable national right of the Palestinians to their own sovereign State has become part of an international consensus. The right of return of Palestine refugees remains widely recognized. The Road Map has charted a course to a final peaceful settlement. The Arab Peace Initiative, a major element in moving the peace process forward, was relaunched in Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the beginning of this year.

The slow pace of practical progress on the road to Palestinian statehood looks all the more disheartening because all of the efforts made take place in an atmosphere of gloom and mistrust. Concerted and vigorous action is needed to close the gap between rhetoric and reality. The credibility of the international community is at stake. The time for a Palestinian State is now. There should be an end to the proverbial windows of opportunity and promises of a political future for Palestinians. The Palestinians yearn for peace, freedom and justice now. It is in our common interest, and it indeed is our moral obligation, to help the Palestinian people to achieve their national rights. To quote William Gladstone’s famous words, “Justice delayed is justice denied”.

Despite the many setbacks, there are reasons for hope. Our Committee is encouraged by the latest diplomatic efforts aimed at revitalizing the peace process. In this connection, we are hopeful that the Annapolis Conference, with its special emotional dimension, will generate the much-needed momentum and psychological impact leading to serious-minded effective permanent status negotiations on all aspects of the Palestinian question, including, inter alia, the attainment of two independent States - Palestine and Israel - living side by side in peace and security. It is important that the members of the Quartet, their regional partners and all other international actors support the parties by fully committing themselves to this crucial initiative and implementing it without delay.

Today’s commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity gives us an opportunity to solemnly reaffirm our commitment to working tirelessly to advance the cause of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. I wish to pay tribute to the ongoing efforts of the Quartet, the League of Arab States and the international community as a whole. As the United Nations body charged with addressing the question of Palestine, the Committee is deeply committed to carrying out the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly.

On behalf of the Committee, I wish to express our deep gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, who, with remarkable energy, is personally involved in the efforts to find an equitable solution to the question of Palestine - efforts that he has included among his priority activities. I should also like to pay a well-deserved tribute to His Excellency Mr. Srgjan Kerim, President of the General Assembly, who is leading the work of the Assembly with great skill and effectiveness, and to His Excellency Mr. Marty Natalegawa, President of the Security Council and Permanent Representative of Indonesia, who has tirelessly defended the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
I also wish to commend the commitment of the bodies, funds, programmes and agencies of the United Nations system that are working tirelessly to provide vital assistance to the Palestinian people. Particularly for the Gaza Strip, those agencies have become the only link to the outside world.

Finally, we should like in particular to thank our valuable partners - the organizations of civil society. Constant sources of dynamism that are always challenging the status quo, they have played a crucial awareness-raising role by encouraging policy changes in their own societies and have filled significant gaps by providing much-needed assistance to the Palestinian people.

The year 2007 has been rich in terms of anniversaries and symbolism but, much like the modern history of the Palestinian people, poor in terms of reasons to celebrate. Over the years, new words such as such as al-nakba (“the catastrophe”) and intifada, which evoke images of loss and confrontation, have appeared in the international vocabulary. It is our earnest hope that in the years to come, Arabic words signifying rebirth, hope, peace and reconciliation will also spring up in Palestine and Israel and the rest of the Middle East and spread throughout the world.


Srgjan Kerim (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia),
President of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

[Original: English]

I am honoured to be invited to address the Committee on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Respect for the dignity of all nations and peoples is a principle at the heart of the peaceful resolution of all conflicts. Peace and solidarity go hand in hand. Today, we all have the opportunity to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority.

In 1975, the General Assembly established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. I would like to commend the Committee’s contribution to international efforts to bring peace, security and stability to the Middle East. Over the years, the conflict has produced great losses and immense human suffering on both sides. It has had wider security implications for the region and for peaceful relations between nations around the world.

The General Assembly’s call on the parties to resume direct peace negotiations has been realized. I would like to praise President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for their courage and willingness to engage in substantive, results-oriented discussions in Annapolis, which have led to a joint understanding of the way forward. I would also like to commend the President of the United States, George Bush, for bringing the parties together to launch a serious process of final-status negotiations and for his personal commitment to support the conclusion of a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine before the end of 2008.

The outcome of the Annapolis Conference offers a great opportunity for a permanent two-State solution. However, as the Secretary-General emphasized during his address in Annapolis, the prerequisite for success is a resolute commitment to boldly follow words with deeds. The only way to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace is through continuous dialogue and compromise and a resolute commitment to achieve a permanent solution. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians are going to have to be honest with their own peoples about the price of peace. This will require difficult choices and sacrifices on both sides as part of a shared vision for a better future.

The stakes are high, but the alternatives are worse. I would like to call on all Member States to make every effort to support this process. The General Assembly has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to support a two-State solution - Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders - as the most viable solution.

The most encouraging aspect of the meeting was that both sides agreed to that approach and expressed their determination to end violence and to usher in a new era of peace based on freedom, security, justice, dignity and mutual respect - principles at the core purpose of the United Nations.

The General Assembly continues to emphasize the need for the parties, with the help of the international community, to fully and speedily resolve all remaining issues in the Gaza Strip. That includes a durable arrangement for the border crossings, the airport, the construction of the seaport, the removal of rubble and the establishment of a permanent physical link between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The General Assembly also stresses the need for full implementation by both parties of the Agreement on Movement and Access and the agreed principles for the Rafah crossing, as well as the need for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory that it has occupied since 1967, for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and for the resolution of issues related to Palestinian refugees, in conformity with resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948.

The General Assembly has also expressed its concern over the continued deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. Without immediate progress, the ongoing situation will further exacerbate the humanitarian, economic and security situation of the Palestinian people.

Over half of Palestinian households live below the poverty line. There are acute strains on social services, particularly on education. There is a shortage of drinking water; electricity is limited, and so are medicines. The Palestinian economy has slumped by nearly one quarter over the past year. Over half of those under 25 years of age had no jobs. The private sector in Gaza is almost completely paralysed. Three quarters of the Gazan population is dependent on United Nations food aid. The worsening security and economic situation is increasing the suffering endured by women and hampering the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

The General Assembly is committed to ensuring that peaceful resolution of the conflict continues to be at the forefront of the international community’s agenda. The Quartet has welcomed the commitment to launch peace negotiations leading to the establishment of a Palestinian State. The Quartet’s representative, Tony Blair, has proposed concrete measures to strengthen Palestinian institutions and rehabilitate the economy. The Paris conference to be held in December offers an important opportunity to fund these proposals and lay the foundation for a viable Palestinian State. I urge the international community, therefore, to offer its full financial, technical and political support to make these reforms a reality and to help alleviate the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinian people.

I also appeal to both Israeli and Palestinian officials to redouble their efforts to implement immediately their respective obligations under the Road Map and create the necessary conditions for long-term peace based on mutual respect and recognition.

The United Nations must play a significant role to support this process. If we really want to succeed in achieving lasting peace, I encourage all parties to learn from the mistakes of the past and confront the causes of the failure. True reconciliation requires not only an end to hostilities, but also a change of attitude. Some people believe that to make peace is to forget; I would say that to reconcile is a fair compromise between remembering and forgetting.


Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

[Original: English]

This International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People comes at a time when Palestinians continue to suffer the indignities and violence of occupation and conflict, but also at a time when a new beginning has been made in efforts to achieve a two-State solution to the conflict.

Two days ago in Annapolis, President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert, meeting under the auspices of President Bush and before a wide cross-section of the international community, including members of the Arab League, agreed to launch negotiations on all core issues, without exception, in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues. They pledged to make every effort to do this by the end of 2008.

Implementation is now paramount. What we do tomorrow is more important than what we say today. In Annapolis, I pledged the full support of the United Nations for the renewed effort. I stressed that, for 60 years, the Organization has provided the broad parametres for peace, first in the partition plan and then in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), and that today the United Nations has few higher priorities than seeing this conflict resolved.

We all know the reasons why. The Palestinians have been deprived of their inalienable right to self-determination for 60 years. Palestinian society has been increasingly fragmented: territorially, by settlements, land expropriation and the barrier in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; socially and economically, by closure; and politically, between Gaza and the West Bank. They have begun to fear that the dream of statehood may be slipping beyond their grasp. This growing sense of despair must be reversed.

The process launched at Annapolis must change the lives of Palestinians and secure their independence and freedom. The process must end the occupation and create an independent and viable State of Palestine, at peace with itself and its neighbours. It also must deliver on the vital interests of Israelis: a Palestinian State that is a true partner and not a source of terrorism, secure and recognized borders and a permanent end to the conflict.

We cannot close our eyes to the profound doubt and mistrust on either side about the will and capacity of the other to achieve these goals. Despite several diplomatic landmarks, conditions on the ground have become harder, not easier, for most Palestinians - and for many Israelis, too. Israel faces genuine security threats, and Israeli civilians have died or been wounded in rocket attacks. Palestinian civilians have been killed or injured in Israeli military operations. The Gaza Strip has been almost entirely closed, with tight restrictions on supplies and movements of people, leading to a grave humanitarian situation. Settlements have expanded throughout the West Bank. Checkpoints and a barrier have been erected on occupied land. Unemployment and poverty are rising.

The indignities, injustice and fear on both sides make it difficult to build faith in the political process. But that is exactly what we have to do. We must abandon piecemeal approaches and address all aspects of the conflict. Final status negotiations need to begin in earnest and address all the issues: Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, security and water. The broad outlines of solutions to these issues are clear.

We must also help the Palestinian Authority to rebuild, reform and perform. I hope a wide range of donors will step forward with political and financial support at the upcoming Paris conference and beyond.

The situation on the ground must also improve, rapidly and visibly. Without implementing long-standing commitments under the Road Map and the Agreement on Movement and Access, the diplomatic process cannot succeed. Progress requires parallel actions and clear monitoring.

If peace is built on hope, not despair, we must also reach out to the people of Gaza. They have suffered more than anyone else from conflict and poverty. Humanitarian aid is vital, and United Nations efforts need the support of donors. But such aid is no substitute for a functioning economy. The time has come for concrete initiatives to ease their suffering. The unity of Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority will also have to be restored for a peace agreement to be sustainable.

The vision of an end of occupation, an end of conflict and two States living side by side in peace and security is a vision of justice, security and peace. It is still achievable. But it will only happen if all involved take responsibility for contributing what they can. Now that the Palestinian leadership has embarked on a new quest with Israel to end the conflict and secure a better future for their children, let us show our solidarity with the Palestinian people - and the Israeli people, too - by giving our unyielding support to their efforts and not resting until the goal is achieved.


R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa (Indonesia), President of the Security Council
for the month of November 2007

[Original: English]

First of all, I would like to extend our gratitude to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for inviting me to address this solemn meeting in my capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of November.

This year’s observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People coincides with the continuing presence of challenges to peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine and the emergence of new opportunities for progress and the robust regional and international desire for peace in the Middle East.

We have seen repeated setbacks as a result of continued violence on the ground that serve only as further obstacles on the road to a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. The Council urges all parties concerned to exercise restraint and refrain from any measure that could undermine peace in the region. The Security Council remains concerned over the socio-economic and humanitarian conditions in Gaza. The Council, therefore, calls for continued emergency and humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza, without obstruction.

At the same time, the Council recognizes constructive developments in the efforts to bring peace to the Palestinians and other nations in the region. Dialogue between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been renewed. This consultation has been stepped up further by the formation of Israeli and Palestinian teams to discuss the core issues that are essential to progress towards their shared goal of a negotiated two-State solution. The recent convening of an international Conference in Annapolis to launch negotiations leading to the ending of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was commendable.
The Security Council has constantly exerted efforts towards contributing to the creation of a conducive environment for progress on the political horizon for Palestinian statehood, consistent with the Road Map and its relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Council continues to support existing initiatives in the realization of the vision of two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The Security Council recognizes the vital role of the Quartet, and also the League of Arab States. It attaches great significance to the Arab Peace Initiative, a regional initiative that is a vital element of the efforts to advance towards negotiated, comprehensive, just and lasting peace. The Security Council also acknowledges the importance of restoring the inter-Palestinian dialogues aimed at rebuilding Palestinian national unity.

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People provides an opportunity for the international community to reflect upon its role and contributions in advancing the objective of the two-State vision. It is the day when the international community reaffirms its commitment to the Palestinian people and the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.

The Security Council recognizes the critical need to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; this would contribute to security and stability in the Middle East and put in place a process with the goal of creating an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State, as envisioned in the Road Map, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Joint Understanding announced in Annapolis.

The Security Council underlines, in this regard, the importance of the Paris donors conference to be convened on 17 December to mobilize the donors, following on from the Annapolis Conference, and to provide financial and political support for the Palestinian Authority in order to enable it to build a viable and prosperous Palestinian State.

As mandated by its Charter, it is the responsibility of the Council to assist Palestine in achieving sustainable peace and in maintaining peace and security in the region. The Council will, therefore, continue to be actively seized of the matter.


Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee
of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, message delivered by Yasser Abed-Rabbo, Secretary-General
of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization

[Original: Arabic]

On behalf of the Palestinian people and their leadership, I wish to extend our warmest and most sincere greetings and our most profound gratitude to all those who join us in commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This day was designated by the General Assembly in 1977 as an occasion to remind all of the suffering of the Palestinian people and to stress the necessity of achieving a just resolution of their cause, based firstly and lastly on the principle of the right to self-determination and an end to the Israeli occupation, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The annual commemoration of this occasion by the United Nations is testament to the importance and centrality of the question of Palestine in relation to international peace and security.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express our profound appreciation to our brother, His Excellency Ambassador Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and to all of the other members of the Committee. I wish also to thank His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his efforts and for his message on this occasion. Further, I wish to thank His Excellency Mr. Srgjan Kerim, President of the General Assembly, and His Excellency Mr. Marty Natalegawa, President of the Security Council for the month of November. I extend our warmest greetings and gratitude to all speakers and to all others present today, who are sharing with us the commemoration of this occasion in all parts of the world as an expression of their solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to attain their legitimate rights.

The General Assembly adopted this date for the commemoration of this occasion in 1977 as a reminder of its 1947 resolution on the partition of Palestine. It was also decided to underscore the necessity of bringing an end to the long suffering of our people, who have paid a high price without having committed any crime. They have been living for decades either as refugees deprived of their homeland or under occupation, enduring all kinds of harsh practices against them, including oppression and subjugation, the confiscation of their land, mass arrest campaigns and other measures and crimes which occur daily before the very eyes and ears of the entire world. Generation after generation of Palestinians have not known the taste of freedom and have not enjoyed the smallest fraction of what other peoples of the world enjoy. The time has come to put the past behind us and to begin a new era that is free from occupation and animosity, an era based on the logic of rights, not on the logic of force.

The Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of our people, has endeavoured, on the basis of resolutions adopted by the Palestinian National Council and since the declaration of Palestinian independence of 1988, to achieve a political settlement leading to the peace to which we all aspire, based on the recognized terms of reference, starting from United Nations resolutions, the Road Map, the Arab Peace Initiative, President Bush’s vision and the agreements signed between us and the Israeli side.

The historic Conference held in Annapolis two days ago was a very important juncture and opportunity for launching serious peace negotiations within a set time frame under the auspices - and with the participation - of the international community, including members of the international Quartet, in order to put an end to the conflict and achieve a peace that will end the Israeli occupation of our Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, provide for a just and agreed solution to the issue of Palestine refugees on the basis of General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and guarantee the establishment of our independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security with all its neighbours, including Israel.

Peace cannot be achieved by the construction of the apartheid wall, which was condemned as illegal by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, or by the expansion of settlements, the Judaization of Jerusalem or the prevention of Palestinian citizens, both Christian and Muslim, from entering their city, even to exercise their right to religious worship. Security cannot be achieved by imposing a siege on the city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, surrounding it with walls and settlements and transforming its holy places into isolated antiquities. Security cannot be achieved by imposing a siege on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly the Gaza Strip. Security cannot be achieved by military attacks, raids and incursions into Palestinian cities, towns and villages. Security cannot be achieved by confiscating Palestinian lands or allowing extremist, fanatical settlers to attack Palestinian civilians and set fire to and uproot their crops. Security for both peoples can be achieved only through the achievement of a just peace and through relations based on equality and mutual respect.

On this day, 29 November, which coincides with the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the partition resolution of 1947 and the fortieth anniversary of the occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, our people look forward with great hope to the future. They are determined to uphold their rights, confident that the international community will not allow the loss of this opportunity to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict on all tracks, starting with the core and cause of the conflict, namely, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The wide international participation in the Annapolis Conference is a manifestation of the level of attention given by all the peoples of the world to peace in our region. On this occasion, I reiterate our gratitude and appreciation to all those who have contributed to and participated in the commemoration of this Day. I look forward with great hope to commemorating it with you next year, God willing, in our free, peaceful and independent State of Palestine, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.


Hamidon Ali (Malaysia), Vice-Chairman of the Special
Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights
of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

[Original: English]

I have the honour to address this meeting on behalf of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

The occupation of the Palestinian territories - namely, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem - has now continued for four decades. After 40 years, the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory still continues to deteriorate. The inhabitants of the West Bank are subjected to severe restrictions of their right to freedom of movement, which are implemented through more than 500 checkpoints, roadblocks and other types of physical obstacles, as well as a system of permits. There are 149 settlements in the West Bank, inhabited by some 480,000 settlers. In addition to the confiscation of Palestinian-owned land for settlements, land in the West Bank is also taken through the elaborate network of bypass roads connecting the settlements with each other and with Israel.

On 24 September, the Israeli army announced new land confiscations for a road east of Jerusalem which will further cut the city off from the rest of the West Bank. The West Bank is increasingly being fragmented into ever smaller parts that render the viability of a Palestinian State less and less likely. In addition, 80 per cent of the separation wall is currently being built in occupied territory, taking in the best Palestinian agricultural land and other resources. With recent extensions in the southern part of the West Bank, the separation wall will now encompass some 13 per cent of that territory. The 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the building of the separation wall in Occupied Palestinian Territory has gone unheeded to date.

There are some 11,000 Palestinian prisoners detained in Israel, of whom about 400 are children. The cities and towns of the West Bank are subjected to constant military incursions, arrests and search operations, as well as targeted assassinations.

The situation of human rights in the Gaza Strip is even more dire, and it is facing a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis. Gaza has been cut off from the rest of the world since June, when all the crossings in and out of it were closed. The Israeli Army has carried out regular incursions into Gaza and has destroyed property there. Gaza is subjected to repeated air strikes and targeted assassinations of militants in which innocent civilians are often hurt or killed. Seriously ill Palestinian patients from Gaza have increasingly been denied access to hospitals in Israel, and their number has fallen from an average of 40 a day in July to less than 5 a day in September. In October, a 21-year-old cancer patient from Gaza died after his entry into Israel was delayed for 10 days.

The situation in Gaza deteriorated further when it was declared “hostile territory” or an “enemy entity” by Israel. A number of Israeli banks have stopped dealing with banks in Gaza; this makes the sending of remittances from abroad more and more difficult, and it is starting to cause cash shortages. At the end of October, in violation of international law, the Government of Israel started reducing the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip; this is likely to endanger, among other things, the functioning of hospitals, sewage and water services and amounts to collective punishment of some 1.5 million inhabitants.

The international community needs to take urgent measures to remedy the current situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory through a peaceful, just and lasting solution that would lead to the end of the occupation and would enable the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination in a viable Palestinian State.


Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba,
on behalf of the Chairmanship of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries,
message delivered by Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Permanent Representative
of Cuba to the United Nations

[Original: Spanish]

On the important occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it is my honour, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the people of Cuba, to address the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Full support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to achieve its inalienable rights holds a permanent place in the Non-Aligned Movement, which has many times raised its voice in international bodies calling for the exercise of the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign and independent State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement have reaffirmed at the highest level the solidarity of the non-aligned countries with the Palestinian cause.

At the fourteenth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Havana in September 2006, our leaders once again considered the serious situation imposed on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and expressed their deep regret that the Palestinian people continue to suffer under the prolonged and brutal Israeli military occupation of their land and continue to be denied their inalienable rights, including the right of self-determination, to the return of Palestinian refugees to their territories and to the full implementation of its right to establish a sovereign, independent State.

Over the years, the Non-Aligned Movement has maintained a firm position of solidarity with the Palestinian people and its just cause, has rejected Israel’s illegal occupation of Arab territories and has condemned massive, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law committed by the occupying Power.

On 29 November, we will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 181 (II), which decided upon the partition of Palestine and the creation of two independent States, which should live in peace and harmony with each other. This historic commemoration is marked by innumerable activities being carried out in varying parts of the world in support of the Palestinian cause. Moreover, let us continue to recall the 40 years of the so-called Six-Day War, which marked the beginning of the occupation of the Palestinian territory by Israel, which we remembered with sorrow in June.

In spite of the long period between these two events, the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital continues to be an unachieved objective. The occupying Power continues to violate international law and systematically and with impunity fails to comply with more than 100 resolutions adopted by various United Nations organs, including more than 60 of the Security Council. Over a period of four decades, Israel has applied deliberate and illegal policies and practices intended to modify the demographic composition, character and nature of the Palestinian lands and has de facto annexed those lands, particularly through implementing its illegal settlements policy, to which it has, since 2003, added the illegal construction of a wall on the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem and the areas around it.

The Non-Aligned Movement has condemned those and other illegal measures taken by Israel over those years. That includes, of course, the aggressive acts against the Palestinian people over the last few months, which have seriously undermined the functioning of the Palestinian Authority and have contributed to the polarization of Palestinian society.

Allow me to reiterate the firm commitment of the Non-Aligned Movement to continue supporting the Palestinian people and their leadership in order to put an end to the Israeli occupation, in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, as well as to extend economic and financial assistance to the Palestinian people in order to mitigate the current humanitarian crisis, for which the support of the international community will be decisive.

I also reaffirm the aspiration of Cuba to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for all peoples of the Middle East, without exclusion, a peace that will grant the Palestinian people their right to exercise self-determination and sovereignty in their independent State based on borders prior to 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital. In the search for peace, the Arab peoples can always count on the full solidarity of Cuba.


John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana,
in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union, message delivered
by Robert Tachie-Menson, Deputy Permanent Representative
of Ghana to the United Nations

[Original: English]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People provides an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that independent statehood for the Palestinian people has still not been achieved, and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain the exercise of their inalienable rights, as defined by the United Nations General Assembly.
This year, the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has assumed more significance against the backdrop of recent positive developments in respect of the Middle East as regards the Middle East Peace Conference held in Annapolis, Maryland, in the United States of America. Indeed, the Conference offered the opportunity for those who desired peace in this troubled region to once again engage in deliberations towards the resolution of the impasse. We acknowledge, however, that some agreements reached in the past have yet to be implemented, especially insofar as their substantive aspects are concerned. We call on all parties who have an interest in the conflict to continue to engage in the viable political process that would lead to peace, and to avoid any actions that could jeopardize further progress. We are confident that all parties will also commit themselves to sustaining the new spirit that Annapolis brings to the Middle East peace process so that the goals of statehood for Palestinians and security for the State of Israel may be realized.

We reaffirm our commitment to initiatives, including the Annapolis Conference and all of their genuine efforts, geared to finding a just, peaceful, comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict in the Middle East. In this regard, we restate our position for a solution which guarantees the Palestinian people’s legitimate right, as well the right of all States in the region, to live within secure and universally recognized boundaries.

Finally, we will continue to lend our full support to all efforts for an early, equitable and peaceful resolution of the Palestinian problem, and appeal to the international community to lend its support to the Annapolis initiative.


Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States,
message delivered by Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer
for the League of Arab States to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

It is an honour for me, Mr. Chairman, to convey to you and to the other members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People the greetings of Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and to express his deep appreciation for the positive and vital role the Committee plays in protecting the Palestinian people and their legitimate national rights, particularly their rights to self-determination and to establish an independent, sovereign State on their national soil, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant internationally legitimate resolutions, terms of reference and internationally recognized principles, particularly the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, the principle of land for peace and the continuation of that role for the search for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian question.

Today’s marking of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People coincides with the ninetieth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and with the passage of 40 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories and the ensuing negative repercussions and destructive effects on the Palestinian people and their daily lives. The appropriation of Palestinian territories in order to intensify its settlement activities, and the creation of the separation - represent a flagrant violation of international legitimacy, the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and the rights of the people of the Palestinian territories - makes it impossible for the Palestinians to establish a viable, contiguous and sovereign State.

Israel continues to Judaize Al-Quds Al-Sharif and to alter its demographic and historic characteristics and is trying to create a new situation in the territory. This is one of the most sensitive final status issues because of its importance for millions of believers worldwide and is a flagrant violation of relevant and legal international resolutions and is hindering negotiations on the final status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif. Infringing on Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line which should not be crossed. The international community must preserve all Islamic sacred places as well as Christian holy sites. Israeli practices, in particular in the Gaza Strip, have created a critical humanitarian, economic and social crisis that is unprecedented in scale that and has been denounced in international reports of intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations.

Israel has declared the Gaza Strip “hostile territory” and has threatened to halt the supply of fuel, water and electricity. Israel is showing no respect for international humanitarian law and human rights. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Mr. John Dugard, reported on Israel’s threats to cut off supplies of water and electricity and said that such economic sanctions could not be applied against a territory, the Gaza Strip, which is not an independent country.

Excessive military sanctions create a dangerous situation for all civilians. This is an occupied territory and all States have the responsibility to improve the living conditions there. Daily incursions by Israel into towns and villages, extrajudicial assassinations, and the kidnapping and detention of Palestinians, the confiscation of Palestinian land, the building of roads and bypass roads for the settlements are a violation of international law, international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. Those constant practices impact the daily political, security, economic and social lives of Palestinians. Infringement on the daily activities of the Palestinian people has led to an increase in tensions and the deterioration of the political and security situation, which, in turn, has led to armed conflict between Palestinian factions and created more suffering for more than 1.5 million Palestinians.

In September 2007, the Council of Ministers of the League of Arab States reaffirmed the Arab commitment to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace as the strategic choice. It reaffirmed that the peace process is a comprehensive process which will come about through the withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights as well as the Sheba’a farms in southern Lebanon. On that basis, the Council of Ministers of the League of Arab States felt that the 16 July 2007 statement by President George Bush and his invitation to hold an international Conference were positive elements which could lead to productive results for a two-State solution, the creation of an independent Palestinian State, and to a halt in the construction of settlements, as well as to an agreement on final status issues such as the question of refugees and the status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif.

The Council of Ministers of the League of Arab States also reaffirmed on 30 July 2007 its support for the holding of the international Conference, with the participation of all parties concerned, in accordance with international law and the terms of reference already agreed upon for direct negotiations on all tracks and on all final status issues of the Israeli-Arab conflict and to do that within a set timetable.

The results of the international Conference in Annapolis have created a genuine opportunity for relaunching the peace process and there is a real possibility of that occurring. If Israel does not understand this, regional peace and security will be threatened because of its occupation and lack of respect for the national rights of Palestinians, their dignity, their right to live in peace, their right to self-determination and to create an independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. If the international community does not understand the critical need and importance of those issues with regard to the efforts to end the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative and the agreed terms of reference, there will be nothing but more violence, counter-violence and extremism, which could spill over and threaten international peace and security.

Respect for international legitimacy and efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace are necessary in order to ensure tolerance, rejection of violence, mutual respect, dialogue and respect for civilizations of the region. This region has seen heightened tension due to the injustices done to the Palestinian people, whose day of solidarity we are celebrating today.


Inam ul Haque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan,
in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-fourth session of the Islamic
Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Munir Akram,
Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations

[Original: English]

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) joins the international community in reaffirming its strong support and solidarity with the Palestinian people for the realization of their inalienable rights, including their legitimate right to self-determination and freedom from foreign occupation.

The General Assembly has repeatedly affirmed that the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people is indispensable for the solution of the question of Palestine. The United Nations has a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy.

The root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the Israeli occupation of Arab territories. The Palestinian question is the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The OIC has a natural and strong attachment to the issue of Palestine and is deeply committed to its just and peaceful settlement.

The cause of Al-Quds Al-Sharif is central to the entire Islamic ummah. The position of the OIC on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the core issue of Palestine and the basis and principles for resolving these conflicts, are clearly spelt out in its declarations, communiqués and resolutions adopted at the summit and ministerial levels. In brief, the OIC calls for the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), as well as agreed principles which call for Israel’s complete withdrawal from Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and all other occupied Arab territories; the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to exercise self-determination and sovereignty in their independent and viable State of Palestine, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital; and a just resolution to the plight of the Palestine refugees in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948.

The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) which had set out the principles for a just and lasting settlement, that is, inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the territories occupied in the 1967 conflict, and a just settlement of the refugee issue, among others. That resolution remains unimplemented until this day, like numerous other resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly.

Sixty years have lapsed since the Palestinian nakba and the adoption of resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947. As a result, lasting peace and stability in the Middle East has remained elusive. Over decades, this cauldron of conflict in the Middle East has resulted in untold suffering, death and destruction, caused misery, anger and frustration, raised emotions and bred mistrust, antagonism and violence. There is a growing realization nonetheless that the world can no longer afford to let these conflicts fester. The occupation must be brought to an end. There is a unanimous call for achieving comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, for which a just and final settlement of the core issue of Palestine is imperative. There is also broad consensus and recognition that lasting peace and stability can only be achieved through pacific settlement, and not by unilateral actions and the use of force.
In this context, it is encouraging that our expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people today comes in the wake of extensive regional and international engagement to resolve the long-standing Palestinian issue. This includes the revival of the Arab Peace Initiative and the just-concluded peace Conference in Annapolis. There is a broad willingness to move the peace process forward. We hope the Annapolis meeting will be the beginning of the end of the tragedy of Palestine and will usher in an era of peace in the Holy Land. The Islamic countries participated in the Annapolis Conference, in response to the invitation from the United States, to signal their commitment to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine and throughout the Middle East.

We welcome the commitment to the establishment of the Palestinian State and the agreement to start final status negotiations to resolve all core issues, including borders, refugees, settlements and Jerusalem. To be fair, these issues must be resolved on the basis of previous agreements, the relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, the principle of land for peace, the Madrid Peace Conference terms of reference, the Quartet’s Road Map, and the Arab Peace Initiative. This will entail Israeli withdrawal from Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. We hope the peace treaty will be finalized before the end of 2008 and then be implemented in earnest. Delays and obstructions could exacerbate, rather than enhance, the prospects for peace.

In the meanwhile, it is important to build an environment of trust and confidence to support the peace process. We remain deeply concerned over the continuing plight of the Palestinian people, their humiliation and collective punishment under Israeli occupation. Violence and military aggression, grave breaches of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and socio-economic deprivation and strangulation are affecting all aspects of the lives of the Palestinian people. The dire situation in the occupied territories is depicted in detail in various United Nations and other reports. The international community must ensure full compliance by Israel of its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is applicable to all the occupied territories. Israel must also end policies and actions that seek to change the realities on the ground that would prejudice final settlement, including the integrity and viability of a future Palestinian State.

There are some immediate requirements to create the conditions for success. First, rapidly and tangibly improving the situation on the ground in the occupied territories; ending the oppression and suffering of the Palestinian people; ceasing military campaigns by Israel; releasing prisoners; halting the construction of the illegal separation wall; freezing settlement activities; dismantling unauthorized settler outposts; removing all kinds of blockades and restrictions; ending the siege of Gaza, and the illegal declaration of Gaza by Israel as an “enemy entity”; and ending all violence.

Secondly, providing enhanced humanitarian, economic and social support by the international community to the Palestinians, including the immediate restoration and unimpeded provision of all essential goods and services to the Palestinian people in all the occupied territories.

Thirdly, providing support to the Palestinian Authority for building State institutions, including its security apparatus. In this regard, we look forward to a successful donors conference in Paris to meet these objectives.

Obviously, together with the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, efforts must continue to revive Palestinian unity. Durable peace is impossible with a divided people.

At this crucial juncture in the search for lasting peace in the Middle East, the Organization of the Islamic Conference reaffirms its steadfast support to the Palestinian people in their rightful quest for self-determination and the establishment of a sovereign, viable and independent Palestinian State based on the pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

We call on all parties to remain fully committed to the peace process and to address all outstanding issues through dialogue. An early comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the core issue of Palestine, must be our collective strategic objective. The international community must pledge its complete commitment to this objective and throw its full moral, diplomatic, political and economic support behind its early realization. The Organization of the Islamic Conference shall continue to play its rightful role in this collective endeavour.


Chris Ferguson, Representative of the World Council of Churches to the United
Nations, on behalf of the International Coordinating Network on Palestine

[Original: English]

Let me begin with a deep expression of appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for extending an invitation to civil society representatives to participate in this solemn commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Not only has the Committee, under the leadership of its Chairman, Ambassador Paul Badji, and other Committee members, worked tirelessly to keep the occupation of Palestinian territories and the rights of the Palestinian people before the international community; it has done so by forging a strong partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups. Such efforts to keep diplomatic and political attention focused on the Palestinian people and their rights have never been more urgently needed or more difficult than in this fortieth year of the occupation, which is the sixtieth year since the adoption of resolution 181 (II), on the United Nations partition plan, and the fifty-ninth year since the nakba.

It is both a great privilege and an impossible task for me to attempt to adequately represent international civil society. That is simply because those participating around the world, including Palestinian and Israeli NGOs and civil society groups, working in solidarity with the Palestinian people to end the illegal occupation and to achieve a just peace for all parties to the conflict, are many and varied, each with a distinctive voice. There are movements, networks and groups on every continent in a growing and expanding mobilization of solidarity, support and determined non-violent action to end the occupation, to protect the civilian population and to insist on the implementation of United Nations resolutions and international law through non-military solutions.

The civil society groups and NGOs engaged in these actions not only span the world’s regions; we come from many sectors of society. Among the wide variety of groups visibly working for a comprehensive and just peace are a constant and growing number of churches and other faith-based organizations. I am privileged to speak for that sector of the community today.

This year of painfully significant dates is marked by great urgency in the face of the deepening suffering of the people in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the refugees in the region and throughout the world. This week, the attention of the world was drawn to Annapolis. The meeting held there heralded the reactivation of the peace process. Mr. Sam Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, sent a letter to United States Secretary of State Rice, Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas before the meeting, laying out our view of possible ways to measure the success and relevance of any actions to be taken. Following the Annapolis Conference, his comments are of even greater relevance:

“As this initiative is set to begin, we would like to suggest three criteria for success, based on 60 years of international church advocacy for peace in this conflict.

“Good-faith negotiations are the first criterion. The crux of the problem - the final status issues - will not yield without sustained and robust good faith negotiations by all sides.

“Secondly, negotiations must recognize and involve all parties with legitimate interests at stake in the solution to the conflict. From the earliest possible juncture, peace negotiations must include their representatives in a meaningful and appropriate way. The participation, now confirmed, of States in the Arab Peace Initiative is an essential opening in this direction. Any process launched must be genuinely multilateral in order to advance the cause of peace.

“Thirdly, scrupulous adherence to the international rule of law is essential. Any agreement or process that you entertain will be judged against United Nations Security Council resolutions and the treaty obligations of the parties involved, international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

“These legal standards are the foundations of peace, as the international community has affirmed again and again through the United Nations and through international organizations of civil society, including the World Council of Churches. Similarly, the specific United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are the architecture of peace. These include Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III), on the question of Jerusalem and refugees.

“Also, during negotiations, the negotiating parties’ behaviour in Israel and the occupied territories must be governed by the same body of international law. Early action on ending the isolation of Gaza and the collective punishment of its 1.5 million residents, stopping attacks on civilians by either side, releasing prisoners denied due process on both sides, freezing all settlement growth of any kind, ceasing land expropriation, stopping work on the separation barrier, opening negotiations about the occupied Golan Heights and other well-known steps will empower the Annapolis process if implemented, but will hobble and weaken it - if not frustrate it. Such steps will also signal the level of good faith behind the process, making reconciliation between the main Palestinian political groups, Fatah and Hamas, eminently more feasible.

“We submit that negotiations based on good faith, on multilateral participation and on the rule of law will require the United States administration, in their role, not only to convene, but also ensure that the final agreement preserves the indivisibility of justice for Palestinians and Israelis.”

Obviously, rights are not a bargaining chip in the process of negotiations. Yet, as we speak, the international community remains woefully inactive and complicit in its silence in the face of the dramatically deteriorating situation in Gaza. True, some evident but insufficient attention is being paid to the desperate humanitarian aspect of the crisis, but there is no sign of real will or moral courage to address the gross and flagrant violation of international law and the breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention by Israel in declaring Gaza an enemy entity and inflicting unconscionable collective punishment on 1.5 million people.

The international community cannot and should not abandon the civilian population of Gaza and leave it without the protection that it is guaranteed. Neither Palestinian internal conflicts nor the terrorizing Qassam rocket attacks justify the denial of food, fuel, economic livelihoods, medical care and freedom to travel and study - not to mention the current threat to cut off electricity and water - to 1.5 million innocent civilians. Church-related hospitals and clinics break our hearts daily with reports of ill and injured children and patients who are dying because they cannot travel for needed medical treatment or because supplies are not available. Eighty per cent of the people living in poverty and 1.1 million surviving on food aid: this is an intentional and utterly illegal “starvation diet” designed to punish and pressure the population, supposedly to end rocket activity for which it is not responsible and which it cannot control. In large part, the situation in Gaza is a further expression of the international community’s boycotting and isolating Palestinians for the exercise of their democratic rights. The blind eye turned to the right of civilians in Gaza to protection makes a mockery of all other United Nations pretensions to care for unarmed and defenceless civilians.

Peace must be built on rights, rights for all, protection for all. The international community has failed and continues to fail to stand with the people in Palestine in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and worldwide in ending the brutal military occupation, ongoing dispossession and securing the right to return. Crucially, this failure also impedes the peace, justice, security and rights that we seek, uphold and desire for Israelis. This failure is an obstacle to regional peace and foments world insecurity and disorder.

We speak morally of a just peace based on full and scrupulous implementation of international law because we know that any lasting solution for the Palestinian people is intertwined with a lasting solution for peace and justice for Israel. We actively seek the well-being of both peoples and insist that both the Palestinian people and Israel have legitimate security concerns.

We see also the aspect of religion at play here. We see that although religion is not at the root of the conflict, religion has become part of the problem and, therefore, religious leaders and interreligious cooperation have to be part of the solution so that Christians, Muslims and Jews will again understand one another and live as neighbours as they have in the past.

Here is another indication that there must be a partnership with civil society and full participation in seeking a solution. There is no military solution and this memory-filled year has marked a reinvigoration of strong calls by international civil society to redouble all efforts for non-violent actions for peace.

Notably, the International Coordinating Network on Palestine, meeting in Brussels in August of this year, launched a strong and resolute plan of action under the title: “Sixty years is enough; end the dispossession; bring the refugees home”. The call to action included a commitment to strengthen the global campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions, emphasizing that this campaign responds to a call from Palestinian civil society and is, in the words of the call to action, a non-violent effort against Israeli occupation, apartheid and oppression. The Network has further committed itself to a campaign identifying and opposing Israeli policies as violations of the International Covenant on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

Speaking now with the voice of the religious community, I point out that in June of this year the World Council of Churches convened in Amman an International Peace Conference of Churches from around the world. The Amman Call, which emerged from that meeting, is not meant to be another statement but simply the visible sign of a renewed commitment to church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation, in accordance with United Nations resolutions, and at demonstrating the World Council’s commitment to interreligious action for peace and justice that serves all the peoples of the region.
That meeting launched a new initiative: The Palestine/Israel Ecumenical Forum, dedicated to church action for both peacemaking and peacebuilding. In their own way, many churches around the world are increasingly looking at non-violent methods such as morally responsible investment, which use economic measures dedicated to stopping illegal behaviour that supports the occupation. This initiative will form strong interreligious alliances as well, all in order to break new ground and commit to what the Amman Call describes as costly solidarity.

Civil society in general, and the churches in particular, are showing new vigour faced with the morally repugnant and unjustifiable situation. Costly solidarity means taking non-violent, constructive action which may, in fact, cause discomfort, tension and serious disagreement. However, doing something different and acting in a new way is an ethical imperative at this moment.

We are committed - the civil society of the world that is committed to peace - to look at our own selves, to reinvigorate our own actions in solidarity; but we are also committed to holding the international community accountable to the norms and standards of international law for all. Palestinian rights can no longer be the exceptions to the rule of international law.

Civil society, in its various forms and forums, have called for a recommitment to all actions for resolute campaigns for rights and freedoms. We have called, and continue to call, on the international community to embrace the principles of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions and to vigorously apply them. The churches themselves have based their actions on respect for United Nations resolutions and the rule of law. Can Member States do less?

There is an ethical and spiritual imperative to implement laws and use non-violent means to achieve peace and justice. The call is simple: join us in costly solidarity. It is not easy; nor should it be. However, the dispossessed and oppressed Palestinian people have that right. All the peoples affected by the conflict deserve no less. A just peace for Palestine and Israel demands it.


Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine
to the United Nations

[Original: English]

I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and to thank the Committee for organizing again this year this very important celebration and commemoration on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, after all these statements, there is nothing to add. Nevertheless, I want to add my voice, the voice of the Palestinian people and the voice of our leadership and President Abbas, to thank those who have spoken in expressing their solidarity with our people, those who have sent messages - heads of State and leaders from all corners of the globe - and all those who have been present with us this morning. Looking around this room I noticed people from all continents - Asia, Africa, South America, North America and Europe. These people expressed their solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people. We appreciate that. We thank them for their strong messages of solidarity.

I would also like to say that the fact that the Secretary-General was, as usual, with us at this gathering, along with the President of the General Assembly, the President of the Security Council and so many ambassadors and other representatives of countries, is a very strong demonstration of the commitment of the international community, and the United Nations in particular, in continuing their concern for the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all of its aspects. To us, that means the end of the Israeli occupation of all of the land that they occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and the establishment of our independent Palestinian State, side by side with Israel, on the land that was occupied in 1967, with a just and agreed resolution of the question of the Palestinian refugees on the basis of General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

Along with that, we would also like to see an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict through the total withdrawal of Israel from all other Arab land that they occupied in 1967, as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative in order to open a new chapter in the relationship among the people of the region, based on Israel’s total withdrawal from the land occupied in 1967. In exchange for this would be the total normalization of relations with Israel.

Now this gathering has a special flavour to it, not only because of the fortieth anniversary of the occupation and the 60 years of the nakba, but because we are gathered following a successful Conference in Annapolis. The commitment of the international community and the United Nations to the question of Palestine needs to shift gears, because the role of the United Nations, as expressed by the Secretary-General and my friend, the Chairman of our community, would require from all of us a massive amount of involvement, energy and support to ensure the success of negotiations between the Palestinian side and the Israeli side and, hopefully, on other Arab tracks very soon, in order to reach a treaty between us and Israel sometime in 2008, to enable the independent Palestinian State to be born. That would require, of course, a process of negotiation on the six final status issues: borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, water and security.

Our side is determined to negotiate in good faith, based on points of reference that are known to everyone and on which there is consensus: relevant United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, the Road Map, the principle of exchanging land for peace. We are extremely determined to exploit this historic moment to reach a peace treaty with our neighbours, the Israelis, so that we can open new chapters in our relationship with them.

We need your help to ensure the success of that exercise. We need the help of everyone that is interested in peace and justice in the Middle East so that, hopefully next year, we can celebrate here, in Palestine and in East Jerusalem, the future capital of our State, a different kind of solidarity. Maybe we will be celebrating the birth of the independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Therefore, your efforts and the efforts of the United Nations are needed more than ever for the success of that exercise.

I just also want to add that this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is not only about giving speeches - which are wonderful to receive and give our people the strength and determination to continue the struggle to accomplish our national objectives - but that we also have other events during the course of the day. This afternoon, we will begin the debate on the question of Palestine, in which Palestine and many others will participate. It will culminate in the adoption of resolutions that will be helpful in pushing the peace process forward.

In addition to that, this evening we will have cultural events, including one at 6 p.m., in which all will be given an opportunity to see the creativity of our people and their genius through the display of stitching and different clothes of people from different parts of Palestine. We are proud to show you a dimension of the Palestinian people that is different - of a people that is determined to continue to live and to be creative under very difficult conditions. That will be at 6 p.m. at the entrance of the lobby of the General Assembly building.

At 7 p.m., we will demonstrate another dimension of the creativity of the Palestinian people. We will have a concert of music in which a fabulous, brilliant Palestinian-American musician and his troupe will entertain you by providing beautiful classical Arabic music with an infusion of jazz. We want you to see that the Palestinian people are so many things. They are not only what is sometimes stereotyped in the media as being this or that. They are musicians; they are people who can produce beautiful embroidered dresses; they are golf players; they are skiers; they are football players; they are artists; they are normal human beings, and they excel even under very difficult conditions. We are brilliant physicians, brilliant engineers, brilliant lawyers.

We have so many things. The only thing that we do not have, and which we hope that we can have by the end of the year 2008, is our independent Palestinian State, to be as normal as all of you and to be as normal as all 192 Members of the United Nations. We want to be the 193rd Member of the United Nations.

I therefore urge you to come this evening and celebrate all these contributions with us. See how we can be creative in different fields of life. We want to share that, and to thank everyone for being with us today. I am looking forward to seeing you this evening.



Closing statement by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]

I thank Mr. Mansour for his important statement. On behalf of the members of the Committee, and above all on behalf of the members of its Bureau and on my own behalf, I would like to thank him for his words. Personally, I am not surprised by his eloquence, as I am in his company practically every day. I know his resolve, his perspicacity, his courage. I have been at his side in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty and pain. We speak often and advise each other frequently. From that has emerged what I would call an active complicity that allows me to address him in a personal way.

In any event, I thank him for the friendship he has extended to me and for the advice he offers me on a daily basis as we go about our work. I thank him, too, for the attention he accords to my proposals and advice in often very difficult moments, when one sometimes has trouble mastering one’s emotions and heeding counsel. He has always demonstrated patience, wisdom and perseverance, for which I thank him.

I ask him today to understand that he will always be a friend and colleague to me and to the members of the Bureau as we pursue the work that has been assigned to us until the day when independent Palestine is born and we can finally have the pleasure of visiting it, communing with the Palestinian people, and celebrating with it all the beautiful works it can produce, a sample of which we are invited to see this afternoon. We will go happily and with great enthusiasm, because we are and always will be his friends - even his brothers.

Before adjourning this solemn meeting, I wish to thank everyone who has made it possible, in particular the staff members of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, the Department of Public Information, the Office of Central Support Services and everyone who works quietly and effectively behind the scenes to make such meetings the brilliant success they deserve to be.

I also want to remind you that a Palestinian cultural exhibit, presented under the auspices of the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, will take place at 6 p.m. in the public lobby of the General Assembly building. The Ambassador of Palestine has just told us about it. This year’s exhibit is entitled “Palestine: a continuing legacy”. The event will be followed by a concert by Simon Shaheen and Qantara, which is to begin at 7 p.m. in conference room 4. All are cordially invited.

Following this meeting, at 1 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, all members are invited to attend a screening of the film entitled Knowledge is the Beginning: Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. I believe the film deserves to be seen.

I wish to thank all those present here today for their participation, and I express our gratitude for the messages we have received.





III. MESSAGES RECEIVED ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

A. Messages from Heads of State or Government
Hâmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

[Original: Farsi]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to express, on behalf of the Government and people of Afghanistan, our support for the rights of the Palestinian people, in particular, the right to self-determination and the right to an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.



Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria

[Original: Arabic]

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

On this noble International Day, we should first pledge our deference and respect to the martyrs who have sacrificed their pure and blameless souls in defence of Arab rights and in order to liberate the homeland from occupation.

The present occasion is also an occasion to stop to reflect upon, contemplate and evaluate the fierce struggles, whether at the level of heroic resistance or through the political and diplomatic arenas, for the return of the occupied Arab territories in Palestine, Syria and southern Lebanon, with a view to the establishment of an independent, geographically contiguous and viable Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital, and to development within the Arab fold that would bestow greater sovereignty, strength and progress on our Arab community, which is undergoing an experience unprecedented in its history.

The Israeli occupation has persistently flouted all legitimate Arab demands and has challenged international legitimacy for decades in an attempt to impose a fait accompli by encroaching on Palestinian territories through land-levelling and settlement and by continuing to construct the separation wall, destroy infrastructure and set up roadblocks designed to carve up Palestinian territories, as well as resort to massacre, displacement, Judaization, forcible expulsion, arrest, imprisonment, abduction, siege and other acts of domination and control.

I seize this historic opportunity to express our hopes that our brothers in Palestine, who only recently stood side by side to end the occupation and obtain independence, will achieve reconciliation, adopt dialogue as a civilized means of consolidating their unity and strengthen their determination towards a single objective, namely, the return of their occupied territories, the establishment of their own independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of refugees, this being the only means of denying Israel and the enemies of our Arab nation the opportunity to sow division among brothers.

This occasion offers a further opportunity to sharpen the collective memory at the regional and international levels and to raise the Palestinian profile in the consciousness and minds of every individual and ensure support for the question of Palestine as a decolonization issue, in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolutions 194 (III) and 1514 (XV).

In this context, Algeria, as an active member in the Arab Group, has mobilized its diplomacy through the Arab Peace Initiative with the aim of strengthening all efforts and offering every support and assistance to the cause of the Palestinian people in the interest of breaking the stalemate and deadlock imposed by Israel and the international community.

In conclusion, I can only commend the serious and persistent work of your Committee and your continuing endeavour to support the Palestinian people and efforts aimed at ending its tragedy and achieving its inalienable rights.


King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain

[Original: Arabic]

The convening of the sixty-second session of the General Assembly this year coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories in 1967. Neither we nor the international community are in need of any further speeches describing the results of the continuing occupation and the humanitarian, economic and social misfortunes and disasters that have occurred over these four decades, the effects of which continue to this day to cause suffering to the Palestinian people.

The reports of United Nations bodies and agencies have documented the various aspects, dimensions and repercussions of the policy and practices of the Israelis in their occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including demolition, displacement, isolation, blockade and economic strangulation, which, by any international legal and humanitarian standards, constitute flagrant violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and of the rights of the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territories under occupation.
The continuing Israeli occupation throughout these four decades has become a permanent source of instability and violence, not only in the occupied territories but throughout the Middle East, heightening tension and directly affecting the future of regional peace, security and stability.

The international community is certainly now aware that the achievement of stability and security in the countries and regions surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories is closely linked to finding a just solution to this historical conflict by peaceful means, in accordance with international legitimacy.

Despite the intensive multitrack dialogues witnessed this year by the Arab region, by the parties directly concerned with the dispute and by the international community through the efforts of the Quartet, we cannot but note with deep regret that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, particularly in recent months, has further deteriorated, which bodes ill for the cautious hope and new-found confidence surrounding the possibilities of arranging a meeting on peace in the Middle East shortly before the end of the present year.

We welcome all of the continuing and earnest endeavours on the part of the Arab States to establish peace and revive efforts designed to achieve that objective by returning to the Palestinian people all of the West Bank and Gaza territories occupied since 1967. In the same context, we commend the results of the international peace conference convoked by United States President George Bush and hope that the ensuing phase will be a turning point, in which dealing in earnest with the essential issues and pending questions on the tracks of the peace process will play a part.

We wish to emphasize the importance of continuing the peace process and following up the outcome of the conference with a view to finding a peaceful, just, lasting and equitable settlement to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967, leading to the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital. All States in the region, including Israel, may then live together in security and peace, on the basis of the relevant terms of reference and international instruments, in particular United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map, in accordance with the principles of international legitimacy and the will of the international community.

Let us therefore work sincerely and with all of our might to achieve this humanitarian goal with a view to establishing the principles of justice, promoting truth and victory for legitimacy and law, and implementing the will of the international community.

Peace be upon you and the mercy of God and his blessings.



Fakhruddin Ahmed, Chief Adviser (Prime Minister) of the Caretaker
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

[Original: English]

The Government and the People of Bangladesh have remained committed to supporting the just cause of the Palestinian people and their legitimate and inalienable right to a free and sovereign Palestine State. We reaffirm our pledge to stand by the brotherly people of Palestine on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The occupation of Palestine remains the source of continued violence and bloodshed in Palestine. Israeli atrocities on the civilian people in occupied territories in different times exacerbated the crisis. The Government of Bangladesh has unequivocally condemned the violence and destruction caused by such actions.

Bangladesh strongly believes that only the full implementation of relevant United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions can resolve the Palestinian crisis. Overcoming of mistrust and suspicion, refraining from provocative acts, ending of violence and resumption of peace talks are the imperatives of the day. We hope that the parties involved would show utmost sincerity in translating the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Arab peace plan and the Middle East Road Map into action.

On this auspicious day, we unite with the international community in reiterating our full support to the Palestinian people. Bangladesh hopes that the Annapolis Conference on the Middle East would pave the way for another round of comprehensive peace talks so that the creation of an independent Palestinian State becomes a reality. Bangladesh would remain supportive of all such initiatives that would give momentum to the Middle East peace process.


Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the international Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Brazilian Government reiterates its firm commitment and support for the rightful endeavour of the Palestinian people to fulfil their legitimate aspiration to self-determination.

The further deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is deplorable. Brazil would like to draw the international community’s attention in particular to the plight of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who have been living under extremely severe circumstances. My Government considers of utmost urgency that the parties involved in the peace process find a solution to this issue.

Brazil has expressed its condemnation of all acts of violence and, particularly, all forms of terrorism which have already claimed too many innocent lives. We have also called upon the Israeli Government to cease all military operations in the Palestinian occupied territories, without delay.

Brazil welcomes the regular meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas and their agreement to accelerate the building of Palestinian institutions and to discuss the means for improving economic cooperation and strengthening security forces. We also welcome recent efforts to move the peace process forward through the resumption of high-level talks on issues related to the Road Map, as well as the efforts deployed by the Special Representative of the Quartet, the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to reinvigorate economic activities in the Palestinian territories and to strengthen Palestinian institutions. As a developing nation, home to millions of Arab immigrants, Brazil has offered its contribution to mitigate the Palestinian people’s suffering through the provision of humanitarian assistance. Brazil is also engaged in the prompt normalization of the international community’s humanitarian activities in the occupied territories. We intend to increase our cooperation with the Palestinian people in various areas with long-term objectives. Brazil is fully committed to the creation of a free, democratic and economically viable Palestinian State, according to the legitimate aspirations of its people, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel, as established in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), and within internationally recognized borders.

We believe that a negotiated two-State solution can only be achieved by urgently addressing the underlying causes of the conflict through the establishment of negotiations among all interested parties, as the only way for a just and comprehensive agreement capable of ensuring a lasting peace in the Middle East. Brazil is ready to support efforts to overcome the present difficulties of the peace process. In this connection, it is worth mentioning the proposal which I put forward in a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas to create a “Group of Friends of Peace in the Middle East”, composed of countries from different regions, with a consensus- building spirit.

Brazil stresses the need to put in motion a political process for the development of a strategy which would enable the fulfillment of the aspirations of the Palestinian people for peace and statehood. Such strategy should take into account the relevant Security Council resolutions; the Quartet Road Map; the Madrid terms of reference; the principle of land for peace and the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the League of Arab States Summit in March 2002 in Beirut.

At this time of renewed diplomatic initiatives and some encouraging signs of increased exchanges between the Palestinian National Authority and the Israeli Government, Brazil strongly encourages all Palestinian political groups to pursue the path of dialogue with a view to strengthening the Palestinian institutions.

Brazil is prepared to contribute to those efforts convinced that only confidence can create a lasting basis for dialogue and cooperation among nations.


Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile

[Original: English]

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People I have the honour to convey the greetings of the Chilean nation and my Government. Palestinians have made a great contribution to the Chilean social fabric and our institutional and cultural development. Chile is proud to be the recipient of the largest community of descendants of Palestinians outside Palestinian territory and looks forward to enhance and deepen its cooperation with the Palestinian nation.

Let me express my sincere hope that the process started yesterday in Annapolis might lead to the rapid establishment of a viable, truly sovereign Palestinian State, existing peacefully alongside Israel. International peace and security will be surely enhanced the day Palestinians gain their right to self-determination and build a safe and democratic State.


Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

[Original: Chinese]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, warm congratulations on the meeting in commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

The Palestinian issue is at the core of the Middle East issue. China firmly supports the restoration of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people and calls for the early resumption of the Middle East peace process. We hope that the parties concerned will resolve their disputes through political negotiation in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of “land for peace” with a view to establishing an independent State of Palestine and achieving the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel.

An early resolution of the Palestinian issue is both the urgent desire of the people of all countries in the Middle East and the expectation of the international community. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China will continue to make unremitting efforts with other members of the international community for an early, comprehensive and fair solution to the Palestine issue and peace, stability and development in the Middle East.


Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s
Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

[Original: Korean]
(Unofficial translation)

[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, Mahmoud Abbas]


I am pleased to extend friendly greetings and firm solidarity to you and the Palestinian people on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Today the Palestinian people are actively waging a struggle to counter the moves of hostile forces, including Israel, aimed at undermining Palestine from within. They are also fighting to recover the national rights including the rights to self-determination and the founding of a sovereign State.

I take this opportunity to reaffirm the consistent position of the Government and people of our Republic that supports the just cause of the Palestinian people and wish you success in your work.


Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

[Original: Arabic]

It gives me pleasure, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to send you this message on behalf of the people and Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt. We reaffirm our full solidarity with and support for our fellow Palestinian people in their effort to regain and exercise their inalienable rights, above all their right to self-determination and the establishment of a viable, independent and sovereign State, with Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of a two-State solution, in peace and security side by side with Israel. We also reaffirm our full support for international and regional efforts aimed at realizing legitimate Palestinian aspirations.
In view of the hopes pinned on the efforts to move the peace process forward with the aim of establishing an independent Palestinian State before the end of 2008, we are deeply appreciative of the activities undertaken by your distinguished Committee in order to accomplish that noble aim and promote stability in the Middle East. This is particularly true in the light of the international commitment, demonstrated by those activities, to supporting efforts to restore the usurped rights of the Palestinian people and find a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine on the basis of the relevant terms of reference, including Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, the established rules of international law and the principles of the Madrid Peace Conference and the Arab Peace Initiative, as an integral part of the comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, on all tracks.

I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize that the question of Palestine must be resolved by intensifying international efforts to guarantee the start of final status negotiations and reach agreement on the six core issues of the peace process, on the Palestinian track, as soon as possible and in a manner that will lead to the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian State and to a breakthrough that achieves the full withdrawal by Israel from all of the occupied Arab territories in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon to the 4 June 1967 borders.

In order to accomplish that objective, we believe that the international community and your distinguished Committee must continue to work hand in hand in order to guarantee that Israel ends its occupation and halts its illegal practices in the occupied Palestinian territories, in particular its attacks against defenceless Palestinian civilians and its violation of international law and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Lastly, I would like to reaffirm Egypt’s firm commitment to continuing efforts for a lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, on the basis of international legitimacy and the principle of land for peace, and to emphasize our enduring support for the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to rally international support for the restoration of these rights and for efforts to establish a viable and independent Palestinian State.


General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea

[Original: French]

As we commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like on behalf of the people and Government of Guinea and on my own behalf to say how pleased we are with the work accomplished by the Committee since its establishment pursuant to United Nations General Assembly resolution 3376 (XXX).

The Republic of Guinea continues to support the recommendations of the Committee within the framework of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine based on the relevant United Nations resolutions and such basic principles as the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and other occupied Arab territories; respect for the right of all States of the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders; and recognition and enjoyment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including its right to self-determination.

We encourage the Palestinian people to continue its pursuit of an inclusive Palestinian State in the interest of peace, security and development in the region in general and in Palestine in particular.

We call upon the international community to continue to seek an appropriate solution to the current situation in the Middle East, including in Palestine.

We commend the efforts made by the Committee under your wise leadership, in accordance with its mandate, to mobilize the support of the international community for the Palestinian people in cooperation with United Nations bodies, Governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations and other entities. We encourage it to continue those efforts.

We hope that the initiatives under way will make it possible to effectively resolve the crisis in the Middle East in general and in Palestine in particular.

Rest assured of our support and accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.


Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People we once again salute the indominatable spirit of the Palestinian people and reaffirm our support for their just struggle, for a sovereign and independent State of Palestine.

India welcomes the renewed efforts and initiative by the international community to resolve the Arab-Israeli issues. We have noted with concern the developments in Gaza and the continued violence inflicted on innocent civilians.

India welcomes the direct dialogue between the leaders of Palestine and Israel and looks forward to an early and peaceful resolution of all issues between the two nations and peoples.
I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm India’s consistent and unwavering support for the cause of the friendly people of Palestine. It is our firm belief that a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region can only be achieved through negotiations and dialogue leading to the establishment of an independent and viable State of Palestine, living in peaceful coexistence, within secure and well-defined borders, with the State of Israel.

On this International Day of Solidarity, I also take the opportunity to convey my greetings and best wishes to the friendly people of Palestine.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia

[Original: Indonesian]
Unofficial translation

On the solemn occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the honour, on behalf of the people and the Government of Indonesia, to extend my warmest greetings to all our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

I take this opportunity to reaffirm our steadfast support and longstanding solidarity with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for the full realization of their inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination and an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.

This occasion is always a solemn one for us, to express how much we care about the Palestinian people, and to stand behind them in order to rally our unwavering support to their cause. However, today is also a day that we do not look forward to. I believe that it is not solidarity that Palestinians seek the most, but peace in the security of a State of their own.

Each day that we mark the day of solidarity therefore, is a day that reminds us that this desire of the Palestinians has not been fulfilled. Sixty-two years following the Bandung Conference that championed the struggle for independence of Asia-Africa countries and people, the Palestinian people are still regrettably subjected to colonialism. Furthermore, it is a matter of regret that the dire humanitarian situation in Palestine has continued to deteriorate.

It is for this reason that within the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership, which was launched in 2005 during the commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Asia-Africa Conference, Indonesia proposed a capacity-building programme for Palestine to assist them to carry out their development programme. This is with the hope that such a programme will generate the improvement of their economic condition and their heavy burdens.

There is no doubt that the question of Palestine is at the core of the problems in the Middle East. The continued violence against the Palestinian people has continued to ripple across regional boundaries as Muslims witness the social and political injustice being meted out to their Palestinian brothers and sisters.

This situation calls for the investment of greater commitment by the international community in the search for the ultimate prize of sustainable peace in Palestine. We reiterate that peace must be found on the basis of the land-for-peace formula recognized by various resolutions of the United Nations relevant to the matter and the Road Map of the Quartet. This is the most important political foundation for talks on peace in the Middle East, and that peace can only be won through political negotiation.

In this regard, I wish to commend the present efforts of the countries of the region, in partnership with the international community, to explore means of reviving the peace process. Their voices should be taken into consideration because as members of the same region they possess inside knowledge of how best to approach resolution of the conflict. And while reiterating our determination to seeing justice done in Palestine, we urge their leaders to close ranks and face the task of statehood and peace with determination and commitment.

We share the travails of the Palestinian people and will continue to give them our support, and to work with the international community in the arduous task of finding a just and peaceful resolution to their conflict with Israel.


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

[Original: English]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People offers us an opportunity to reiterate our support for the noble aspirations of the Palestinian people and to commend their legitimate struggle, and express our sympathy for the pains and suffering they have endured in the last six decades. The oppressed nation of Palestine has been for years the target of the most inhumane brutality of the Zionist regime, and their most basic rights have been denied by the said regime and its supporters.

The Palestinian crisis has posed a challenge to the international community since the foundation of the United Nations, yet, notwithstanding the goals of the Charter of the United Nations, the United Nations has been unable to play an effective role in countering the threats that the Zionist regime has posed to international peace and security. Although the United Nations reports on various occasions have attested to the continuation of the Zionist regimes crimes against the Palestinian people and the violation of their rights, yet, the United Nations Security Council has, unfortunately, been rendered unable to take any measure in this regard so far, owing to the exercise of veto by one of its permanent members.

The inability of the international forums in responding to aggression, occupation, racism, and violation of human rights by the Zionist regime in the occupied Palestinian territories has emboldened the said regime to continue with its wicked behaviours and policies. The siege of the Palestinian people and their elected Government is a case in point which puts on display the brutal behaviour of the Zionist regime. The Palestinian people, only because of exercising their right in electing their Government through a democratic process which has been confirmed by international observers, are under unjust economic siege, as well as political and military pressures, and the Zionist regime has been punishing them and their elected representatives in various ways and forms for their democratic choice.

The international community should seriously counter the unlawful practices of the Zionist regime and find an essential solution to the Palestinian crisis, which would guarantee the unconditional return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland and would pave the way for holding a free election with the participation of all inhabitants of Palestine, including Muslims, Christians and Jews, to determine their destiny and the political future of Palestine. In this regard, the United Nations is expected to compel the Zionist regime to comply with the international law and United Nations resolutions, and to put an end to its racist and terrorist policies, and to accept the right of sovereignty of the Palestinian nation.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and lauds the struggle of the Palestinian people in this regard.

I wish to reiterate the hope for the day when the sovereign State of Palestine with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital is established, and when all Palestinian refugees have returned to their homeland, living with other Palestinians in peace and tranquility.


King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

[Original: Arabic]

Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of God,

It gives me pleasure on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to convey to you and to the members of the Committee the utmost gratitude and appreciation for your continuing valiant efforts to defend the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, above all the right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State on Palestinian soil.

This year marks the passing of 60 years since the Palestinian nakba, or catastrophe, in the shadow of which generations have grown up, awaiting justice and the fulfilment of international promises of fair treatment, and yearning to return to their homeland, despite the persecution and violence they have suffered and the murder, destruction, confiscation of property and undermining of fundamental rights they have experienced. These violations constitute a flagrant and continuing assault on international humanitarian law and human rights principles.

These generations, like any human community, deserve a chance to live a life of dignity and build an independent State, thereby joining other peoples of the world in building human civilization, progress and prosperity.

Your Committee has made and continues to make greatly appreciated and outstanding efforts to raise international awareness of the magnitude of the tragedy of the Palestinian people and the injustice to which they have been subjected. It has persistently drawn attention to the dangers posed by the ongoing Israeli occupation to both the Palestinian people and neighbouring peoples who stand in solidarity with them. Nevertheless, the Palestinian people continue to live under deplorable economic and social conditions that are inconsistent with the values of international justice and the conscience of humanity.

In its work programme for this year, your Committee expressed concern over conditions of a serious nature against which we have long warned, noting as it did the danger of the culture of extremism that has arisen as a consequence of the living conditions, inhumane circumstances and general state of frustration in which Palestinians are trapped and which control their options.

Your Committee also appealed to the international community, as we ourselves have done in numerous forms and on many occasions, to shoulder its responsibility and obligation to bring an end to this tragedy and deal justly with its consequences for the Palestinian people. International efforts should be focused on providing a common basis for action that would lead to a cessation of violence and the adoption of dialogue and negotiation as the only means to a comprehensive, just and permanent solution to the Palestinian question, which is the central and most pressing Arab issue in the region.

The violence, wars and lack of trust that we have experienced only exacerbate and complicate the situation, constituting the main reason for the prolongation of conflict and the failure of solutions and initiatives. Israel’s continued acts of aggression against the land and its owners that we see today, along with the construction and expansion of settlements, the imposition of the separation wall, the destructive consequences of that wall and the repeated economic embargoes and closures that obstruct the movement of Palestinians, will only increase frustration and perpetuate the cycle of violence. These manifestations must be stopped and such policies abandoned if the peoples of the region are to enjoy the blessing of peace.
Today, we reiterate our call to seize the historic opportunity offered by the Arab Peace Initiative to put an end to this conflict, bring about a comprehensive and just peace, ensure security for the peoples of the region and enable the Palestinian people to exercise their natural and fundamental right to self-determination and the establishment of independence on their national soil.

We join hands with you and call on those who have a conscience to stand on the side of truth and fairness and do justice to both present and future generations in order to establish a mindset that achieves coexistence in the region and safeguards security and peace. All possible efforts should be made to put a stop to the injustice and violations suffered by the Palestinian people, end this conflict and open the way to hope for a better future for the people of the region.

Lastly, we highly appreciate your Committee’s constructive efforts and wish you continued success in reaching the lofty goals to which you aspire.


Choummaly Sayasone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

[Original: English]

The celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the occupation by Israel of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. It is indeed disappointing for the international community having to express again grave concern over an escalating spiral of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory instead of “congratulations” on Palestinian statehood as it always aspires for. To date, the efforts undertaken by the international community to put an end to the occupation have regrettably proved futile.

The four decades of occupation have inflicted untold suffering upon the Palestinian people. The military occupation continues to this very day and the situation on the ground remains extremely critical. The innocent Palestinians are subjected to daily abuse and harassment, collective punishment, the excessive and indiscriminate use of force, extrajudicial killings and destruction of property, infrastructure and agricultural land. These acts signify disregard for international humanitarian law and relevant United Nations resolutions. Also deplorable was the killing of the innocent civilians, which must be immediately stopped and those responsible must be brought to justice.

The Government and people of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic take this opportunity to reaffirm our unwavering support to, and solidarity with, the Palestinian people in their legitimate cause of struggle for the exercise of their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to establish an independent Palestinian State on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) as well as the principle of land for peace. We are of the view that unless the national rights of the Palestinian people are realized, comprehensive, just and durable peace in the region will remain elusive.

The occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, is the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has prevented the Palestinian people from exercising their inalienable rights. The lingering violence in the area continues to endanger international peace and security. It is therefore incumbent upon the international community to intensify their effort to ensure the expeditious and full enforcement of the United Nations Security Council resolutions. Only by doing so, a negotiated settlement will be brought about which will end the occupation and lead to the creation of an independent, democratic and viable State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.

I wish the Palestinian leadership and people best health and success in their legitimate cause.


Fouad Siniora, Prime Minister of Lebanon

[Original: Arabic]

In these particular circumstances, as the world refocuses on finding a just and comprehensive solution to the struggle over Palestine after such a long period of delay and hesitation, if not to say neglect, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People provides an opportunity to reaffirm our support and solidarity, and declare our commitment to the enduring Palestinian Arab national principles that have been and remain the starting point and goal of the Palestinian Arab struggle in the face of wars and pressures to disappear or capitulate.

In the course of defending their cause, their rights and their future, the Palestinian people have lost many tens of thousands of martyrs. As a result of the displacement of Palestinians from their land and country, the number of Palestinians now living outside of the land of Palestine amounts to 5 million, with millions more struggling and enduring siege and killing as they cling steadfastly to their land and strive for freedom and an independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital.

The fact is that the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people in the land of Palestine continues to destabilize the entire Arab region to this day. Israel has launched dozens of wars against neighbouring Arab States, including seven wars against Lebanon, and has occupied Arab territories, some of which in Syria and Lebanon, as well as in Palestine, continue to be oppressed by occupation. Israel continues to violate the sovereignty of Lebanon with breaches of its airspace and territorial waters. It has also pursued Palestinians in their places of refuge, where it has assassinated and killed. As a result, our region has been held hostage for decades to tyrannical wars and practices that violate international resolutions and international humanitarian law.

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is an occasion for recalling the national and human rights of the Palestinian people and the peoples of the Arab nation who have suffered and continue to suffer from the Israeli presence and from Israeli practices. It is a day to focus on a goal that is indispensable to peace and security in our region, namely, that of establishing a free and independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital, and addressing the effects of the practices of annihilation and occupation suffered by the Palestinian people in Palestine and in neighbouring Arab countries in which Palestinians have taken refuge, including Lebanon.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arab citizens cannot remain in squalid camps or under threat and attack in the West Bank and Gaza. The most important way in which the world and the United Nations can express their solidarity with the Palestinian people is to review international resolutions and insist on their full implementation, in addition to supporting the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map in order to establish a Palestinian State. At the same time, action should be taken to implement the international resolution on enabling Palestinians to return to their land. These two things would promote not only an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict but also the establishment of stability in the region and a halt to the years of war, deprivation and perpetual killing and displacement of civilians.


Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia

[Original: English]

I wish to express on behalf of the Government and people of Malaysia, and my own behalf as Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Summit, our sincere greetings to His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, and the people of Palestine, on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We reaffirm our solidarity with the brave people of Palestine in their struggle for their inalienable right to an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.

Today’s commemoration remains a sad one. It reminds us that the plight of the Palestinian people who live through tremendous suffering and abject humiliation under the brunt of the longest ever occupation in history, has not ended. Their plight has worsened, particularly in Gaza, owing to the sanctions and blockade imposed by Israel. The continued use of excessive force, acts of impunity, expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and the illegal construction of the separation wall further add to the woes of the Palestinian people. These actions by Israel only undermine the foundations of political dialogue between the two sides, casting doubt on Israel’s true intent for a just solution.

The United Nations must send a clear and unequivocal message that the violations by Israel of international law on the Palestinian people are intolerable and illegal, as they are in violation of international law and importantly the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council. Our failure to compel the Israeli occupation regime to uphold and respect international law with regard to the question of Palestine will be a black mark for the international community. We call upon the international community to sincerely and earnestly work to ensure Israel ends its occupation, immediately cease acts that violates human rights of the Palestinian people and redress the deteriorating humanitarian situation afflicting the occupied territories.

Ignoring the plight of the Palestinian people is a course fraught with danger, one which has perpetuated the tensions between the West in general and the Islamic world as a whole. In this regard, Malaysia affirms the importance of the work of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in relation to the question of Palestine, which could contribute towards the realization of peace in the Middle East and beyond.

The Palestinian people can count on Malaysia’s strong support in their efforts to create an independent and sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as is capital, as well as to achieve a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. We also welcome the convening of the international meeting on the Middle East held recently in Annapolis, which ultimately should lead towards establishing an independent, viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian State - providing a lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Finally, we wish to pay tribute to all Palestinians who have suffered in their just struggle to live free and in dignity in a State they can call their own. We remain steadfast with the Palestinian people in their pursuit of realizing the vision of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.


Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives

[Original: English]

As we celebrate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reaffirm, on behalf of the people and the Government of the Republic of Maldives and on my own behalf, our unyielding support to the people of Palestine in their heroic and just struggle to regain their inalienable rights and their homeland. The Palestine people are constantly subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment; and the world must recognize it and take concrete action to restore their dignity and rights.
I would also like to commend the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People who have worked to create greater awareness about the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Further I want to reaffirm the Maldives commitment towards the Middle East peace process which has always been a straightforward policy, one which calls upon all the concerned parties to return to that process in pursuit of the comprehensive settlement on the Arab-Israel dispute, based on justice and international legitimacy.

On this occasion, I pray that opportunities will open up for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the problems of the Middle East, restoring peace in the region, and allowing the Palestinian people to enjoy peace, stability and prosperity in their own sovereign State.


Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, President of the Islamic
Republic of Mauritania

[Original: Arabic]

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People affords me a new opportunity to reaffirm the stand of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in support of the struggle of its fellow Palestinian people for the restoration of their legitimate and inalienable rights, in particular their right to establish their own independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital.

Support for our fellow Palestinian people in their struggle is a firm feature of our foreign policy, which is based on the belief that justice and respect for international legitimacy are the best ways of extinguishing strife and war and of igniting peace and coexistence among peoples and civilizations.

For 60 years, our fellow Palestinian people have been living dispersed in exile, in conditions constituting a major challenge to the will of the international community, a flagrant violation of United Nations resolutions and a continuing cause of tension that threatens worldwide peace and security.

The holding of the Annapolis Conference during the past two days and its positive outcome spark hopes of a just and lasting solution to this long and bitter struggle.

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, which welcomes the initial outcome of that Conference and the prospects consequently opened up after years of standstill, hopes that a commitment will be made to any resulting time frame and to measures designed to build trust between the parties to the conflict through dialogue and negotiation.
The Islamic Republic of Mauritania also appreciates the major role played by the United States of America in the holding and success of this Conference and in overseeing the progress of the negotiation from the outset. It confidently looks forward to the continuation of efforts by the United States to ensure that the Annapolis Conference serves as an effective catalyst for a final and comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

We have great confidence that the international community will join in this effort in order to guarantee success and eliminate the cause of tension and conflict, as well as achieve all of our aspirations for peace and stability.

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania will spare no effort to achieve this goal, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and United Nations resolutions, in order to defend justice and truth, as well as safeguard international peace and security.


Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Government and people of Mauritius, I am pleased to express our solidarity with the people of Palestine on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

We hope that the struggle of the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights of self-determination come to fruition in the near future with the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State coexisting side by side with the State of Israel with secure borders.

We continue to believe that the Quartet Road Map to Israeli-Palestinian peace provides the best opportunity for the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and we are greatly encouraged by the recent initiative of the United States Secretary of State and the former British Prime Minister to bring the Palestinian and Israeli authorities to an international meeting in Washington, D.C. Mauritius is in favour of such initiatives likely to bring peace to the Middle East.

We are convinced that the exercise of restraint on the use of violence on the part of all concerned and the need for dialogue, compromise and negotiations constitute the fundamentals to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.

On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we extend our unflinching support to the Palestinian people in their long and arduous march towards freedom and nationhood.



Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico

[Original: Spanish]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should be grateful if you would convey to the Palestinian people this message of appreciation and friendship from the people and Government of Mexico.

Mexico remains convinced that political negotiation and dialogue, together with the implementation of all United Nations resolutions and compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law, are the best way to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Based on this belief, Mexico expresses its firm support for a solution that recognizes the right to exist both of the State of Israel and of a politically and economically viable Palestinian State, the two living side by side in peace and harmony within secure and internationally recognized borders, in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003).

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is an opportunity for the international community to reiterate its support for the Palestinian cause and for the full exercise of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, in accordance with United Nations resolutions. The Government of Mexico wishes the Committee, under your able chairmanship, every success in the activities it carries out in connection with this Day.


Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Namibia, I would like to express our appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for organizing this commemorative Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine.

The people of Namibia have followed with grave concern the ever deteriorating political and security situation in that region. In this connection, I wish to reiterate Namibia’s unwavering support and solidarity with the people of Palestine. We encourage the Palestinian people to persevere and carry on with the liberation struggle until their inalienable rights to self-determination have been realized, in keeping with relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly.

As we restate our solidarity with the people of Palestine, we continue to support the full and unconditional implementation of the Road Map and the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.


Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of Nicaragua

[Original: Spanish]

The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of Nicaragua reaffirms its solidarity with the Palestinian people and their leaders in their just struggle for the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State.

For decades, the Palestinian people have had to endure the Israeli occupation of their territories. Their greatest desire is to exercise their legitimate ancestral rights, recover their occupied territories and establish a free, independent and viable State.

The Palestinian situation has deteriorated with every passing year owing to the continuation of Israel’s illegal practices. These include ongoing violations of the Palestinians’ right to life and personal security through the indiscriminate use of force in violation of international law, international humanitarian law and human rights standards. This has created, in turn, an extremely difficult economic, social and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

The situation has become worse still since the illegal construction of the wall, slicing through Palestinian territory, causing individual cantons to be isolated and separated from East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and thereby creating tremendous physical, economic and social devastation. It is a matter of concern that Israel intends to impose new restrictions, such as cutting essential energy and fuel supplies. Such action constitutes a collective violation of the civilian population’s rights and a violation of the relevant provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Measures must be taken to build trust so as to give a boost to negotiations between the parties and thereby make progress towards finally achieving a just peace based on the existence of two States.

We believe that the problem of Palestine is at the root of all the problems in the Middle East. My Government calls for a politically just solution to the Palestinian problem based on the various resolutions adopted by the United Nations and in accordance with the principle of land for peace established at the Peace Conference on the Middle East held in Madrid in October 1991 and the Arab peace plan.

The Government and people of Nicaragua support the Palestinian people’s just cause as a matter of principle and, together with the rest of the international community, believe it is necessary to step up international efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution culminating in the creation of a Palestinian State. This is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.



Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, President of Nigeria

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish, on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, to send the Palestinian people warm felicitations and to reiterate the unwavering support of the people of Nigeria on this special day.

It is regrettable that the situation in the Middle East and, in particular, the issue of the Palestinian question, has not improved substantially in the last few years. Rather, we have watched with concern, the upsurge of violence and a steep deterioration in the economic and social lives of the Palestinian people resulting in severe humanitarian challenges. Nigeria identifies with the aspirations of the Palestinian people in their quest for self-determination.

There is no doubt that the question of Palestine remains at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, if we are to achieve a lasting peace in the region. In this regard, I restate the imperative for the parties to the dispute and the international community to exert greater effort to implement the Road Map, based on the principle of land for peace, and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). We call upon the parties to resume peace negotiations that will usher in a just, final and comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian question, leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian State, living side by side with the State of Israel, in peace and security.

Nigeria will support every effort and any resolution aimed at furthering the peace process, as well as calls attention to the plight of the Palestinian people who have long been denied their inalienable right to a homeland.

Finally, I wish to commend the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for their untiring efforts in drawing the attention and support of the international community to the plight of the Palestinian people. I wish the Committee greater success in the years ahead.


Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan

[Original: English]

Pakistan joins the international community today in observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, who await peace in their territories and their right of self- determination. Although many initiatives have been taken by the international community in the recent past for establishment of peace in the Palestinian areas, yet the important facets of the Palestinian issue are yet to be addressed.

Pakistan on its part has continued to emphasize the need for early resolution of the problems being faced by the Muslim world, especially the Palestinian issue. Early this year, the leadership of nine Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Syria and the United Arab Emirates was consulted at the highest level on the imperativeness of the need to address these issues. Encouraged by the outcome of those consultations, on 25 February 2007 Pakistan hosted a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, and the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. During that meeting, the Foreign Ministers reiterated their resolve to help find a solution to the Palestinian issue based on justice and realism, leading to the establishment of a Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. They also expressed concern over the illegal excavations being carried out by Israel near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and called for unity among the Palestinians. They impressed upon the international community to renew financial assistance to the Palestinian Government enabling it to revive economic activity in the Palestinian territories. They also emphasized the need to resume the Middle East peace process and for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as the Syrian and Lebanese lands.

Subsequent to that, Pakistan also raised these issues in the nineteenth Arab League Summit of March 2007 held at Riyadh. During the same Summit the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 was re-endorsed, which was later widely accepted by the international community, including the concerned parties.

Pakistan has been extending and will continue to extend unequivocal and unreserved support to the Palestinian cause, the fundamental elements of which are total withdrawal of Israel from occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem and the restitution of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including establishment of an independent homeland, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Pakistan supports the resolution of the Palestinian issue in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions. Pakistan further supports the Quartet’s Road Map and the Arab peace plan leading to a two-State solution.

The wide acceptance of the Arab Peace Initiative, itself and some recent explicit confidence-building measures, including release of more than 250 Palestinian prisoners and transfer of frozen revenues to the Palestinian Authority are encouraging. Consequently, it has helped to improve the atmospherics. We are optimistic that the proposed United States Conference on the Middle East will provide an opportunity to further discuss the Palestinian issue leading to its solution.

As these positive developments continue to evolve, we need to capture the opportunities to address the most crucial Palestinian issue through dialogue, having a focus on its various facets.


Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar

[Original: Arabic]

In the name of God the merciful and compassionate

I should like to express our appreciation for the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in carrying out the task entrusted to it by the United Nations General Assembly and reaffirm the State of Qatar’s support for the Palestinian people in its legitimate struggle against illegal Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories. I also stress the need to achieve a comprehensive, just and permanent settlement of the question of Palestine, in accordance with all relevant United Nations resolutions, above all Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 497 (1981), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), the Madrid terms of reference, the land-for-peace principle, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map. We also stress how important it is for the Security Council to address issues in the Middle East region non-selectively and for the Committee to continue every effort to implement the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, support the peace process in the region and gather international support for this people in its struggle for a just cause.

The extremely bad security, humanitarian and economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories continue to deteriorate owing to the Israeli occupation and ongoing Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Those attacks have resulted in the killing and injury of large numbers of civilians, the destruction of homes and infrastructure and the levelling of agricultural land. This has had a ruinous impact on the Palestinian people, whose suffering has increased and whose economic and social conditions have declined, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from embargo, closure of border crossings and cut-off of aid to its inhabitants, some of whom are consequently pushed to extremism.

The collective punishment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is contrary to all international humanitarian laws and principles. I therefore call upon the international community to stop these injustices and put an end to the violation of international legitimacy by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

We also call upon the international community to put pressure on Israel and demand that it respect international legitimacy, cease the construction and expansion of settlements in the West Bank and remove from occupied Palestinian land the separation wall, which is contrary to international law, the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, in particular General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004. Similar calls should also be made for Israel to end its excavation work beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is consequently made vulnerable to collapse, as well as its measures to alter the character and demographic make-up of the city of Jerusalem, which constitute an affront to the sentiments of over 1 billion Muslims worldwide, impede efforts to settle the conflict between the two parties and make opportunities to find a solution based on two States, one Palestinian and one Israeli, difficult to implement on the ground.

The continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands since 1967 is the fundamental reason for the prolongation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The only way to end this conflict is through direct negotiations between the two sides with a view to ending the occupation, enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights and providing security to the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Israel must refrain from taking unilateral measures that undermine efforts to reach a peaceful, just and permanent settlement based on an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the 1967 borders and living in peace and security with all neighbouring States.

We believe that the United Nations should play an active role in the question of Palestine and welcome all efforts to reach a peaceful and just resolution of that question. We call upon all sides to step up efforts with the United Nations to advance the peace process. Responsibility for the success of the next stage in that process falls on the shoulders of the United States of America, the other permanent members of the Security Council and the United Nations, in its capacity as the competent international body.

The continuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict has grave consequences for our region and the entire world. It demands genuine and constructive cooperation in the peace process and the encouragement of dialogue between the parties to the conflict, because that is the only means to ending this conflict.



Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation

[Original: Russian]
(Unofficial translation)

[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, Mahmoud Abbas]

Please accept my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

I am convinced that the national aspirations of the Palestinians, above all their right to create a sovereign, independent and territorially integral State that coexists with Israel in peace and security, will certainly be realized given the unity of the Palestinian people for the sake of establishing peace and prosperity in the region.

Russia, as a member of the Middle East Quartet of peace mediators and on a bilateral basis, will continue to actively promote a comprehensive and just Middle East settlement on the universally recognized international legal basis with due consideration for the rights and interests of all peoples living there. We will continue to lend assistance to the Palestinian National Authority in forming the State, reinforcing bodies of government and resolving social and economic problems.

Mr. Abbas, allow me to wish you good health, patience and determination and to extend my wishes of a peaceful future, happiness, well-being and prosperity in the native land to the friendly Palestinian people.


Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal

[Original: French]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People once again gives us the opportunity to renew our unfailing commitment to the just cause of the Palestinian people and its leaders in the legitimate search for a viable, free and independent State.

It is a self-evident truth that the Palestinian nation has the inalienable right to a dignified and peaceful existence among already established nations.

In support of this right are the universally recognized principles of freedom and equal dignity of peoples as well as the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, particularly Security Council resolutions.

It is here at the United Nations that peoples join their efforts to lay the foundations for a lasting peace among themselves.

Our Organization therefore has primary responsibility for keeping the question of Palestine among its top priorities until a final settlement is achieved.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, over which Senegal has had the honour of presiding since its establishment, was created precisely to ensure that the question remained a priority concern of the international community.

Beyond the ceremonial nature of this Day, 29 November serves as a reminder of the mission still to be accomplished by this Organization.

I wish to reiterate our support for the efforts made by the Quartet to help the parties to find, through dialogue and negotiation, a peaceful solution to this tragic conflict in the best interest of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and the entire subregion.

I solemnly appeal to the Israeli Government, the occupying Power, whose people have so often endured injustice and oppression, to contemplate seriously the day-to-day suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people and to put an immediate end to this dire situation.

History amply shows that neither illegitimate force nor a policy of fait accompli establishes law any more than they justify an illegal occupation.

Therefore, the settlement activity and construction of a separation wall, in defiance of the rules of international law and the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, cannot negate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to their land and resources.

These rights, it bears repeating, are intrinsic to the very existence of the Palestinian people.

In the light of the steadily deteriorating living conditions in the occupied territories, I again urgently call on donors and non-governmental organizations to continue to support the activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

In February 1947, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, then the Administering Power of Palestine at the United Nations, brought the item before the United Nations for the first time, hoping to take the opportunity to resolve the matter quickly.

Sixty years later the goal of a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine is yet to be attained.

Sixty years later there has been nothing but frustrated hopes, missed opportunities and vanished dreams!

However, human reason and the course of history invariably show that peoples at all times and in all places have a natural predisposition to live freely. That predisposition may be hindered but never extinguished.

Based on this historical truth we have reason to believe strongly in the advent in the near future of a free, independent and sovereign Palestinian State, living in peace with the State of Israel, both within secure and internationally recognized borders.

I would like to conclude this message of hope by wishing every success for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.


Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic
of Sri Lanka

[Original: English]

On the solemn occasion to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, on behalf of my Government and the people of Sri Lanka, I take this opportunity to reiterate our unequivocal and sincere support for the people and the Government of Palestine for their just struggle to achieve their inalienable rights, including the right to statehood.

Over the last four decades, the Palestinian people have been undergoing immense hardships and deprivation of their legitimate rights with no end in sight. We share the aspirations of many thousands of the Palestinian people living in occupied territories.

I have closely associated myself with the cause of the Palestinian people over the last 30 years. It is my sincere hope and belief that the continuing efforts by the international community, including the ongoing efforts by the Quartet and other individual member countries, will pave the way towards a permanent and negotiated settlement of the question of Palestine, leading to an independent and democratic State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital living side by side with Israel, in peace and security.



Omer Hassan Ahmed El Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan

[Original: Arabic]

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

As the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People commemorates the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like to express my thanks and appreciation for your great efforts to protect the rights and achievements of the Palestinian people and to increase awareness of the need to end the oppressive occupation of their land. I should also like to congratulate you on holding this important meeting.

Israel is continuing its construction of the separation wall, a provocative policy that defies the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. It is also continuing to build settlements, seize even more Palestinian lands and persist in its efforts to isolate and Judaize Jerusalem. This is in addition to the daily Israeli practices that exacerbate humanitarian conditions and worsen the economic and social situation of the Palestinian people. Such practices include the closure of border crossings; the continued erection of barriers; the policy of assassination; the ongoing military campaign; the persistent policy of imprisonment and detention; and lastly, the continuation of tunnelling under the wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, an activity that threatens the very existence of that site, which is holy to Muslims worldwide.
The policies of the occupation authorities and the practices of their armed forces will not weaken the steadfast Palestinian people. Furthermore, they clearly show that Israel has no desire for peace and render useless and futile the efforts of the international community and those interested in finding solutions to this problem. The result is hopelessness, increased tension and violence, which leaves the Palestinian people with no choice but to stay the course of legitimate resistance in order to regain their usurped rights.

On this Day of Solidarity, I should like to salute the efforts of the Palestinian leadership. The Government and the people of the Sudan emphasize their solidarity with and support for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and the establishment of an independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital. We call upon the community of nations and the Security Council to respond to the repeated calls for them to assume their responsibility to require Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with United Nations resolutions and to cease its unjust treatment of the Palestinian people.

The question of the Middle East will not be resolved, nor tension in the region defused, without a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine that is based on United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. Israel must also be compelled to withdraw from the Arab territories that it occupied in 1967 and the independent State of Palestine must be established, with Jerusalem as its capital. The Committee should continue to work with other parties in order to bring this about as soon as possible.


General Surayud Chulanont (Ret.), Prime Minister of Thailand

[Original: English]

Every year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People reminds the international community of the ongoing struggle of the Palestinian people for their freedom and inalienable rights. On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand, I wish to join the international community in reaffirming our solidarity with, and support for, the Palestinian people in their plight to strive for a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.

Thailand follows closely the situation in the occupied territories and connected areas with concern over the escalation of violence, the continued loss of innocent lives, the destruction of infrastructure and the loss of opportunities for peace and development of the peoples affected in these areas. In this connection, Thailand strongly denounces terrorism and the use of violence in all forms and manifestations. We believe that efforts and initiatives to encourage peace in the region should be pursued comprehensively through peaceful negotiations by all parties concerned. We also support the realization of a viable and independent Palestine that is based on the Quartet’s Road Map to Peace and all relevant resolutions of the United Nations, while taking into account the Arab Peace Initiative to ensure a peaceful and sustainable outcome.
On this solemn occasion, I wish, once again, to reaffirm Thailand’s support for the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, as well as to express the Thai people’s continued hope, in solidarity with the international community, for the restoration of enduring peace and stability for the peoples of Palestine and the Middle East region.


Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia

[Original: Arabic]

Tunisia joins the entire international community in observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. On this occasion, Tunisia reaffirms its firm and principled support for the just cause of its fellow Palestinian people, by whom it stands in their legitimate struggle for the restoration of their national rights, in particular the establishment of an independent State on their own territory.

Tunisia also takes this opportunity to appeal to the international community, in particular the concerned parties and the Quartet, to continue their efforts for the success of the peace process, in accordance with United Nations resolutions and the relevant Arab and international terms of reference with a view to achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the interest of all peoples in the region.

Keen that its fellow Palestinian people should have their full legitimate rights restored to them, Tunisia expresses its hope that all efforts will be stepped up in order to build on the drive for peace begun at Annapolis, thereby strengthening the components essential to peace and stability in the region.

In that context, Tunisia calls upon the United Nations, in particular the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to pursue its efforts to turn national Palestinian rights into a reality so that this fellow people may enjoy the same freedom and dignity as all other peoples of the world.

On this occasion, Tunisia also reaffirms its full solidarity with the Palestinian people and its unwavering support for their right to self-determination and the establishment of their own independent State on their national soil.



Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey

[Original: Turkish]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reaffirm our support for the just cause and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.
The retrieval by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights and the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are a prerequisite for the establishment of a longed-for atmosphere of peace, tranquility and stability in the Middle East.

We support the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People towards this aim.

Turkey has long supported the efforts towards a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Our country is of the view that the only viable way to a lasting peace is to keep the channels of dialogue between the parties open and to revitalize the peace process based on two States living side by side in peace and within secure and recognized borders as stipulated in the Road Map, the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

I believe that the upcoming international conference on the Middle East constitutes, in this vein, an important window of opportunity. This opportunity should not be missed if we don’t wish to create new disappointments and to let the expectations for peace be replaced by despair.

In the coming period, Turkey will maintain its material, moral and political support to help our Palestinian brothers to overcome the dire conditions and distress they currently face.

In the light of the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, while underlining, once again, our support for the just cause and the efforts of the Palestinians towards the establishment of their own State as well as our determination to continue our solidarity with the Palestinian people, I would like to reiterate my sincere wishes for the well-being and prosperity of the Palestinian people.



Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

[Original: Arabic]

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

I am pleased, on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, to express to you and to the members of the Committee our tremendous gratitude and appreciation for your continual efforts in regional and international forums to support the Palestinian cause and identify developments in that cause.

Our participation in today’s meeting on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People embodies the ongoing support of the international community for the just and honourable struggle of this fellow people to end the brutal occupation of their territory and acquire their freedom and independence, as well as their legitimate right to the exercise of self-determination and the establishment of their own independent State on their national soil, with Jerusalem as its capital.

Despite the 60 years since the adoption of United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 (II) concerning the partition of Palestine into two States, one Arab and one Israeli, and despite all political, diplomatic, bilateral, international and regional initiatives, agreements, efforts and activities of the past six decades aimed at settling the question of Palestine and establishing an independent Palestinian State existing side by side with Israel in peace and security, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to this day to occupy the State of Palestine, where it perpetrates the most heinous war crimes and pursues killing, detention, closures and the systematic starvation of its defenceless people in their besieged towns, villages and camps. It also continues its arbitrary detention of thousands of Palestinians, its systematic and comprehensive destruction of Palestinian national security and development institutions, its imposition of all kinds of collective punishment and its restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, added to which are its closure of the Gaza Strip and its tight embargo against it, including the disruption of food, electricity and power supplies to its inhabitants, in the most gross and flagrant violation of international humanitarian law seen by the human race over the ages.

Israel’s obstinacy and its insistence on systematically pursuing policies of racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, including its continuing confiscation of their property and many additional thousands of dunums of their land, and its construction of the separation wall deep within the West Bank, in contravention of United Nations resolutions and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, as well as its illegal and repeated violation of holy Islamic and Christian sites, both within and outside Jerusalem and the Haram al-Sharif, clearly reveal the true aggressive intentions of the Israeli Government aimed at displacing many thousands of Palestinians, expanding settlement and consolidating its occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories usurped by military force. Throughout the past two decades, this has caused all previous regional and international efforts for the success of the peace process in the region to disintegrate. Moreover, to this very day it continues to jeopardize the efforts currently under way, which recently culminated in the Annapolis peace conference in the United States of America.

The failure of the international community thus far to end all such flagrant Israeli violations of international law and of the Charter of the United Nations, United Nations resolutions and international humanitarian law, including the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, exacerbates the feeling of deprivation, despair, frustration and violence not only among the Palestinian people but also among the people of the region as a whole. We in the United Arab Emirates therefore call upon the international community, in particular the United Nations and the parties of the Quartet on the Middle East, to produce an appropriate and speedy mechanism for the protection of the Palestinian people and also bring the utmost political and economic pressure to bear on Israel for the immediate and urgent cessation of all of its aggressive and colonialist activities in the Palestinian and Arab territories which it occupies. We stress that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli dispute in the Middle East region will be achieved only through Israel’s genuine and serious fulfilment of all its legal, moral and political commitments towards that peace. In that context, its first action should be to cease its embargo and its hostile practices against Palestinians, followed by the removal of its settlements, an end to its occupation of Palestinian territories and respect for the unity and cohesion of those territories, including East Jerusalem. Lastly, it must resume negotiations for a final status settlement with the Palestinian National Authority, particularly in connection with a just settlement of the question of the return of Palestinian refugees, and with the status of Jerusalem and the demarcation of Palestinian-Israeli borders, on the basis of the principles of the firm solution prescribed by international legitimacy, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the methodology of the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the summit of the League of Arab States, held in Beirut in 2002, which called for the immediate Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since June 1967, including Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan.

The people and Government of the United Arab Emirates reiterate their full support for their fellow Palestinian people and their just struggle for the restoration of their freedom and full legitimate rights, in particular the right to self-determination, for a return to their homes and for the same independence as all peoples. We hope that the international political momentum demonstrated two days ago at the Annapolis peace conference will help to remove the impasse in the Middle East peace process and on all Arab-Israeli tracks, in accordance with the terms of reference embodied in United Nations resolutions, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative, with the aim of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace solution in the Middle East and establishing an independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital, that exists side by side with Israel in peace and security in the region.

In conclusion, we call upon the international community to boost its political, moral and financial support of the Palestinian people in order to alleviate their worsening humanitarian ordeal caused by the growing Israeli aggression against them. We also look forward to stronger support for the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to enable its fulfilment of the mandate conferred on it pursuant to the relevant General Assembly resolutions, particularly with regard to identifying aspects of developments in the cause of the Palestinian people, observing practices carried out in the occupation of their land, supporting their just struggle for full freedom and independence, and enabling them to build their national development institutions and live a decent life in the territory of their own independent homeland, in the same way as all peoples of the world.


Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

[Original: Vietnamese)
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to extend to you, and through you to the Palestinian people, our warmest congratulations and greetings of solidarity.

Viet Nam has consistently supported the Palestinian people’s just cause for their inalienable rights. Viet Nam is of the view that the issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict of which the Palestinian question is the nucleus can only be solved through peaceful negotiations aimed at a comprehensive and just solution on the basis of respecting the legitimate interests of all concerned parties, especially the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish a State of Palestine in their homeland. In this connection, Viet Nam welcomes the withdrawal of Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and hopes that this process would ultimately lead to the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Viet Nam supports all regional and international efforts aimed at promoting the Middle East peace process and calls upon the concerned parties to step up efforts and cooperation for an early revitalization of the peace Road Map, thus contributing to peace and stability in the region.

On this occasion, the Vietnamese Government and people reaffirm strong support for the just cause and the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. We firmly believe that the struggle of the Palestinian people with the support of the international community will achieve full victory.


B. Messages from Governments


Dominican Republic

[Original: Spanish]

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of General Assembly resolution 32/40B of 2 December 1977, which established the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. As always, this is an opportune time to reiterate our support for the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to live in a homeland without external interference where they have the sovereign freedom to determine their own fate.

The denial of the most basic rights of the more than 8 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, the occupied territories and the rest of the world reminds us that the plight of the Palestinian people remains unresolved. The commitment to find a solution was expressed in resolution 181 (II) of 1947, which provided for the creation of two States in Palestine, one Jewish and one Arab. This commitment has only been half fulfilled. We all have a duty to help pay this historical debt by encouraging dialogue and peaceful negotiation for a lasting solution, in accordance with international law.

The conference held in Annapolis, United States of America, to reconcile the sharply conflicting positions of peoples condemned to be neighbours provides a new ray of hope which, through dialogue and consultation, may lay the foundations for respect for human dignity, thereby enabling the Palestinian people to enjoy the same rights and privileges as free and sovereign peoples, including the right to their own State.

On this very special occasion for the Palestinian people, the Government of the Dominican Republic would like to express its confidence that, sooner rather than later, respect for the right of all the peoples of the region to live in peace, within secure and internationally recognized borders, will prevail. Crucially, this must include the recognition and exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily their right to self-determination.


Republic of Guyana

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government and people of Guyana reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle for the full exercise of their inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination and to a homeland of their own.

This year’s observance takes place against a background of renewed efforts to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question and achieve peace and stability in the Middle East. Guyana takes this opportunity to reaffirm its support for all efforts to secure a rapprochement between Palestine and Israel and to address the plight of the Palestinian people. We call upon all sides to eschew violence and to embrace the path of dialogue and negotiations with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable solution to the problem and to ensuring peace, security and prosperity for the Palestinian and Israeli people and for the peoples of the entire region, in keeping with relevant United Nations resolutions.

As a member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Guyana remains fully committed to the just cause of the Palestinian people and will continue to offer its support for all efforts towards a definitive solution to this issue.

Republic of South Africa

[Original: English]

On behalf of the people of South Africa, the Government of South Africa extends warm greetings to all Palestinians and to the Palestinian leadership on this occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Sixty years on, we gather to reflect particularly on United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (III), stipulating the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and 29 November 1947 - the Partition Plan - which set in motion a tragic chain of events that led to the dispossession of all but 22 per cent of land remaining in the hands of the indigenous Palestinian people, by the armistice of 1949 the reign of terror led to the flight of 60 per cent of Palestinian refugees, termed Al-Naqba - the Catastrophe. Today, Palestinians have become less secure and less free in their own cities and villages, and the hopes of the refugees remain dreams.

This evening we not only have to reflect on the fact that 70 per cent of the people of Palestine today live below the poverty line, under a cruel military occupation, but the fact that this year has seen indescribable suffering and humiliation resulting from a hitherto unprecedented escalation in violence against the civilian population of Palestine. South Africa has consistently condemned Israel’s disproportionate and excessive use of force against Palestinians, its destruction of Palestinian National Authority (PNA) institutions, its violations of the Oslo Peace Accord by invading Palestinian National Authority-controlled areas, its policy of extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinian leaders and activists, its usurping of Palestinian revenue owed to the PNA, its shameful policy of collective punishment of Palestinians through the siege and blockade of Palestinian towns and villages, its human rights repression of Palestinian inalienable rights, and Israeli settlement policy.

As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, it gives birth to a dangerous agenda which would prefer to see the Middle East region entirely volatile. Threats to peace in the region are threats to world peace. The South African Government calls upon all Palestinian leaders to work tirelessly to unite the Palestinian people, because a divided Palestine only serves the interests of those forces which do not wish to see a peaceful and prosperous Palestine, at peace with its neighbours inside internationally accepted borders.

South Africa has consistently stated that it is in the common interest of humanity for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and the Arab states. In this regard, South Africa has called upon all parties to the conflict to demonstrate responsibility in avoiding actions that could add to an already volatile situation. We are of the view that Israel should not wait for the outcome of negotiations regarding the peace process to deal with issues such as settlements, collective punishment, extrajudicial assassinations and other such human rights violations, but should rather address these as soon as possible. We are proud that the South African Government has played a proactive role to bring about a comprehensive, just and permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is our Government’s view that by sharing the South African experience in negotiations, peacemaking and transition to democracy and by supporting the strengthening of the peace camps in Palestine and Israel, as well as helping the general dynamic towards peace, we can present a supportive role to the process. It is also our hope that we may bring the South African experience in reconciliation to all protagonists in the peace process.

The Government’s clear position of support for the establishment of a viable Palestinian State is based on its firm belief that only a realistic two-State solution can bring lasting peace to the Middle East. South Africa’s support for the two-State solution, as opposed to a unitary State, does not ignore the serious implications of the construction of the separation wall, illegal Israeli settlements and so-called facts on the ground. The presence of the settlements in the West Bank, with their accompanying military infrastructure, system of by-pass roads, restrictions on and isolation of Palestinian population centres, and depletion of the natural resources, strongly argue against a viable Palestinian State and therefore a viable two-State solution. In this vein, it is hoped that, by commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, this act will focus world attention on promoting support for international peace efforts. The aim is to stop the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, salvage the political process and realize the vision of peace for both Israelis and Palestinians, based on the creation of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State, based on the pre-June 1967 borders, living side by side in peace with Israel, within secure borders. We remain convinced that negotiations are the only means to end the conflict and bring peace and security to both Palestine and Israel, as well as to the entire region.

The South African Government believes that we have the right to expect the United Nations and the Quartet to act in bringing full influence to bear on both Israelis and Palestinians, but very specifically and most emphatically on Israel, to cease all acts that will further erode any progress towards the implementation of the Road Map. In the conflict between the greater and weaker power, South African President Thabo Mbeki, writing in February 2007, has made it clear where the key for peaceful resolution lies:

“The challenge … faces the Government of Israel to respond positively to the Mecca Agreement, among others by releasing all funds due to the Palestinian Authority and adopting a positive posture with regard to the tasks to reduce the misery afflicting the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and create a climate conducive to the peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The balance of power in this regard decisively favours Israel. To end the destructive conflict that has gone on for far too long, will require the wisdom and courage of the more powerful.

“The positive results that both the Israeli and Palestinian people pray for will not come of their own accord. They will come about as a result of conscious and deliberate actions which must be taken in the first instance by the more powerful. Each positive step towards a just peace will create the conditions for the next positive step towards a just peace, until the process towards a just and permanent peace develops and organic logic and momentum that convinces all antagonists that to resort to violence is to turn the guns against the irreversible prospect of peace and security for all.”

An issue of continued concern remains Israel’s construction of the “apartheid wall”. Condemned by the international community, the Israeli Government has regrettably pursued the construction of the separation wall that cuts through the West Bank territory, confiscating large chunks of Palestinian farm land, residences and commercial property for this purpose. Israel’s continued construction of the apartheid wall, despite overwhelming international opposition, is unacceptable. It also runs contrary to the will of the international community. It is not in the long term security interests of Israel that such a barrier should be in place.

The South African Government believes that the only way to bring about peace in the Middle East is to have a comprehensive and unconditional negotiated settlement to end the occupation of the Palestinian and Syrian Golan Heights. This will contribute towards peace and security throughout the Middle East region.

We are cautiously observing the efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians together at Annapolis in the United States. These efforts hopefully demonstrate a commitment of the parties to the conflict and the international community to find a genuine resolution. These efforts, however, must be seriously and genuinely engaged in, with concrete and meaningful steps forward; otherwise we are afraid we will see a repetition of a failed process and the Palestinian suffering growing worse. We also take note of the words of Prime Minister Olmert during the Annapolis Conference when he said that “I am convinced that the reality that emerged in our region in 1967 will change significantly”. South Africa trusts that this changing reality that the Prime Minister is referring to will reflect the wishes of the international community as expressed in the United Nations resolutions referred to at the beginning of this message.


In the end there must and will be peace between Israel and Palestine. There must and will be peace between Israel and the Arab world. The violent days that have seen the deaths of so many Palestinians and Israelis must end and end soon.

It will then be possible for everybody, both friend and foe, to say that Yasser Arafat was correct to speak about the peace of the brave. It should be possible even now, as we commemorate once again, the life of this fighter for freedom, that the leaders and people of Israel and Palestine should honour the memories of both Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin and other numerous martyrs by acting in practical ways to achieve the peace of the brave.

To arrive at this outcome, Palestinians, Israelis and all of us in the world require the peace of the brave that Yasser Arafat spoke about.

On this day, we should remind ourselves of the statement made by then President Mandela in honour of Chairman Yasser Arafat’s visit to South Africa in 1998: “Now that we have achieved our freedom, we have not forgotten our friends and allies who helped us liberate ourselves. As former beneficiaries of selfless international support, South Africans have a duty to lend a supportive hand to others seeking justice and equality… It is in that spirit that South Africa has fervently supported the Middle East peace process. South Africa is proud to be part of … affirming the right of Palestine to self-determination and statehood. We are committed to playing our humble part … to help ensure that Palestine assumes its rightful position in the global arena.”



C. Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs


Sergei Martynov, Minister for Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Belarus
[Original: English]

I have the honour to extend my most sincere assurances of friendship and support on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Belarus remains a convinced advocate of peaceful and just solution of the Middle East conflict and comprehensive exercise of the rights of the Palestinians.

As a long-standing member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Republic of Belarus will further exert efforts aimed at peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian issue within the framework of the United Nations.

Fernando Araujo Perdomo, Minster for Foreign Affairs of Colombia

[Original: Spanish]

In accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977 on the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and by virtue of the excellent ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between our peoples and Governments, allow me to reiterate to you, on behalf of the President of the Republic of Colombia, Mr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, the Republic of Colombia’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and their distinguished leaders.

We also wish to take this opportunity to reaffirm Colombia’s commitment to finding a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, one that will allow all States and peoples in the region to live in peace within safe and internationally recognized borders and enable the Palestinian people to exercise their rights and achieve economic and social well-being.


Masahiko Koumura, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

[Original: Japanese]
(Unofficial translation)

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to express my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Although the situation in the Palestinian territories remains difficult, a chance to promote the peace process has ever become feasible in the light of the commencement of positive direct dialogue between the two leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian sides. I am convinced that the “two-State solution” is the only option for realizing peace and prosperity in the region, and that the international community, without missing this opportunity, must redouble its efforts to realize the creation of a viable Palestinian State which coexists and co-prospers with Israel.

Based upon this view, Japan will make further active and constructive efforts to contribute to the Middle East peace process. Last June, for example, my Government, co-chairing with the United Nations, held an International Media Seminar in Tokyo on peace in the Middle East. Japan, as a major donor country over many years, will continue to extend assistance to the Palestinian people. In specific terms, Japan is steadily implementing the assistance amounting to 20 million US dollars in total announced last August, in the forms of direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, including those in the Gaza Strip. With regard to the concept of the “Corridor for peace and prosperity”, which is a mid- and long-term effort for economic development in the Jordan River Rift Valley through regional cooperation, Japan is firmly determined to promote this initiative through close cooperation among the four parties consisting of Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Japan.

Finally, Japan will actively engage in the international efforts to reduce tension, restore and maintain stability, and create a spirit of cooperation in the region, in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.


Marcel Ranjeva, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar

[Original: French]

One of the major challenges facing the international community is the establishment of peace in the Middle East. The question of Palestine represents a tragedy in modern-day history, despite the considerable ongoing efforts of the international community over the past decades to join forces and give it the necessary attention.

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People Madagascar would like to express its sympathy and sincere encouragement to the Palestinian leadership and people.

Beyond its ceremonial nature, the occasion is symbolic and at the same time conveys the strong and genuine will of peoples and nations throughout the world to show their commitment to the exercise of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
The situation in the Middle East in general and in Palestine in particular is well known to all. Far from creating an atmosphere of calm, the cycle of violence on both sides and almost daily destruction sadly threaten to widen the gulf of misunderstanding, sow hatred and thus bring about a situation with even more ominous prospects for the people of the region.

There is an urgent need to end the escalation of violence. Through strong regional and international political will, the peace process should effectively help to bring all the concerned parties closer together. The Road Map launched by the Quartet and endorsed by the Security Council remains the ideal framework for achieving a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a view to the establishment of two States living side by side in peace and security within secure borders recognized by all.

All the peace initiatives for a settlement of the question of Palestine must be taken into consideration, as must the indispensable role as partners of regional and subregional organizations.

Every region of the world has an interest in the maintenance of international peace and security. The efforts made by His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to strengthen the capacity of regional organizations seem promising to us.

We must ultimately together find the best means of meeting international challenges more effectively.

The international community has noted fresh hope this past year engendered by United States President George Bush’s call for an international meeting on the peace process in the Middle East at the end of November, with the question of Palestine at the top of the agenda.

Madagascar greatly hopes that tangible results can be achieved at this meeting and that genuine, sincere and comprehensive dialogue on the peace initiatives agreed by the parties and endorsed by the international community will advance negotiations towards peace.

Now more than ever before, the international community must support and sustain negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

Any failure regarding the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only have negative consequences for the peoples of the world by further weakening the maintenance of international peace and security.

At a time when the international community has fully joined forces around this difficult and painful question, the opportunities for peace are real and must be seized by everyone so that dialogue among cultures and civilizations may at last be meaningful.


Walid al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic

[Original: Arabic]

It is with pleasure on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People that we express our great appreciation to you and to your Committee for your role in organizing this important annual international meeting to remind the international community of the tragedy of a captive people who, for over 50 years, have suffered injustice, violence and constant intimidation, as well as killing and systematic destruction, at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities.

We also highly appreciate your sincere efforts for solidarity with the Palestinian people in support of their struggle for the restoration of their legitimate national rights, including the right to self-determination on their national soil and the right of return, in accordance with United Nations resolutions, which represent international legitimacy.

Your meeting this year is taking place as the whole world witnesses the destruction, killing and displacement, unprecedented in modern history, which the Palestinian people are suffering as a result of Israeli State terrorism. Israel continues, for instance, to desecrate places of worship and safe houses, and persists in confiscating and razing land, in killing hundreds of Palestinians, including women, children and the elderly, and in destroying infrastructure. The latest in this brutal Israeli campaign has targeted the entire infrastructure of the Gaza Strip, which is under a suffocating embargo owing to the closure of crossings. Gaza has thus been turned into the world’s biggest prison, its inhabitants are denied access to the basic requirements for a decent life and they are also deprived of other commodities, including construction materials and industrial goods. Some 75 per cent of Gaza’s factories have been closed as result of the unjust Israeli embargo and United Nations construction projects have been halted. The Israeli occupying Power continues to pursue its policy of the collective punishment of an entire people by cutting off electricity, threatening to disrupt supplies and also relentlessly detaining, liquidating and assassinating democratically elected figures of symbolic importance to the Palestinian people.

Israel’s dismal attempts to distort the facts have also extended beyond the moral and ethical aspects to include the legal. The claims by Israel and its supporters to the right of self-defence are but a clear illustration of that distortion, as is the pretext of combating terrorism. It is Israel that has been occupying territories since 1967 and it is Israel that is continuing to build settlements, construct the apartheid wall and encroach upon the land of others as a dedicated policy, in breach of United Nations resolutions. As a result of that policy, the West Bank and Gaza Strip are entirely lacking in even the most basic daily needs for decent living. The resolve of the Israeli Government to opt for aggression and escalation over peace, including its recent attack of 6 September 2007 on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, demonstrates the reality of its policies, which are concealed behind spurious claims of its desire for peace in the region, while it carries out war crimes and crimes against humanity that indicate its wanton disregard of its minimum commitments under the Charter of the United Nations and relevant Security Council resolutions.

As ever, Syria continues to believe that the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace can be achieved through Israel’s implementation of the relevant United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and also 497 (1981) relating to the Syrian Golan, and through revival of the peace process begun in Madrid in 1991 and of the Arab Peace Initiative adopted at the Beirut summit in 2002 and reaffirmed by subsequent Arab summits, most recently the Riyadh summit of 2007. The spiral of violence and bloodshed threatening not only the security and stability of the region but also international peace and security could then be brought to an end.

Allow us once more to address the international community from this forum of yours and call upon it to assume its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people, as well as towards all peace-loving peoples of the world, and strive earnestly to halt the machine of Israeli repression, destruction and intimidation, which pays no mind to international legitimacy, or to humanitarian and moral values, and which also violates all international instruments and customary laws.

We very much appreciate the efforts of your Committee and we urge you to continue your support of the Palestinian people in their struggle with a view to the liberation of their territory and the restoration of their full rights, including the right of return.



D. Messages from intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation
to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly
and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters


European Union

[Original: English]

The candidate countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,* the countries of the stabilization and association process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the European Union (EU) would like to reiterate its firm commitment to the two-State solution, as laid out in the Road Map and agreed between the parties, resulting in an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.

The European Union welcomes the present opportunity for progress on a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which should be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), the principle of land for peace and previous agreements reached between the parties.

In this context, the European Union stresses the crucial importance of the Annapolis Conference and the renewed commitment to a two-State solution. We commend the efforts of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and congratulate them for the decision to take the historic step of immediately launching final status negotiations on all core issues, as specified in previous agreements. The European Union also welcomes the pledge made by the parties of reaching an agreement before the end of 2008.

The Annapolis Conference represented a turning point for regional and international partners to effectively support a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

In order to consolidate the progress achieved so far and to fulfil the potential of the current process, it will be of the utmost importance that the parties take additional steps to meet previous commitments, including those under the Road Map and the Agreement on Movement and Access and that they desist from any actions that threaten the viability of a just and lasting settlement, in conformity with international law.

The European Union reiterates its full commitment, in agreement with our partners in the Quartet, to continue to support the parties in their efforts towards peace and a two-State solution, including support for developing the Palestinian security sector through the EU Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories. The European Union is also committed to strengthening its ongoing activities in support of the economic and financial development of the future Palestinian State through the continuation of assistance. In this regard, we emphasize the importance of the Paris Donor’s Conference, which represents an essential complement for the political process launched in Annapolis.


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* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the stabilization and association process.



Organization of the Islamic Conference: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General

[Original: French]
(Unofficial translation)

The 29th of November every year has become an occasion for reaffirming the solidarity of the international community with the Palestinian people. This is in pursuance of the United Nations General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 1977, and an expression of its commitment to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people to regain their inalienable rights.

I am therefore pleased on this occasion to express the heartfelt appreciation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and its member States for the role being played by the United Nations, its agencies and committees in promoting the Palestinian question and for the continuous support and backing for the Palestinian people in their just struggle to regain their inalienable national rights. I would like to mention in particular the efforts of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Your Excellency’s outstanding efforts in this regard.

This year’s solidarity day with the Palestinian people coincides with a period when Israel’s aggression and violation of international law in various parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory is on the increase. In Jerusalem, for instance, Israel has gone ahead to demolish the Maghariba Gate passage connecting the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It has also made several excavations which threaten the Mosque’s foundations and has confiscated large nets of Palestinian land in order to expand the illegal settlements which were built in gross violation of international law. The city of Jerusalem continues to be cordoned off through the racial segregation wall and military barriers that prevent Palestinians and worshippers from gaining access to the City and their places of worship.

In addition to all these, Israel continues its incursions into many parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which it continues to besiege and on whose crossings it exercises control, thereby preventing movement of Palestinians into and out of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli harsh measures including obstructing the entry of vital goods such as food, fuel, building materials and humanitarian relief, all of which have increased poverty and worsened the humanitarian situation to unprecedented levels.

There have been renewed hopes of the peace process being resumed following the call for a peace meeting in Annapolis. In this regard, the Organization of the Islamic Conference firmly believes that the peace meeting can be a historic opportunity to open a new chapter in the Middle East, provided it is founded on international legitimacy, resolutions of the Security Council, and the Arab Peace Initiative. This conference should ensure an end to Israeli aggression and occupation and should lead to the creation of an. independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The success of the peace process, which will be hopefully launched, depends on the provision of an implementation time table, mandatory monitoring, as well as international supervisory mechanisms for implementing the agreements.

Experiences have demonstrated that peace efforts in the region have always been obstructed by Israel’s intransigence and lack of commitment to the terms of reference of the peace process. Those terms are the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative which are the foundation that guarantees the success of the peace process. The international community must therefore put pressure on Israel to implement its obligations under the Road Map and the agreements signed with the Palestinian side. This requires that Israel stops its aggression and lifts the restrictions it has imposed on the Palestinian people. It must announce unequivocally its acceptance of the terms of reference of the peace process and resolutions of international legitimacy, specifically, Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and the land-for-peace formula. It also requires that Israel should immediately stop the building of the racial wall and all colonial settlement projects and plans, stop all measures at variance with resolutions of international legitimacy in the occupied city of Jerusalem, including excavations, demolition of homes and attempts to Judaize, and abide by the provisions of the Road Map to open Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem. It must be recalled that the issue of Palestinian refugees is at the core of the conflict. There is therefore no alternative to a just solution of the problem of refugees on the basis of resolutions of international legitimacy, including resolution 194 (III). The peace efforts must also lead to enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to establish a fully sovereign independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital.

The international community is invited on this occasion to reaffirm and renew its solidarity with the Palestinian people and to intensify efforts to stop Israeli aggression and to restore the peace process to the rules and principles on the basis of which it was launched.


In conclusion, I wish to assure the Palestinian people of the solidarity of the Islamic Ummah with them to enable them stop aggression and regain their inalienable national rights, including their right to return, to freedom, to self-determination and to establish their independent State on their national soil, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.




E. Message from civil society organizations


The Anglican Church of Southern Africa:
Message from Thabo Makgoba, Bishop of Grahamstown
and Archbishop-elect of Cape Town

[Original: English]

The struggle for a peaceful and just settlement between the peoples of Israel and Palestine is long and bitter, but we do not believe intractable. After years of violence and mistrust, a way forward has proven a fragile hope. In all struggles for peace with justice in the face of oppression of peoples and violence against each other, there are several basic elements which cannot be missing from the process.

There are the requirements for all parties to respect the sanctity of life, the innate dignity of each person, and the need for justice and peace and the freedom which our God assures us is meant for all. It would be our hope and vision that Israel and Palestine might be a true home for the three Abrahamic faiths and the peoples who embrace these three religious traditions. Perhaps it is this shared rootedness of the Abrahamic faiths that can be the foundation for the building of bridges of dialogue which will lead to new relationships supported by shared hopes and dreams for Israeli and Palestinian communities and those who live in them and for those who will come after them.

As South Africans we know all too well that dialogue is not an option but a key element in any way forward leading out of conflict and into a place of mutual respect and reconciliation. Among all people, there is, I believe, a natural longing for an end to violence and aggression and the desire for true peace with justice. It is my hope and prayer that peoples and Governments around the world will walk with and support efforts to effect a true and lasting peace with justice between Israel and Palestine, which would be a beacon of hope for all peoples everywhere.

International Coordinating Committee on Palestine

[Original: English]
On 29 November 1947, the United Nations recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab State despite the fact that the United Nations itself had found that such a step “may well run counter” to the principle of self-determination.1 The United Nations Partition Plan (United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 (II)) was never fully implemented. However, it set the stage for the 1948 war in which Israel was unilaterally established as a Jewish State by ethnically cleansing over three quarters of the Palestinian people, confiscating their lands and barring them from return; this war is remembered by Palestinians as the nakba (catastrophe). Since then, Israeli policies and practices remain in violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

In 1974 the United Nations affirmed General Assembly resolution 3236 (XXIX) that Palestinians as a nation hold a set of inalienable rights: the right to self-determination without external interference; the right to national independence and sovereignty; and the right of Palestinians to return to the homes and properties from which they have been displaced and uprooted. In 1977, the United Nations declared 29 November as the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Today, the State of Israel claims legitimacy based on the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan although it continues to violate international law and has failed to respect key United Nations requirements regarding borders, return of refugees, and protection of minority rights. Israel’s military expulsions destroyed Palestine’s pre-1948 Arab society.

Today Israel continues to deny refugees’ right to return, and to discriminate against its Palestinian citizens. Israel effectively controls the entirety of historic Palestine. Forty years into Israel’s military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and almost 60 years into the Palestinian nakba of 1948, we reaffirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. We reiterate Palestinian and global civil society’s 2005 calls to pressure Israel’s apartheid regime through a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions until these rights are achieved.

We commit ourselves, to make 2008 a year of raising awareness of the Palestinian nakba and support of Palestinian refugees’ right of return. We will join Palestinian communities inside Israel, in exile and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in mobilizing for a year of educational and campaigning work beginning on 29 November 2007. On 15 May 2008 will be a day of global mobilization to commemorate the nakba, and the continuing dispossession and denial of Palestinian rights.


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Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America

[Original: Spanish]
Sixty years ago, on 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 181 (II), which adopted the decision of creating two States on Palestinian soil: one Arab and the other Jewish. However, the Palestinian people has been deprived of the right to attain independence and self-determination due to seizure, violence, forced banishment, ethnic leaning, massacres and permanent aggressions of which it has been a victim of the Zionist neighbor.

For decades, the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly have passed numerous resolutions that acknowledge the rights of the Palestinian people to the creation of an independent State with its capital in East Jerusalem, and the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homeland. All of them have been systematically violated by the terrorist State of Israel under the protection and impunity granted it by its character of unconditional ally of the United States.

In 1977, the United Nations themselves declared 29 November as Day of World Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a decision that grants universal acknowledgement to the legitimacy of the struggle of that brotherly people.

On this special day, in which the most noble feelings of solidarity of all human beings who love justice in the planet grow and focus on the beloved Palestine, our tri-continental organization offers, as the most modest but heartfelt tribute to the heroic resistance of its people, this Special Informational Bulletin that contains a compilation of the main initiatives and actions in solidarity undertaken by the Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America during 2007.

World Federation of Trade Unions

[Original: English]
Workers around the world watch with intense interest and concern the developments in Palestine and all of the Middle East. They feel rage for the thousands of dead Palestinians, for the destroyed ground and economy. They know that these developments are related with the new order of things and the imperialists’ plans that concern not only the Middle East but also the other regions of our planet.

We know that the attacks of Government of Israel against the Palestinians are supported by the Government of the United States and NATO with the tolerance of the European Union in the framework of Middle East political subjugation. Capital has the need for always bigger profitability and new markets.

Palestine is found in complete exclusion from land, air and sea. The exacerbation of the situation makes these developments deeply worrying.

The Palestinian problem can be approached only through the unconditional enforcement of decisions of the United Nations and the foundation of an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

For this precise reason, we consider that it is essential that people be mobilized at the European and world level. The solution is found exclusively in the hands of the people.

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) in its 60-year course stands next to the Palestinian people and has always supported their demands with sincerity and action.

The WFTU Presidential Council, in the current meeting in Geneva, expressed once more its solidarity with Palestine’s working class.

We support the Palestinian people’s struggle for an independent State that would ensure prosperity to its residents.

The Palestinian people’s struggle teaches pride, militancy and consequence to all peoples of the world.

WFTU will continue its efforts in order that solidarity around the world is expressed with the Palestinian people. It will take initiatives of support.

The working class and their unions are more than ever necessary to express international solidarity and to show, in fact, the common enemy, so that workers and unions support each other.

We understand that the policy of Israel that is turned against Palestinians constitutes more general danger for the region and creates problems for the peace in the south-eastern Mediterranean.

WFTU remains constantly on the side of the Arab people and will continue fighting for peace and progress in the Middle East.



World Young Women’s Christian Association
(Statement by Juliette Sayedegh at the special meeting in Geneva)

[Original: English]

I speak on behalf of the non-governmental organizations accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

We have come here once again to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It was on this day in 1947 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II) that partitioned Palestine.

Thirty years later, in 1977, the General Assembly declared 29 November to be observed as the day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, and in 1998 the United Nations confirmed its responsibility with respect to the question of Palestine until it was resolved in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy.

We ask today: how is the United Nations carrying out this responsibility? Sixty years have passed since the adoption of resolution 181 (II). The question of Palestine is no nearer a satisfactory resolution. On the contrary, the situation of the Palestinian people is worse than ever as is evidenced by official United Nations reports. Yet, no action by the United Nations that would change the situation is forthcoming.

In May of this year, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, submitted his end of mission report as United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority and Envoy to the Quartet. We urge the United Nations and its Member States to seriously consider his observations and reflections and act upon his recommendations.

Another attempt is being made to deal with the question of Palestine but not by and within the United Nations but with the United Nations in the margin. Past experience has shown that after every such event, the situation worsens for the Palestinians. We are therefore very apprehensive about the conference to be held in Annapolis before the end of this year. We are concerned because there is no evidence of changes in the policies of the occupying Power and their supporters that would create the conditions for a satisfactory outcome “in accordance with international legitimacy.”

We approach the sixtieth anniversary of the nakba and the forceful removal of around a million of Palestinians from their land. Today, after 40 years of occupation by Israel of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, 70 per cent of the Palestinian people are forcefully displaced from their land. About 6.8 million Palestinians are refugees and about half a million are internally displaced. The majority of them have been displaced two or three times, their homes demolished, and their land confiscated for Israeli expansion of their colonies and the building of the separation wall: the displacement is continuing with the aim of making the Palestinians leave.

Economic and social conditions are catastrophic. Thousands of families have no source of income. The assessment of the ILO Director General’s annual high-level mission (April 2007) confirmed a dramatic worsening of the workers’ plight: 7 of 10 households, comprising some 2.4 million people, are living below the poverty line and according to more recent data, this figure has risen to 88 per cent in Gaza. The unemployment rate is now escalating and about 67 per cent of the unemployed are young people with important gender disparities at 15.2 per cent among the lowest in the world.

The nutritional and health situation is deplorable. There is no stable supply of food. Primary health-care facilities lack pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and much of the equipment is no longer functional. The Israelis have allowed some patients in dire need to leave Gaza, but this just reveals how unprepared and undersupplied the hospitals are.

Very few goods are coming in, further damaging the Gaza economy. Any shipment of goods to Gaza is vetted by Israel for crossing. As a result, very few goods are allowed to enter. That also applies to supplies for construction and contractors have been forced to cut work by half. Gaza has lost almost 70 per cent of its electricity and experiences power outages throughout the day.

Until this change, the situation in Gaza and other areas will continue to worsen due to the decline in both public and private investment and the economy’s productive capacity, which is endangering the prospects for any growth. The intensification of multiple restrictions on the mobility of persons, goods and services are leading to the near total breakdown of public institutions that severely undermines national capacity, decision-making and internal reforms.

The continued violence in Gaza affects all Palestinians, women and girls in particular. Due to the loss of life, the number of female-headed households is increasing where women are striving to make a decent living for their children, where girls play a major role in helping their mothers, where the economy is deteriorating, food is scarce and going to school is becoming dangerous for children. It is hard for children to go to school, particularly girls. Indeed, the first group of the population suffering from this situation in Gaza is women and children in their daily ordinary life.

It is urgent to reopen the Gaza border and ensure the security of children going to school and the crossing of goods and materials in and out.


It is urgent for the United Nations to take firm action to bring about an end to the occupation of Palestine and fair and just solution of the conflict in accordance with the resolutions it has adopted over the years, including Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). We call for women’s participation in the search for lasting solutions for peace with justice.


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