Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
The meeting was called to order at 10.25 a.m.
Agenda item 73 (continued)
(d) Assistance to the Palestinian people
Draft resolution (A/60/L.36)
The President : Members will recall that the Assembly already held the debate on agenda item 73 and its sub-items (a), (c) and (d) at its 51st and 52nd plenary meetings on 14 November 2005, and adopted three resolutions under the item at its 52nd plenary meeting.
Mr. Thomson (United Kingdom): It is my pleasure, on behalf of the European Union (EU), to introduce draft resolutions A/60/L.36, which is entitled “Assistance to the Palestinian People”, and A/60/L.37, entitled “Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel”.
With regard to draft resolution A/60/L.36, the European Union reiterates its commitment to the provision of assistance to the Palestinian people. Sustained donor support from the international community, working with the parties, is crucial if we are to see an improvement to the Palestinian economic and social infrastructure and to address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.
For its part, the European Union has undertaken to provide the “third party” role described in the recent Agreement on Movement and Access issues reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The European Union will monitor the operations of the Rafah border crossing point and provide assistance to reinforce Palestinian border management capacities. Capacity-building, through training, equipment and technical assistance For its part, the European Union has undertaken to provide the “third party” role described in the recent Agreement on Movement and Access issues reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The European Union will monitor the operations of the Rafah border crossing point and provide assistance to reinforce Palestinian border management capacities. Capacity-building, through training, equipment and technical assistance, is being taken forward through the European Community’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
The European Union, alongside other Quartet members and international partners, is ready to assist the Palestinian Authority financially, technically and politically with their forthcoming multiparty elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council. We are prepared to send an observer mission to ensure that the elections are carried out in line with international principles for genuine democratic elections.
The European Union will also continue to provide technical and economic aid to the Palestinian people and contribute to the strengthening of Palestinian institutions, with the aim of seeing a peaceful and democratic State governed by the rule of law.
The European Union will continue to work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community to achieve the shared vision of a two-State solution set out in the road map. Both parties can count on the sustained support of the European Union in the ongoing effort to find a peaceful, durable and just settlement of the conflict.
One country, in addition to the sponsors on the tabled draft resolution, has requested to be included as an additional sponsor of draft resolution A/60/L.36 on “Assistance to the Palestinian People”, and that country is Zambia.
The President: The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolutions A/60/L.36, L.37, L.38, as orally corrected, and L.39, as orally corrected.
The President: We now turn to draft resolution A/60/L.36, entitled “Assistance to the Palestinian people”.
I call on the representative of the United Kingdom.
Ms. Brazier (United Kingdom): The United Kingdom would like to propose a revision to the fourth preambular paragraph of draft resolution A/60/L.36. The new paragraph would read as follows:
“Gravely concerned at the deterioration in the living conditions of the Palestinian people, in particular children, throughout the occupied territory, which constitutes a mounting humanitarian crisis”.
The revision was agreed in informal consultations and has not been reflected in the text submitted.
The President : Cape Verde has become an additional sponsor of draft resolution A/60/L.36.
May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to adopt draft resolution A/60/L.36, as orally revised?
Draft resolution A/60/L.36, as orally revised, was adopted (resolution 60/126).
The President : Before giving the floor to representatives who wish to speak in explanation of position on the draft resolution just adopted, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.
I call on the representative of Israel.
Mr. Cohen (Israel): Israel has maintained longstanding support for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, and we are pleased to join the consensus on this resolution. We worked closely with the European Union, the United States and the Palestinians in order to be able to support this resolution and we are very happy that these issues can be affirmed in this context.
I would like to emphasize that the drafting of this resolution was an example of a process that has fostered mutual respect and compromise. Unlike so many resolutions that target Israel in a biased, unbalanced manner, this resolution demonstrates that finding the middle ground is beneficial to our mutual endeavours, and we hope that such a mechanism will be replicated in future resolutions that address the Middle East.
We believe that alleviating human suffering and enhancing the security, welfare and prosperity of all peoples in the Middle East are crucial components of successful peace initiatives, and the Israeli Government sets those goals as vital objectives. We have taken a number of steps to improve the humanitarian welfare of our Palestinian neighbours, such as working to the greatest extent possible in an environment marred by terrorism, to transport food, medicine, humanitarian assistance and other necessities to Palestinian areas.
Israeli and Palestinian civilians have endured great difficulty and pain as a result of ongoing terrorist activity during the past five years. We believe that this dangerous phenomenon continues to serve as the largest obstacle to improving the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people. The fact that terrorist organizations freely operate within the Palestinian Authority serves as a direct threat to Israeli and Palestinian civilians and the facilitation of humanitarian assistance.
Moreover, humanitarian efforts are all too often exploited by terrorist organizations. Several weeks ago, an important agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority regarding the border crossings was agreed upon. Currently, arrangements are being made to enable passage from Gaza to the West Bank. Unfortunately, Israel is receiving reports that known terrorists are freely crossing the Rafah border from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. The underlying cause of the violence in the region and the root of the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people remains that unfortunate, yet preventable type of violence.
Having said all that, and despite the horrific terror act in Netanya a few days ago, it should be emphasized that, as of 12 December 2005, 23,000 Palestinian employees — 7,000 from the Gaza Strip and 16,000 from the West Bank — are approved to work in Israel in different sectors. In addition, 14,200 Palestinians who are international organization employees are crossing into Israel every day — 12,500 from the West Bank and 1,700 from the Gaza Strip.
Israel believes that humanitarian assistance must be provided without selectivity or politicization. Israel’s decision to join consensus on this resolution should reflect that non-political good will. It should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of certain items within the text that contradict both the language expressed in the agreements of the parties and the underlying spirit of those agreements. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that civilians on both sides in the conflict endure pain. No one party has a monopoly on suffering, and we must ensure that both peoples live without violence or fear.
The well-being of Palestinian and Israeli civilians alike will come about only through the mutual fulfilment of the obligations set out in the road map. The first phase of the road map requires the Palestinian Authority to put a stop to terrorism. Israel realizes that dismantling the terrorist infrastructure represents a difficult course of action. However, in order to advance towards peace, it is a necessary course of action. Israel remains hopeful that, with responsible leadership and effective institutions, the dismantling of terrorist organizations and a commitment to peaceful coexistence, Israelis and Palestinians can work together to improve the humanitarian conditions of both our peoples.
The President: ...
I give the floor to the observer of Palestine.
Ms. Rasheed (Palestine): On behalf of the delegation of Palestine, allow me to extend our thanks to the European Union for putting forth the resolution which was just adopted by consensus, entitled “Assistance to the Palestinian people”, and to thank all delegations for having supported this resolution.
We should also like to thank the European Union for the inclusion of language on Palestinian children in this resolution, following the outcome of successful negotiations held during this session. We believe that such an inclusion of language on Palestinian children in a consensus resolution in the General Assembly sends a very strong message to the Palestinian people that the international community has recognized and addressed the detrimental effects of the Israeli occupation on the lives of Palestinian children.
We believe also that this resolution will send a strong message of solidarity to the entire Palestinian population living under Israel’s 38-year-long brutal occupation and will indeed greatly assist in ameliorating their tragic plight.
We look forward to the day when the Palestinian people will not have to depend on humanitarian assistance from the international community and will be able to live in their own independent State of Palestine, free from occupation, free from fear and State terrorism committed by Israel, the occupying power, and free from Israeli subjugation.
The President : With this, we can conclude these deliberations on these issues. May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to conclude its consideration of sub-item (d) of agenda item 73?
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The President : The Assembly has thus concluded this stage of its consideration of agenda item 73 and its sub-item (a).
The meeting rose at 12.05 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.