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Summary record of the 28th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 21 November 2001, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Lelong ........................................(Haiti)
Agenda item 166: Measures to eliminate international terrorism (continued )
Closure of the session
The meeting was called to order at 11.05 a.m.
Agenda item 166: Measures to eliminate international terrorism ( continued) (A/C.6/56/L.22 and Corr.1)
11. Mr. Obeid (Syrian Arab Republic) ...
17. Consequently, the understanding of his delegation was that the concept of terrorism in the draft resolution did not include resistance to the Israeli occupation of Arab territories because such resistance was legitimate. Action had to be taken against the criminal acts that were being committed on a daily basis by the Israeli forces of occupation against an unarmed population. In the absence of a specific definition of terrorism, his delegation had no objection to the renewal of the mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee so that it could continue its work on the elaboration of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism in accordance with paragraphs 16 and 17 of the draft resolution, and study the question of the convening of a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations. The conference agenda should include the question of defining terrorism and differentiating between terrorism and the legitimate struggle against foreign occupation.
18. His delegation looked forward to a clearer and more balanced text that took account of the concerns of all parties, unlike the draft resolution under consideration which was defective in certain respects.
19. Mr. Diab (Lebanon), ...
23. The Palestinian people still endured the most extreme form of Israeli terrorism, involving killing, demolition, blockade, starvation, the displacement of people, and torture. The Israeli occupation forces resorted to a wide range of sophisticated and internationally prohibited weapons. The Arab States considered that it was important to combat the terrorism practised by the occupying Power against the Palestinian people, the Lebanese people and Syrian citizens of the occupied Arab Golan.
24. The Arab Group was in favour of measures to eliminate international terrorism within the framework of the United Nations, in accordance with the Charter and the fundamental principles of international law, including the elaboration of a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and of a draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, and supported, in particular, the efforts that had been made to convene a high-level conference to discuss terrorism and agree on a definition of terrorism that would distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate rights of peoples to resist foreign occupation.
30. Mr. Becker (Israel) ...
33. The attempt to argue that Israeli measures to protect civilians constituted terrorism, while the suicide attacks that threatened them were part of a legitimate struggle, was offensive in the extreme. For a military commander, every death of a civilian was a tragic consequence of a war against terrorists who used civilians as human shields. For the terrorists, every death of a civilian was a measure of their success.
34. The fundamental commitment to resolve disputes by peaceful means, and never through violence, must be respected. His Government remained ready, as soon as violence, terror and incitement ended, to return to a genuine negotiating process on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and to make the painful compromises necessary for peace.
35. He wished to remind certain delegations that the Security Council and the Secretary-General had repeatedly confirmed Israel’s full withdrawal from southern Lebanon in accordance with Council resolution 425 (1978), while continuing, in resolutions 1310 (2000) and 1337 (2001), to call on Lebanon to meet its responsibilities for restoring calm to the area and preventing attacks on Israel across the “blue line”.
36. If the core of the conflict in the Middle East was the desire of each people to determine its own future in peace and security, then that could certainly be achieved through the responsible conduct of negotiations. The hate-filled language of certain delegations and the continued support for attacks against civilians in the name of a cause did nothing to bring the region closer to peace and stability.
39. Mr. Obeid (Syrian Arab Republic), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that Israel characterized resistance to its occupation of Arab peoples and territories as terrorism. Meanwhile, the terrorism which Israel practised in the region had continued for dozens of years. Israel carried out its crimes on a daily basis without regard for United Nations resolutions. It had not complied with any of the dozens of Security Council resolutions recognizing it as an occupying Power and calling on it to withdraw its troops from the occupied Arab territories. The reports of the Secretary-General on Israeli practices in those territories described such acts as crimes.
40. Those who said that the Arabs were terrorists when they attempted to shake off the yoke of occupation should not forget that the Prime Minister of Israel had been summoned to appear before a Belgian court to answer for crimes against humanity. The terrorist crimes committed in Lebanon, which had led to the murder of thousands of children and civilians, were forever seared in human memory. On 18 November 2001, the mayor of Jerusalem had described the Belgian Government and the Belgian court as “abject”.
41. His delegation did not wish to reject the need to return to the negotiating table to resolve the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. That conflict could be summarized by the need to implement Security Council resolutions, particularly resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the principle of land for peace. His delegation had attended the Peace Conference on the Middle East held at Madrid in 1991, while Israel had avoided and continued to avoid such negotiations. That was a clear indication of which party was serious about negotiations and which was shirking its responsibility to come to terms.
42. Mr. Diab (Lebanon) said that the Israeli representative had given the members of the Committee a lesson in fighting terrorism. Nevertheless, he wished to ask whether the deliberate shelling of a United Nations compound at Qana in 1996, which had ended in the murder of 104 Lebanese civilians, mostly children, women and the elderly, was an example of fighting terrorism. The question also arose whether the deliberate killing of more than 500 Palestinian children asking for their liberation from occupation was an example to be followed in fighting terrorism.
43. As for breaches of the withdrawal line established by the Security Council, he recalled that the Secretary-General had, in his latest report, called on Israel to end its daily breaches of Lebanese territory, calling such acts a clear provocation.
44. State terrorism, as practised by Israel, was the most heinous crime against humanity and should be condemned and fought. In rejecting violence and terrorism, it was necessary first to reject occupation, which was the main cause of all violence.
Closure of the session
45. After the customary exchange of courtesies, the Chairman declared the work of the Committee at the fifty-sixth session closed.
The meeting rose at 12.35 p.m.
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Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.