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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
1 December 2003








SPECIAL BULLETIN ON

THE COMMEMORATION OF THE

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY

WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

2003






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, 2003


Papa Louis Fall (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

3


Julian Robert Hunte (Saint Lucia), President of the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

6


Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
6


Stefan Tafrov (Bulgaria), President of the Security Council for the month of December 2003

8


Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority, message delivered by Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations

10



Chithambaranathan Mahendran (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

12



Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered by Rastam Mohd Isa, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations

13



Seyed Kamal Kharazzi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirtieth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Danesh Yezdi, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations



15


Joaquim Alberto Chissano, President of Mozambique, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union, message delivered by Filipe Chidumo, Permanent Representative of Mozambique to the United Nations

16


Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, message delivered by Said Kamal, Assistant Secretary-General for Palestine Affairs of the League of Arab States


17


Phyllis Bennis, on behalf of the international network of NGOs on the question of Palestine

20


Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization

24


Closing statement by Papa Louis Fall, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

25


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
26


Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria
26


Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of Bangladesh
27


Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil
28


Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
28


Ricardo Lagos Escobar, President of Chile
29


Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of China
29


Fidel Castro Ruz, President of Cuba
29


Tassos Papadopoulos, President of Cyprus
30


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

31


Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada
31


General Lansana Conté, President of Guinea
32


Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India
32


Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of Indonesia
32


Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
33


King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan
34


Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
36


Eddie Fenech Adami, Prime Minister of Malta
37


Paul Raymond Bérenger, Prime Minister of Mauritius
37


Sam Nujoma, President of Namibia
38


General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan
38


Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar
39


Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation
40


Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal
41


Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa
42


Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka
44


Omer Hassan Ahmed Albashir, President of the Sudan
45


Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand
45


Gnassingbe Eyadema, President of Togo
46


Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia
46


Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of Turkey
47


Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, President of the United Arab Emirates
48


Hugo Chávez Frías, President of Venezuela
49


Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
50


Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of Yemen
50


Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, President of Zambia
52

B.

Messages from Governments


Guyana
52

C.

Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs


Rafael Antonio Bielsa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Commerce and Culture of Argentina
53


Solomon Passy, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria
54


Youssouf Ouedraogo, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso
54


Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
55


Mircea Geoana, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania
56


Farouk Al-Shara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic
57


Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
58

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


African Union: Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairman of the Commission of the African Union
59


European Union
60


Organization of the Islamic Conference: Abdelouahed Belkeziz,
Secretary-General
60

E.

Messages from non-governmental organizations


Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue: Latif Dori, Secretary
62


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

On 1 December 2003, 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 solemn meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

At the meeting, statements were made by Papa Louis Fall (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee; Julian Robert Hunte (Saint Lucia), President of the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly; Kofi Annan, Secretary-General; and Stefan Tafrov (Bulgaria), President of the Security Council for the month of December 2003. The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Nasser Al-Kidwa, read out a message from Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. Also, Chithambaranathan Mahendran (Sri Lanka) made a statement 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.

In addition, the Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations, Rastam Mohd Isa, delivered a message on behalf of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, Danesh Yezdi, read out a message from Seyed Kamal Kharazzi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirtieth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers; the Permanent Representative of Mozambique to the United Nations, Felipe Chidumo, read out a message from Joaquim Alberto Chissano, President of Mozambique, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union; and Said Kamal, representative of the League of Arab States, delivered a message from Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. Phyllis Bennis, an NGO representative, also addressed the meeting.

Closing statements were made by Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Papa Louis Fall, 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, eight Heads of Government, one representative of Government, seven Foreign Ministers, as well as the European Union, the African Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. A message was also received from a non-governmental organization.

The solemn meeting was followed by the screening of a film entitled “Palestine: Story of a Land”, in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library auditorium. Another film entitled “Crossing Kalandia” was screened at the exhibit area in the public lobby of the General Assembly Building.

A cultural exhibit was presented under the auspices of the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations. The exhibit, entitled “Palestine: Reflections of Resilience and Hope”, featured traditional Palestinian costumes, embroidery and accessories. Photographs and paintings were also included. The collection depicted the spirit and richness of Palestinian culture that has endured despite decades of occupation.

At the United Nations Office at Geneva, a solemn meeting was held on 1 December. 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 Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Nugroho Wisnumurti, spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Ousmane Camara (Senegal), representative of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, made a statement. Statements were also made by Saad Alfarargi, representative of the League of Arab States; Mojtaba Amiri Vahid, representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Rajmah Hussain, representative of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Lamine Laabas, representative of the African Union; and Edith Ballantyne, an NGO representative. Nabil Ramlawi, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva, made a statement.

At the United Nations Office at Vienna, a solemn meeting was also held on 1 December. José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez, Permanent Representative of Cuba 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. Franz Baumann, Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Office at Vienna, delivered the statement of the Secretary-General. Other speakers included Peter Niesner, Acting Secretary-General of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria; Datuk Hussein Hanif, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations on behalf of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; and Fritz Edlinger, an NGO representative. Mohieddin Massoud, Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Vienna, read out a message of Chairman Yasser Arafat. Representatives from 17 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.


II. TEXTS OF STATEMENTS MADE AND MESSAGES DELIVERED ON THE
OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, 2003

Statement by Papa Louis Fall (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People


[Original: French]

Today we mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, celebrated on 29 November, a date of particular significance to the Palestinian people and to the United Nations. Fifty-six years ago, the General Assembly, in its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, terminated the mandate of Palestine by providing for the formation of two States, one a Jewish State and the other an Arab State, with Jerusalem under a special international regime. The State of Israel was proclaimed without delay the following year while the Arab State, which was to be for the Palestinians, is today still in its infancy, if not to say in the limbo of the international community’s solemn commitments.

Israel has since occupied Palestinian territory, annexing land, displacing the population, destroying homes and property and causing, directly or indirectly, the loss of human lives on both sides. Today, Palestinians live in appalling circumstances under the occupation. They are subjected to military raids and extrajudicial killings, individual and collective punishment, destruction of public infrastructure and the devastation of their farmland.

Paradoxically, Palestinians have thus become refugees in their own homeland, since they are effectively deprived of their fundamental rights: the right to live a normal life, to go to work and make a decent living, the right to raise and educate their children in an atmosphere of peace and well-being, the right to contribute to the betterment and prosperity of their community and their nation, the sovereign right to fully live out their citizenship in complete tranquillity and in peace and security.

Finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a constant concern and a major focus of the international community for many years now under the aegis of the United Nations. Various initiatives have been undertaken in this context. The Madrid peace process launched in 1991 and the Oslo Accords of 1993 gave good reasons to hope that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East was truly within reach. However, the relative calm from 1993 to 2000 unravelled, igniting the Al-Aqsa intifada. The cycle of violence that followed caused many deaths and injuries among Palestinians and Israelis. Sadly, the majority of the victims were and remain innocent civilians, including many children. The number of deaths since September 2000 is nearly 4,000, including approximately 3,000 Palestinians and some 900 Israelis - not to mention the thousands upon thousands of injured, most of them Palestinians.

Citing its security constraints, Israel has intensified the construction of illegal settlements, outposts and road networks while continuing to demolish Palestinian homes and property. Some outposts have indeed been dismantled, but only to be replaced by new ones built by the settlers. The Israeli Interior Ministry published official statistics in July revealing that more than 5,000 settlers had moved into the occupied territories since January, bringing the total number of settlers to more than 230,000.

And, as if the construction of illegal settlements had not already deprived Palestinians of their ancestral land, the Government of Israel has embarked upon the vast project of building, in the West Bank, a separation wall - euphemistically called a “security fence” - a wall that, in many places, encroaches on the Green Line and separates Palestinians from other Palestinians.

At its resumed tenth emergency special session, the General Assembly adopted resolution ES-10/13 on 21 October, demanding that Israel stop the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as well as a return to the previous situation, because the construction of the wall violates the Armistice Line of 1949 and thus contradicts the relevant provisions of international law. The General Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to report to it on compliance with the resolution’s relevant provisions, since the building of the settlements and of the separation wall enshrines the annexation of Palestinian land - predetermining the outcome of future negotiations - and seriously jeopardizes the possibility of creating a contiguous and unified Palestinian State. Even worse, those measures intensify the Palestinians’ feelings of humiliation and anger against the occupying Power. Moreover, during the year, the Israeli army has continued its military raids into the occupied territory, repeatedly reoccupying Palestinian cities, imposing closures and curfews, and using disproportionate force indiscriminately and without restraint, causing immense suffering and unspeakable pain.

While recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to security - and we have tirelessly reiterated this - the Committee has vigorously condemned the policy and practice of targeted killings, acts inadmissible under international humanitarian law. The Committee has also energetically condemned terrorist attacks against civilians in Israel, from whatever source - operations that have no moral justification and that harm the noble cause of peace and reconciliation between the parties.

Furthermore, the Committee considers the Israeli army’s illegal confinement of Chairman Yasser Arafat to his headquarters - the Muqata’a - in Ramallah to be unacceptable. Chairman Arafat’s capacity to shoulder his statutory responsibilities and to supervise the work of the Palestinian Authority has thus been seriously affected. The General Assembly, at its tenth emergency special session, clearly demanded that Israel desist from any act of deportation and from any threat to the physical integrity and security of the elected President of the Palestinian Authority.

Despite the various obstacles that have thus marked the negotiating process, a number of initiatives have been launched recently by eminent Israelis and Palestinians. The Committee welcomes their courage, perseverance and vision, which should be encouraged. The Geneva accord resulting from those negotiations does not seek to replace the official peace negotiations, but rather aims to endorse the immense efforts undertaken to relaunch the road map.

After a period of relative calm last month, we are beginning to see a positive evolution indicating a change on the political front. Recently, the Palestinian Legislative Council confirmed the appointment of a new Palestinian Cabinet that is prepared to work towards a mutual ceasefire aimed at putting an end to the bloodshed. Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei affirmed clearly that he intended to conform scrupulously with the road map and with the agreements signed with Israel.

To reinvigorate the efforts undertaken to get the two sides together again, the Security Council on 19 November adopted resolution 1515 (2003), in which it reaffirmed its vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders, and emphasized the need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. After much hesitation, the Security Council, on the resolute momentum provided by Russia and other Quartet partners, adopted the road map on the basis of resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002) as well as previous agreements between the parties. The Committee, in a statement published the same day, recalled that the United Nations has a special and permanent responsibility with regard to the question of Palestine until that issue is resolved in all its aspects, in a satisfactory way and with respect for international legitimacy. With the General Assembly’s blessing and support, the Committee will continue to support promotion of the road map and to mobilize itself for the success of the Quartet’s work aimed at a global, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine - a solution in which the Palestinian people exercise their inalienable and imprescriptible rights.

We welcome the presence today of ambassadors, representatives of Member States, observers, high officials of the United Nations and of partner intergovernmental organizations, and representatives of civil society. Their participation attests to the international community’s continuing and steadfast support for the Palestinian people’s survival and its quest to establish its own State coexisting with Israel in peace and security. The Committee is deeply grateful to them for this annual demonstration of unfailing support.

I wish to emphasize once again that we are very honoured to have Secretary-General Kofi Annan at our meeting today. I should like once again to express to him the Committee’s profound gratitude for his exemplary and unwavering commitment and for his active and remarkable participation in the work of the Quartet of mediators. We also want to thank him for the inestimable contribution of his dedicated Special Coordinator, Terje Roed-Larsen. In addition, the Committee warmly welcomes the significant presence of Julian Robert Hunte, President of the General Assembly, and of Ambassador Stefan Tafrov, President of the Security Council. We are particularly grateful for their keen interest and resolute support with regard to the burning issues of Palestine and the Middle East.

I also want to express the deepest appreciation of the Committee to its traditional partners: the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States, the African Union and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. I thank them for their participation in this International Day of Solidarity and for their constant support for the work of our Committee.

I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the different bodies of the United Nations system, particularly the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and so many others. In particular, I want to give recognition to their outstanding staff, those dedicated men and women who persevere in providing humanitarian assistance to the oppressed, to the refugees and to those in need in Palestine.

I conclude by quoting the late Martin Luther King, Jr., who once said “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal”. Indeed, the road to peace must not be besieged with desolation, waste and terror, but must rather be a place for the coming together of peoples. That was the dream of the former Speaker of the Knesset, Israeli deputy Avraham Burg: a bridge between two communities that together seek a new regional and global citizenship in justice, peace and security.



Julian Robert Hunte (Saint Lucia), President of the fifty-eighth session
of the General Assembly of the United Nations

[Original: English]

As President of the fifty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly, I am honoured to participate in this solemn meeting. I commend the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for convening this meeting, and for its contribution to international efforts to bring peace, security and stability to the Middle East. In implementing the mandates entrusted to it by the General Assembly, the Committee continues to play a central role in focusing the attention of the Assembly, the Security Council, the United Nations system, and the international community as a whole, on specific concerns and developments on the question of Palestine.

The question of Palestine has, in fact, been a priority issue for the United Nations since its earliest years. After much deliberation, the second session of a nascent General Assembly on 26 November 1947, adopted resolution 181 (II) on the Palestinian issue. Reflected in that resolution, was the decision of the Assembly to partition the Mandate of Palestine into two States, one Jewish, one Arab, with Jerusalem to be the subject of a special international regime. In the year marking the thirtieth anniversary of that landmark decision, the General Assembly determined, in its resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977, which it would annually observe 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The commemoration of this Day of Solidarity, then, is an affirmation of the United Nations unflagging commitment to the resolution of the question of Palestine and of its support for the Palestinian people in their aspiration to exercise their right to self-determination. It provides further opportunity for the international community as a whole to reflect on the question of Palestine and to continue to vigorously pursue initiatives that not only make promises, but that also deliver on those promises, to bring peace, security and stability to Palestine and to the Middle East.

The current situation, however, is fraught with danger and far from encouraging. The General Assembly has twice in the last two months responded to the request of a majority of its Member States by reconvening its tenth emergency special session on the illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to allow all to express their concerns on this critical issue. The Assembly, in its resolution ES-10/12 of 19 September 2003, demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, desist from any act of deportation and cease any threat to the safety of the elected President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat.


Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations


[Original: English]

I wish to thank the Committee for the invitation to this observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and the other members of the Committee on your hard work and devotion to the cause of peace in the Middle East.

I join with those from around the world who today express the deepest solidarity with the Palestinian people in their continued suffering. They remain stateless and oppressed. In expressing solidarity with them, I do not ignore the suffering of the people of Israel. They remain insecure and terrorized. The terrible events of the past three years and the dire situation on the ground today should be proof to all that the more each side harms the other, the more difficult the situation becomes, the more each side wounds itself and the more it jeopardizes the chance for a peaceful settlement.

Israeli actions - such as extrajudicial killings, use of heavy weapons against civilians, demolition of houses, continued expansion of settlements and the building of a barrier that cuts deep into Palestinian territory - have heightened misery and feelings of helplessness among Palestinians. They have undermined efforts to curb violence and have fuelled hatred and anger towards Israel. They have pushed back the day when Israel will live without fear within secure and recognized borders.

Palestinian suicide bombings, on the other hand, have indiscriminately killed innocent Israeli civilians in acts of wanton and deliberate terrorism. Those heinous acts can have no justification and must be consistently and unreservedly condemned. They have destroyed efforts at building bridges of reconciliation and trust between the two peoples. They have pushed back the day when Palestinians will live in peace and security within their own State.

The violence over the past three years has claimed thousands of lives. The majority of them have been Palestinians, but there have also been many Israelis. However, there is no military solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The only solution lies in the political process - one that results in a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.

Recent initiatives of civil society have made that point with courage and clarity. I refer in particular to the Geneva Initiative, in which Palestinians and Israelis negotiated and agreed to a detailed plan to comprehensively resolve the conflict, and to the Ayalon-Nusseibeh statement of principles. These efforts show the capacity of Palestinians and Israelis to act with reason and restraint and to agree on terms to live side by side in peace. They have caught the imagination of both peoples. They should inspire in all the burning conviction that a settlement can be achieved.

The efforts of civil society are, however, not sufficient and are no substitute for official action. The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority have made solemn commitments, and they must act to meet them, rather than each waiting for the other to act first. Recently, there has been a period of relative calm, and there have been indications that we may begin to see steps in the right direction. The Government of Israel has declared its readiness to carry out its road map obligations. A new cabinet of the Palestinian Authority is in place with the declared intention of taking steps to establish law and order, control violence and combat terrorism. There is hope that the two Prime Ministers may meet soon and hope of another ceasefire. These tender shoots must be nourished. At the same time, the parties must be judged not by their stated intentions but by their actions on the ground.

The international community needs to be prepared to take bold action itself. I welcome the endorsement of the Quartet’s road map by the Security Council in resolution 1515 (2003). That resolution provides a strong platform for the Quartet and other members of the international community to assist the parties to implement the road map and to hold them to their obligations and commitments under it. As I have stated to the Quartet, I believe these efforts should be bolstered by an international presence on the ground.

Meanwhile, great efforts are needed to address the humanitarian emergency and the economic devastation experienced by the Palestinian people. Abject poverty, unemployment, children out of school and a strong overall sense of frustration and despair: all these are part of the day-to-day life of Palestinians under occupation. So, too, is the hardship caused by the severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, closures and curfews, roadblocks and checkpoints and the construction of the separation barrier, about which I have just reported to the General Assembly.

The Palestinian Authority’s institutions and its capacity to work with its people have been seriously undercut since September 2000. The international donor community needs to contribute generously in this time of great need. The Government of Israel must allow the fullest access for humanitarian convoys and relief missions to the civilian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Under difficult conditions, the United Nations provides a wide range of assistance to the Palestinian people, through the work of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund and other agencies. In spite of a funding crisis, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East continues to play a vitally important role in addressing the critical needs of the Palestinian refugees and should be given all the political and financial support it needs.

In the framework of the Quartet, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Roed-Larsen, who is my Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, remains intensively engaged with all parties to support the political process and coordinate international assistance.

For my part, I pledge to continue to work with all parties for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), and on the principle of land for peace.

As we express today our solidarity with the Palestinian people, let us also reaffirm our conviction that peace is possible, and that we can achieve an end to occupation for Palestinians and security for Israelis. Let us also remember that the parties hurt their own cause by harming the other or by waiting for the other to act first. And let us resolve not to rest until the Palestinian people finally obtain what is rightfully theirs: the exercise of their inalienable rights in a sovereign and independent State of Palestine.


Stefan Tafrov (Bulgaria), President of the Security Council
for the month of December 2003

[Original: English]

First, I would like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for inviting me, in my capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of December, to participate in the annual commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This is a day of remembrance and compassion for all those who suffer from that terrible conflict and a day when the international community renews its commitment to relentlessly pursue efforts for a comprehensive and lasting settlement in the Middle East. Above all, this is a day of hope that peace will prevail and that the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, will be realized.

Over the past year, the Security Council has continued to support a comprehensive and just settlement in the Middle East based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002), the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace and the agreements already arrived at by the parties. The Security Council has also continued to follow the work of the Quartet and to advocate implementation of the performance-based road map, which was officially submitted to the parties on 30 April 2003. On 19 November 2003, the Security Council adopted its resolution 1515 (2003), endorsing the road map for a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Council called on the parties to comply with their obligations pursuant to the road map in cooperation with the Quartet.

The Security Council keeps the situation in the region under constant review. We have monthly briefings by the Secretary-General and by his Personal Representative and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

The Council has noted with concern the ongoing violence, terrorism and destruction which has resulted in tragic loss of life on both sides. It has also been concerned with the stalemate in the peace process and the further worsening of the economic and humanitarian situation on the ground. The deterioration in the security situation - particularly suicide bombings in Israel and military operations on Palestinian territory - is one of the main preoccupations of the Council. In its resolution 1515 (2003), the Council expressed grave concern over the continuation of tragic and violent events in the Middle East and reiterated its demand for an immediate cessation to all acts of violence, including all acts of terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction.

The Council is fully aware of the seriousness of the humanitarian crisis on the ground. Restrictions on freedom of movement continue to hamper everyday life for the people and to strangle the Palestinian economy. Easing those restrictions on movement will enable humanitarian assistance to reach those people who desperately need it, and would improve living conditions for the Palestinians.

The donor community should be as generous as possible in its assistance to the Palestinians. The Council welcomes the commitment of the ad hoc liaison committee of the donor community, which will, at its meeting scheduled for later this month, address the issue of assistance for the Palestinian people.

The Security Council is also fully aware of the complexity of the task of achieving a lasting and just settlement to the decades-old conflict in the Middle East. That settlement will require constant efforts by the international community and by the parties involved. In this regard, the Council will continue to support the untiring peace efforts of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose political authority and moral prestige are invaluable assets for the international community as it continues to seek a peaceful settlement in the region.

The Council appreciates the constructive role played by the members of the Quartet and the international community. It also appreciates the quiet work of bilateral diplomacy in the quest for peace and stability in the Middle East. Nevertheless, primary responsibility for the final settlement lies, above all, with the parties concerned. The newly elected Palestinian Cabinet, and the Government of Israel, must work together to overcome obstacles to the peace process. The Council stands ready to assist the parties in this challenging endeavour.

We welcome approval by the Palestinian Legislative Council, on 12 November, of Ahmed Qurei’s Cabinet and we wish the new Prime Minster every success in his work.

In conclusion, let me assure the Committee that the Security Council will continue to shoulder its responsibilities under the Charter and will remain fully committed to the ultimate goal of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to a sovereign, prosperous and democratic State.


Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority,
message delivered by Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer
of Palestine to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

We are pleased to thank you all on behalf of the Palestinian people and of the Palestine Authority and government, and I am pleased to thank you on my own behalf, for convening this official meeting on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People that was declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 29 November 1977. Your work on behalf of the international community remains a source of hope and an encouragement to the steadfastness of our patient people under occupation, colonization and oppression. You represent the conscience of the world and of the world’s people in your insistence on the necessity of ending the historic injustice that has beset our people to enable us to attain our national independence in Palestine, to bring to an end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to achieve peace and security for all peoples and States in the Middle East region.

We appreciate all you are doing and make particular mention of Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General, whom we thank for his efforts on behalf of peace and urge him to continue in that endeavour. We also wish to offer our respects to His Excellency Ambassador Papa Louis Fall and his esteemed colleagues, the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. We appreciate their outstanding efforts and we also thank all the kings, presidents and leaders of the States of the world who have addressed this important meeting to express their firm and cordial solidarity with our Palestinian people.

The year that has passed since the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People a year ago has been a difficult one in Palestine in particular and in the Middle East region in general. During that time, the grip of the occupation has tightened and the barbarism of the associated practices and the repressive measures have become more marked, in particular through the perpetration of war crimes against our people. The colonialist settlement of our land has continued and, what is worse still, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued the construction of the apartheid separation and expansionist wall whereby our land has been confiscated and, the lives of thousands of our people have been ruined, thus nurturing the seeds of malice and hatred and putting an end to the prospects of peace between the parties. This is a reflection of the rejection by the current Israeli Government of a final settlement and of using the road map, despite the issuance of Security Council resolution 1515 (2003) and its unanimous support for the road map, which we personally and officially welcomed in statements by the Palestinian leadership, insisting on the necessity of implementing it. It also reflects Israel’s insistence on striking at the Palestine Authority, blockading its elected President and persistent violations by Israel of Christian and Islamic holy places, particularly in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron. It is a matter of great regret, that during the same period, the bombings and the targeting of civilians have also continued. We condemn such actions and have repeatedly expressed our condemnation of them as being prejudicial to Palestinian national interests.

The Palestinian leadership accepted the road map and Security Council resolution 1515 (2003) and announced its readiness to begin implementing the road map immediately, beginning with the reciprocal declaration of an end to all acts of violence. We still hoped that a start would shortly be made and we also expressed support for the Geneva understandings, which might have been an incentive to starting formal negotiations on the form of a final settlement between the two sides. There was unanimous international agreement in support of the road map and of the two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders as a final solution. It was therefore incumbent on the international community not to allow either side to avoid a settlement and not to allow the continued infliction of suffering and bloodshed on the two peoples. We reiterate your appeal and your support for promptly dispatching international observers to oversee the implementation of the road map.

The United Nations has been dealing with our cause since the Organization was founded and there are many reasons why it remains permanently responsible for that matter until such time as it is resolved in all its aspects. The United Nations has, indeed, nurtured the rights of our people pending their attainment and we appreciate the historic role it has played as well as its role in the recent period, including the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 1515 (2003), and the adoption, at the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, of resolution ES-10/13. It is a matter of great regret that Israel declared that it would not abide by either resolution. However, despite that, the international community must continue to bring pressure to bear, and it is incumbent on us to follow up the resolutions of the General Assembly and to adopt such additional resolutions as are needed to bring an end to the building of the wall and remove the existing parts of it and to spare no efforts in that respect, including resorting to the International Court of Justice in order to open up that path towards the attainment of peace. It is a matter of regret to us that some are conducting a campaign against the United Nations and its resolutions in an attempt to undermine the legal and political basis of our rights. Such positions are not only unjust, but are also ill-judged. We in the region need those resolutions to be affirmed and implemented because a lasting, just and comprehensive peace can be built only on a sound basis of international law that responds to the rights of our people and brings about security and peace for all in the region.

In conclusion, we convey our heartfelt thanks to Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his constant efforts and his sustained endeavours to arrive at a lasting solution and in support of the inalienable national rights of our people. We also thank all of you for your efforts and your wholehearted and faithful work to mobilize support and international solidarity to enable our people to realize their national rights in their Palestinian homeland and to establish an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. We are moving forward with gratitude and acknowledgement to all liberal-minded people and true friends and peace lovers in the world who support our march towards the attainment of the peace of the brave to which we all aspire, a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in our region, and the acquisition by our people of their freedom and independence. That is the peace of the brave that I signed with our late partner Yitzhak Rabin who paid for that peace with his life at the hands of extremist elements. Finally, I convey our thanks and gratitude to all of you as well as to all the brethren and friends throughout the world. May we achieve peace and justice in the Holy Land and in the region as a whole.

Peace be upon you.



Chithambaranathan Mahendran (Sri Lanka), 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]

The Secretary General of the United Nations states and I quote - “The resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the most enduring diplomatic challenges of our times. The modern State of Israel has known war for most of its 54-year existence. The Palestinian people, on their side have been in limbo, struggling to find their own path to statehood. In the last two years, the conflict between them has been at its most violent”.

I have the honour, today, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to speak 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 Special Committee, established by the General Assembly in 1968, has reported each year to the General Assembly on the conditions affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories: Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Arab Syrian Golan.

This year, the Special Committee submitted to the General Assembly its thirty-fifth report: a reminder, it could be said, that the occupied territories have been under occupation for thirty- four years.

The Special Committee sought in its report to convey to the General Assembly its views as to the conditions under which the people in the occupied territories live. They are conditions, the Special Committee found, that do not, in a number of respects, accord with contemporary international norms as to human rights, nor with requirements of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which also applies to the occupied territories.

The overriding impression that has formed in the minds of the three members of the Special Committee (Ambassador Ousmane Camara, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations in Geneva; Ambassador Rastam Mohamed Isa, Ambassador of Malaysia to the United Nations; and I, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York) is a troubling one.

The Israeli authorities have put in place a comprehensive and elaborate system of laws and regulations and administrative measures that are designed to meet the policy objectives of the Israeli Government and to enhance control over the occupied territories and over the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. A rigorous implementation of the laws and regulations and administrative measures, particularly during periods of crises, creates amongst the Palestinian people of the occupied territories a sense of fear, a sense of despondency, a sense of hopelessness. There exists an all-encompassing sense of great tension in the occupied territories, particularly during periods of crisis, and during periods of violence the exercise of such control makes the lives of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories even more unbearable.

The erection of a wall that is to separate the occupied territories from Israel has caused immense concern, hardship and interdiction of the Palestinian people. This fact has eroded the confidence of the Palestinian people in an early alleviation of their suffering and the nature of the wall led them to brief the Committee that they have got the impression that the wall is to be a permanent border between Israel and the occupied territories, thereby annexing considerable portions of occupied territory land on to Israel.

Bitterness at their treatment by the authorities, their sense of dispossession, their sense of hopelessness and despair caused to a large extent, it seems to the Special Committee, by lack of progress in the peace process and a lack of tangible benefits for the Palestinian people of the occupied territories, makes the situation in the occupied territories one of greatest urgency.

The Special Committee regrets that the conditions of life in the occupied territories have not improved as hoped for. The Special Committee in its report to the General Assembly made specific recommendations to the General Assembly that concrete steps should be taken to ameliorate the conditions under which the Palestinian people of the occupied territories live.

Our Committee welcomes the formation of the diplomatic Quartet and looks forward to an active dialogue developing between the contending parties and we appeal to the international community to remain fully engaged in finding a negotiated settlement to the Middle East conflict.

Finally, the Special Committee considers it to be of great importance that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in consultation with the Secretary-General, and, above all, in light of the respect to be always accorded the dignity of the human person, establish a system of continuous communication with Israeli authorities with a view to relieving the very difficult circumstances in which the Palestinians of the occupied territories live, and which gives rise to violence which the Special Committee deplores.


Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in his capacity as
Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered
by Rastam Mohd Isa, Permanent Representative of Malaysia
to the United Nations

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, I would like to extend, on behalf of the people of Malaysia and as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, our warmest greetings to President Yasser Arafat and all Palestinians. We assure them of our continued and unequivocal support for their legitimate and courageous struggle for the right to decide and be masters of their own destiny, to rid the yoke of Israeli occupation and to live freely in their own sovereign and independent State of Palestine.

Once again we observe this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in an atmosphere of great uncertainty. Yet we hope. We hope, as do others and the Palestinians in particular, for the noble forces of peace and justice to prevail over the arrogance of power and the purveyance of violence, hatred and despair. We gather here to express our solidarity with them on a day that marks their oppression and suffering under Israeli occupation. We look forward to the day when the international community will join the Palestinians in celebrating the joy of their independence and statehood.

On this day, I wish to take the opportunity to once again reaffirm the Non-Aligned Movement's steadfast support for and long-standing solidarity with the Palestinian people and their leadership, in the quest for the full realization of their inalienable rights. The Non-Aligned Movement remains firm in its commitment towards ensuring that a just and lasting peaceful settlement is achieved on the question of Palestine. The Movement reiterates its unwavering support for the rights of the Palestinian people to national independence and the exercise of sovereignty in their State - Palestine - within secure and internationally recognized borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. It is highly regrettable that this objective has not been met because of setbacks in the implementation of the road map, which has impeded the realization of the vision of two States, Palestine and Israel, existing side by side and in peace with each other and with their neighbours. Clearly, there is an urgent need for the parties concerned to work towards ensuring the implementation of the road map, with honesty and sincerity. There must be greater commitment and objectivity in the move towards peace.

During the one year since this day of solidarity was last observed, we have witnessed increased violence, death and suffering descending upon the Palestinian people. We condemn the adoption of harsh policies and practices as well as the disproportionate and excessive use of force by Israel against the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. These measures have led to more violence, more deaths and more suicide attacks by desperate young men and women. We mourn the loss of all innocent lives. We sympathize with the families who have lost their loved ones, be they Palestinians or Israelis. We extend our profound condolences to them. We call for the cessation of actions, which target innocent civilians, the destruction of Palestinian homes and property, causing untold suffering to thousands of families.

We condemn the continuing and escalating Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian people, particularly the reported perpetration of war crimes and the wilful killing of civilians, including extrajudicial executions. We call for the immediate cessation of all Israeli settler colonialism activities. We strongly call also for a halt to further construction of Israel's expansionist wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It must be dismantled immediately. We are dismayed at the deteriorating economic and social conditions facing the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory arising from the imposition of harsh measures and practices by the Israeli authorities. There is a rising level of poverty and unemployment, diminishing opportunity for economic activities and education. Vast expanses of Palestinian land are being confiscated. All these will only breed hatred and discontent, making it more difficult for Palestinians and Israelis to live side by side in peace. The international community cannot deny that any further deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, would not bode well for the cause of peace in the whole region.

We are convinced that there is no military solution to this conflict. Israel and its supporters must realize and be convinced of this too. So must the Palestinians. The cycle of violence, repression and intimidation will bring no advantage to either side. A new resolve on the part of the parties to the conflict to resume the political process, at the negotiating table, is badly required. The key to a just and durable solution lies in the willingness on the part of Israel to end its occupation of Arab lands, and the fulfillment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty and to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced and uprooted.

Given the uncertainties prevailing in other parts of the region, it is more imperative now that the search for peace be intensified. This can only be attained through serious efforts to bring about the end of the Israeli occupation, the creation of a sovereign, independent and peaceful Palestinian State and the establishment of lasting peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours on the basis of the principles of the Madrid Conference, United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002), the agreements and understandings reached earlier, the Arab peace initiative approved by the League of Arab States in Beirut and the road map of the Quartet. Each and every member of the international community has a role to play in this regard. We must all work together to facilitate the attainment of peace in the region. The Non-Aligned Movement will continue to cooperate with the international community, in particular the members of the Quartet, towards this end.

The Non-Aligned Movement continues to recognize the valiant struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation and the injustices inflicted upon them. We express our solidarity with the Palestinian people because we cannot simply abandon them in the face of other issues and treat their problem merely as part of the effort of dealing with new threats to international peace and security, in particular terrorism. The Palestinian question deserves the continued attention of the international community in the right context and with the proper perspective. It is an issue that concerns the rights of a people, which should be respected in accordance with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and international humanitarian law as well as relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. Our hearts should go out to the Palestinian people in their time of need and adversity. They have suffered more than enough from the oppression and inhumane treatment meted upon them by Israel.

On behalf of the people of Malaysia and as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, I wish to reiterate on this very significant and poignant day, our resolute and unwavering support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people to gain their right of self-determination under the legitimate leadership of President Yasser Arafat. We express our full and undivided solidarity with them. We look forward to the day when our Palestinian brothers and sisters will finally be able to exercise their national rights and enjoy freedom, independence and development. Malaysia and the Non-Aligned Movement will continue to contribute towards all efforts aimed at attaining this goal. In this connection, we welcome the appointment of Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei as well as the call made by President Arafat and Prime Minister Qurei, respectively, for both sides to resume negotiations as soon as possible.

In conclusion, as Malaysia is also the Chairman of the tenth session of the Islamic Summit Conference, I am pleased to note that a similar message of solidarity with the Palestinian people will be conveyed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, in its capacity as the Chairman of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, on beha1f of the Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.


Seyed Kamal Kharazzi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
in his capacity as Chairman of the thirtieth session of the Islamic Conference
of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Danesh Yezdi, Deputy Permanent
Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

Once again, we are commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. This is an occasion reminiscent of the heroism and dedication of an empty-handed and oppressed, but fully resolute, people against an armed-to-the-teeth occupying regime. It provides also illustrations laying out the oppressed confronting the oppressors as well as stones confronting bullets, heralding the final prevalence of right over might.

It is more than 50 years that the Palestinian people are under the grip of an occupying power that shows no pity to anybody. The occupiers destroy homes, schools, mosques, hygienic centres and economic infrastructures. They hold the established norms and principles as well as world public opinion in contempt and threaten the Palestinian leaders to exile and assassination.

At the time when the Palestinian people are almost single-handedly resisting tanks and helicopter gunships and their blood paints daily the Palestinian land, it is increasingly imperative that all States, especially Islamic nations, assume active roles in dealing with what is happening in the occupied territory.

Islamic countries should tap their huge potentials in political and economic fields and take serious steps to assist the Palestinian people. Despite some efforts made by a number of countries, especially some Organization of the Islamic Conference members, much remains to be done to restore the full rights of the Palestinian people.

Today, which is dubbed as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People , provides a good opportunity for the Islamic countries to review their policies and actions, in a concerted manner, and mobilize their full capacities and potentials in different areas with a view to assisting their Palestinian sisters and brothers in this sacred struggle against the occupiers.


Joaquim Alberto Chissano, President of Mozambique, in his capacity as
Chairman of the African Union, message delivered by Filipe Chidumo,
Permanent Representative of Mozambique to the United Nations

[Original: English]

On behalf of the African Union, I wish to convey my warm greetings to the Palestinian people and its able leader, Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has a particular significance for the African Union, as this organization has always attached great importance to the issue of self-determination, yet to be realized by the Palestinian people.

The African Union remains deeply disturbed by the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process, with its dire consequences for the Palestinian people. This situation is perpetuating a climate of unprecedented violence, hatred, killing of innocent people, untold brutality and suffering, in which the Palestinian people are the main victims.

We wish to emphasize that the peoples of the Middle East will only live in a lasting peace, stability and security, through the friendly pursuit of the peace process, based on the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Quartet road map, and the key principle of land for peace. This will require unquestionable determination and political will on the part of all the parties concerned.

The African Union stresses that any solution to the problem of the Middle East, must include the self-determination of the Palestinian people and its accession to full statehood, through the establishment of a viable state, within the internationally recognized boundaries. This should go hand in hand with the existence of Israel, in an environment where both States and peoples coexist peacefully, side by side.

The international community should not sit idle and witness the ongoing carnage in the Middle East. We should all recommit ourselves to sparing no efforts to ensure that the Palestinian people do exercise their inalienable right to self-determination. We therefore seize this opportunity to encourage all parties concerned to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process, towards achieving a lasting peace, stability and security in that region.

The African Union wishes to reiterate on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People its continued solidarity and support for your struggle towards self-determination.


Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States,
message delivered by Said Kamal, Assistant Secretary-General
for Palestine Affairs of the League of Arab States

[Original: Arabic]

It gives me pleasure to summarize a statement by the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which the Committee has commemorated regularly since 1975, in expression of its support for the legitimate and national rights of the Palestinian people. I would also like to convey the sincere regards of Secretary-General Amre Moussa and his appreciation for the great role that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People plays in supporting the Palestinian people. We express our pride in and appreciation for this role.

Israel continues to escalate its hostile war against the Palestinian people and their political leadership. It resorts indiscriminately to the most dangerous and violent military operations, which constitute a blatant violation of international law and international humanitarian law. Israel also continues to besiege the elected Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat.

These operations and practices climaxed in the building of the racist separation wall by the occupation Government. The dangerous repercussions of building the wall will negate any possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian State in accord with President Bush’s vision. The international community has condemned this racist wall and the General Assembly has adopted a resolution on the matter; now the Group of Arab States at the United Nations is seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice to help in its efforts to get Israel to tear down the wall.

The siege of Palestinian territories by the Israeli occupation authorities has turned the territories into a huge prison, composed of dismembered and isolated islands surrounded on all sides by Israeli settlements. It has also caused the deterioration of the economic and social situation of the Palestinian people, and has thus brought the crisis to the brink of disaster.

Israel has reacted violently to the spontaneous intifada of the Palestinian people against the continued occupation. The intifada was a result of increased feelings of frustration and despair, lack of security and an absence of hope for any possibility of reaching a peaceful solution with an Israeli Government that adopts a policy of war, aggression and expansion and that rejects, aborts and avoids every peace initiative, using excessive and disproportionate force against Palestinian civilians.

The targeting of Palestinian civilians is a war crime that cannot be justified by any cause, as stated by Under-Secretary-General Kieran Prendergast in his briefing to the Security Council on 21 October 2003. The military oppression by the occupation forces has even affected international relief organizations, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the Red Cross and its staff and institutions. This has included killing, destruction and the obstruction of humanitarian aid operations. These practices have been condemned in more than one international report, and international organizations have called on Israel to abide by international law and by the Geneva Conventions, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. They have also called on Israel to temper its practices and alleviate the suffering that the Palestinian people have endured as a result.

Israeli aggression has extended to the Syrian Arab Republic; we believe that this aggression is similar to what the Palestinian territories are undergoing. The Israeli Government tends to export its crises from the Palestinian territories because of widespread internal opposition to the Government and its practices.

We have repeatedly warned in this very forum that we have been approaching the complete collapse of the peace process ever since the extremist Israeli Government took power. However, we would like to reaffirm that the Palestinian people will remain forever steadfast; this is a key feature of the resistance to Israeli occupation.

Unfortunately, unconditional United States support for Israeli policies gives Israel immunity and places it above the law. The Security Council is thus rendered impotent because the United States veto gives Israel immunity and protection. We hope that this United States policy will cease and that the United States will adopt a policy of fairness and justice, both in word and in deed.

I would like to mention here the speech delivered by President Bush in London on 19 November 2003, in which he called on Israel to stop building the separation wall, stop Jewish settlement activity in Palestinian territories and stop the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people. In that speech, he also renewed his Administration’s commitment to work on the establishment of the Palestinian State. However, President Bush also asked the European Union to have no dealings with President Arafat, although he did not mention him by name. The Israeli response to President Bush’s call was a blend of arrogance and extremism. The Israeli Foreign Minister affirmed that the construction of the separation wall would not stop and that this decision was irreversible.

Here we wonder if it is not time for the United States to rein in such Israeli arrogance, especially since United States military and economic aid is responsible for feeding this Israeli belligerence and for giving Israel an edge over all the other regional powers. We feel that there is still some time for the United States to conduct a comprehensive review of its strategy in the Middle East. A successful leadership is one that realizes its errors and blunders in policy and courageously retracts them before its people and the entire world - a world it aspires to continue to lead. We hope that the United States will reconsider the current situation and the way it deals with it. We hope it also considers the need to exert pressure on Israel to stop its arbitrary practices against the Palestinian people and to consider the danger of adopting the Israeli security logic as the only approach to stopping the current deterioration of the situation. Occupation and its practices are the main reason for that deterioration and no progress can be made on the security track without real progress on the political track, according to the r oad map, recently endorsed by the Security Council.

The Palestinian Prime Minister has stressed that he will not meet with the Israeli Prime Minister unless the latter demonstrates sufficient flexibility on the issues of ceasefire and withdrawal. He is right to do so, since the Israeli Government is the one trying to render the road map null and void and to have caused the failure of the ceasefire to which Palestinian factions were committed. Therefore, the Palestinian Prime Minister is justified in calling for a third party to guarantee a ceasefire and an Israeli withdrawal from all territories occupied by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza.

The current political situation bears witness to Israel’s procrastination and its efforts to kill the peace process, practices it has always excelled at. However, this time, it also aims at undermining even unofficial initiatives between political forces on the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The Israeli Prime Minister and members of his Government attack any initiative that mentions the Palestinian people’s rights at all, for example, the recent Geneva initiative. It is worth mentioning here that the Secretary-General of the Arab League, in his press conference on 6 November 2003, considered that initiative as a positive development and stated that it reflected true public opinion on both sides.

Before I conclude, I would like to state the following points. First, the continued Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and their political leadership, territories and resources in a complacent international environment is not the proper context for beginning or pushing forward the peace process in the region or for reaching a political solution. Here we affirm the need for the Security Council to establish a mechanism for implementing resolution 1515 (2003) on the implementation of the road map, so that this decision will not simply become another statistic among the other international resolutions that Israel continues to flout.

Secondly, we call for immediate international protection for the Palestinian people, who are being killed, displaced. We call for the establishment of an international observation mechanism that would monitor the situation, stop Israeli violations in the Palestinian territories and supervise the halt of work on the separation wall in accordance with the United Nations resolution until negotiations can be resumed.

Thirdly, the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, was elected by his people in free elections supervised by the international community. He is the historic leader of the Palestinian people and the symbol of their steadfastness and struggle and his continued besiegement or his removal would be a dangerous precedent that will destroy the principles of democracy, human rights and respect for law. Therefore, the international community must work to lift the siege against President Arafat and enable him to exercise his responsibilities in accordance with the provisional Palestinian constitution.

Fourthly, the Palestinian people, who have for many long years stood fast in the face of Israeli colonialism and Israel’s horrible oppression and aggression, are prepared to remain steadfast until they achieve their legitimate rights to freedom, independence and the establishment of an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital, and until they receive better treatment and attention from the international community, regardless of the many dangers and crises in the region. At the forefront of those crises is the Iraqi crisis that has captured the attention of all Arab countries and international Powers. History will not forgive those who help in the oppression and enslavement of people, because those who do so are planting and nurturing the seeds of hatred and violence, whose fires will burn everyone.

In closing, I would like to express my deep gratitude to all participants and to His Excellency Ambassador Papa Louis Fall, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, as well as to the other members of the Committee. I thank them for their tireless efforts, which I hope will bring the Palestinian people success.

Phyllis Bennis, on behalf of the international network of NGOs
on the question of Palestine

[Original: English]

I would like to extend my appreciation to the General Assembly’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for inviting me to participate in today’s solemn commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It is a tribute to the 1ong-standing and continuing commitment of the Committee, especially that of its chairman, Ambassador Fall, Ambassador Al-Kidwa, and the rest of the Committee’s leadership, that the General Assembly continues to remind the international community of the plight of Palestinians living under the illegal Israeli occupation.

That is an important act, without which the Palestinians might be functionally abandoned by many Governments and institutions around the world. But while recognizing the importance of keeping the issue of the occupation of Palestine at the center of the diplomatic stage, we must simultaneously recognize the larger failure of the international community to end that occupation. Despite the exceptional work of the Committee, and its support by many Member States, the General Assembly itself must be challenged for the inadequacy of its response to Israel’s occupation.

As you all are aware, the conditions facing the civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have significantly deteriorated. United Nations special rapporteurs have documented hunger and malnutrition on the rise. And it is significant that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, identifies that crisis as constituting a violation of the right to food, an internationally recognized human right, by the Israeli occupation authorities. Similarly, the United Nations Special Rapporteur dealing with human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory reports that “the occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory continues to result in widespread violations of human rights, affecting both civil and socio-economic rights, and of international humanitarian law.” John Dugard goes on to state that he “finds it difficult to accept that the excessive use of force that disregards the distinction between civilians and combatants, the creation of a humanitarian crisis by restrictions on the mobility of goods and people, the killing and inhuman treatment of children, the widespread destruction of property and, now, territorial expansion can be justified as a proportionate response to the violence and threats of violence to which Israel is subjected.” The cruel illusions of the so-called road map have collapsed, with the United Nations still denied the central diplomatic role mandated by the Charter of the United Nations in favour of the false multilateralism of the United States-dominated Quartet. And crucially, Israel continues construction of the separation wall, what many around the world describe as the apartheid wall, in violation of United Nations resolutions. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report to you, as mandated in paragraph 1 of General Assembly resolution ES-I0/13, states unequivocally that “Israel is not in compliance with the Assembly’s demand that it ‘stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’.”

Civil society organizations around the world recognize that, as representatives of all the Member States of the United Nations, as constituents of the most democratic organ within the United Nations family, you hold a grave responsibility. The protection of those languishing under military occupations lies in your hands. The restoration of human rights to those illegally denied such rights is your obligation. The defence of those unable to protect themselves is your burden.

And till now, I am sorry to say, that responsibility, that obligation, that burden, all remain unmet.

Since we last met in solemn commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the world has seen unprecedented transformations and faces many new dangers. The deterioration of the conditions of life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories parallels escalations in war, human rights violations and other crises across the Middle East region. Civil society has watched our global institutions face new challenges, as the Government of the United States, the most powerful nation in history, defied the Security Council to wage an illegal, unauthorized war in Iraq. We have watched as the Council has faced a new pattern of United States vetoes of otherwise unanimous resolutions aimed at providing protection for Palestinians living under occupation, at stopping the expansion of settlements and the land-grabbing apartheid wall, even those aimed at urging Israel not to carry out its threat to assassinate elected Palestinian President Yasir Arafat.

We have recently come through an extraordinary eight and one-half month period in which the Security Council, and the United Nations as a whole, resisted Washington’s demand for war. Since that time, we have watched the United States Government announce its intention to veto any future Council resolutions on the Middle East unless its unilateral demands are met. And we have seen the United States claim that the United Nations would become “irrelevant” if it refused to back Washington’s wars. But I would assert, to the contrary, that our global organization has never been more relevant, has never been more important and has never engendered more support from the peoples of the world, than during that period when the United Nations defended its Charter mandate to prevent the scourge of war.

The Security Council has been subjected to unparalleled diplomatic, political, economic and other pressures. The “uncommitted six” Council members, which stood defiant of the call to war, faced threats of potentially catastrophic consequences. And yet they responded to the demands of their staunchly anti-war populations and continued to say no to war. We should note that those Governments largely escaped unscathed.

But the Assembly too, faced unprecedented pressures. Many of you may have been recipients of a letter distributed by the United States Government to Governments around the world, in the last few days before Washington’s invasion of Iraq. That letter, demanding that the Assembly reject even a discussion of the Iraq crisis, used harsh language to make clear an unmistakable threat. “Given the current highly charged atmosphere”, one version of the letter read, “the United States would regard a General Assembly session on Iraq as unhelpful and as directed against the United States. Please know that this question as well as your position on it is important to the United States”.

We are not aware of a similarly specific threat regarding the Assembly’s work in defence of Palestinian rights and for an end to Israeli occupation. But we recognize that civil society, operating without the constraints of diplomacy, has the obligation to say out loud what many Governments and international civil servants cannot. It is clear that my Government’s pressure on every Member State, whether overt or unstated, as well as its pressure on the global institution itself, remain the key obstacles to fulfillment of the Assembly’s goals.

The General Assembly has taken important steps in responding to situations in which the Security Council is prevented, by veto or threat of veto, from acting. When the United States vetoed the Council’s resolution urging an end to threats against President Yasser Arafat, the Assembly moved into emergency special session and responded with resolution 10/12 of 19 September 2003. A month later, on 21 October, the Assembly passed resolution 10/13, also in emergency special session, calling on Israel to stop and reverse construction of the wall.

These steps are important, particularly because they demonstrate the virtual consensus that exists within the international community, largely excepting only the United States and Israel itself, for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. (Resolution 10/13 was particularly important in its reaffirmation of “the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force”, so often ignored in the reiteration of resolution 242).

But these steps, important as they are, are not enough. As many of you know, more than 300 people representing non-governmental organizations from all over the world working on the question of Palestine met in September, here at United Nations headquarters. Although some participants were unable to come because of restrictions imposed by the Host Country, delegations arrived from Palestine, Israel, many European countries, Japan, across the United States and elsewhere. During the meeting we reconstituted and renamed the International Coordinating Network on Palestine, representing global civil society activists involved with the fight for human rights and the application of international law to reach a just peace and an end to Israeli occupation. We remain very grateful to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and particularly to Ambassador Fall, to the Secretariat, and most especially to the Secretary-General for his support of the NGOs working on this issue, and his recognition of the importance of civil society’s role with and within the United Nations.

During that NGO meeting we agreed that our top programmatic priority for this period must be to oppose the construction of the separation wall. We all agreed that the wall provides the clearest example available of the nature of Israeli military occupation: expropriation of land, denial of human rights, especially economic and social rights, the killing and injuring of countless Palestinian civilians at checkpoints, making a viable Palestinian State alongside Israel impossible, and more. We have all been shocked to see the photographs on the United Nations web site showing that the wall’s reach has made it only the second man-made object in history visible from space, after the Great Wall of China.

We welcome the Assembly’s resolution demanding that Israel stop and reverse its construction of the wall. But we believe that the international community, and specifically the United Nations, is obligated under international law to go further. There is a widespread view within civil society that the clear legal violations inherent in Israel’s construction of the wall demand a legal response; the General Assembly should bring the issue to the International Court of Justice, or at least request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of the wall.

As civil society, we are concerned with raising public awareness of the urgency of this issue, understanding that the goal of such education campaigns will be to increase the pressure on our Governments across the world to play a more active role in pressing for an end to occupation. We recognize the United Nations is the only legitimate actor to centre international involvement aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. And further, we believe that strengthening the General Assembly’s position within the broader United Nations framework is a vital part of our work. As a result, we urge the Assembly to increase its strength, credibility and influence by responding to the vetoes of otherwise unanimous Security Council resolutions by passing resolutions identical to those obstructed in the Council, thereby demonstrating the world body’s rejection of the unilateral assertion of “might makes right” by one Member State.

Along with our focus on bringing down the separation wall, we remain concerned about the urgent necessity of protection for Palestinian civilians. When the ICNP met in September, we sent a letter to the Secretary-General and to the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly, urging an immediate campaign to provide such protection. In what has become an unfortunate kind of “business as usual”, the United States vetoed a proposed Council resolution that called for an end to Israeli threats to deport or harm President Arafat. The Assembly, appropriately, responded with its own resolution recognizing the illegality of Israel’s extrajudicial killings and of its deportations of Palestinians, as well as demanding an end to threats against Arafat.

But international obligations go farther. It is time the Assembly took greater initiative, acting under the Uniting for Peace precedent as it has in convening the tenth emergency special session, to craft a viable, operational plan to provide serious international protection to Palestinian civilians living under military occupation. Such protection would also, of course, provide protection to Israeli civilians facing the illegal attacks that are themselves the consequence of occupation. And it is unacceptable for the occupying Power to be allowed to block the will of the international community.

So far such protection has not been forthcoming. The failure of the international community - the failure of the United Nations - to provide serious protection to Palestinians living under occupation stands as a continuing indictment of the inadequacy of our efforts. This failure - and it is, I believe, a failure of political will, not of capacity - has led to too many grievous injuries, too many deaths. I want to remind you today about just one of those deaths. Not, as her parents so often remind us, because her death is more important than the deaths of so many Palestinians, like four-year-old Hanan Assar, killed by the Israeli military in Gaza’s Nuseirat refugee camp just one day after Rachel was killed, but because the death of young Rachel Corrie has become emblematic of civil society’s efforts to step into the breach caused by the United Nations failure to provide protection to Palestinians living under occupation. Rachel Corrie was a 23-year-old American peace activist, who was crushed to death by a Caterpillar bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier demolish ing a Palestinian house in Rafah, in the occupied Gaza Strip just eight and one-half months ago.

Our civil society organizations are very, very proud of Rachel Corrie, and the non-violent movement of which she was a part and which carries out its work today in her name. But our pride is not enough. We are determined to fight for a truly international protection force, under United Nations authority, which would make sacrifices such as Rachel’s unnecessary. We are sobered by the recognition that as of today, neither we nor the Palestinian people can count on such a commitment by the United Nations, and so the work - and sometimes the sacrifices - of these brave young internationals continues.

In the United States campaign to end Israeli occupation, and in civil society organizations around the world, we remain committed to bringing an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. We remain committed to working for a just peace and equal rights for all, based on human rights, international law, and the primacy of the United Nations. We look to you, the General Assembly, as the repository of legitimacy and the most democratic component of the United Nations, to take the lead in reclaiming United Nations centrality in this global campaign. We recall the shining moment, the eight and one-half months when you, the United Nations, stood with global civil society and Governments around the world to say no to war.

Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the Political Department
of the Palestine Liberation Organization


[Original: Arabic]

As we come to the end of this meeting, we would like to convey our gratitude to the Chairman for having convened this meeting to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We would also like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

We have listened attentively this morning to all the statements expressing solidarity with us, and in particular to the statements made by Julian Hunte, President of the General Assembly; Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and Stefan Tafrov, President of the Security Council. We greatly appreciate their sincere expressions of solidarity, which illustrate the support that exists for the people of Palestine and for the question of Palestine, which continues to be at the top of the agenda of the United Nations, as it has for more than half a century.

I would also like to express my appreciation for the messages of solidarity received by the Committee, which included messages from monarchs and heads of State or Government, who expressed the hope that this issue would be resolved as soon as possible, that an independent Palestinian State would be established and that peace, security and stability would prevail in the holy places.

We also listened carefully to the message sent by our brother Yasser Arafat, in which he expressed the true hopes of the Palestinian people to build a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. That message is clear proof that the Palestinian people indeed yearn for peace and, after many long years of suffering in the diaspora, want to live in peace in their own independent and sovereign State.

Our people have made persistent political efforts at peace in order to find along with their brother Arabs a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pursuant to United Nations resolutions. It is regrettable that Israel has not recognized those resolutions or taken into account the views of the international community. Israel has constantly pursued a policy of expansionism in Arab territories. It has used all sorts of violence, war and aggression in order to consolidate its occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands. Israel has now begun to absorb land through confiscation, establishing more and more settlements on those territories. Israel has also begun to build a racist wall of separation. It continues to confiscate land, demolish houses, raze farms and uproot fruit trees in order to prevent the Palestinian people from exploiting their own resources. In the course of the past three years, it has imposed severe closures. What is regrettable is that Israel indeed finds supporters for its unjust illegal positions, who protect it from international actions.

We sometimes wonder about those who describe Palestinian resistance to occupation in defence of their survival as terrorism. It is Israel that is pursuing a veritable Nazi occupation, imposing closures on the Palestinian people, depriving them of access to food and medicine. Israel continues a policy of assassinating citizens, political leaders, security officials and police officers. It also impedes the free movement of Palestinian citizens. Despite all those terrorist actions, the Palestinian leadership has decided to agree to a three-month ceasefire. We are putting an end to violence of all kinds, in the hope that Israel will respond positively to our peaceful approach.

Nevertheless, Israel continues its policy of aggression. During the ceasefire, 86 Palestinians have been killed, with Israel continuing its policy of targeted assassination of political leaders, bombarding their homes, dropping thousands of bombs and killing children and the elderly while destroying the surrounding densely populated areas. That is in itself proof that Israel deserves to be condemned. A European Union poll indicated that public opinion believes that Israel is the premier country that threatens international peace and security. It is well-known that Europe is a friend of Israel, as well as its main economic trading partner. It is also a political ally of Israel that, along with the United States, actually helped to establish Israel.

We welcome every political initiative by the various Palestinian and Israeli civil society groups. That is evidence of the fact that both peoples indeed want peace. Perhaps those initiatives will convince the Government of Israel that it must abandon its intransigent position and stop its aggression in order to open up the door to sincere international efforts that will push the peace process towards success. The Security Council has now unanimously endorsed the road map. That is the best way to establish the foundations of peace in the Middle East. We also hope that the General Assembly will address the issue of the racist wall of separation and request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, for the wall truly runs counter to every effort at establishing peace. An end must be put to Israel’s intransigence vis-à-vis the United Nations.

Israel cannot continue to control occupied Palestinian and Arab territories. All resolutions of the Arab summits - including those of the 1996 and 2002 summits - have confirmed our approach to a just peace. In 2002, the Arab summit undertook a political initiative that would contribute to laying a foundation for peace. That initiative, which was welcomed by European countries, the United States and the United Nations, was regarded as a major building block of a political settlement, as reflected in the road map. May peace prevail.


Closing statement by Papa Louis Fall, Chairman of the Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]

Before concluding this solemn meeting, I would like to thank everyone who made it possible, particularly the staff of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, the Department of Public Information and the Office of Central Support Services, as well as everyone else involved in making this meeting a success.

I also want to remind participants that a cultural exhibition of Palestinian art, organized by the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, will be opened at 6 p.m. this evening in the public lobby of the General Assembly building. This year’s exhibition, which is entitled “Palestine: reflections of resilience and hope”, will feature traditional Palestinian costumes, embroidery and accessories, as well as photographs and paintings. The collection will depict the spirit and the richness of Palestinian culture, which continues to endure despite decades of occupation. This is a tribute to the determination and resilience of the Palestinian people. The opening of the exhibition will be followed by a reception, to which all are cordially invited.

Immediately after this meeting, there will be a screening of the film entitled “Palestine: Story of a Land”. The film tells the story of Palestine from the late nineteenth century to the peace efforts of the early 1990s. Another film, entitled “Crossing Kalandia”, can be viewed in the exhibition area of the public lobby of the General Assembly building during exhibit hours. All are cordially invited to the screening sites to view the films.

I once again thank the interpreters and the Secretariat.



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: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I reiterate the support of the Afghan people and government, to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of self-determination and the right to an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.


Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria

[Original: French]

On the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to express, on behalf of the Algerian people and on my own behalf, my warmest and most sincere congratulations to the Palestinian people and its leadership.

This Day of commemoration comes at a time when the fraternal Palestinian people continue to be deprived of their legitimate right to live in peace in the land of their ancestors and continue to endure the brutality of foreign occupation.

Algeria, which has consistently expressed and demonstrated its support for the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people, wishes to reaffirm its unwavering solidarity with the fraternal Palestinian people on this memorable occasion. It is convinced that, like all peoples subjected to colonial or foreign occupation, the Palestinian people will find in the heroic commitment of their children and in the enduring support of the international community the necessary resources to assert their legitimate historical rights, in particular the right to establish their own sovereign State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

More than half a century has passed since the General Assembly adopted the resolution that provided for, inter alia, the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State. Until today, that decision has remained a dead letter and the Palestinian people are still awaiting the achievement of this legitimate goal. The international community in general and the United Nations in particular have a duty to remedy this injustice by making every effort to ensure the implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Palestine.

The road map drawn up by the Quartet and endorsed by the Security Council imposes a new obligation on the international community and creates new hope for a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, in keeping with the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and in conformity with international law.

On this solemn day of commemoration, I wish to reiterate Algeria’s support for the Palestinian people and to launch an urgent appeal to the international community as a whole and to the United Nations in particular to redouble their efforts to ensure that the road map is implemented without delay and to restore to the Palestinian people their legitimate and inalienable rights, in particular their right to establish their own independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

In this context, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, whose commitment and contribution have been an invaluable source of support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people, is called upon to play a leading role in continuing to mobilize further efforts and support to advance this noble cause until the day when the Palestinian people will finally be able to enjoy their full legitimate rights.


Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of Bangladesh

[Original: English]

On this solemn occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Bangladesh joins the international community in reaffirming our firm solidarity with the people of Palestine in their just and legitimate struggle for an independent and sovereign state with Al- Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. This annual commemoration provides us an opportunity for raising greater awareness and promoting deeper understanding of the question of Palestine and empathy for the suffering people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Sadly, the Day is also a reminder that the Palestinian issue remains far from being resolved despite the adoption of numerous United Nations resolutions and many international peace initiatives spanning over a period of more than half a century.

The past year has witnessed rapid deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the face of the continued violation of fundamental human rights by the Israeli occupation force. The peace process has also been stalled despite occasional glimmers of hope. Added to the daily human miseries and violence in the occupied territories, the ongoing construction of the so-called security wall by Israel seriously undermines international efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. In observing the Day today, we would urge the international community to act in unison with renewed vigour and greater resolve towards a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Bangladesh remains convinced that comprehensive peace in the Middle East can only be guaranteed through the full and unconditional implementation of all relevant United Nations resolutions. On its part, Bangladesh remains committed to all efforts that aim at achieving genuine peace in the region.

On this occasion, the people and government of Bangladesh join me in paying our warmest tribute to the memories of the men, women and children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory who have given their precious lives for the cause of peace, justice and independence of their country. We believe their supreme sacrifice will not go in vain and one day in a not too distant future, independent Palestine will take its rightful place among the comity of nations.


Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend, on behalf of the people and the Government of Brazil, my best wishes for peace and harmony to the Palestinian people. As we celebrate this day, it is sad to realize that instead of positive developments, we have been faced with a further deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the past twelve months.

Brazil reaffirms its firm commitment and support for the Palestinian people in their legitimate aspiration to self-determination. We reaffirm once again the responsibility of the United Nations, the Security Council in particular, for the implementation of its resolutions on the establishment of an independent, viable and democratic Palestinian State. Also, we expect Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, and to allow free access to international humanitarian assistance.

Brazil is faithfully committed to the aspiration of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in internationally recognized borders. Brazil reiterates its support to the work of the Quartet, in its goal to promote, with the cooperation of the international community, an end to terrorism and violence, an end to occupation, and a permanent settlement of conflict based on resolutions 242, 338 and other relevant resolutions of the Security Council. We share, in particular, the ideal of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders, as envisaged in resolution 1397. An encouraging recent development was the launching, by Israeli and Palestinian civil society representatives, of the Geneva Initiative, aiming at presenting a clear vision on how a peaceful and just future would look like.

It is our hope that political dialogue be resumed, prevailing over violence, so that the Palestinian people can finally benefit from an environment of peace and stability, where they can concentrate on their development and prosperity and thus achieve their full potential.


Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia

[Original: French]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the special pleasure, on behalf of the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia, of reaffirming our steadfast solidarity and strong support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to a Palestinian State within the territory of Palestine.

Allow me to take this opportunity to extend our best wishes to you and to the Palestinian people for peace in Palestine, which would allow for the establishment of a Palestinian nation.


Ricardo Lagos Escobar, President of Chile

[Original: Spanish]
(Unofficial translation)

On behalf of the people and the Government of Chile, I am extending sincere best wishes to you, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

This is a propitious occasion to reaffirm the commitment of our country for peace and security in the Middle East, and to reiterate our concern in the face of developments in the region, which pose danger for its stability. In this context, we reiterate our call today, for the involved parties to exercise moderation with a view to avoid a deterioration of the situation, which would frustrate the hopes for peace, which the international community ardently desires and promotes.

Reiterating my best wishes on this very special occasion, I wish to bring my deepest wishes for the return of a productive dialogue, which will put an end to the violence which affects the Middle East.


Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of China

[Original: Chinese]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the Intemationa1 Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, my warm congratulations to the observance of the Day.

The question of Palestine is at the core of the Middle East issue. The ultimate goal of its settlement is to reconcile the Arab and Jewish nations, restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and guarantee the common security, survival and development of all countries in the region. History shows that military means and violence could only deepen mutual animosity and hatred rather than help resolve the issue.

The Israeli-Palestinian situation is now at a critical juncture. We appeal to all parties concerned to cooperate with the international community in the peacemaking efforts, and to seek a political solution to the Middle East issue through negotiations on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of land for peace.

China stands ready to continue to work together with the international community for peace and stability in the Middle East.


Fidel Castro Ruz, President of Cuba

[Original: Spanish]
(Unofficial translation)

When over half a century has elapsed since the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of resolution 181(11), in which a decision was made to divide Palestine and create two States, one Jewish and one Arab, that should coexist in peace and harmony, there is still no materialization of the just aspiration of the Palestinian people to create its own State and live in peace it its own region.

These 56 years, which have been of hard sacrifice and heroic national liberation struggle for the Palestinian people, have been characterized by colonial wars launched by the occupying Power, that has annexed the territories of its Arab neighbours; by progress and setbacks in a peace process that is still stagnant; by attempts to stifle the Palestinian economy; and by the ever-increasing escalation of the violence against the Palestinian population in the occupied Arab territories.

Likewise, throughout this period, we have seen with profound concern how Israel continues to disregard international law systematically and with impunity, failing to comply with over a 100 resolutions of the most diverse United Nations bodies, including more than 60 Security Council resolutions. It is nobody's secret that such attitude is, to a large extent, the result of the lack of action and the passiveness of the said Council, hamstrung by the United States Government’s use of, and threat to use, the veto.

It is imperative that a just and lasting peace be reached in the Middle East, that may bring stability to that region and put an end to the spiral of violence that only in the last three years has caused the death of about 3,600 people - of whom nearly 2,800 are innocent civilian Palestinians.

The occupying Power must put an end to State terrorism, to extrajudicial executions and to the inordinate violence it is exerting against the civilian Palestinian population, helpless against a mighty army equipped with the most modern means of destruction - procured thanks to the economic support and the military supplies coming from the current world’s greatest superpower, which uses this country as a spearhead for its strategic objectives of domination in the region.

It must also abstain from continuing to threaten the physical integrity of the historic leader of the Palestinian people, Yasser Arafat, and stop the construction of the separation wall that is illegally building in a territory that belongs to this people with the intention of creating a Palestinian “Bantustan”.

Cuba ratifies its full support for the cause of the Arab peoples, particularly that of the Palestinian people.

We have the conviction that the road to peace in the Middle East is one of understanding and not of confrontation. The international community must not relinquish its endeavour to promote a negotiated solution, leading up to a just and lasting peace taking into consideration the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people.


Tassos Papadopoulos, President of Cyprus

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like, on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus, to express our deep concern and genuine sorrow at the adverse developments of the past three years, which have claimed thousands of innocent lives.

Cyprus strongly supports the full implementation of all the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), and 1515 (2003), in order to achieve a peaceful, comprehensive and viable settlement, which will usher in a new era of prosperity, cooperation and security for all the parties in the region.

We also support the right of the Palestinian people for the establishment of an independent sovereign State and we urge for the return of the parties to the negotiating table and the implementation of the commitments in the road map.

I emphasize our strong opposition to any and all forms of terrorism and any other action, which causes any form of hardship to ordinary people. It is my strong belief that religious and cultural diversity can provide the ground for the promotion of the universal values of peace and brotherhood.

It still remains our earnest hope that the international community will now provide its urgent attention and urge the parties concerned to put an end to the vicious cycle of violence and the tragic loss of innocent human lives.


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, Yasser Arafat]

I extend firm solidarity with you and the Palestinian people on the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People.

Today, Palestinian people under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization headed by you are waging a vigorous struggle to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and achieve national independence.

On this occasion, I sincerely wish you and the Palestinian people success in the struggle to retake the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people.


Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada

[Original: English]

The Government and people of Grenada in solidarity with the Palestinian people on their International Day, express the hope that their just aspiration for a free and independent State, existing in good neighbourliness with all people, will soon be realized.


General Lansana Conté, President of Guinea

[Original: French]

The commemoration of the historic date of 29 November gives me an opportunity to extend to you and to all the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People my warm congratulations and strong encouragement in the important and delicate mission that you so selflessly discharge in defence of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.

At this particularly critical stage in the Middle East peace process, I wish to reaffirm the active solidarity of the Guinean people and Government with the Palestinian Authority and its leader President Yasser Arafat, and to assure them of our continuing and complete confidence.

I remain convinced that, thanks to the unwavering support of all peoples who cherish peace and justice, the noble and just cause so valiantly defended by the martyred Palestinian people will emerge victorious.


Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India

[Original: English]

On this International Day of Solidarity, we remember the courageous struggle of the Palestinian people for their national aspirations. The recently-concluded United Nations General Assembly demonstrated that this legitimate cause continues to have universal support in the international community

Sadly, the hopes raised by the acceptance of the Quartet road map for a lasting peace in West Asia remain unrealized due to the continued cycle of violence and counter-violence. We need mutual accommodation and understanding to achieve the goal of a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to this conflict.

India continues to support the vision of Israel and Palestine, coexisting side by side as two independent States, within secure and recognized borders, in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. We support efforts to end the violence and to bring all parties back into negotiations. There can be no military solution to this problem.

On this day, we salute the indomitable spirit of the Palestinian people and their efforts, under the leadership of President Arafat, to realize their legitimate rights. India will maintain solidarity with the fraternal Palestinian people in this struggle.


Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of Indonesia

[Original: English]

On this occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to reaffirm the commitment of the Government and people of Indonesia in support of the continuing struggle of the Palestinian people for their just and inalienable rights to self-determination and for the establishment of an independent and sovereign State.

The realization of that independence is indeed not an easy task, as it requires an unrelenting and arduous struggle. For years, the Palestinian people have striven through numerous hardships and challenges. Nevertheless, through the optimistic attitude and high confidence demonstrated by the leaders and people of Palestine, I am convinced that the independence of the people of Palestine will ultimately be achieved.

The Government and people of Indonesia harbour the hope that the Quartet’s road map, launched in April 2003 as an attempt to settle the conflict between Palestine and Israel, would be respected by all the parties concerned. This avenue constitutes the best measure for the resolution of this conflict, so as to avoid further inflicting a human toll on innocent people. Indonesia also bears the hope that this step-by-step resolution of the conflict would eventually lead to two sovereign and equal States - Palestine and Israel - living side by side in peace in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolution 1397 (2002).

Through the current observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Indonesia calls on the international community to jointly preserve the road map and prevent it from being blemished by actions that would cause a deteriorating situation and in the end result in a failure.

Indonesia urges the international community to remain actively involved in supporting the implementation of the road map in the Middle East. Ending the occupation of Palestine by Israel is the first and ultimate prerequisite for the achievement of peace in the Middle East, so that the conflict in Palestine that has brought innumerable victims and sufferings would cease.

In this connection, Indonesia would like to stress that the international community should remain committed to the objective of establishing a viable and sovereign Palestinian State. Furthermore, the international community should also urge Israel to respect and implement the relevant resolutions on the Palestinian issue, such as General Assembly resolution 194 (1948) as well as Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and 1397 (2002).

In conclusion, along with the entire people of Indonesia, I pray that the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People would usher the way to the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State and of a dignified independent nation.


Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

[Original: Persian]
[Unofficial translation]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
At the same time as we commemorate our solidarity with the Palestinian people, innocent Palestinian men, women and children are victims of inhuman and racist policies. Indeed, today they are suffering even more than ever before under criminal acts and barbarous Zionist aggressions. The continuing terrorist acts and military operations of the Occupying Regime of Al-Quods against the long-suffering Palestinians and their leaders are a symptom of the obvious state terrorism which is threatening the very existence of an oppressed nation. The continuance of such policies in the occupied lands not only entails the destruction of both the Islamic and Christian heritage and destroys the economical foundation in these areas, but also serves to escalate the crisis in the Middle East. This increases instability in the region and also threatens international peace and security. On this basis, the intifada of the resisting Palestinian people is their legitimate and natural right. Under such terrible conditions it is their response to the aggressions and unjust repression.

Plans which have hoped to solve the Palestinian problem, even those which have not always provided for the rights of Palestinians, have not come to conclusion. This is due to their being rejected by the Zionist regime and its non-compliance with any commitment. In some cases, even when this regime has accepted the plans, it has constantly found pretexts not to implement same and has thus nullified their relevance.

We believe that a sustainable solution to this crisis must be sought out in a context that pays close attention to the roots of the crisis. Such a solution should bring to an end the occupying of Palestine and provide the people of this land with their inalienable rights with regard to the establishment of a Palestinian governing system in the entire Palestinian territory with Al-Quods as its capital.

Among possible solutions for this crisis are the unconditional return of refugees to their homeland and the participation of all inhabitants in the entire Palestinian territory, including Moslems, Jews and Christians in a democratic referendum for self-determination and the political future of Palestine.

It is expected that international bodies and especially the United Nations act with all their possible means and use all their resources to support the people of Palestine, who for more than half a century have suffered in an unequal and brutal battle with the Zionist regime.

As President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I take this opportunity to express my people's solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine and my hope that the international community will do whatever is necessary for the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. I fervently wish for the implementation of a just peace in Palestine.


King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan

[Original: Arabic]

On this annual occasion, when we affirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to achieve independence, I extend to you, Mr. Chairman, and to your distinguished Committee my profound gratitude and appreciation for your unflagging efforts to assist in the attainment of a noble humanitarian objective, that of enabling the Palestinian people to lead a normal life in the enjoyment of dignity and hope, and sovereignty over their territory, their property and their natural resources.

One of the most important features of our solidarity with the Palestinian people is that it is manifested within the framework of your Committee, which is a product of international legitimacy embodied by the United Nations and its resolutions relating to the Palestinian cause. The work of your Committee therefore exemplifies the link between the Palestinian cause and international legitimacy, on the one hand, and, at the same time, embodies a belief in conflict resolution by peaceful means within the framework of that legitimacy. The work of your Committee is therefore, in truth, one of the major sources of assistance for the struggle of the Palestinian people striving to obtain freedom and independence in their homeland. The task you are performing is therefore a truly noble one. I therefore greet you, Mr. Chairman, just as I greet the members of your distinguished Committee, in the same spirit in which I salute the struggle of the Palestinian people.

As far as we in Jordan, the immediate neighbour of Palestine, are concerned, like you we have endeavoured since the onset of the assault against the Palestinian people and their destiny, and still continue to do so, through the international rule of law, to safeguard their rights and enable Palestine to become established in its territory and to exercise full national rights. Our initiative in Jordan continues to be informed by two fundamental and inseparable commitments. The first is to the principle of justice, international legitimacy and the resolutions of the United Nations while the second commitment is to the support of a people that is defending its territory and freedom. We are bound to the Palestinian people by the fabric of an ancient Arab culture among the most important features of which are its wide-ranging humanitarian associations, the subtlety of its value system and the morality embodied in its three divinely revealed religions.

With respect to diplomatic activity, Jordan’s efforts have consistently been characterized by reliance on international legitimacy and based on peaceful dialogue. We have never shared the view of those who regard extra-legal force as a civilized means of resolving disputes. That being so, we have responded positively to all peaceful initiatives based on legal authority. This has also been our approach with respect to Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which denied the legitimacy of the acquisition of territory by military force. That resolution is still viable; its authority has a direct bearing on the prevailing situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and it remains one of the cornerstones of the peace process that began in Madrid in 1991, just as it represents the legal background and the moral commitment underpinning the vision launched by the President of the United States, George W. Bush, in June last year expressing the commitment of the United States to two States, the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, living side by side in peace in the historical land of Palestine.

What makes the commitment by President Bush extremely important is that the United States, over the past decade, has amply demonstrated a clear commitment to the necessity of applying the resolutions of the United Nations, in particular those of the Security Council. We therefore have high hopes in the seriousness of the United States, despite the obstacles and pretexts that are being put forward with a view to hindering the implementation machinery of President Bush’s vision, namely the attempts to obstruct the road map.

In the light of the tragic and deteriorating situation we are witnessing in the Palestinian territory in terms of military occupation and the practices of the Israeli war machine on the one hand, and the reactions to them and the corresponding attacks on civilians and innocent people, on the other hand, despite the clear disparity between the size of the contending forces and the yawning gulf between the means available to the two sides for wreaking death and destruction, we must reinstate the implementation of the road map in the Palestinian territory, a task that demands a commitment and persistent efforts on the part of all of us. In this context we commend the efforts made by the Quartet and the efforts of the Russian Federation to ensure the adoption of a resolution by the Security Council concerning the need to implement the road map under international auspices and supervision.

As far as the separation wall that Israel is building is concerned, I say that, just as the yearning of mankind for human and cultural continuity has been able to transcend the loftiest and widest geographical barriers, whether mountains or oceans, so I am convinced that there are still among the Israeli people individuals and groups that will resist having their names and history linked with the construction of another concrete wall like the previous one that was overthrown by the determination of those yearning for human continuity and freedom. But, until the separation wall disappears, it will remain a source of suffering and will rend the fabric of a human community with a deep-rooted culture. It is therefore incumbent on us to do whatever we can to halt the progression of this wall that is being constructed by Israel on land that, in the final analysis, does not belong to it.

In conclusion, permit me, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, to thank you and to shake your hands because you are helping to kindle the hope that others will share in the blessing of freedom.

The peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.


Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, I would like, on behalf of the Government and Lao people, to take this opportunity to commend the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People done throughout the year. This is an auspicious event for all peace-loving people worldwide to demonstrate their solidarity with the Palestinian people, as well as to express their commitment to the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

In the light of the tragic and violent situation on the ground, we are gravely concerned about the great losses of lives and materials of innocent peoples in the Middle East. The continuing extrajudicial executions, destruction of infrastructure, incarceration of civilians and severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have not contributed to the improvement of the situation but have led instead to a further worsening of conditions. We urge all parties to fully reconsider the consequences of their own actions and proceed with the utmost prudence and restraint. In this respect, we also believe that all acts of violence, terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction must cease immediately so as to pave the way for a political solution.

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic wishes to reiterate its support for a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole. As evidenced by the rapidly deteriorating situation, the Quartet's road map to peace in the Middle East is at a critical juncture. Nevertheless, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, which always attaches great importance to peace and stability in the Middle East, is of the conviction that the road map still remains the only viable way to achieving a two-State solution for Israel and Palestine, living peacefully side by side within secure and recognized borders. In the meantime, in order to bring an effective end to the Israeli occupation, it will be imperative that Israel start to withdraw from all the territory occupied since 1967, halt and dismantle all settlement buildings, and that the right of all States in the region to security and peace be respected. In this context, we would like to reaffirm the importance of and renew the call for the full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and 1397 (2002) and the principle of land for peace as the basis for a peaceful solution.

Once again, let me reiterate our solidarity and full support to the Palestinian people under the leadership of Chairman Yasser Arafat, in their struggle to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination, including the right to create a Palestinian sovereign State in the region.


Eddie Fenech Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

[Original: English]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed by the United Nations close to the anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of the 1947 resolution, which first provided for a two-State solution in Palestine.

This year’s observance constitutes yet again a sad reminder of the fact that, fifty-six years later, the two-State solution remains an unfulfilled objective. The Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly, namely, the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced. On this occasion, the Government and people of Malta renew their expression of sympathy and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their legitimate endeavours towards dignity and nationhood.

Today we are also sadly reminded of the tragedy and bitterness, which continue to accompany the failure to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine.

Malta has consistently supported the efforts of the international community in the search for such a solution. We remain convinced that a negotiated settlement based on relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly 242 and 338, and the principle of land for peace, is the only way forward. In this spirit we are strongly supportive of the road map to realize the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as affirmed in Security Council resolutions 1397 and 1515 and presented by the Quartet to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 30 April 2003.

Once again, we urge and encourage the parties involved to move away from the path of confrontation and violence and to work towards peace and legitimacy on the basis of the solutions being proposed by the international community.


Paul Raymond Bérenger, GCSK, Prime Minister of Mauritius

[Original: English]

[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, Yasser Arafat]
I wish to convey to you the good wishes of the Government and people of the Republic of Mauritius on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

I salute your outstanding courage in the face of adversity. Your bombed compound is a symbol of your determination and that of your people not to give in to injustice, occupation and systemic humiliation. We are with you in your struggle to regain the dignity of a free Palestinian people.

The Government of the Republic of Mauritius expresses its grave concern over the construction of a security fence inside the Palestinian territories by the Government of Israel despite international condemnation.

The Government of the Republic of Mauritius believes that the road map proposed by the Quartet, if fully implemented by both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, could pave the way for genuine progress towards achieving peace in the region. We urge you to make every effort for its timely implementation so that the Palestinians can witness the establishment of a Palestinian State within the shortest possible time.

I take this opportunity to reiterate the unflinching support of the Government of the Republic of Mauritius to the legitimate and inalienable right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign State within secure boundaries.


Sam Nujoma, President of Namibia

[Original: English]

On behalf of the people and Government of the Republic of Namibia and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to express to you, and through you to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people, our support on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 1 December 2003.

The people of Namibia have followed with deep concern the ever deteriorating political and security situation in and around the Occupied Palestinian Territory. To this end, I wish to reiterate our unwavering support and solidarity to the people of Palestine under the leadership of Chairman Yasser Arafat. We encourage you to persevere and carry on with the liberation struggle until your inalienable rights to self-determination and independence has been realized.

As we reiterate our solidarity with the people of Palestine, we continue to endorse and strongly support the full and unconditional implementation of the road map programme and all other United Nations resolutions, which call for the peaceful settlement of the conflict between the two parties which will bring about a two-State solution, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.


General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan

[Original: English]

Today, as we observe the International Day of Solidarity with the people of Palestine, the region is trapped in a vicious cycle of violence. The road map, which raised many hopes among Israelis and Palestinians lies in shambles. The two-State solution envisaged by international community 56 years ago seems a distant dream and peace in the region remains elusive.

Israel’s policies and actions in the region are rendering the peace process meaningless. The construction of the so-called security fence, air strikes on Syrian territory and threats of expelling President Ararat have further aggravated the situation. Pakistan unequivocally denounced these measures and co-sponsored resolutions in the United Nations calling upon Israel to desist from taking actions that impede the peace process with grim implications.

Pakistan is deeply dismayed and shares concern of the international community over these unfortunate developments. While we have repeatedly underscored the need for restraint on both sides, let me emphasize that without minimal conditions of security and freedom for Palestinians, it is impossible to achieve any progress towards peace. The Palestinians are entitled to justice, without which there can be no lasting peace.

Pakistan has supported all international efforts aimed at the resolution of this lingering conflict, including Crown Prince Abdullah’s peace initiative, United Nations Security Council resolution 1397 and the Quartet’s road map, which affirm the vision of a Palestinian State living side by side with Israel within secure and recognized borders. Pakistan also supported resolutions 1402, 1403. 1405 and 1435, which, inter alia, call upon Israel to withdraw troops from all Palestinian cities and the implementation of a meaningful ceasefire.

On this day, the Government and the people of Pakistan reiterate that durable peace can only be achieved through negotiations and efforts to impose a military solution in Palestine are bound to fail. Pakistan firmly believes that lasting peace can only be established by implementing United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which call for respecting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right of return and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.


Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar

[Original: Arabic]

Permit me, at the outset, to convey my appreciation and gratitude to the international community for its support and solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain their legitimate and inalienable right to self-determination and to establish their own independent State with the Holy City of Jerusalem as their capital.

The international community marks this day, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977. The occasion has come around once again and the Palestinian question, which is at the heart of the Arab-Israeli dispute in the Middle East, remains unresolved, despite numerous efforts that have been made over the years, ever since the United Nations decided to partition Palestine on 29 November 1947.

As you are aware, the peace process is facing a real crisis and numerous obstacles, which threaten its complete collapse, because the present Israeli Government continues to disregard the agreements concluded with the Palestinian side and to avoid carrying out its obligations and honouring the claims against it by virtue of those agreements. It is also hindering the implementation of the road map prepared by the Quartet to bring about a peaceful settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

The continuation by Israel of its policy of imposing diktats and faits accomplis, the arrogance of power exemplified by the confiscation of Palestinian land, the building of Israeli settlements and pressing ahead with the policy of the Judaization of the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem with the objective of eradicating its Arab identity and erasing its religious, historical and cultural status, launching its barbarous military campaigns against the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory and continuing to engage in murder and assassination are serious violations of international law and constitute war crimes against the Palestinian people who are also facing humiliation and starvation, and the violation of the most elementary human rights that are enjoyed by peoples throughout the world.

The continued construction of the racist separation wall which has become a further de facto obstacle to the establishment of the State of Palestine within the borders of 4 June 1967, together with the continuation of settlement activity and the failure to dismantle the settlements, is totally at variance with the objectives of the road map and prevents the attainment of the aspirations of a people struggling to end the occupation and to attain freedom and independence.

Israel has not so far ceased its endeavours to perpetuate the state of occupation and to expel the Palestinian people, but has gone even further than that, to the surprise of the international community, by its decision to banish President Yasser Arafat from Palestinian territory. That was deplored by the international community, which rejected Israel’s violation of all legal norms, together with the serious consequences to which it would lead.

We call on Israel to respect international legitimacy and to cease the repressive practices that are increasing tension in the region, and we reiterate our appeal for the continuation of dialogue, for joint efforts and for the implementation of the road map to which there is currently no alternative. We also invite the members of the Quartet to lose no time in establishing the implementation mechanism for the road map, to take measures that are capable of being implemented and of building confidence between the parties to the conflict within the framework of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002), and the principle of land for peace. That is the only means of ending the continuing cycle of violence, resolving the differences between the two sides and achieving a lasting and just peace and a peaceful coexistence between the parties.


Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation

[Original: Russian]

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

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people I am happy to send my sincere congratulations and best wishes to you and through you to all Palestinians.

On this day, the Palestinian people find themselves in a situation of armed confrontation, which runs counter to the fundamental interests of both Palestinians and Israelis. Active efforts by all parties are needed to overcome this protracted crisis, which is fraught with grave consequences for regional security and stability.

We are convinced that this requires the immediate cessation of violence and terror, the establishment of political dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and Israel and consistent movement forward towards the goal set in the road map, namely, the creation of an independent Palestinian State coexisting in peace and security with Israel. We feel that the key condition for speedy achievement of a settlement in the region is strict compliance by both parties with their obligations as provided in the road map, a document to which there is today no alternative.

Russia has untiringly supported the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and intends to continue to exert every effort to achieve lasting peace, security and stability in the Middle East.


Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal

[Original: French]

The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People gives me another opportunity to reaffirm the unwavering support of the Government and people of Senegal for our Palestinian brothers and sisters who for so long have been waging a just and legitimate struggle for their inalienable right to sovereignty in a free and independent State.

In the face of the grave deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, I wish to renew to my friend and brother, President Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, all my admiration for his exemplary courage and tenacity in dealing with the many attempts at destabilization against his person and against the Palestinian Authority.

Thanks to his strong sense of moderation, dialogue and responsibility, President Arafat has remained serene and faithful to his commitments both to his people and to the international community and all partners who care about peace and justice.

As the democratically elected leader of the Palestinian people, President Arafat remains in our view an authority whose status and legitimacy can in no way be called into question.

Senegal is gravely concerned at the continued confinement of President Arafat in Ramallah and calls upon the occupying Power to put an end to this unacceptable violation of the freedom of movement of the head of the Palestinian Authority.

The politics of fait accompli pursued through the building of a wall of separation, collective punishment, the illegal establishment of settlements and repeated violations of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War are acts whose persistence is a major impediment to the creation of a climate conducive to dialogue and negotiation.

Faithful to its principled opposition to violence, from whatever quarter, Senegal makes a solemn appeal for a return to the negotiating table on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the principle of land for peace and the road map for achieving a lasting solution under which two States, Israel and Palestine, would coexist peacefully within secure and internationally recognized borders.

The international community must remain vigilant and mobilized to support and assist all those of goodwill who are working to restore confidence and to assist the parties in resuming their dialogue.

In this spirit, I welcome the courageous initiative taken recently by eminent Israeli and Palestinian figures, who elaborated the Geneva plan for peace in the Middle East.

As the guarantor of international peace and security, the United Nations must continue to fully play the role and assume the responsibility that it has under the Charter until the question of Palestine is definitively settled.

That is why I welcome the formal approval of the road map in resolution 1515 (2003), adopted unanimously by the Security Council at its meeting on 19 November 2003.

I know the determination with which the Secretary-General of the United Nations, our friend Kofi Annan, remains engaged alongside all partners to achieve this objective. He deserves our appreciation and active support.

I call upon the international community to provide economic and financial support to the humanitarian organizations working in the occupied territories to improve the tragic lot of the Palestinian populations under the control of the occupying Power.

I pay tribute to all the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and to the non-governmental organizations for their ongoing mobilization and their commendable initiatives to assist the Palestinian people in regaining all of their legitimate rights.

I am hopeful that these efforts will not be in vain. It is for us to keep alight the flame of peace so that one day, which I hope will come soon, it can light the path to peaceful coexistence for all the peoples of this region who are condemned by history and geography.


Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa
[Original: English]

On behalf of the people and Government of South Africa I extend greetings to the Palestinian people, the newly formed Palestinian Government and to President Yasser Arafat on behalf of the people and Government of South Africa on this occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Many have given their lives in this struggle for dignity and sovereignty. Let us observe a minute of silence to remember all of those who have lost their lives in the tragic conflict during the past year. At this time we also mourn the loss of one of Palestine's greatest sons - Edward Said, who has lost his long struggle with leukaemia.

Minute of silence

In the past year we have witnessed increasing global instability, not least of all in the Middle East. While the international community is focusing on the developments in Iraq and the increased threat of global terrorism, Palestinians have become less secure and less free in their own cities and villages. The deployment of the Israeli Defence Force around (so-called) Palestinian-controlled cities in the West Bank; numerous military incursions into both the West Bank and Gaza Strip; the continuation of extrajudicial killings and the blockades and other forms of collective punishment have rendered Palestinians fundamentally vulnerable.

Although Israel has legitimate security concerns, limits must be placed on the violation of human rights in the name of counter-terrorism. In the present international environment, in which anti-terrorism measures challenge old liberties and freedoms, a balance must be struck between respect for basic human rights and the interests of security. Israel’s response to suicide bombings and Palestinian violence is disproportionate and on occasion so remote from the interests of security that it assumes the character of punishment, humiliation and conquest.

Equally, we stand firm in our belief that no cause can justify the resort to terror against innocent civilians whether Palestinian or Israeli. Acts of terror cannot deliver the much cherished peace and security that is sought by Palestinians and Israelis alike. Similarly, acts of violence by radical minorities should not be used as a pretext to stop the implementation of the road map.

The South African Government has pointed out before the futility of these acts of violence. It inevitably leads to acts of retribution and retaliation, fuelling the never-ending cycle of violence. The South African experience has demonstrated that political progress is the most effective tool to marginalize those opposed to peace. Peace can only be achieved through a negotiated settlement that provides for a sovereign Palestinian State and guarantees the right of Israel to live within secure borders.

Real progress on the way to peace will only be made when both parties comply with their obligations, as outlined in the road map, without any preconditions. Non-compliance with obligations runs counter to efforts by the international community to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

South Africa welcomed the positive outcome of the Aqaba meeting, which effectively launched the road map and reopened direct negotiations between the Israeli and the Palestinian leaderships. The pledges made by both parties in Aqaba implied a clear commitment by the respective leaderships of Israel and Palestine to creating the necessary conditions for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Recent decisions by the Israeli Security Cabinet are therefore disappointing and will only result in weakening the road map.

Israel’s continued construction of the separation wall, despite overwhelming international opposition, is an issue of increasing concern. It also runs contrary to the will of the international community as reflected in United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/ES-l0/13 of 21 October 2003. The South African Government does not believe the construction of the so-called security wall represents a legitimate security measure. The wall, with a total projected length of 580 kilometres, twice the length of the Green Line, will effectively become a de facto border, thereby annexing approximately 48 percent of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley.

As proof of this new reality, the Israeli Defence Force recently issued a number of military orders requiring Palestinians in the IDF determined “closed zone”, the area between the completed wall and the Green Line, to apply for permits to remain living in their homes. These residency permits are issued on average for no longer than six months, necessitating As proof of this new reality, the Israeli Defence Force recently issued a number of military orders requiring Palestinians in the IDF determined “closed zone”, the area between the completed wall and the Green Line, to apply for permits to remain living in their homes. These residency permits are issued on average for no longer than six months, necessitating perpetual renewal and forcing the residents of this area to subject themselves time and again to Israeli scrutiny.

The wall will not bring security to Israel, but may instead render the two-State solution obsolete. It is this stark reality, more than any other that has moved people on both sides of the conflict to question the continued relevance of the two-State solution. The Israeli Government has published, in the first ten months of this year, more than 1,600 new housing tenders for new houses to be built in settlements. An expansion of settlements is in direct contravention of Israel’s obligations as set out in the road map. Facts like these put a question mark over the Israeli Government’s commitment to the road map and the two-State solution. All parties to the conflict should avoid actions that could add to an already volatile situation.

The road map not only places obligations on both sides, but also compels them to act in a manner that is supportive of each other. Israel has acted contrary to the spirit of the road map, by acting in a manner that makes it impossible for the Palestinian Leadership to proceed.

South Africa unequivocally supports the creation of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital living in peace, side by side with Israel. 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 recently published Geneva Initiative clearly demonstrates that there are peace-loving Israelis and Palestinians who are committed to a negotiated solution and who understand the necessity of compromise in order to reach such a solution. These initiatives project hope and courage. South Africa is proud to have contributed to this important initiative through our support to those in Palestine and Israel who are committed to a peacefully negotiated solution.

In spite of the depressing conditions in Palestine, South Africa continues to hope, together with those who have the courage to seek a negotiated solution, that the next year will bring Palestinians closer to a better future.


Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President of of Sri Lanka

[Original: English]

The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which takes place annually at the United Nations, has a special significance and relevance this year. Sri Lanka reiterates its unwavering support for all multilateral and bilateral actions towards the promotion and protection of Palestinian rights.

Sri Lanka has consistently extended firm and unequivocal support for the Palestinian struggle, under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat, to enable the people of Palestine to realize their inalienable rights including the establishment of a State.

Sri Lanka has recognized the State of Palestine. We remain committed to this policy since it is our view that the people of all States in the region have the right to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders.

I wish to convey my sympathies to all innocent victims of senseless violence. It is my fervent hope that the violence will end immediately and that the peace process will resume forthwith for a durable settlement.

I take this opportunity to reaffirm, on behalf of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, our continuing solidarity with the Palestinian people at this crucial time.


Omer Hassan Ahmed Albashir, President of the Sudan

[Original: Arabic]

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People I am pleased to affirm to you the total solidarity of the people and Government of the Sudan with the Palestinian people and its legitimate leadership. I also affirm the support and backing of the Sudanese people for the steadfast Palestinian people facing Israeli aggression and occupation.

We reiterate on this occasion the support of the people and Government of the Sudan for the Palestinian people in their heroic struggle to establish an independent state with the Holy City of Jerusalem as its capital.

We also, on this occasion, renew our appeal to the international community to take the necessary steps in the face of Israeli arrogance and intransigence and the need to compel it to implement the relevant international resolutions.


Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Government and people of the Kingdom of Thailand, I wish to join with the international community on this auspicious occasion in expressing our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their long struggle to restore their inalienable rights against foreign occupation. The International Day of Solidarity provides an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine remains unresolved.

The lives of innocent civilians are lost almost on a daily basis, many of whom are, unacceptably, children. To achieve the goal envisioned by the Quartet, of two nations living side by side within secure and recognized borders, the violence and terror that currently afflicts the region must be brought to an immediate end. Let me reiterate that Thailand rejects terrorism in any form, and we are committed to continuing our cooperation with the international community to eradicate this scourge. Thailand renders her support for a comprehensive approach to forge a lasting peace without resorting to the use of force. The rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination must be respected, while at the same time taking into account their humanitarian and economic needs. We believe that the peace initiative of the Quartet group provides a practical road map towards a permanent settlement of the issue.

While United Nations Security Council resolutions and deadlines of peace initiatives have gone by unfulfilled in the past, we must remain hopeful that the cause of peace in the region will prevail. The Royal Thai Government offers its full support to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority in the pursuit of this goal.


Gnassingbe Eyadema, President of Togo

[Original: French]

On the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend to you on behalf of the people and Government of Togo and on my own behalf, our sincere and warm congratulations.

On this occasion, Togo once again expresses its hope that peace will soon return to the Middle East through a final settlement of the Palestinian question.

To that end, we call for an end to violence and a resumption of negotiations, taking into account the legitimate rights of each people to live within internationally recognized borders.

Togo strongly appeals to all countries, which value peace and justice, to focus their efforts on building a lasting peace in the Middle East, a part of the world which has given so much to humanity through its culture and civilization.

May the observance of this Day help to foster fraternal concord between Palestinians and Israelis, two peoples fated to live together.


Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia

[Original: Arabic]

Together with other countries of the world, Tunisia is celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People under particularly delicate circumstances in which serious developments are taking place in the occupied Palestinian territory as a result of Israel’s persistent escalation of its aggressive practices against the defenceless Palestinian people.

In clear violation of international instruments and custom, the Israeli forces of occupation are continuing to blockade the Palestinian people, destroying their infrastructure and property and confiscating their land, desecrating their holy places, continuing to carry out massacres and assassinations and persisting in the further expansion of settlements, the construction of the separation wall and the targeting of the legitimate Palestinian leadership.

Tunisia is watching with deep concern the deterioration of the situation in the Palestinian territory. It condemns the tyrannical policy of Israel and affirms its active solidarity with the fraternal Palestinian people and its firm support for their just cause. Tunisia renews its call for the provision to Palestine of the necessary international protection and for urgent and effective action to halt the serious deterioration of the situation in the Middle East as a whole and to prevent the spread of tension in the region. Tunisia also calls upon the international community, which is marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to express its solidarity through practical and tangible measures, to intervene decisively to put an end to the aggression and to make the Israeli Government comply with international law and to respond seriously and responsibly to the various initiatives and efforts aimed at reviving the peace process.

In this context, the United Nations is called on to play the role conferred upon it by its resolutions by finding the desired equitable solution to the Palestinian problem and to the dispute in the Middle East as a whole by working with the parties involved on the implementation of the road map and on the resumption of negotiations to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East by enabling the Palestinian people to attain their full legal rights, foremost among them the right to establish their independent State in their own territory with the Holy City of Jerusalem as its capital, and ensuring the return to the fraternal States of Syria and Lebanon of all their occupied territory.

Tunisia expresses its appreciation of the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to establish those rights and it reaffirms its continuing support for the Committee in its noble work of assisting the Palestinian people.


Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of Turkey

[Original: Turkish]
(Unofficial translation)

On the happy occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to reaffirm the support of the Turkish nation for the just cause and demands of the people of Palestine.

The Palestinian people need to attain their inalienable rights if the long-desired atmosphere of peace, calm and stability is to be established in the region. We observe with appreciation the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to this end.

It has become clearly evident with the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that a violent environment does not serve peace. An historical responsibility lies both with the Governments of the Palestinian Administration and Israel to put an end to this situation and achieve a just settlement. In this framework, we believe that the road map issued by the Quartet presents a great opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Both sides need to genuinely cooperate with one another in order to bring the clashes, terror and violence to an end. Under today's prevailing conditions, priority must be given to the parties’ resumption of dialogue towards peace as soon as possible.

Having Palestine take its place as a sovereign and equal member within the community of nations is regarded as the principal issue among the basic rights of the Palestinian people. As emphasized in United Nations Security Council resolution 1397, we believe that the realization of the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security would be vitally important to establish peace.

The successful completion of the reforms by the Palestinian Authority, which are also supported by the international community, to shape the administrative and institutional framework of the future Palestinian State is deemed important. Indeed, Turkey contributes to the reform process as well. On the other hand, a constructive environment is required to advance the political course towards a solution in parallel to the reform process in Palestine and to continue the increasing support of the Palestinian people for domestic reforms.

Turkey is concerned about the further deterioration of the living conditions of the Palestinians due to the blockade around the Palestinian communities and the wall that is being constructed in the West Bank by the Israeli Government for security reasons. The improvement of the living conditions of the Palestinian people and the restructuring of the Palestinian economy to enable it to become self-sufficient are issues that should be tackled with priority and urgency in order to revive the Palestinian peoples’ hopes for peace. Turkey will continue her tangible, spiritual and political support towards ending the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Stressing the importance of the invaluable work of your Committee, I would like to assure you that Turkey will continue to support the just cause of Palestine and display her solidarity with the Palestinian people with determination. Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to convey to you, on behalf of the Turkish nation and on my own behalf, my sincere wishes for the welfare and prosperity of the Palestinian people.


Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, President of the United Arab Emirates

[Original: Arabic]

The peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.

On behalf of the Government and people of United Arab Emirates, it gives me great pleasure to express to you and to the distinguished members of the Committee our profound gratitude and appreciation for your stand and for your noble and admirable efforts to strengthen the support of the international community for the Palestinian cause and to draw attention to the sufferings inflicted on the Palestinian people by the sustained policies of aggression that have been followed by successive Israeli Governments to consolidate the occupation and the illegal and illegitimate annexation of the territory, property and natural resources of the Palestinian people.

Our annual celebration of solidarity with the Palestinian people occurs this year at a time when the Palestinian cause has reached a critical and very delicate phase as a result of the steady escalation of the policies of Israel in its occupation of Palestinian territory. Israel’s conduct has exceeded all the bounds of morality and of human conventions and laws, including the relevant resolutions of the United Nations. We recently welcomed the efforts of the Quartet and the announcement of the road map as a good omen for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State in 2005. However, we and the international community were then taken aback when the Israeli Government once again revealed its real hostile intentions against the Palestinians, namely to impede and paralyse any endeavours to further their attainment of their aspirations to have their own legitimate and independent State.

The Government and its forces, armed with the most lethal and internationally prohibited types of weapons, were not content with terrorizing the Palestinian people and perpetrating the most horrific acts of murder and abduction, arresting, ill-treating and re-expelling Palestinian men, women, children and old people and desecrating their holy places, but went on to destroy totally the economic and social institutions of the Palestinians and deprive them of the most elementary and fundamental human rights to education, travel and employment and the right to receive aid in the form of food and basic medicines sent by donor countries.

These practices have even included the establishment of a blockade, the closure of towns and villages, the destruction of Palestinian homes and refugee camps, the confiscation of a great deal of Palestinian land and property and their main sources of water. This took place in the context of the construction by Israel, extending deep into the West Bank and East Jerusalem, of what it calls the separation security wall project. This has had the effect of severing communication between the people in their authorities, breaking up the remaining territory into small cantons, which do not meet the minimum requirements for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, as specified in United Nations resolutions and the road map.

The United Arab Emirates utterly deplores and condemns all these serious Israeli aggressions and violations and Israel’s other attempts, in the service of its expansionist objectives and the consolidation of its occupation and its illegal annexation of Palestinian territory, to void the road map and the peace process of any political guarantees. We also express our disappointment at the failure of the international community to oppose these Israeli practices, which are punishable under international and humanitarian law in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Consequently, the United Nations and the States that are members of the Quartet bear responsibility for the continuing Israeli terrorist crimes against the Palestinians and we call on them to take urgent and serious measures under Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations, without applying double standards, in order to oblige the Israeli Government to withdraw fully and unconditionally from all Arab and Palestinian territory occupied by it since 1967 and to comply fully with all the legal and moral obligations set forth in the instruments it has adopted, as well as the resolutions of the United Nations and the protocols on human rights. We also ask that the Israeli Government, which directly instigated the perpetration by its forces, armed with the most lethal types of weapons, of heinous war crimes against the Palestinian people, the deliberate destruction of the premises and national institutions of the Palestinian Authority and of private property, be held to account and that it be made liable for the disastrous consequences of those crimes, including the payment of the necessary compensation to those Palestinians who have suffered injury and to the Palestinian Authority, which is the only legitimate leadership elected by the Palestinian people.

In conclusion, I reaffirm, on behalf of my Government and people, the full support of the United Arab Emirates for the just and honourable struggle that our Palestinian brethren have been waging, and will continue to wage, until they obtain their freedom and independence and the right to self-determination and to establish their independent State in their own homeland of Palestine with the Holy City of Jerusalem as its capital. We urge the international community, and particularly the donor States and funding institutions, to increase the political, developmental and economic support and assistance they provide to the Palestinian people and to the Palestinian National Authority to enable it to achieve freedom, independence and a life of dignity and to rebuild the development institutions, which have been destroyed by the Israeli occupation and aggression in an age when the nations and peoples of the world aspire to a better life, leading to peace, security, independence and prosperity in all parts of the world.


Hugo Chávez Frías, President of Venezuela

[Original: Spanish]

On behalf of the people and Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, I wish to extend our warmest greetings to the Palestinian people and their national authorities on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

I take this opportunity to express my country’s firm support for the efforts of the United Nations to achieve peace in the Middle East region. We trust that the road map that has been elaborated for this purpose will continue to be supported by all the parties involved and that it will prove to be the instrument that will enable obstacles and differences to be overcome.

We trust that dialogue and cooperation will be the instruments used in the search for a just and lasting peace that will strengthen political stability, security and economic development in the region, based on the resolutions of the Security Council.

Venezuela supports the right of the States in the region to exist within secure and internationally recognized borders and shares the view that the international community has a responsibility to promote a peaceful solution to this regional conflict.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reaffirms its support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and reiterates its best wishes for their prosperity and for the achievement of peace throughout the Middle East.


Tran Duc Luong, President of Viet Nam

[Original: English]

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

Being close friends of the Palestinian people, the Vietnamese people have been closely following the development of Palestine’s revolution. We are of the view that in the current complicated situation in the Middle East, it is very necessary to put an end to violence, resume negotiations and restart the peace process. Viet Nam welcomes and supports every international community’s initiative as well as the effort of parties concerned aimed at ending violence, regaining confidence and drawing the parties back to the peace negotiation table on the basis of resolutions 242, 338, 1397 of the United Nations Security Council and other signed agreements in order to bring a peaceful, fair and stable solution to the conflict in the interest of the two nations as well as peace and stability in the region and in the world.

On this occasion, the Vietnamese Government and people reaffirm our consistent support for the just cause of the Palestinian people, with firm conviction that the struggle of the Palestinian people with the support of the international community will achieve its full victory.


Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of Yemen

[Original: Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am pleased to convey to this distinguished gathering my sincere wishes for good fortune and success and to express my great appreciation for the Organization’s attachment to the perpetuation of this tradition, which is an outstanding example of the political, moral and humanitarian ideals enshrined by our Organization over the course of more than half a century, foremost among them the support for the struggles of oppressed peoples and their legitimate right to resist occupation.

Our celebration of this important occasion, by virtue of its positive resonance, emphasizes the legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle and the right of the Palestinian people to resist occupation and to establish their independent State in their homeland with the Holy City of Jerusalem as its capital. These rights are affirmed by the international community, which believes it has a duty to support them and to condemn the barbaric Israeli policies based on violence, killing, destruction, the occupation of territory by force, the flouting of the resolutions of the United Nations and the disregard of all the agreements stemming from earlier peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, thereby demonstrating Israel’s lack of any serious intention to advance the peace process.

The condemnation by the General Assembly of the United Nations of Israel’s decision to expel President Arafat and to continue with the construction of the expansionist wall are a positive indication of the impartiality of the United Nations and strengthen our conviction of its sincerity and of its commitment to its responsibilities as specified in the Charter.

The tragic situation of the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory brought about by the policy of killing, mass extermination, and State terrorism practised by Israel against those defenceless people on one hand and, on the other, Israel’s continued attempts to frustrate the progress of peace by escalating the cycle of violence as exemplified recently by the direct military attack on the fraternal Syrian Arab Republic, the continuation of the provocative aerial sorties and Israel’s violation of Lebanese The tragic situation of the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory brought about by the policy of killing, mass extermination, and State terrorism practised by Israel against those defenceless people on one hand and, on the other, Israel’s continued attempts to frustrate the progress of peace by escalating the cycle of violence as exemplified recently by the direct military attack on the fraternal Syrian Arab Republic, the continuation of the provocative aerial sorties and Israel’s violation of Lebanese airspace on groundless pretexts and justified in unconvincing terms, all reflect a hostile and highly dangerous policy aimed at burying the peace process and the efforts of the Quartet that were sanctioned by the international community. Furthermore, the escalation of such practices is fraught with the risk of drawing the region into the cycle of violence and terrorism to the serious detriment of international security and peace.

The Republic of Yemen is extremely concerned about the consequences of Israel’s aggressive policies, its challenge to the international community by its rejection of all the resolutions of the United Nations and the Security Council and its failure to comply with the invitations and appeals from the States of the world, including the United States of America and the United Kingdom, behind which Israel shelters and on whose support it relies. Nothing better illustrates Israel’s intransigence than its categorical rejection of the appeals made by President George W. Bush and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to stop building the expansionist wall and to implement the road map, or the declaration by the Israeli Government that the Security Council resolution on that matter did not concern it. On that basis, the Republic of Yemen renews its invitation to the United Nations and to the influential members of the Security Council, the European Union and human rights organizations to assume their responsibility by exerting pressure for the implementation of the relevant resolutions having the force of international law relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict, to guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people and oblige Israel to desist from its policy of violence and State terrorism and to force it to respond properly to the international resolutions, agreements and initiatives relating to the activation of the peace process to move it forward and to find a just and comprehensive solution that will ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of the occupied Syrian territory in the Golan and the Shab’a farmlands in Lebanon. In this context, we welcome the efforts of the Russian Federation that resulted in the adoption of a Security Council resolution making the implementation of the road map mandatory.

We also call on the United Nations to seek a way of making Israel implement United Nations resolutions and to do more than merely denouncing and deploring Israel’s arrogant practices, which have displayed such contempt for the universal resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. It is therefore incumbent on the United Nations to make serious efforts to have its resolutions relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict implemented, just as its resolutions have been implemented in many regions of the world, for example in Serbia and Montenegro, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Iraq.

The Republic of Yemen takes this opportunity to salute the heroism of the Palestinian people who have faced up to the military might of Israel armed with nothing more than stones. It reaffirms its support and assistance for its Palestinian brethren and, at the same time, strongly reaffirms its total solidarity with its brethren in the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon who are confronting repeated instances of Zionist arrogance and conceit.

The peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.


Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, President of Zambia

[Original: English]


As you meet to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to convey to you fervent hope that a final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be achieved by the current road map proposed by President George W. Bush of the United States of America. My Government wishes to commend both the Palestinian National Authority and the State of Israel for accepting the road map, which Zambia considers to be the viable and realistic strategy to bring the dispute to a lasting solution.

Zambia has followed the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People over the years, with keen interest. As we mark this solemn occasion once again, Zambia wishes to call on the international community to redouble their support to your Committee to enable you to achieve the lofty goal of the establishment of an independent State of Palestine, coexisting side by side with the State of Israel.


B. Messages from Governments

Guyana

[Original: English]

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is being observed this year in very distressing circumstances.

The Palestinian population continues to suffer from the denial by Israel of its basic human rights. Hundreds of families, including innocent women and children, have been made homeless and thousands of people have been killed or injured. The Palestinian economy has been gravely damaged and poverty rates have tripled.

Guyana calls for restraint by Israel and Palestine in order to bring an end to confrontation and reopen a peaceful dialogue and negotiations. We reaffirm the importance of peace in the region, and support the mechanisms put in place to find a just and lasting solution. Peace and security will only come from an immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including provocation, destruction and terror.

As we have repeatedly stated, a final settlement should be worked out within the framework of all relevant United Nations resolutions. Both the General Assembly and the Security Council should continue to exert their efforts to facilitate the search for a definitive solution. The Quartet has a special responsibility to oversee and ensure respect for all agreements reached. The Government of Guyana offers its solidarity and support to the long-suffering people of Palestine and stands firm in its commitment to the right of all peoples in the region to live within safe and secure borders.


C. Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs


Rafael Antonio Bielsa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Commerce
and Culture of Argentina


[Original: Spanish]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government of the Argentine Republic reaffirms its unfaltering commitment to this important commemoration.

Argentina would like to take this opportunity to reiterate its deep concern at the recent increase in violence and terrorism, which has resulted in numerous deaths, impedes progress towards a solution of the Middle East conflict and increases the suffering of the Palestinian and Israeli people.

The Argentine Republic considers it necessary to urgently re-establish the conditions for negotiations to be resumed and for previously signed agreements to be respected. Peace in the Middle East must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) and on the principles of the Madrid Conference, the Oslo Accords and other agreements in force between the parties.

The effort and willingness to negotiate, which made these agreements and other initiatives possible, are sorely needed now in order to find a just solution acceptable to both parties. To achieve this, the parties must be resolved to honour the commitments undertaken in the road map and at the Aqaba Summit.

The Argentine Government considers the Quartet’s efforts and initiatives to be valuable and productive. As a State Member of the United Nations that is strongly committed to the maintenance of international peace and security, Argentina will continue to support, along with other interested States, diplomatic initiatives that contribute to the implementation of the road map and that will put the peace process firmly on track.

Argentina reiterates that the key elements of its position on the Middle East question remain the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in their own territory and the right of Israel to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders.

Argentina has therefore joined the appeals made by the international community through the United Nations General Assembly for Israel to halt construction and take down the wall it is building in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Argentina has also supported the appeal by the General Assembly for the parties to comply with their obligations under the road map.

In this context, at the open meeting held by the Security Council on 14 October 2003 to discuss the situation in the Middle East, the Argentine delegation deplored the suffering of the Palestinian and Israeli people. It noted the rise in tension and called on leaders in the region to act with caution and to avoid taking measures that would lead to an irreversible escalation of unforeseeable consequences.

The Argentine people and Government are convinced that with courage and determination it will be possible for the parties to re-establish the peace process and realize the vision of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security in the Middle East.


Solomon Passy, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People I would like to extend my sincere wishes for success in the efforts to achieve just and lasting peace in the Middle East peace that will lay the foundations for the prosperity and welfare of the peoples in the region.

In conformity with its principled position on the Middle East peace process the Bulgarian Government believes that peace and stability can only be achieved through negotiations, which the international community is committed to promote. As an active participant in the drafting of resolutions 1397, 1402, 1403, 1405 and 1435 of the United Nations Security Council, Bulgaria supports the idea of two independent States - Israel and Palestine - coexisting in the conditions of security and cooperation.

Bulgaria fully supports the road map plan, put forward by the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We welcome the adoption of resolution l515 of the Security Council, which was also co-sponsored by Bulgaria. This resolution vested the road map with further political and international legal force as the most viable way for lasting settlement to the Middle East conflict. We believe that the new Palestinian Government will do its utmost for its implementation. It can always count on Bulgaria’s support in its efforts to achieve this goal.


Youssouf Ouedraogo, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs
and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso

[Original: French]

Since 1967, the date of the occupation of the Palestinian territories, it is again with greater bitterness and a sense of deep sadness that we observe this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, at a time when the crisis of confidence is at its most acute throughout the Middle East.

The rays of hope glimpsed in recent years have proved to be short-lived.

The Oslo and Madrid accords, the Tenet work plan complemented by the Mitchell report, and, most recently, the road map sponsored by the Quartet and the various agreements reached by the parties after protracted negotiations appear to have been definitely set aside.

Since then, thousands of men, women and children have fallen under the occupying Power’s bullets. Worse still, even bombs and heavy weapons have very often been used against a defenceless population whose only crime is its will to resist the occupation of its territory, the illegal and shameless exploitation of its resources, the destruction of its property and the expulsion of citizens from their own land.

At this crucial juncture, when the parties appear to be heading towards open conflict as a result of the threat to expel President Yasser Arafat and especially the construction of the so-called “security barrier” inside the occupied territories, Burkina Faso notes with regret that this blind repression has thus far only strengthened resistance and incited further hatred and vengeanc At this crucial juncture, when the parties appear to be heading towards open conflict as a result of the threat to expel President Yasser Arafat and especially the construction of the so-called “security barrier” inside the occupied territories, Burkina Faso notes with regret that this blind repression has thus far only strengthened resistance and incited further hatred and vengeance, showing that there can be no military solution to the conflict.

Moreover, since its acceptance by the parties, implementation of the road map, which is still only a baseline, has been plagued by difficulties owing to the intransigence of the occupying Power. This situation has given rise to deep uncertainty. Burkina Faso therefore appeals to the two parties to continue their dialogue and to show restraint in order to give peace a chance, however small. It urges the occupying Power, in particular, to refrain from any initiative or action that might jeopardize the chances for peace or erode trust, without which no solution is possible.

For its part, Burkina Faso reaffirms its strong commitment to work together with other members of the international community to achieve a just and equitable settlement of the Palestinian question, which requires, inter alia, implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, in particular resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1402 (2002), which provide for the creation of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secure borders.

I wish to use the occasion of this observance to reaffirm the support of the people and Government of Burkina Faso for the Palestinian Authority, which, despite the many different pressures and threats, has managed to provide focus for its people’s struggle.

I also wish to pay tribute to the memory of all those who have given their lives to the struggle for peace, freedom and independence for Palestine.

Lastly, I wish to extend heartiest and warmest congratulations and encouragement to all members of the Committee as they continue their tireless efforts for a just and lasting peace in Palestine.


Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Japanese Government, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

I hope that peace will be restored to the Palestinian land as soon as possible. Even today, however, the vicious cycle of violence continues there, resulting in the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation for the Palestinian people. This negative cycle must be ended at the earliest possible date. Terrorism caused by Palestinian extremists cannot be permitted, and it is indispensable that Israeli incursions and military campaigns in the Palestinian territories be stopped and the blockade measures ended.

In June 2002 and again in April 2003, I visited Israel and the Palestinian territories and met with the key leaders of each. Around the time of my second visit, the road map was issued, laying out a path towards the peaceful coexistence of two States, Israel and Palestine. Taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the announcement of the road map and the installation of a Palestinian prime minister, I expressed once again Japan’s commitment to peace in the Middle East during my trip. I also announced a new Japanese assistance package and confidence-building initiative under which about US$22 million of assistance will be provided over the period of about one year. These measures aim to restore and reform the Palestinian Authority and enhance humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people, to support nation-building efforts by the Palestinians and to promote dialogue and exchange between Israelis and Palestinians.

Furthermore, during my visits to Egypt and Tunisia in October this year, I explained Japan’s assistance in reforms and human resources development for the Palestinians and I received support from both countries for these efforts. Japan intends to continue to do everything it can to support the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority.

I would like to express my congratulations to the new Ahmed Qurie Cabinet, which took office last month. I anticipate that the new Palestinian government will make every effort for nation-bui1ding by the Palestinians and realization of lasting peace.

I wish to reaffirm that Japan, as a token of its solidarity with the Palestinian people, will continue every effort to realize a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and bring peace to the Palestinian land.


Mircea Geoana, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania

[Original: English]

The celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People offers me the pleasant opportunity to convey to you, as Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and also the people of Palestine, my best wishes for success, prosperity and peace.

Voicing my conviction that the essential objectives of a Palestinian State can be only achieved through a negotiated political settlement, I seize this opportunity to reaffirm Romania’s commitment to give its full support to the initiatives that can lead to peace and to the respect for tolerance, freedom and justice in the region of the Middle East.


Farouk Al-Shara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic

[Original: Arabic]

It gives me great pleasure on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to express once again our appreciation for the role played by you and your distinguished Committee who have organized this important international meeting in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people to recover their legitimate and internationally recognized rights and to determine their future in their own homeland.

We greatly value your devoted efforts to display solidarity with the Palestinian people over more than 50 years since the tyrannical Israeli occupation of Arab territory and in the face of the suffering of the Arab people as a result of inhumane Israeli practices which have affected all aspects of life. Israel has not spared the lives of women, children and the elderly, the land crops or buildings, and has used military aircraft and has fired from tanks against defenceless civilians. At the same time, you have held your meetings to express solidarity with the Palestinian people in their continuing distress and have made your humanitarian appeals to the entire world to stop the constant bloodshed and the policy of assassination carried out by the Israeli occupying Power against defenceless people who were expelled and driven out of their homes and denied their most elementary rights enshrined in international instruments. While most of the leaders of the world, in the forum of the United Nations system, have declared their rejection and condemnation of the continuing Israeli occupation and of such oppressive practices, Israel continues unmoved by such appeals and by the resolutions adopted by the Security Council concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict, a total of 37 resolutions, as well as similar resolutions of the General Assembly, about 600 in number, all of which have remained hostage to Israel’s contempt for international legitimacy.

Despite its extensive means of oppression and terrorism, Israel has been unable to force the Palestinian Arab people to renounce their right to self-determination throughout their national territory. There has been a mounting toll of victims as a result of the heroic intifada, the refusal to comply with Israeli conditions and the determination of the Palestinians to continue their struggle against the occupation in order to attain their aspiration to establish their own independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital and to exercise their rights of return and self-determination in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

The Syrian Arab people in the occupied Syrian Golan, who have been suffering in the same way as their Palestinian brethren for over 30 years, refuse to succumb to the Israeli occupation and declare their devotion to their motherland and their solidarity with the Palestinian Arab people in their heroic intifada pending the liberation of their territory and the establishment of their own independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. Our people in the Golan have pledged to continue the struggle until their territory is liberated and the Golan is returned to the mother country.

The Syrian Arab Republic has proclaimed in all international forums that the way to attain peace, and the only means of breaking out of the cycle of violence and bloodshed, is to put an end, through negotiation, to the Israeli occupation of Arab territory which has continued since June 1967 and to take the path of a just and comprehensive peace based on implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations and of the Arab peace initiative adopted by the Beirut Summit in 2002.

How long will Israel be able to mislead certain people into believing that it is the victim while at the same time occupying the territory of others by force and blockading the Palestinians, destroying their homes, tearing up their crops and killing their people in their occupied land? How is it that the victims of occupation, settlement and expulsion could come to be regarded as outlaws and terrorists with no just cause, whom it is permitted to kill on the pretext of self-defence with the use of aircraft and gunfire from tanks?

We call upon the Security Council and the international community to assume their responsibilities by bringing about a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on the implementation of United Nations resolutions, which call for the comprehensive withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Arab territory to the borders of 4 June 1967 and from the remaining occupied Lebanese territory, including the Shab’a farmlands, and to safeguard the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people.

We place a high value on the efforts of your distinguished Committee and call on you to continue your support and assistance to the Palestinian people in their struggle to liberate their land and reclaim their rights, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, until such time as the Middle East region and the world enjoy a just and comprehensive peace based on the will of the international community that you represent.



Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

[Original: English]

Allow me to convey my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

In his address to the United Nations international meeting in support of peace in the Middle East, held in May 2003 in Kyiv, the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, reiterated that as a founding member of the United Nations, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a troop contributor to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Ukraine would continue to support comprehensively the international efforts aimed at establishing peace in the Middle East.

This meeting, convened in Ukraine at the time of renewed hopes following the formal presentation of the Quartet’s road map to the parties on 30 April 2003, has in fact become the first international forum where this document has received wide support of United Nations Member States. We believe that the road map, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council through its resolution 1515 of 19 November 2003, provides the real chance for achieving the final and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and thus for realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and statehood. We fully support its final goal of ending the occupation that began in 1967 and creating an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

At this dramatic period in the history of the Middle East it is necessary to ensure that the new opportunities for progress in the peace process are not missed. The international community - the Quartet, countries of the region and other international players - has the important role to play in providing the parties with the support and cooperation they need in implementing the road map. I wish to reiterate the offer of Ukraine to provide “good offices” for holding peace negotiations on its territory



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

African Union: Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairman
of the Commission

[Original: French]

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is today once again observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate, on behalf of the African Union and on my own behalf, our unswerving support for the just cause of the Palestinian people.

The struggle that has been waged by the Palestinian people for nearly three decades to recover their inalienable rights, including their right to an independent State in Palestine, is both just and legitimate and has been recognized as such by the General Assembly of the United Nations in resolution 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, which unambiguously reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and of the refugees to return to their homes and property.

It is regrettable to see that, since the adoption of that resolution, the question of Palestine has still not been resolved to the satisfaction of the Palestinians, whose rights have been denied. The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continues to worsen. Palestinians are daily subjected to violence and oppression by the occupying forces that continue to suppress them with the utmost severity. The occupying Power, Israel, continues to defy the resolutions of the Security Council by taking illegal measures that even include the building of a so-called security wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Need we recall that at the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, held in October 2003, on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, voices were raised against the building of this wall of shame and demanding that Israel stop and reverse its construction.

It is well known that the Palestinian question is at the heart of the Middle East problem. Clearly, there will be no peace in the region until that question is settled.

At its third ordinary session, held at Maputo, Mozambique, from 4 to 8 July 2003, the Executive Council of the African Union adopted, inter alia, decision EX/CL/47 (III) on developments in the Middle East and Palestine, in which it expresses its full solidarity and support with the Palestinian people in their just and legitimate struggle, under the leadership of the PLO, their sole and legitimate representative, to exercise their inalienable rights, including their right to return, self-determination and the establishment of their independent State on their national soil.

The African Union condemns the violence perpetrated in the occupied territories and strongly urges the international community to contribute to the restoration of peace in Palestine.

I wish your Committee every success in its work
.

European Union

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the European Union would like to reiterate its firm commitment to the self-determination of the Palestinian people as well as to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The European Union would like today to pay its respects to the families of the victims of the clashes. It is profoundly saddened by the heavy toll of the violence and calls on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the road map to put a speedy end to the dispute.

While recognizing Israel's legitimate right to self-defence in the face of terrorist attacks against its citizens, the European Union urges the Government of Israel to act in accordance with international law, and put a stop to activities that restrict movement of people and goods in the Palestinian territories, in particular those that hinder the passage of humanitarian aid. It calls for the rapid restoration of the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the Palestinian territories and the lifting of all restrictions, in particular on the passage of humanitarian aid.

It is absolutely imperative that all parties work together to put an end to the escalation of violence. The European Union reiterates its appeal to both sides to take all possible political, security, economic and social measures to bring about a resumption of negotiations on the basis of the road map presented to the parties on 30 April 2003. There is no other means of achieving a just and lasting settlement that satisfies the legitimate expectations of the peoples of the region, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1515, the principles adopted at the Madrid Conference - in particular the principle of land for peace - and the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements. The European Union confirms its commitment to the self-determination of the Palestinian people through the establishment of a viable, sovereign, peaceful and democratic State for Palestinians that will guarantee Israelis the right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.

The parties concerned must resume their dialogue without further delay. The European Union reiterates its willingness to support this process in close cooperation with the other partners in the Quartet.

It also confirms its commitment to continue its technical and economic aid for the Palestinian people and to contribute to the strengthening of Palestinian institutions.

The European Union welcomes the ratification of a new Palestinian cabinet, and calls on it to take all necessary measures to end violence. It also urges the new Palestinian cabinet to continue the reform programme with a view to representing a peaceful and democratic State governed by the rule of law.



Organization of the Islamic Conference: Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General

[Original: Arabic]
(Unofficial translation)

Every year we meet on this important occasion to stress the solidarity of the international community with the Palestinian people and to express our commitment to support their just struggle to regain all their inalienable national rights through the United Nations and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 32/40 of 1977.

At the outset on this occasion, I am pleased to express the profound appreciation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and its member States for the role being played by the United Nations and its committees, in particular, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in identifying with the cause of the Palestinian people in its legitimate struggle to regain its inalienable national rights, such as its rights to return, self-determination and to establish an independent Palestinian State on its national soil, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

This Day of Solidarity comes at a time when Israel continues to deny the Palestinian people their national rights, disregard resolutions of international legitimacy and deny your Organization, which represents the conscience of the international community, any role in the Palestinian question. The Day comes at a time when Israel commits the greatest kinds of violations of international agreements and treaties dealing with the situation of people living under occupation. Israel violates the principles of international human law and embarks on various and repeated practices that enter the realm of war crimes, without according the least respect to international public opinion which regulates and prohibits these affairs.

Israel continues to escalate its aggression against the defenceless Palestinians for the fourth consecutive year. In these acts, Israel employs all forms of state terrorism, thereby contravening resolutions of international legitimacy while considering itself above the law and the international community. As a result of its aggressions against the defenceless Palestinian people, in the form of assassinations, arrests, collective punishments, destruction of infrastructure, institutions and facilities as well as confiscation and bulldozing of lands, displacement or residents, especially the recent occurrence in Rafah and Al-Zahrah regions, many thousands of people were martyred and injured. All this is in addition to violation of the sanctity of Islamic and Christian holy sites and preventing worshipers from reaching their places of worship, acts which are at variance with the most basic of human rights and respect for international law and conventions.

The expansionist racial wall being constructed by Israel on occupied Palestinian lands, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the seizing of a large expanse of Palestinian land and transforming them into ghettos, the threatening of the lives of tens of their residents. And the isolation of the city of Al-Quds from its Palestinian neighbourhood are all illegal practices rejected by the international community. Everybody must be mobilized so that these violations do not constitute a fait accompli, which would prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian State and stall the achievement of the two States envisioned by the American President, George Bush.

Israel remains persistent in its aggression, colonialist policies and violation of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions as well as in its non-compliance with the implementation of those resolutions or any international covenant and treaties. Besides, it continues to take advantage of international circumstances, especially now that the American administration and the international community are occupied with the situation in Iraq, as well as of the upcoming American election to create on the ground new realities that would be difficult to change in the future.

On this basis we implore the international community seriously and effectively to take initiatives to extend effective material and political support to the Palestinian people through the highest level of joint international actions in places where international decisions are made. They should also be assisted through media support in influential media outfits in order to help their people.

We call for concerted efforts to create the atmosphere to resume the peace process and negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. This would require:

- The need to stop the Israeli aggression, to end the blockade imposed on the Palestinian people and its leadership, to remove all barriers imposed on crossings, cities and villages and Palestinian refugee camps, to secure the release of all Palestinian and Arab detainees in Israeli jails, and the need for the Israeli occupying forces to withdraw from the Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps to positions occupied on 28 September 2000.

- An end to assassinations, killings, violations and other inhuman practices against the Palestinian people.

- Compelling Israel to end and dismantle all its expansionist settlement activities and halt the building of the apartheid wall that isolates hundreds of Palestinian villages and devours thousands of hectares of Palestinian lands, turning them into ghettos.

In this regard, we welcome the adoption of Security Council resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, endorsing the road map as published, and we call on the Council to set up an implementation mechanism in accordance with a specified time table and to secure the dispatch of an international disengagement force between the Palestinians and the Israelis that would monitor and supervise the implementation of the obligations of the Palestinian and Israeli sides as contained in the road map.

We look forward to a position whereby the international community would have a say as well as an effective and constant role in the monitoring of happenings in Palestine and in solving the Palestinian problem in a just manner so that the enemies of the law and truth are not given a free reign to plan and impose solutions as fait accompli. We, at the Organization of the Islamic Conference, work on the basis of the principle that Palestine will remain in the conscience and feelings of the international community and the free and noble of the world. We are very confident that this Committee with its international, civilized, legal, courageous and noble positions that we have always known, will work together with us to intensify efforts in helping the Palestinian just cause.



E. Messages from non-governmental organizations


Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue:
Latif Dori, Secretary

[Original : Arabic]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we convey our fraternal greetings to the Palestinian people and commit ourselves to remain by their side in their tenacious struggle to end the hateful Israeli occupation and to establish an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

The Government of Mr. Sharon has continued its repression against the Palestinian people by means of the starvation blockade, arrests, settlements, displacement, the destruction of homes, and the building of the apartheid separation wall which transforms the West Bank and the Gaza Strip into an enormous prison. However, despite the terrible price paid by the people, with hundreds of martyrs and thousands of people injured, in addition to devastation and ruthless destruction, Mr. Sharon has failed to carry out his fiendish plan, stop the momentum of the intifada and banish President Arafat, the symbol of dignity and steadfastness.

We invite the peace camp in Israel, which has resumed its activities in recent weeks, to redouble its efforts to bring down the Government of Mr. Sharon, the popularity of which has begun to fall significantly.

We appeal to the tens of millions of people of conscience throughout the world whose support has grown this year to celebrate this auspicious day with us.

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