Comité pour les droits du peuple palestinien: l'observateur de la Palestine moins optimiste que le Premier ministre israélien - Communiqué de presse (14 juillet 2008) Français
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The intense settlement activity in and around East Jerusalem by Israel were threatening to derail the Middle East peace process, the Permanent Observer for Palestine warned members of the United Nations Palestinian Rights Committee today.
That Committee, officially known as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, met today to hear an update on the situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory, and to consider reports on an international conference on Palestine refugees and an international meeting on the Question of Palestine, held in Paris and Malta, respectively.
Expressing his appreciation for the stance many countries and intergovernmental organizations had taken in demanding that Israel freeze settlement activities and dismantle outposts, Riyad H. Mansour said the Arab Group had taken the initiative for a draft resolution in the Security Council to demand that Israel freeze all settlement activities and demolish outposts. As there was consensus among Council members in support of the Quartet’s position, that draft should not be contentious.
Addressing the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he said that there had been positive developments, including an African-Asian meeting currently taking place in Djakarta, Indonesia, on capacity-building for the future Palestinian State and a meeting in Bethlehem on economic development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in which pledges in more than $5 billion had been announced. Tomorrow, in Washington, the main Palestine negotiator would meet with various officials. He said he would convey to the negotiator that there was a feeling among Committee members of the usefulness of meeting with the presidential candidates, if possible.
He said that, although there was a ceasefire agreement on the Gaza front, it would be difficult for the agreement to hold without it being extended to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Gaza strip was a prison and the crossing should be opened. The situation with the checkpoints in the West Bank, seven and a half months after the Annapolis conference, was as miserable as ever, with an increasing number of checkpoints. Those situations prevented the development of an environment in which the billions of dollars in aid and investment pledged could be spent. There were still more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners.
In that light, he could not understand how Israeli Prime Minister Olmert could be so enthusiastic about the negotiations. “We are running out of time,” he said. “The current United States Administration is running out of time.” He called on all involved to give a “final huge push” to salvage the peace process.
Reporting on the United Nations International Conference on Palestine Refugees at UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] Headquarters in Paris on 29 and 30 April, Committee Chairman Paul Badji said the Conference’s objective was to assess the present situation of Palestine refugees and examine the role of the United Nations in alleviating their plight. The Conference had been attended by representatives of 93 Member States in addition to the Holy See and Palestine, as well as five intergovernmental organizations, six United Nations bodies and 25 civil society organizations. Special guests and media representative had also attended the Conference. Fifteen experts, including Palestinian and Israeli, had made presentations.
At the end of the Conference, participants had taken note of the conclusions and recommendations, according to which participants noted with grave concern that, 60 years since the original displacement of the Palestinians, the situation of the refugees remained as precarious as ever. Participants held Israel fully responsible for the welfare and protection of the refugees in the Palestinian Territory it continued to occupy, including in the Gaza Strip. A durable solution to the problem could only be achieved in the context of the Palestinian people’s inalienable right of return to their homes and properties. Any final Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement must encompass a just and fair solution to the Palestinian refugee question.
Reporting on the 2008 International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, held on 3 and 4 June in Qawra, Malta, Mr. Badji said the meeting’s objective was to foster greater support by the international community for the creation of a climate conducive to the advancement of the permanent status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The impact of the settlement construction on the current political process had been discussed, as well as the need for the parties to meet “Road Map” commitments. The meeting had been attended by representatives of 22 Member States, in addition to the Holy See and Palestine, as well as three intergovernmental organizations, four United Nations bodies, four civil society organizations and 10 media organizations. Presentations had been made by 13 experts, including Palestinian and Israeli.
He said, at the conclusion of the meeting, a final document noted that participants had concurred that the political moment of the Annapolis conference must not be lost and that all efforts towards a final status agreement by the end of 2008 should be supported. Participants had expressed serious concern over Israel’s ongoing settlement activity and recalled the International Court of Justice advisory opinion that the wall was illegal under international law. The mandate of the United Nations Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory should be given full support and be implemented without delay. Expressing serious concern at Israeli policies and actions in East Jerusalem, participants recalled Security Council resolution 252 (1968), which had stated, among other things, that all measures and actions taken by Israel which tended to change the legal status of Jerusalem were invalid and could not change that status.
Finally, he informed Committee members that the Government of Chile had agreed to provide a venue for the Latin American and Caribbean Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, to take place in mid-December in Santiago. That meeting would be followed by a one-day civil-society event.
The representatives of Malaysia, Cuba, Morocco, Indonesia, Guinea and Tunisia also spoke.
The Committee will meet again at a date and time to be announced.