Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

Committee on Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
248th Meeting (AM)
12 November 1999



Committee Also Approves Draft Report to General Assembly

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People this morning approved four draft resolutions on issues relating to the work of the Committee, the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Department of Public Information, as well as the question of the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine. The drafts were approved without a vote, as orally amended.

By a draft on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the General Assembly would express its appreciation of the Committee's work and consider that it could continue to contribute to the Middle East peace process and to the full implementation of the agreements reached. It would also consider that the Committee could continue to mobilize international support and assistance to the Palestinian people during the transitional period.

Endorsing the Committee’s recommendations, the Assembly would request it to continue extending cooperation and support to Palestinian and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to mobilize international solidarity for the achievement by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights and for a peaceful settlement of the Palestine question. The Assembly would request the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine and other United Nations bodies to cooperate fully with the Committee and to make available the relevant information and documentation at their disposal.

By the second draft, relating to the Secretariat’s Division for Palestinian Rights, the Assembly would consider that the Division continues to make a useful and constructive contribution. It would request the Secretary-General to continue to provide it with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continued its work in consultation with the Committee. The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to ensure the continued cooperation of the Department of Public Information and other Secretariat units to enable the Division to perform its tasks and to cover adequately the various aspects of the Palestine question.

Further, the Assembly would invite all Governments and organizations to extend their cooperation to the Committee and the Division. It would note with appreciation the annual observance by Member States on 29 November of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and request them to give the widest possible publicity to that event. As part of the commemoration, the Committee and the Division would be requested to continue to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.

The third draft is entitled "Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine and the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat". By its terms, the General Assembly would note with appreciation the action taken by the Department of Public Information in compliance with resolution A/53/41 on the subject and consider that the special information programme was very useful in raising awareness concerning the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East in general. It would also consider that the programme was contributing effectively to an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and supportive of the peace process.

Also by that text, the Department would be requested to continue, with the necessary flexibility, its special information programme for the biennium 2000-2001. In particular, on the question of Palestine, the Department should disseminate information on all the activities of the United Nations system; continue to issue and update the relevant publications; expand its collection and production of audio-visual materials, including the updating of the exhibit in the Secretariat; organize and promote fact-finding news missions for journalists to the area, including the territories under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and the occupied territories; and organize international, regional and national seminars for journalists.

Further by the text, the Assembly would request the Department of Public Information to continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development, in particular to strengthen the training programme for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists, and request the Department to promote the Bethlehem 2000 Project.

By the fourth text, the Assembly would reaffirm the necessity of achieving a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine -- the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict -- in all its aspects; express full support for the ongoing peace process and express hope that it would lead to the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. It would stress the necessity for commitment to the principle of land-for-peace and the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as well as the need for the immediate and scrupulous implementation of the agreements reached between the parties, including the redeployment of Israeli forces from the West Bank. The Assembly would take note with satisfaction of the commencement of final settlement negotiations.

It would further call upon the concerned parties, and the international community to ensure the continuity and success of the peace process, and its conclusion by the agreed-upon time. It would stress the need for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination; the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967; and for resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees.

By further terms, the Assembly would urge Member States to expedite economic and technical assistance to the Palestinian people and emphasize the importance of a more active and expanded United Nations role in the current peace process and in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles. It would request the Secretary-General to continue his efforts with the parties concerned and in consultation with the Security Council, for the promotion of peace in the region.

Also this morning, the Committee approved its draft report, which sums up its activities and reviews the situation relating to the Palestine question. According to that report, the Committee concluded that in light of recent adjustments, its programme of work had become more effective and focused. The Committee played a useful role in heightening international awareness of the Palestine question and in achieving wider recognition of Palestinian people’s rights. In the course of the year, the Committee placed special emphasis on the Bethlehem 2000 Project of the Palestinian Authority in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the turn of the millennium, the report noted.

The report and draft resolutions were introduced by the Committee’s Rapporteur, Walter Balzan (Malta) and Vice-Chairman Ravan A.G. Farhadi, (Afghanistan).

Informing the delegates about the Committee’s recent activities, the Vice-Chairman said that on 28 November, the Bureau had met with the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast. On 29 October, the Chairman of the Committee had met with a group of Palestinian broadcasters and briefed them on the Committee’s mandate and activities. That meeting was organized by the Department of Public Information.

On 5 November, he said, the Bureau had met with the European Union Troika to discuss the current and future activities of the Committee and the position of the Union on the question of Palestine. On 10 November, the General Assembly had adopted, without a vote, resolution 54/22 on Bethlehem 2000.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Vice-Chairman reminded the delegates that the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People would take place on 29 November. Consideration of the question of Palestine would begin in the afternoon of the same day. A Palestinian art exhibit would open at the public lobby of the General Assembly building at 6 p.m.

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For information media - not an official record