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Chairperson : Mr. OULD MOHAMED LEMINE (Mauritania)
later: Mr. WIBISONO (Indonesia)
later: Mr. VASSYLENKO (Ukraine)
(a) QUESTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CYPRUS (continued)
(a) QUESTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CYPRUS
(agenda item 9) (continued ) (E/CN.4/2005/30, 31 and Add.1, 32, 33 and Corr.1, 34-36 and 130; E/CN.4/2005/G/2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13 and 18; E/CN.4/2005/NGO/9, 30, 68, 79, 93, 106, 117, 131, 132, 139, 154-164, 168-171, 173-175, 179-181, 191, 201, 204, 208, 213, 215-217, 225, 227, 263, 294, 297, 300, 301, 309, 316, 329-332, 343 and 349; E/CN.4/Sub.2/2004/SR.3-5)
27. Mr. LITTMAN (World Union for Progressive Judaism and Simon Wiesenthal Centre) said that, in 1947, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution on the partition of Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish States. All the Arab League States and the Palestinian leadership had refused to comply with that international legal provision for over 40 years. Israel must be the only State in the world whose people had not known a single day or night of peace. The conflict continued in different forms, led by different groups, and must end in order for there to be peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, for all.
28. Mr. LITTMAN (Association for World Education) said that a number of Middle East peace initiatives had recently been proposed, with a view to establishing a future Palestinian State and genuine peace with Israel. However, none of those initiatives addressed the issue of regional security. He hoped that the new Palestinian leader would break with the sterile past of death, destruction and corruption, and would not miss the opportunity for peace and reconciliation. A new spirit of mutual acceptance would only flourish in the Middle East when human rights and individual security and dignity for all became rooted in law.
63. Mr. ALKANTAR (Nord Sud XXI) said that the commitment of all Lebanese citizens to promoting the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon did not entitle certain NGOs to hold forth on the matter before the Commission. Lebanon would achieve sovereignty when the Israeli armed forces withdrew completely from occupied Lebanese land and released Lebanese prisoners from Israeli jails.
64. Eight thousand Palestinian and other Arab detainees continued to be held in Israeli prisons in breach of the Geneva Conventions and international law. In 2004 and 2005 the Israeli authorities had released on three occasions a total of roughly 1,100 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners but those prisoners had for the most part served or almost served their sentences. Hence their release had merely served as propaganda and the Israeli army had subsequently proceeded to arrest hundreds more Palestinians. Of the 2,464 convicted prisoners, 434 had been in custody for more than 10 years, 144 for more than 15 years, and 19 for more than 20 years.
65. He stressed the importance of ensuring that all prisoners were treated in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law.
85. Ms. KOHN (Habitat International Coalition and Adalah: the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) said that the organizations she represented were gravely concerned over Israel’s discriminatory land allocation policies. In accordance with the Jewish National Fund’s objectives, namely to purchase or otherwise acquire lands in Israel for the purpose of settling Jews, the Israel Lands Administration prohibited Palestinian citizens of Israel from leasing land from that organization, which owned 13 per cent of all land in Israel. The Israel Lands Administration controlled over 93 per cent of all land in Israel. Since 1948, large portions of land had been confiscated or otherwise appropriated by the State or Zionist institutions like the Jewish National Fund, which were chartered to benefit Jewish citizens exclusively; most of that land belonged to Palestinian refugees. In spite of its discriminatory policies, the Jewish National Fund operated in several of the Commission’s member States, registered as a charitable organization and thus exempt from taxation.
86. In October 2004, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel had submitted a petition to the Supreme Court of Israel demanding an end to such institutionalized discrimination. In its response, the Jewish National Fund had stated its loyalty to the Jewish people and affirmed that it had no duty to practise equality towards all citizens of the State. As a public agency, the Israel Lands Administration was bound by the principle of equal treatment of all citizens. Its discriminatory policies were dangerous and extremist and sent a harmful and humiliating message to Palestinian citizens of Israel. In July 2004, the Jewish National Fund had been granted NGO status with the United Nations Department of Public Information, in spite of its violations of the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
87. The Commission should investigate State-sponsored land allocation practices in Israel; press for the cessation of such discriminatory policies; and inform the Economic and Social Council of the activities and official status of the Jewish National Fund, especially in the light of its putative non-governmental status.