Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Soixante-sixième session du débat générale de l’AG /Président Abbas dépose la demande d’admission de la Palestine à l’ONU – Communiqué de presse de l’AG Français
Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
23 September 2011

General Assembly
GA/11152

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly
Plenary
19th, 20th & 21st Meetings (AM, PM & Night)


PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT OUTLINES APPLICATION FOR UNITED NATIONS MEMBERSHIP

AS HEADS OF STATE, GOVERNMENT ADDRESS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Peace Can Only Come through Negotiations,
Responds Israel’s Prime Minister, Offering ‘Straightforward Discussion’


/...

Background

The General Assembly met this morning to resume the general debate of its sixty-sixth session.

Statements

/...

JALAL TALABANI, President of Iraq, ...

/...

... He also expressed Iraq’s concern about the “tragic situation” of the Palestinian people, which he said was the result of Israeli practices that were incompatible with international laws and customs, as well as international humanitarian law. Iraq, therefore, endorsed and supported the Palestinian Authority’s “direction” to go to the United Nations to achieve full international recognition as a Palestinian State during the current session of the General Assembly and called on the international community to stand by the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle.

/...

VÁCLAV KLAUS, President of Czech Republic, said that 19 years ago, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia was negotiated peacefully without the need for external mediation. That experience showed that a lasting, acceptable solution to a country’s aspirations for sovereignty and freedom, or to a dispute among countries, must primarily come from within its region and from negotiations among the countries concerned. In that spirit, he was convinced both Israel and Palestine must work together to find a way forward to end their dispute; there was no shortcut. Both sides must take an innovative approach and overcome old, inflexible and rigid ways of thinking to negotiate a balanced, enduring solution. That solution could not come from unilateral steps or steps imposed by the United Nations.

/...

MAURICO FUNES, President of El Salvador, ...

/...

The world was diverse and complex, and there was a collective responsibility to find new ways, that went beyond borders, to achieve peace and justice, including ways to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, he said. El Salvador recently had recognized the State of Palestine. That decision in no way sought to undermine El Salvador’s good diplomatic relationship with Israel. Both Palestine and Israel had the right and the duty to co-exist. “Recognizing Palestine as a new State in the United Nations is, in my opinion, the right way to contribute to resolving this conflict,” he said. He supported all diplomatic efforts to peacefully end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dialogue was the only way forward.

/...

MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA, President of Sri Lanka, declared that it was a matter of profound disappointment that, despite repeated references in the General Assembly by many member countries, on the right of the Palestinian people to a State of their own within secure borders, the international community had not been able to make that a reality. He believed a window of opportunity now existed and urged that the opportunity be seized before it was lost, declaring: “it is time for decisive action rather than discussion.” Such action would be in the interest of the security and the well-being of the entire region, including Israel.

/...

ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEH, President of Djibouti, ...

/...

“We will never stop believing in the virtues of dialogue and mediation,” he said, noting that such activity had recently borne fruit in the birth of South Sudan, which he welcomed to the region. He contrasted that event with the situation of Palestinians, which he said continued to live under occupation that he called unsustainable, and likened it to the situation that his country had fought against in its own case. The time had come, he maintained, to give hope to Palestinians by recognizing them as a full-fledged State. History would remember this session if their hopes were allowed to come to fruition.

HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA, President of Namibia, ...

/...

... Reaffirming full and unequivocal support for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to achieve their inalienable right to self-determination and national independence, he voiced support for Palestine’s admission as a full United Nations Member State. ...

/...

MAHMOUD ABBAS, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and President of the Palestinian Authority, said Palestinians had entered with sincere intentions into last September’s round of final status negotiations to reach a peace agreement with Israel. After talks broke down, the various ideas and proposals of many countries and parties had been positively considered. The Israeli Government had wrecked all those efforts and dashed hopes by refusing to commit to terms of reference for negotiations based on international law and United Nations resolutions, and by intensifying Israeli settlement building. Reports by United Nations missions, other institutions and civil society groups showed a “horrific” picture of the systematic confiscation of Palestinian land, construction of thousands of new settlements in the West Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, and building of the annexation wall. Israel also continued to refuse permits to Palestinians to build in East Jerusalem, while issuing orders to deport elected Palestinian representatives from Jerusalem.

Israel was “racing against time” to redraw borders, impose a fait accompli that changed the reality on the ground and undermined the potential for a Palestinian State, he said. It continued its blockade on Gaza and attacks on Palestinian civilians there. In recent years, armed settler militias, who enjoyed special protection from the Israeli army, had stepped up attacks on Palestinian homes, schools, mosques, fields and crops. That policy would destroy chances for achieving a two-State solution, and threatened to undermine the structure of the Palestinian Authority and its very existence. New conditions imposed by Israel threatened to transfer the raging conflict into a religious one, threatening the future of 1.5 million Christian and Muslim Palestinians that were Israeli citizens — a matter which Mr. Abbas rejected and would not accept being dragged into.

“All of these actions taken by Israel in our country are unilateral actions and are not based on any earlier agreements,” he said. Rather, they were a “selective application of the agreements aimed at perpetrating the occupation”. In 1988, Palestinian leaders agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22 per cent of historical Palestine, on the belief that making concessions could partly correct the historical injustice against the Palestinians and pave the way for peace. But, since then, Israel’s settlement campaign had shattered every initiative and round of negotiations. Mr. Abbas confirmed the Palestinian people’s goal to realize their inalienable rights to an independent State and to achieve a just solution to the refugee problem, which required the release of political prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay. He confirmed their commitment to renounce violence, reject and condemn terrorism, especially State terrorism, and adhere to all agreements signed between PLO and Israel.

“Here, I declare that the Palestine Liberation Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a complete cessation of settlement activities,” he said. Palestinians would continue their popular peaceful resistance to Israel’s occupation, settlement and apartheid policies. In bringing its plight to the global podium, Palestine did not undertake unilateral steps. “Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the people of Palestine,” he said. “We extend our hands to the Israeli Government and the Israeli people for peacemaking. I say to them: Let us urgently build together a future for our children where they can enjoy freedom, security and prosperity,” he said, calling for “bridges of dialogue, instead of checkpoints and walls of separation”.

The Palestinian Authority’s two-year State-building programme launched in 2009 focused on strengthening the judiciary and security mechanisms; building administrative, financial and oversight systems; upgrading institutional performance; and enhancing self-reliance to reduce the need for foreign aid, he said. Months ago, the Palestinians had achieved national reconciliation based on the decision to hold legislative and presidential elections within one year. Recent reports of the United Nations, World Bank, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) described those accomplishments as a “remarkable international success story” and confirmed their readiness for an immediate, independent State. He did not believe that “anyone with a shred of conscience” could reject that bid for statehood.

It was no longer possible to redress the blocking of peace talks with the same means that had been repeatedly tried and proven unsuccessful. The crisis was far too deep to be neglected. Attempts to simply circumvent or postpone its explosion were even more dangerous. “It is neither possible, nor practical, nor acceptable to return to conducting business as usual, as if everything is fine,” he said. Negotiations without clear parameters, credibility and a specific timetable were “futile”, and would be “meaningless” as long as the occupation army on the ground continued to entrench instead of roll back.

“It is a moment of truth; and my people are waiting to hear the answer of the world. Will it allow Israel to continue its occupation, the only occupation in the world? Will it allow Israel to remain a State above the law and accountability?”, he asked. “There are either those that believe that we are not wanted in the Middle East or (those that believe) that there is a missing State that needs to be established immediately.” Alongside the Arab Spring, now was the time for the Palestinian Spring. “We have one goal…to be, and we shall be,” he said. He thanked States that had supported the Palestinian struggle and had recognized the State of Palestine, and those that had upgraded Palestine’s representation in their capitals. He also saluted the Secretary-General for saying a few days ago that the Palestinian State should have been created years ago. Such support made the Palestinians feel they were being listened to and that their tragedy was not being ignored. It also reinforced their hope for justice.

He then informed the Assembly that he had submitted to the Secretary-General an application for admission of Palestine, on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, as a full United Nations member. “I call upon Mr. Secretary-General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security Council, and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favour of our full membership. I also appeal to the States that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so,” he said. The world’s support for that was a “victory for truth, freedom, justice, law and international legitimacy” and was the greatest contribution to peacemaking in the Holy Land.

In closing, he said: “I have come here today with a message from a courageous and proud people: Palestine is being reborn.” He implored everyone to stand with it.

/...

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister of Israel, extended his country’s hand to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with whom it had made peace; to the people of Turkey, with respect and good will; to the people of Libya and Tunisia, with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future; to the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we want to forge a new beginning; and to the people of Lebanon, Syria and Iran, with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression. Most especially, “I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace,” he said, stressing that Israel’s hope for peace had never waned.

He recalled that here, in the General Assembly, Israel’s desire for a homeland had been branded racism, while it was unjustly singled out for condemnation more often than all the other nations of the world combined. That was, he suggested, not only “an unfortunate part of the United Nations”, but “the theatre of the absurd,” which not only cast Israel as the villain, but cast real villains as heroes. Indeed, Lebanon, heavily influenced by Hizbullah, currently held the Security Council’s presidency, meaning, in effect, that a terrorist organization presided over the body tasked with guaranteeing the world’s security. “You can’t make this up,” he said, adding that it was a place where automatic majorities could decide anything, including that the sun rose in the West or, as had actually been decided, that the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest place, was occupied Palestinian territory.

But, even in the General Assembly, the truth could sometimes break through, he said. Indeed, he was advised upon his appointment in 1984 as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations that, while he would be serving in “a house of many lies”, he must remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle could be seen far and wide. “Today, I hope that the light of truth will shine if only for a few minutes in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country,” he said, noting that he came not to win applause, but to speak the truth that Israel wanted peace. While he, too, wanted peace, it was clear that it must be anchored in security and could not be achieved through United Nations resolutions, but only through direct negotiations. Yet, the Palestinians had so far refused. Indeed, while Israel wanted peace, the Palestinians wanted a State without peace and, “you shouldn’t let that happen,” he said.

/...

No one benefited more than Israel if those committed to peace prevailed, he continued. But, as Israel’s Prime Minister, he could not risk the future of the Jewish State on wishful thinking. In fact, no responsible leader could wish away present dangers, and the world around Israel was becoming increasingly dangerous. Militant Islam had taken over Lebanon and Gaza, while also poisoning many Arab minds against the United States and the West. It opposed not just the policies of Israel, but the fact of Israel as a State. Some argued that to slow down the spread of militant Islam, Israel should hurry to make territorial compromises that would allow for peace to advance and moderate Muslims to be strengthened. But, the problem with that theory was that it had been tried and it had not worked. In 2000, Israel made a peace offer that met nearly every Palestinian demand, but Arafat rejected it and the Palestinians launched a wave of violence. In addition to other offers since then, Israel had left territory in Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005. Neither action calmed the militant Islamic storm threatening Israel, but, in fact, only brought it closer and made it stronger. Moreover, peace had not come and Israel had only gotten war — and Iran, whose proxy in Gaza kicked the Palestinian Authority out.

He stressed that, while the Palestinians were armed with dreams, they were also armed with thousands of missiles and rockets, and now had a river of lethal weapons flowing into Gaza. Israel was prepared to have a Palestinian State in the West Bank, but not another Gaza. That was why real security arrangements were needed. But, instead, Israel was asked to make concessions with no regard for its security, he said, stressing that “in the face of the labels and the libels, Israel must heed better advice.” Indeed, it was better to have bad press than a good eulogy. But, better still would be a fair press whose sense of history extended beyond breakfast.

In serious peace negotiations, Israel’s security needs and concerns could be addressed, he said, and they would certainly never be addressed without such negotiation. At the same time, questions about Israel’s airspace and the smuggling of weapons into the West Bank were not theoretical, but entailed real problems and were, for all Israelis, matters of life and death. Thus, those potential cracks had to be sealed in a peace deal before a Palestinian State existed, not after. Otherwise, they would explode. In that context, he argued that the Palestinians must first make peace, then get their State. Once a peace deal was signed, Israel would be the first to welcome a Palestinian State, he said.

Noting that he had laid out his vision for peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian State recognized the Jewish State, he said the core of the conflict was not the problem of the settlements — which were actually a result of the conflict — but the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize a Jewish State within any border. Thus, it was time for them to acknowledge what every world leader had: Israel is the Jewish State. Indeed, when they did so, it would be clear that the Palestinians were at last ready to compromise. Asking President Abbas to join him in negotiations, he underlined the need to stop “negotiating about the negotiations” and negotiate peace. After offering to go to Ramallah, he suggested meeting here today at the United Nations. “Let’s talk doogri,” he said, pointing out that this meant “straightforward”. “I’ll tell you my needs and concerns. You’ll tell me yours. And with God’s help, we’ll find peace.”

/...

ALPHA CONDÉ, President of Guinea, ...

/...

Touching on other issues, he said the Palestinian people must be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination, which was the only way to achieve genuine peace with Israel. ...

/...

ISAIAS AFWERKI, President of Eritrea, ...

/...

... As for the Middle East, he reaffirmed Eritrea’s support for the right of Palestinians to self-determination and an independent, sovereign State. He also upheld Israel’s right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized boundaries.

At the same time, he expressed concern that the Palestinian drive for United Nations membership should not become a symbolic battle bereft of substance, recalling that the Oslo Accords had led neither to Palestinian statehood, nor to peace between the two sides. In closing, he reminded the United Nations of its duty to end Ethiopia’s occupation of sovereign Eritrean territory, adding that lifting the “illegal” sanctions on his country would enable the people of the region to work together in furthering their collective interests.

/...

MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU, President of Niger, ...

/...

Turning to developments in the Middle East, he said that in seeking recognition as a full United Nations Member State, the Palestinians had given the world body an opportunity to make a brave decision to resolve the question of Palestine in a definitive manner. Failure to make such a decision would amount to a failure to live up to the expectations of the Arab Spring and erase its gains. ...

/...

EMANUEL MORI, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, ...

/...

On the Israeli-Palestinian question, he urged the international community to uphold the principles of peaceful co-existence enshrined in the United Nations Charter. “We continue to support Israel’s right to live within secure and recognized borders, free from fear of terrorism,” he said. “We also acknowledge Palestine’s right to statehood, which can only be achieved through negotiated settlement between the two parties. And I agree with President Obama that there are no shortcuts to solving the problem.”

/...

* *** *

For information media • not an official record

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter