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        Economic and Social Council
7 September 2004

Original: English

Substantive session for 2004
Humanitarian affairs segment

Provisional summary record of the 37th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 14 July 2004, at 10 a.m.

President: Mr. Penjo (Vice-President) ................................................ (Bhutan)


Special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance (continued )

In the absence of Ms. Risa (Finland), Mr. Penjo (Bhutan), Vice-President, took the Chair .

The meeting was called to order at 10.20 a.m.

Special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance ( continued) (A/59/93-E/2004/74, A/59/86-E/2004/69)


12. Mr. Shamaa (Observer for Egypt) ...


13. The international community should intervene to meet the needs of the Palestinian people. Thousands of Palestinians had been killed in the occupied territories and the Golan; property, buildings and infrastructure had been destroyed. He hoped that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, acting in collaboration with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, would submit a report on the situation, and that a resolution would be adopted by the Council and the General Assembly to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance.


63. Mr. Sermoneta (Observer for Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that Israel was surprised by certain allegations made by a previous speaker, especially since the speaker concerned represented a delegation that was involved in attempts to put the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians back on track. In that context, the blatant and inaccurate allegations against Israel were far from useful. His delegation failed to understand how the language used could contribute either to the progress of the peace process or to that particular Member State’s role in it.

64. Israel shared the concern of the international community over the deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the region. Violence and terrorism, by their very nature, entailed hardships for civilian populations: Israeli and Palestinian civilians had both endured tremendous pain and suffering as a consequence of the upsurge in terrorism over the previous three years. Bringing that suffering to an end, and providing for the security and prosperity of all peoples in the region, were critical components of any successful peace initiative and therefore a prime objective of Israeli policy.

65. Israel had done its utmost to cooperate with international actors in an effort to facilitate their humanitarian work aimed at improving the living conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Despite the unrelenting threat of terrorism that it confronted on a daily basis, Israel had consistently tried to permit the flow of people, goods and humanitarian assistance to the greatest extent possible. During 2003, there had been a notable increase in such cross-border movements.

66. While the Member State in question was well aware of the situation on the ground, its representative had not made even a token reference to the campaign of terrorism and indiscriminate violence facing Israelis daily, directed against innocent civilians, nor had he even alluded to the actions that Israel had taken to aid the Palestinians in their plight. Israel’s efforts continued daily towards the goal of improving the situation. However, it was far easier to facilitate humanitarian aid without terror, which endangered not only Israeli soldiers and civilians, but also humanitarian workers and United Nations staff. Palestinian terrorists had consistently exploited any Israeli attempt to ease the conditions of the Palestinian people; they viewed measures to increase freedom of movement as opportunities to infiltrate Israeli cities, and used the immunity granted to medical and humanitarian vehicles to smuggle weapons and explosives, posing a threat not only to those they targeted, but also to those behind whom they hid.

67. Israel did not believe that the attention of the international community should be devoted solely to the welfare of Palestinian civilians in that conflict. Israeli citizens, including children suffering from terrorism, were no less deserving of concern. If the international community were serious about alleviating the humanitarian plight of the Palestinian people, the single most important thing it could do was to insist that the Palestinian leadership end its campaign of terror and incitement, as called for in the agreements signed and in the road map.

The meeting rose at 1 p.m.

Corrections to this record should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

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