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Répercussions économiques et sociales de l'occupation israélienne - débat de l'ECOSOC - Communiqué de presse Français
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Source: Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
23 July 2007


Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/6302

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


ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS TWO RESOLUTIONS ON REGIONAL COMMISSIONS

Discusses Independence of Colonial Countries, Regional Cooperation,
Israeli Occupied Territories, HIV/AIDS and Genetic Privacy and Bioethics

(Reissued as received.)

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GENEVA, 23 July (UN Information Service) -- The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this morning discussed a wide range of issues, including the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations; regional cooperation; economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan; the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and genetic privacy and bioethics.

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In a separate introduction to the note by the Secretary-General on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, Mr. Nour said the report revealed that the occupation of the Palestinian Territory by Israel continued to deepen the economic and social hardship for Palestinians.  The severe Israeli mobility restrictions and closure policies remained a primary cause of poverty and humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and restricted Palestinian access to health and education services, employment, markets and social and religious networks. 

In the context of the general discussion under the agenda items on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations; regional cooperation; and economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, speakers said, among other things, that socio-economic integration should be developed in the broadest terms.  The situation and practices of the Israeli occupiers against the Palestinian people were contrary to all fundamental rights, such as housing and work.  The relevant resolutions of the United Nations should be implemented, and a peace that would bring a lasting end to the conflict be found. 

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Documents

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The Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to the Palestinian People (A/62/82-E/2007/66), which says, during the reporting period (May 2006-April 2007), the Palestinian economy suffered a significant decline and the socio-economic and humanitarian conditions of the population worsened.  Many donors reviewed their assistance policy to the Palestinian Authority, in the context of the three principles spelled out by the Middle East Quartet in January 2006.  At the same time, the Government of Israel continued to withhold the payment of the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, with the exception of one transfer early in 2007.  As a result, and despite increased levels of aid, the Palestinian Authority has been facing a worsening fiscal crisis, which has exacerbated the already precarious situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  These developments occurred against the backdrop of continuing violence between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as among Palestinians, that claimed innocent lives on both sides.  The report contains a description of efforts made by United Nations agencies, in cooperation with Palestinian and donor counterparts, to support the Palestinian civilian populations and institutions.

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Mr. NOUR, Representative of the Regional Commissions’ New York Office, said that he would introduce the note by the Secretary-General on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.  The report covered developments only until February 2007.  It contained detailed information.  As the report revealed, the occupation of the Palestinian territory by Israel continued to deepen the economic and social hardship for Palestinians.  The severe Israeli mobility restrictions and closure policies remained a primary cause of poverty and humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian Territory, and restricted Palestinian access to health and education services, employment, markets and social and religious networks.  Confiscation orders continued to be issued by the Israeli authorities throughout 2006.  According to the Office of for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of physical obstacles in the West Bank grew from 475 in January 2006 to 550 in February 2007.  The continuation by Israel to construct the barrier was having a major humanitarian impact on Palestinian communities living in the West Bank. 

Almost 15 per cent of all West Bank agricultural land had already been confiscated in connection to the construction of the barrier, including some of the most fertile land in the West Bank.  The fiscal situation of the Palestinian Authority was already considered unsustainable by the end of 2005.  Israel withheld Customs and Value Added tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority amounting to roughly $ 60 million.  That amounted to almost half of the Palestinian Authority’s monthly budget.  According to the International Monetary Fund, the financial resources of the Palestinian Authority shrank by 60 per cent from $ 1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2005 to $ 0.5 billion by the same quarter of 2006.  This financial crisis had left the public health system unable to sustain care levels.  Hospitals lacked adequate supplies, equipment maintenance, cleaning agents and the hygienic environments necessary to control infections.  Education services were disrupted as well.

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MOHAMMAD ABU-KOASH, Observer of Palestine said the tragedy of the Palestinian people had been manufactured in Europe during a colonial period from which many had suffered.  Independent developing countries had yet to recover from that terrible period of naked exploitation of the resources of the occupied to the benefit of the occupier.  The Palestinian people continued to suffer from a worse foreign occupation.  In its greed, Israel, the occupying power, was not accepting the creation of the promised Palestinian State, as its appetite for land had not abated.  That was the essence of the current conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, which should be resolved rather than the mere talk about the poor economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people, or the habitual action of engaging in lengthy negotiations demanding the occupied party offer more concessions on draft resolutions which had never been implemented after their adoption.

Multilayered inhibiting factors surrounded the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian society, crippling its institutions and tearing apart its social fabric.  Grappling for mere economic survival became remote amidst territorial disconuity.  The shift from development aid to humanitarian relief was the trend, and it appeared it would last long.  Striking a balance between the occupier and the occupied in dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict ignored the underlying causes of the socio-economic crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and only served to exacerbate the situation.  The first step to ease that crisis should be to ensure that Israel, the occupying power, complied with international law by assuming its responsibility for the well being of the occupied people.  There was an urgent need to revive the peace process through the determined efforts of the international community and the required political will of Israel to put an end to its occupation. 

KHALIL BITAR ( Syria) said that, concerning the repercussions of the occupation of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria took due note of the Secretary-General’s report.  The report was only a drop in the ocean by the practices exercised by the Israelis.  The economic situation of the Arabic Syrian population continued to deteriorate.  These practices had spread to all aspects of life.  The situation and practices of the Israeli occupiers against the Palestinian people were contrary to all fundamental rights, such as housing and work.  All of these practices were part of the Israeli strategy to put pressure on the Syrians so that they would leave the territory.  The annexation of the Syrian Golan was null and void under international law.  Syrian citizens expelled in 1976 were prevented from returning to their homes.  The establishment of Israeli settlements was continuing in the Syrian Golan.  With regard to the pressure exercised on Syrian citizens, there were shortages in medical services and first aid.  There was no authorization to exercise a medical profession in the occupied Golan.  The occupying authorities also imposed teaching curricula, which were blurring the link with Syria. 

There were prohibitive conditions and administrative overloads, he said.  Water flows were diverted away to the Israeli people.  There was shrinkage of agricultural farmland as well as seizure of farmland.  The size was getting worse and worse, also due to the minefields.  Those mines were now in farmland.  Nuclear waste had also been buried there.  These were the results of 40 years of Israeli occupation.  The Palestinian people were not able to move freely.  All this was discussed instead of the Millennium Development Goals.  The occupying authorities did not want to ensure the development of the Palestinians.  The practices were affecting children and women.  The occupying authorities were trying to divert the world’s attention from the deplorable conditions the Palestinian people were living in.  These people had already suffered enough daily humiliation.  They should catch up now with the rest of the world.  

SVETLANA MOSCHINSKAYA ( Belarus) said the report on the economic and social consequences of the occupation had been carefully studied.  Despite the efforts by the international community, the situation in Palestine continued to be of serious concern.  The Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to impact the socio-economic and living conditions of the Palestinian people.  The basic reasons for poverty in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to be the system of isolation of regions used by Israel, reducing the possibility for Palestinians to obtain education, employment, access to markets and communications, among others.  The policy of confiscation of land, running counter to the Geneva Conventions and other norms of international law, caused the isolation of the Palestinian people, with particular effects on the economy of the region.

The situation in Palestine particularly affected women, children and refugees.  The efforts of the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council were supported, and the Council should also follow the developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and take steps to reverse the serious decline in the economic and social situation in the area, caused by the Israeli occupation. 

TIBOR SHALEV-SCHLOSSER ( Israel) said he would not waste time answering the statement of the Syrian representative, designed only by his own rich imagination.  Israel wanted to express its disappointment that this forum was being exploited again for discussion of a situation which was political in nature and would only serve to overshadow the important work of the Economic and Social Council.  While the report was still inherently flawed by its one-sided scope and its heavy reliance on biased source material, Israel was interested to note some changes from previous years’ routine.  The report noted that the fiscal situation in the territories deteriorated after the election of the terror group Hamas-led Government in January 2006, with donors’ justifiable reluctance to support a Palestinian Authority who would not commit to the Quartet Principles of renunciation of violence, the recognition of Israel and the acceptance of previous agreements and obligations.  Notwithstanding this, the report stated that the international community channelled more than $450 million in direct humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians last year, revenue that was supplemented by the resumption of tax revenue transfer between Israel and the Palestinians in January 2007.

There were small comforts indeed, he said.  The report conspicuously failed to mention the campaign of terror and violence perpetuated against Israel over the past six years, including repeated attacks at border crossings, which understandably necessitated increased security measures.  Nor did the report take into account the undeniable fact that suicide bombings had decreased 100 per cent since the construction of the security barrier, the full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza or the continued firing of rockets which targeted Israeli civilians.  The failings of the report paled in comparison to the deep-seated flaws of the draft resolution regarding the issue that was currently being circulated.  A resolution crammed with inflammatory language which pointedly refused to take into account any facts that did not support its pre-determined outcome should not have a place in either ECOSOC or the United Nations.  The motivation behind the introduction of this resolution was not improving the economic and social situation of the Palestinians or the Israelis to live in conditions of secure peace, but rather a persistent, politically motivated vilification of Israel in this and other United Nations forums.

PEDRO LUIS PEDROSO ( Cuba) said that, after nearly half a century, the United Nations, including the Economic and Social Council, had adopted many resolutions regarding systematic violations of international humanitarian law, in particular with regards to the situation of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  This had led to constant condemnation by the United Nations bodies.  The exactions by Israeli soldiers had destroyed infrastructure and led to many deaths, including that of children, and had impeded development.  They had impacted employment possibilities, as well as the economic well being of the Palestinian people, and had caused a deterioration of their situation.  The Israeli violations continued, despite the condemnation of international bodies.

The Palestinian Authority suffered economically from the violations, and the majority of the Palestinian people suffered from the occupation.  It was essential to continue to show solidarity and to ensure a continuing flow of medicine to the affected, with the provision of assistance, the building of hospitals and the provision of ambulances.  The military occupation was condemned, as were the exactions of the Israeli authorities.  The fundamental freedoms of the Palestinian people should be respected, including the establishment of a Palestinian State with its capital in East Jerusalem.  There should be a lasting peace in the region, and the Council should work in consensus to find a solution to the problem.  The situation in the Gaza Strip should be resolved.  The people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories should be able to solve their problems through peaceful means.  The relevant resolutions of the United Nations should be implemented, and a peace that would bring a lasting end to the conflict be found.

IDRISS JAZAIRY ( Algeria) said that items 9 and 11 related to the same tragedy.  The land of the Palestinians had been transformed into a prison.  Algeria was left wordless by the repetition of the injustices by the occupation forces.  Destitution, marginalization and humiliation together with the destruction of infrastructure and the plundering of resources were the consequence of the political stalemate.  The humanitarian response by the United Nations was shrinking while the need of the Palestine population was increasing.  The international community should have the necessary courage to urge the parties concerned to engage in good faith in a dialogue towards achieving self-determination of occupied territories.  It was the refusal of such a dialogue, which had caused despair.  In all non-self-governing territories, the refusal of dialogue of occupying forces always led to violence.  The solution was to provide an outcome to ensure peace.  If there was going to be a new policy by Israel, changing from present practices, there would be light at the end of the tunnel.

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MUHAMMAD ANSHOR ( Indonesia) said that Indonesia was deeply disturbed that the Palestinian people continued to suffer from daily violence and death inflicted by Israel.  With the continued violence, the death toll had continued to increase as reflected in the report.  Indonesia was dismayed at the total disregard of the Israeli Government and its forces for the inviolability of the lives and safety of the civilian population under its occupation.  Even within measures, including resolutions by the United Nations to stop the violence, Israel had continued with its belligerence and disregard for the rule of law.  Israel continued to construct the barrier and expand its settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory as well as the systematic seizure of large tracts of Palestinian lands and housing in East Jerusalem in spite of General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 and the Advisory Opinion rendered by the International Court of Justice in July 2004. 

The consequence of all these actions was that the Palestinian people’s economic and social well-being had been severely undermined as the Palestinian fiscal crisis showed, he said.  Economic indicators showed that unemployment rates had doubled and poverty in the occupied Palestinian Territory had increased.  Food insecurity, lack of access to water resources and strains on the environment were threatening the very existence of the Palestinian people.  The deterioration of the humanitarian situation and socio-economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian Territory must be reversed.  Indonesia in this regard remained fully committed to support the struggle of Palestinians to achieve their inalienable rights and their aspirations to live in a secure and prosperous independent homeland.

ABDULLAH RASHWAN ( Saudi Arabia) said the Palestinians were going through a difficult and hard stage of their life due to their economic, social and living conditions.  Many resolutions had called for an intervention to put an end to the economic blockade against the Palestinian people, with a view to also allowing freedom of movement for the population and for goods.  Measures taken by the occupation ran counter to international law, and did not improve the situation of the Palestinian people.  The Secretary-General’s report showed that the economic situation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories was the cause of the majority of the suffering of Palestinians.

The blockade by the Israeli authorities was the very reason for the poverty in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The Council should adopt a uniform position by deciding to put an end to the sufferings of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, and those of the Syrians in the Occupied Syrian Golan.  The peace process should be resumed on the basis of the appropriate Security Council resolutions.

RICHARD T. MILLER ( United States) said the debate was taking a character that was more anti-Israeli than pro-Palestinian, which was not the same thing.  The United States shared the concerns about the situation of the Palestinian people.  As a member of the Quartet, the United Nations must be seen by both sides as an honest broker.  One-sided debates and resolutions that ignored the facts could undermine the role of the United Nations in this regard.  It was a choice between violence on the one, and tolerance on the other.  Hamas had made its choice.  President Bush underscored the United States commitment for a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

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For information media • not an official record

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