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Source: General Assembly
29 November 2010



Official Records

General Assembly

Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of the Palestinian People
329th meeting
Monday, 29 November 2010, 10 a.m.
New York

Chair: Mr. Diallo ......................................................(Senegal)





International Day of Solidarity with the
Palestinian People

The Chair (spoke in French): Today, the Committee is holding a special meeting to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

It is my honour and pleasure to bid a warm welcome to His Excellency Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly; Her Excellency Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; His Excellency Sir Mark Lyall Grant, President of the Security Council; and His Excellency Mr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. I also welcome the presence of His Excellency Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, with us today.

I welcome the representatives of Member States, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations and all those who have accepted the Committee’s invitation to participate in this solemn meeting.

Allow me at this point to make a statement on behalf of the Committee.

Speaking for the first time as President of the Committee, I have the great honour to thank you for participating in this special meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I also express my appreciation to all who are joining through the United Nations webcast system.

Allow me also express to the Secretary-General the sincere gratitude of the members of the Committee for his personal efforts and commitment to promoting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. His leadership on this issue is deeply appreciated by all.

I also extend a warm welcome to Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, and sincerely thank him for honouring today’s meeting with his presence. Your country, Sir, as the depository of the Geneva Conventions, has special responsibilities in this matter.

I would also like to extend a special welcome to Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in his capacity as President of the Security Council this month. The active involvement of the Security Council in the search for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in accordance with the norms of international law is vital. On behalf of the Committee, I warmly welcome his participation today and express the hope that the Council will use its full authority to seek new ways forward.

The members of the Committee welcome and support all the efforts of the Member States and Observers, the Security Council, the Quartet, the Arab League, the European Union, the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Conference and civil society in support of our common objectives. Our solidarity also manifests itself in the daily work of the United Nations agencies and many other international and civil society organizations, which are doing everything possible to provide basic services for the Palestinians.

Sixty-three years ago, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), which changed the course of history in the Middle East and beyond. It embodied a solemn commitment by the international community to the establishment of two States in mandated Palestine. Today, that promise stands only half fulfilled. Though a Jewish State, Israel, came into being in 1948, Palestine the Arab State also supposed to be established, remains a vision yet to be realized. The question of Palestine weighs heavily on our collective consciousness as the great unfinished business of the twentieth century. Today, Palestinians and Israelis continue to pay the price for that failure.

I would like to dwell in particular on the human tragedy of the situation. For decades now, half of the Palestinians have been deprived of freedom, living under occupation in their own land. The other half have been living as refugees, with all the hardships that that status entails. The international community has a duty to restore the political and diplomatic means to give back to the Palestinians the hope of at last recovering a measure of dignity fully equal to that of all the peoples in the region.

It will be recalled that the Committee warmly welcomed the peace process launched in 1991 as a guarantee of the establishment of a viable Palestinian State while simultaneously providing Israel with recognition, peace and security, pursuant to the recommendations of the Quartet Road Map. We called on the parties to refrain from taking destabilizing unilateral actions on the ground, including the building of new or the expansion of existing settlements.

Unfortunately, it appears that Israel has not been able to assume this undertaking, which is recognized by the entire international community as a minimal confidence-building measure. It is therefore not difficult to understand the Palestinian Authority’s frustration and reluctance to negotiate in such circumstances.

The General Assembly has reaffirmed that the United Nations has a permanent responsibility with respect to the question of Palestine until the matter is resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory way, in accordance with international law. Not only must the General Assembly continue to promote the guidelines required for the parties to commit themselves in good faith to that end, but Member States must individually and collectively demonstrate their active solidarity and take immediate action to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.

An urgent first step is to lift the blockade that has unfairly weighed on the civilian population of Gaza for over three years. The second step is to require all relevant international bodies to combat impunity, particularly during military operations in the Palestinian territory, and to ensure that the status of East Jerusalem and the holy sites is respected. Israel must also be called on to adhere strictly to international humanitarian law. Lastly, we must demonstrate our solidarity with Palestine by giving our strong support to the Fayyad plan, which must be implemented if a Palestinian State is to be viable. We must do everything to ensure that the plan is funded.

Let me assure all present that the Committee will continue to fulfil the mandate given to it by the General Assembly until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized. This goes hand in hand with the final settlement of the conflict through the emergence of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.

I now have the honour to give the floor to the President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Joseph Deiss.

Mr. Deiss, President of the General Assembly: On behalf of the General Assembly, I would like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, its Chair and Vice-Chairs for the invitation to address this meeting today.

We meet to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as we have done every year since 1978. The date of 29 November was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people. On this day in 1947, as you just mentioned, Sir, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), which partitioned the territory known as Mandate Palestine into two States — one Jewish and one Arab.

However, as we are all sadly aware, the resolution did not translate into a just and lasting solution. We continue therefore to observe this day in order to show our enduring commitment and solidarity to the peoples of the region. And by doing so, we also reaffirm the permanent responsibility of the United Nations to remain seized of the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all its aspects.

In this regard, I commend you, Mr. Chair, for what you and your Committee have done to remind us of this shared responsibility. I also commend and pay tribute to the United Nations in general, and in particular the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, as well as non-governmental organizations and civil society, for their invaluable efforts on the ground. I encourage all Member States to continue to support their efforts.

Violence, human suffering and mistrust have dominated Palestinian-Israeli relations for far too long. How shall we explain to the coming generations our inability over the course of 63 years to end the dramatic situation inflicted on the peoples of the region? If we want to move forward, we must restore hope and a sense of positive direction to the peoples of the region.

Now more than ever, the parties must step up their efforts to engage each other in honest negotiations and overcome deadlocks. Violence and acts of terror must cease. International law and United Nations resolutions must be respected, and actions that could aggravate the situation and increase suspicion and mistrust must be stopped. Now is the time for peace. Everything must be done to alleviate the daily suffering of the Palestinian people. Access and mobility are crucial for dealing with unemployment and poverty.

We, the international community, must also intensify our engagement in helping the parties to end a conflict that for far too long has tormented the region and its peoples. We must spare no effort to assist both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to decades of confrontation, conflict and violence. This is in the interest of the parties, in the interest of the region, and in the interest of international peace and security. Let us therefore reaffirm our commitment to the Middle East peace process and continue to mobilize international assistance for the Palestinian people. They deserve a life of dignity and a future of peace and security.

The Chair (spoke in French): I thank the President of the General Assembly for his important statement.

I now have the privilege of giving the floor to Her Excellency Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Deputy Secretary-General: I would like to commend the Committee for its enduring dedication to bringing the question of Palestine to the forefront of international attention and for pursuing its important General Assembly mandate.

I bring greetings from the Secretary-General, on whose behalf I am pleased to deliver the following message.


That concludes the message of the Secretary-General. Let me reiterate my own support for this work.

The Chair (spoke in French): Despite her busy schedule, the Deputy Secretary-General was willing to come and participate in this special meeting, and we thank her for that. Through her, I would like to express the Committee’s sincere gratitude for the important message from the Secretary-General, and ask her to convey to him our support in his continued personal efforts to promote a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

I now have the honour to give the floor to the President of the Security Council, His Excellency Sir Mark Lyall Grant.

Sir Mark Lyall Grant (United Kingdom), President of the Security Council: I would like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for inviting me to address this meeting in my capacity as President of the Security Council for November.

We are here to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In June 2009, the Quartet affirmed its determination to actively and vigorously seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008), the Madrid principles, including land for peace, the Road Map, the Arab Peace Initiative and the agreements previously reached between the parties.

The Security Council remains fully committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with mutually agreed and recognized borders.

In September, the Quartet reaffirmed its full commitment to its previous statements, which provide that negotiations should lead to an agreement that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.

Throughout the past year, the Council has continued to receive regular briefings from the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the Department of Political Affairs and to hold open debates. These meetings have covered a range of issues and opinions.

First, Council members have underscored that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement negotiated between the parties, and re-emphasized that only a two-State solution with an independent and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours can bring peace to the region.

Secondly, Council members have urged the parties to avoid any unilateral and provocative actions, and have called on all international partners to promote an atmosphere of cooperation between the parties and throughout the region. As the Quartet has said, unilateral actions by either party, including settlement activity, cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.

Thirdly, transformative change on the ground is integral to peace. Council members have welcomed the Palestinian Authority’s State-building plan, which demonstrates the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to an independent State that provides opportunity, justice and security to the Palestinian people and is a responsible neighbour to all States in the region.

Fourthly, Council members continue to view the situation in Gaza with concern. In June 2010, the Council agreed on a statement (S/PRST/2010/9) following the tragic Gaza flotilla incident, which stressed that the situation in Gaza was not sustainable. We emphasize the importance of full implementation of Security Council resolutions 1850 (2008) and 1860 (2009), and in that context stress the need for a sustained and regular flow of goods and people to Gaza, as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.

As the Quartet reaffirmed in September 2010, the current situation in Gaza is not in the interests of Palestinians or Israelis. The Quartet welcomed the shift in Israel’s Gaza policy since June 2010 and called for further efforts by all concerned to ensure the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza and to address Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

Finally, all Council members have commended the laudable efforts of humanitarian organization and agencies on the ground, particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and its staff. We encourage all members of the international community to support the Agency with financial contributions.

Looking ahead, the Security Council will remain seized of the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, and will continue to consider the issue on a regular basis.

In conclusion, allow me to assure all Member States of the commitment of the Security Council to the ultimate goal of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and to the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for an independent and democratic State.

The Chair (spoke in French): I thank the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Lyall Grant, for his important statement.

I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, who will read out a message from His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Mansour (Palestine): It gives me great pleasure and it is an honour to deliver to this morning’s gathering, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the statement of President Mahmoud Abbas. The message reads as follows:

(spoke in Arabic)


The Chair (spoke in French): I should like to take this opportunity to ask you to convey our sincere thanks and greetings to Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority for his important message.

On behalf of us all, I convey to President Abbas our solidarity with the Palestinian people and our unwavering support for its aspirations in their quest for self-determination and statehood.

I should also like to assure President Abbas and, through him, the Palestinian people of our Committee’s firm commitment to continuing its efforts, as mandated by the General Assembly, with a view to promoting a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

I shall now suspend the meeting for a few minutes to allow some of our guests to leave the Conference Room. On behalf of the Committee, I should like once again to thank the President of the General Assembly, the Deputy Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council for their contribution to this important meeting.


The Chair (spoke in French): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Palitha Kohona, Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

Mr. Kohona (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories: I have the honour to address this meeting as the Chairman of the General Assembly-mandated Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, as it commemorates the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This day provides a critical reminder to the international community of the urgent need to finally resolve the Palestinian question in a just and equitable manner.

I am saddened to address the Committee at a time when the situation for the occupied Palestinian people remains dire. Despite well-intentioned efforts to revive the peace talks this year, the facts on the ground reveal that prospects for the achievement of their fundamental right to self-determination are as distant and elusive as ever. Ongoing confiscation of land, settlement and housing expansion and the construction of the wall are severely undermining prospects for the attainment of Palestinian Statehood.

Policies and practices emanating from the current regime of occupation continue to infringe on a whole spectrum of rights. Consequently, a significant proportion of the occupied population lives in poverty, many of them totally dependent on humanitarian aid. Levels of poverty are particularly high in the Gaza Strip as a result of the Israeli-imposed blockade, as well as in area C of the West Bank due to restrictive access and discriminatory planning. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned by the ongoing loss of life and injuries in conflict-related violence. Moreover, over 6,200 Palestinian prisoners remain in detention, while allegations of torture and ill treatment have been made.

Earlier this month, the Special Committee presented its forty-second report (see A/65/327) on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and occupied Syrian Golan. Our report concluded that an unacceptable culture of impunity prevails, leading to the repetition of violations that are highlighted year after year by our Committee and many others. As a key means to address the long-standing pattern of systematic human rights violations, the Special Committee calls for diplomatic efforts to be intensified with a view to adopting appropriate measures to require Israel’s compliance with Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the Palestinian question and with international humanitarian and human rights law. It is only through a political solution with human rights at its heart that Palestinians and Israelis will begin to enjoy human security and peace and live as neighbours.

The Chair (spoke in French): I thank Ambassador Palitha Kohona, Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, for his important statement.

It is now my pleasure to give the floor to Mr. Maged Abdelaziz, Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United Nations, who will read out a message from the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Mr. Hosni Mubarak, in his capacity as current President of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Abdelaziz (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic): I have the honour to read out the text of a message from His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt:


The Chair (spoke in French): I thank His Excellency Mr. Maged Abdelaziz for the important message from His Excellency Mr. Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and current Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement. I request Ambassador Abdelaziz to kindly convey to President Mubarak the sincere thanks of the Committee for his very important message.

I now have the pleasure of giving the floor to His Excellency Mr. Sirodjidin M. Aslov, Permanent Representative of the Tajikistan to the United Nations, who will read out a statement from His Excellency Mr. Hamrokhon Zarifi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-seventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

Mr. Aslov (Tajikistan) (spoke in Russian): It is a great honour for me to read out the message of His Excellency Mr. Hamrokhon Zarifi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan and Chairman of the thirty-seventh session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, addressed to the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, His Excellency Mr. Abdou Salam Diallo.


The Chair (spoke in French): I thank His Excellency Mr. Sirodjidin Aslov and request him to convey to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, His Excellency Mr. Hamrokhon Zarifi, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-seventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, the sincere thanks of the Committee for his important message.

In the absence of the representative of the Acting Chairperson of the African Union, I have the pleasure of giving the floor to His Excellency Mr. Oumar Daou, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Mali, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Group for this month.

Mr. Daou (Mali) (spoke in French): We are gathered here today to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. On behalf of the African Group, I would like to echo previous speakers in order to commend you, Mr. Chairman, for having organized this event. This day gives us the opportunity to reaffirm once again our active solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have suffered a tragedy for more than 60 years owing to the Israeli occupation. The situation in the Middle East is of great concern to the international community. Therefore, need we recall here that if there is one issue that unites all in resentment in that part of the world, it is clearly the Palestinian question?

As the United Nations and the international community commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, our thoughts turn to the Palestinian people living in the occupied territories, in particular those in Gaza, who live in a very critical socio-economic and humanitarian situation, specifically owing to the blockade imposed by the Israeli authorities and the harmful consequences of the Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009.

Our thoughts are also with the millions of Palestinian refugees living in the occupied Palestinian territory and in neighbouring countries. Their situation remains an issue of serious concern to the international community. I should like to pay warm tribute to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for its remarkable work on the ground to provide the necessary assistance to Palestinian refugees and to those in particularly difficult situations, specifically given the many restrictions imposed on its staff and the harassment and intimidation that they suffer daily. At the same time, we commend the role of civil society and non-governmental organizations working on the ground.

Settling the Palestinian question cannot be postponed indefinitely. For a long time now, a negotiated solution has been defined that includes the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State within recognized borders, living in peace and security alongside the State of Israel. It is therefore time to work to bring about this lofty objective. It is important in that respect to ensure the effective implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Organization, advocating in particular the lifting of the embargo against Gaza and the relaunching of negotiations with a view to bringing about a comprehensive and lasting peace.

Sustained diplomatic efforts must also be made in order to bring all the parties to the negotiating table. In parallel, Israel must commit to dismantling settlements and ceasing all of its activities relating to the establishment of new settlements. Israel must also commit to removing the blockade imposed on Gaza and to creating conditions that are conducive to the relaunching of the negotiations.

Along the road to this just and comprehensive peace which we so strongly desire, Africa reaffirms its unwavering support for the initiatives of the United Nations, the Quartet, the European Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and other international organizations.

I should like, on this momentous day, to underline that it is high time that the courageous Palestinian people recovered all their national rights, including their right to a sovereign and independent State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The African Group, for its part, will spare no effort in contributing to the quest for a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine, which is at the heart of the situation in the Middle East.

The Chair (spoke in French): The Committee greatly appreciates the message just delivered on behalf of the African Group.

I now give the floor to Mr. Yahya Mahmassani, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States to the United Nations, who will read out a message from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Amre Moussa.

Mr. Mahmassani (League of Arab States) (spoke in Arabic): Mr. Chairman, I should like at the outset to read out to the members of the Committee a message of congratulations and appreciation from the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Mr. Amre Moussa.


The Chair (spoke in French): I thank Mr. Mahmassani for his statement, and I would ask him to transmit to His Excellency Amre Moussa our sincere thanks for his important message.

I now give the floor to Ms. Judith LeBlanc, member of the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, who will make a statement on behalf of civil society organizations actively seeking the resolution of the question of Palestine.

Ms. LeBlanc (US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation): It is an honour to address the special meeting today. I have attended these important United Nations events in the past. The first time was just after my return from participating in a peace delegation to the West Bank during the second intifada. Upon my return, I went on a national tour, speaking at community centres, churches, synagogues and mosques. It is with sadness that I say that I could give nearly the same speech today as then about the cruel, inhumane realities of the Israeli occupation and the stalled political negotiations.

As a member of the National Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Occupation and an organizer for Peace Action, the largest peace organization in the United States, I am mindful of the opportunities and challenges we face in a world where many conflicts, inequalities and pressures to undermine international institutions and law.

The International Day of Solidarity is a moment to examine the opportunities and challenges in the fight for the implementation of all relevant United Nations resolutions including the right of return and return to the 1967 borders, for the economic and social rights for Palestinian refugees, and against United States military aid to the Israeli occupation.

To paraphrase Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, the daunting challenge we confront is the prolonged occupation combined with the expansion of the settlements, which now amounts to de facto annexation.

The prospects for a comprehensive and just peace are precarious at a moment when there is a growing consensus in support of the two-State solution. The only path forward is negotiations based on international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions.

No great social change, resolution of international crisis or just solution has happened without civil society being engaged and organized for justice. The opportunity and challenge we have as civil society organizations today is to mobilize international public opinion to help break the deadlock of more than 60 years of occupation. The tactics of non-violent direct action, boycotts, divestment and sanctions are best when aimed at solidifying public opinion in support of the implementation of United Nations resolutions and international law. In this, the public opinion in the United States is decisive.

The Israeli military action on the Gaza freedom flotilla ignited a groundswell of international solidarity, indignation and debate. As a result, the international movement in support of the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions issued by Palestinian civil society continues to grow. But United States public opinion and official policy remain the biggest barriers to effecting change in the conflict. Organizing to shift and solidify public opinion in the United States for effective political pressure on the Obama Administration and Congress is critical.

Recent United States public opinion polls show that pluralities know the ongoing illegal Israeli settlements in occupied land are wrong and should be stopped. They support President Obama’s efforts, but a majority of Americans still do not understand the history of and issues surrounding the conflict, or the role that the United States plays in supporting the Israeli regime.

Most do not understand that Israel ignores the United Nations and international law because the United States Government has poured over $3 trillion into Israel’s economy, plus $3 billion in annual military aid, and has used over 48 Security Council vetoes to protect Israel from international condemnation.

The recent United States midterm elections compound the complexity for solidarity organizing here in the United States. Now, two thirds of registered Democrats are opposed to Israeli policies, as compared to two thirds of registered Republicans who support Israeli policy at all costs. This is not new; it existed under the Clinton and Bush Administrations. The divide, though, has deepened with President Obama’s support for a freeze on settlements.

The United States solidarity movement must develop tactics that engage the new level of concern about United States policy in the Middle East while at the same time educate on what in fact the United States must do differently to break the impasse in the region. Many had hoped that the election of President Obama would represent a break in the continuum of United States foreign policy towards Israel. The reality is that the United States continues to interfere with the United Nations Charter-mandated diplomatic role of the United Nations and the implementation of United Nations resolutions, such as that on the Goldstone report (resolution 64/10), all due to politically driven domestic pressures.

The most recent example is the United States promise to turn over $3 billion in stealth fighters to Israel and to veto any United Nations resolution that questions Israel’s legitimacy, in exchange for Israel’s pledge to extend a 10-month partial settlement moratorium for another 90 days. The cold reality is that the powerful, moneyed, pro-Israel lobby remains one of the strongest influences on United States foreign policy.

On this International Day of Solidarity, we must recommit to organizing civil society. The powerful pro-Israel lobby’s influence on United States policy will only be challenged by internationally organized and sustained civil society pressure. The most critical part of that movement must be organized in the United States. The United States solidarity movement must creatively organize actions and campaigns that capture the hearts and minds of the American people.

There are new and important examples towards this end. In California, member groups of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation successfully campaigned to place a referendum on the state-wide ballot in the next elections. It calls on that state to divest teachers’ and state workers’ retirement pension funds from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.

Nationally, churches and civic groups are increasingly debating divestment from companies that do business with Israel, sell weapons to Israel or provide them bulldozers for the demolition of houses. In the past few weeks, international pressures have made it difficult for the United States Government to send previously promised Caterpillar tractors, long a target for boycott organizing since the killing of Rachel Corrie.

Frustration over United Nations and United States failures continues to compel organizing for more humanitarian efforts by United States citizens and others to break the cruel and inhumane blockade of the people of Gaza. The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns all over the world are having a real impact on Israel. They say that this so called de-legitimization project is more dangerous to their security than the violence on the part of Palestinian resistance.

These are all important developments, but civil society alone win not end the occupation of Palestine. The United Nations must continue to challenge the unilateral role of the United States Government in the region. It must resist the attempts to circumvent international law. The United Nations various bodies and institutions remain critical to revealing the truth about the Israeli occupation and the plight of the Palestinian people, while creating a framework for the long-term resolution of the conflict.

The United Nations is where international public opinion can be registered and international law revived. The United Nations is the standard by which we judge the actions of our own Governments. The irony of this statement is not lost today in the wake of the recent WikiLeaks publications.

Our road map for reversing the damage of the Gaza blockade, removing the apartheid wall and ending the occupation as a whole must combine the moral authority of the United Nations with the collaboration of our own Governments and the grassroots reach of global civil society. Only through the harnessing of all of these forces — the United Nations, our Governments and civil society — can right overcome might in Israel and Palestine; can the rule of international law become the norm rather than the exception in the Middle East; can we put an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation in the region; can we realize the implementation of all relevant United Nations resolutions.

I thank the Committee for providing the opportunity for civil society voices to be raised in support of justice for the Palestinian people. Our cause is just. Our task is urgent.

The Chair (spoke in French): I thank Ms. Judith LeBlanc for her statement and, through her, all the civil society organizations throughout the world that are actively seeking a resolution to the question of Palestine for their efforts and their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

I now have the pleasure of announcing that the Committee has received messages of support and solidarity from a number of heads of State and Government, Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Governments and organizations. I would recall that the text of these messages will be published in a special bulletin of the Division for Palestinian Rights. I would, however, like to read aloud the list of representatives who sent them, in the order that we received them.

We have received messages from the following heads of State: Her Excellency the President of the Argentine Republic; His Excellency the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil; His Excellency the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt; His Excellency the President of the Republic of Namibia; His Excellency the President of the Republic of Senegal; His Excellency the President of Turkey; His Excellency the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; His Excellency the Interim President and President of the Transition of the Republic of Guinea; His Excellency the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran; His Excellency the President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria; His Excellency the President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; His Excellency the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; His Excellency the President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; His Excellency the President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; His Excellency the President of the Russian Federation; His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam; His Excellency the President of the Republic of South Africa; His Excellency the President of the Republic of Tunisia; His Majesty the King of the Kingdom of Morocco; His Majesty the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain; His Majesty the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; His Excellency the President of the Republic of Indonesia; His Excellency the President of the Republic of Belarus; His Excellency the President of the Gabonese Republic; His Highness the Emir of the State of Qatar; and His Excellency the President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

We have received messages from the following heads of Government: His Excellency the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China; His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Republic of India; His Excellency the Prime Minister of Malaysia; and His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

We have received messages from the following Ministers for Foreign Affairs: His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mali; His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar; His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba; His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan; His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Botswana; His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan; His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus; His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic; and His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

We have received messages from the following Governments: the Government of the Sultanate of Oman; the Government of the Republic of Guyana; and the Government of the Republic of Ghana.

We have received messages from the following intergovernmental organizations: the European Union; His Excellency the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; and His Excellency the Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We have received a message from the following specialized institution: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

We have received a message from the following civil society organization: Caritas-Jerusalem.

On behalf of the Committee, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the heads of State and Government, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, the Governments and the organizations just listed for their persistent efforts undertaken in the search for a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, and for their constant support for the activities with which the Committee has been tasked.

The statements that we have heard and the messages of solidarity we have received today once again demonstrate the unfailing support of the international community to the establishment of peace in the Middle East and to the effective exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions and international law. I assure participants that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will spare no effort in seeking to reach these objectives.

I now have the pleasure of giving the floor to the Permanent Observer for Palestine to the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Riyad Mansour.

Mr. Mansour (Palestine): On behalf of Palestine, the Palestinian people and the leadership of Palestine, I would like to express our gratitude to all those who were with us today in expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people on this very important occasion, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. We also express our gratitude and appreciation to all the countries that sent messages on this occasion to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people — all the Presidents, heads of State, Kings, Emirs, Prime Ministers, ministers and all others. I would also like to express our appreciation for the strong presence of civil society with us and the statement made on behalf of civil society. We believe that the cause of Palestine is a very important one that is close to the hearts of all civil societies that support just causes.

In conclusion, I would also like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Ashtar Theater Group, which has been touring all corners of the globe and decided to conclude its trip by performing “The Gaza Monologues, a series of vignettes about the suffering of our people in Gaza. They will be with us in a few minutes. I would like to express, on behalf of Palestine and all participants here today, our appreciation to the Ashtar Theater Group from Ramallah. The members of the group, who come from more than 20 different countries, have come together to tell stories of the suffering of our people in Gaza.

Again, I thank the Committee very much for its strong message of solidarity. I am sure that, hopefully, next year or very soon, we will celebrate the independence of the State of Palestine and its full membership in the United Nations system.

The Chair (spoke in French): I would like to thank Ambassador Riyad Mansour for his important statement. I would once again like to reiterate the Committee’s determination to pursue its work until we achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

Before adjourning this special meeting, I would like to thank all those who have helped to organize this meeting — in particular staff members from the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, the Department of Public Information and the Office of Central Support Services — and all those who worked for the success of this meeting.

Immediately following the conclusion of this meeting, here in this conference room, the Ramallah-based Ashtar Theater Group will give a performance entitled “The Gaza Monologues”. Poignant testimonies of the young people of Gaza will be performed by actors from all corners of the world who have come together for this occasion. As a token of our solidarity, I invite participants to remain in the room for the performance.

I would also like to invite participants to this evening’s opening of an exhibition presented by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, entitled “Summer Games in Gaza”, which will take place at 6 p.m. in the north-east gallery of the Public Lobby of the General Assembly building. The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Finnish Government, which we thank. It will be accompanied by a performance of the second part of “The Gaza Monologues”. I look forward to seeing everyone there.



This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room U-506. Corrections will be issued in a corrigendum.


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