Question of Palestine home
20 December 1999
Summary record of the 21st meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 22 October 1999, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Galuška ............................................ (Czech Republic)
Agenda item 114: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (
Agenda item 115: Right of peoples to self-determination (
The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.
Agenda item 114:
Elimination of racism and racial discrimination
) (A/54/18, A/54/98, A/54/299 and A/54/347)
Agenda item 115:
Right of peoples to self-determination
) (A/54/98, A/54/118-S/1999/633, A/54/326 and A/54/327)
Ms. Li Sangu
19. The restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, and the early settlement of the question of Palestine in a just and reasonable manner was the key to a lasting peace in the Middle East. China had been following the development of the situation closely and had taken note of the recent progress achieved in the peace process. Her delegation was convinced that the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East represented the common aspiration of the peoples of the region, was in keeping with their fundamental interests and would be conducive to peace and stability throughout the world. In conclusion, she said that her delegation hoped that all parties concerned would, on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions and the agreements that had been concluded and guided by the principle of land for peace, strive to move the peace talks forward in a positive and realistic manner.
23. Since its creation, the United Nations had kept pace with the changes that had taken place and the number of Member States had more than tripled, thus establishing its universality. The adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples more than 40 years earlier had helped to speed up the downfall of the last bastions of colonialism. Despite the progress that had been achieved, quite recently in East Timor, the work of decolonization remained incomplete since other peoples still had to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom. That was the case, in the Middle East, of the Palestinian people which had been dispossessed of its land and national rights. It was to be hoped that the relaunching of the peace process would allow all the countries of the region to live in peace and security once the Israeli forces had been withdrawn from the Golan Heights and Lebanon.
Ms. de Armas García
26. The exercise of the right to self-determination was a prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights. Cuba reaffirmed once again the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to decide their destiny and demanded the unconditional return of all Arab territories occupied by Israel, including the Syrian Golan and the occupied strip in southern Lebanon. Furthermore, her delegation once again demanded the return of the Guantanamo naval base, the occupation of which by the United States of America constituted a violation of the Cuban people’s right to exercise the right to self-determination throughout the territory.
36. No society was immune to racism and intolerance, and Israeli society was no exception. In its turbulent history, inequalities had arisen between different social groups, particularly the Jewish and the Israeli-Arab populations, which did not enjoy the same degree of State support in a variety of fields. However, while much remained to be done in areas such as housing, pre-school education and access to senior Government positions, major progress had been achieved through the work of State institutions and organizations of civil society. For example, the Ministry of Education had launched a wide publicity campaign to eliminate social stereotypes, particularly those associated with Jews and Arabs and, on 24 September 1999, following the attempted bombings several days previously in Haifa and Tiberias, nine Arab and ten Jewish school directors had published in the Israeli press a communiqué denouncing acts of racism and discrimination between Jews and Arabs.
The meeting rose at 11.55 a.m