Question of Palestine home
La situation au Moyen-Orient; Question de Palestine - Débat général de 66e session de AG - Procès-verbal
22 September 2011
th plenary meeting
Thursday, 22 September 2011, 11 a.m.
The meeting was called to order at 11.15 a.m.
Address by Mr. Demetris Christofias, President of the Republic of Cyprus
The long-standing dispute in the Middle East is now characterized by frozen negotiations. It is vitally important that the peace process be resumed on the basis of the principles established by the international community in its resolutions. Cyprus supports the resumption of negotiations and calls on both sides to engage with honesty and goodwill, without creating new faits accomplis.
Israelis and Palestinians alike deserve a peaceful, stable and secure future within a framework of two independent States. We maintain our principled position for a free and independent Palestinian State, next to the State of Israel, within the 1967 borders.
Address by Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania
It is in this spirit also that I wish to reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their rightful quest for an independent homeland. Our plea is for the fulfilment of the vision of two States: the State of Israel and a sovereign, independent, democratic and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and harmony. That is why we also remain in full solidarity with the people of Cuba in demanding the end to the embargo. It is perhaps the longest-lasting embargo in history. The people in these three countries — Israel, Palestine and Cuba — have suffered for far too long. It is time their burdens are eased.
Address by His Majesty King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain
Today more than ever, the international community has a propitious opportunity to do justice to the brotherly Palestinian people and to help them to achieve their legitimate aspirations by recognizing an independent Palestinian State on their own national soil, with East Jerusalem as its capital. That would put an end to an era of bitter Arab-Israeli conflict, contingent on a complete Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories to the lines of 4 June 1967 in Palestine, the occupied Syrian Arab Golan and the occupied territories in southern Lebanon, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative.
Address by Mr. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
The recent history of peoples underscores the virtues of dialogue and negotiation for resolving even the most complex conflicts, as proven by the dismantling of apartheid and the progress, albeit modest, in the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
Address by Mr. Sebastián Piñera Echeñique, President of the Republic of Chile
Moreover, with regard to the promotion of world peace, Chile has recognized the Palestinian State, a country that we hope to welcome to the Organization very soon. We have resolutely supported all international efforts to achieve a just, legitimate and lasting settlement in the Middle East. Chile is firmly convinced that the Palestinian people have the right to a free, sovereign and democratic State and that the State of Israel has the right to have recognized, secure and respected borders. Only thus will Palestinians and Israelis be able to coexist and move forward in peace and harmony.
Address by Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Who imposed, through deceit and hypocrisy, the Zionist agenda and almost 60 years of war, homelessness, terror and mass murder on the Palestinian people and the countries of the region? ...
There exist dozens of other similar questions, and of course the answers are clear. The majority of nations and Governments of the world have had no role in the creation of the current global crisis, and in fact are themselves the victims of such policies. It is as clear as daylight that the same slave-masters and colonial Powers that once triggered the two World Wars have caused widespread misery and disorder, with far-reaching effects across the globe since then. They continue to control the international political centres and the Security Council.
Address by His Highness Sheikh Naser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait
More than six decades have elapsed and the United Nations remains incapable of finding a solution to the Palestinian question and of putting an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab territories. Worse, the suffering of the Palestinian people only increases with the years. Their economic and social conditions worsen, settlements expand, their lands are confiscated, their water is stolen, their homes and land are besieged, their movements are restricted and their sons and daughters are imprisoned. Most troubling of all is that the international community stands idly by, a passive spectator to Israel’s unchanging practices and policies, despite the fact that those policies not only violate the most rudimentary rules of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy, but undermine any chance to achieve peace.
Israel’s inhumane practices against our brothers in Gaza — such as the totally unjustified blockade and the deliberate destruction of infrastructure, despite continued international condemnation, to name but two — are a glaring example of Israel’s indifference to its obligations and world public opinion. The international community is therefore called upon to pursue its efforts to bring pressure to bear on Israel so that the Palestinian people enjoy their right to self-determination.
The Palestinian State must be established, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the Israeli occupation of all the Arab territories it has occupied since 4 June 1967, including the Syrian Golan, must end. Israel must also cease its continued violations of the sovereignty of Lebanon and withdraw from all its occupied territories. We wish to renew once again our full commitment and support to the bid and endeavours of the Palestinian Authority to obtain membership in the United Nations as an independent, sovereign and full Member State.
Address by Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
My argument today is that Libya and the Arab Spring show that the United Nations needs a new way of working, because the Arab Spring is a massive opportunity to spread peace, prosperity, democracy and, vitally, security, but only if we really seize the opportunity.
So the events of this year present a challenge to all of us — a challenge to Europe to show it can reform its aid and trade strategy to be truly progressive; a challenge to the African Union, to meet the opportunities of this century with the same courage that won liberation in the last; a challenge to the Israelis and Palestinians, to take the bold steps to come to the table and make lasting peace; a challenge to Iran and to Syria, to give their peoples the freedoms they deserve; and a challenge to the United Nations.
We all have a responsibility to the Palestinians too. A key part of the Arab Spring is the right of Palestinians to have a viable State of their own, living in peace, alongside a safe and secure State of Israel. And I strongly support this. There has been much speculation about what will happen here this week. Let us be clear about one fact. No resolution can, on its own, substitute for the political will necessary to bring peace. Peace will only come when Palestinians and Israelis sit down and talk to each other, make compromises, build trust and agree. So our role must be to support this, to defeat those who embrace violence, to stop the growth of settlements and to support Palestinians and Israelis alike to make peace.
Address by Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council
We fight the causes of worry with expertise in mediation. We mediate in conflicts in our neighbourhood and beyond, drawing from our experience of overcoming age-old rivalries. In the Balkans, we bring parties together, and, as a member of the Quartet, we are fully engaged in finding a solution in the Middle East peace process.
I would say a word on that issue. The parameters for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are well known. The European Union has outlined these on numerous occasions, including here at the United Nations. There is no reason to repeat them. Now is the time for politics, dialogue and negotiations. Populations have lived in fear and suffering for too long.
The principle of a two-State solution was established more than 60 years ago. Only half of it has been implemented. The European Union’s political position on the Middle East peace process is well established; it includes a reference to the 1967 borders, with territorial swaps acceptable to both parties. Moreover, the Union is fully supporting financially the State-building process of the Palestinian Authority.
Now, the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is the top priority. The legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples for peace, safety and statehood must be fulfilled with an agreement that will lead to the existence of two States living side by side in peace and security, and therefore include Israel’s legitimate security needs and the Palestinians’ desire to end the occupation.
That is why I say to the leaders on both sides: The time to act is now. There are political risks, but they need to take them, just like some of their predecessors did, with a view to offering a better and safer future to their communities. The status quo is no option. The winds of change across the entire region should help them to get out of the impasses. I say to the leaders on both sides: History is a severe judge of short-sightedness. Over time, it only rewards political courage and statesmanship. From the European experience, we can tell them that a lasting compromise is grounded in mutual sacrifice and trust.
Address by Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey
For us, the United Nations symbolizes the ideal that international law and justice shall prevail over sheer force and oppression, that peace shall prevail over conflict, and that the conscience of humanity shall prevail over narrow self-interest and political equilibrium. That is what I understand the United Nations to be.
The greatest impediment to the realization of this ideal is the Arab-Israel conflict, which has been ongoing for more than half a century. The fact that this problem is still not resolved and that rights, law and justice have been sacrificed for the sake of political balance is the greatest blow to the our sense of international justice.
To date, Israel has not complied with — and I emphasize this number — 89 binding resolutions of the Security Council. In addition, there are hundreds of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly — this very body — that Israel has ignored. Even more regrettable is the fact that the United Nations has been helpless to take a single step to end the human tragedy suffered by the Palestinian people.
Therefore, I must ask is whether the United Nations will fail to implement the sanctions it has imposed on other countries just as it has failed to implement its resolutions concerning Israel. Will the United Nations assiduously follow through on the resolutions it has taken with regard to other places, for example, the Sudan? We really do need to look at ourselves in the mirror.
This situation causes great indignation in the international community in general. Therefore, it cannot remain unresolved; the international community must act urgently to heal this bleeding wound.
Israel readily uses phosphate bombs and possesses the atom bomb, and has endured no sanctions. But if even the hint of such a possibility emerges elsewhere in the region, efforts are made to suppress it. I ask whether that is fair and just.
To be frank, the problem in this context is caused by the Israeli Government. Those who govern the country take steps every day that, instead of paving the way for peace, build new barriers to it. Thus, it is the Palestinian territories that are under occupation, not Israeli territory. It is a contradiction of history to say that it the occupied lands are Israeli territory. It is Palestinian territory that is under occupation. It is Israel that uses disproportionate force. Once again, it is Israel that does not abide by international will.
In this context, the illegal settlements that are still being established in the occupied territories of Palestine, despite the calls of the international community to stop, as well as the blockade on Gaza, stand out in particular.
I ask the Assembly; Does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights allow for a country, society or people to be cut off from international justice? In my copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I do not see such a possibility. If you want to send a box of tomatoes to Palestine, you must get permission from Israel, and I do not think that is humane.
As I have stated before, those who govern Israel must make a choice. Loopholes in the United Nations system and lobbies in some countries may give Israel the opportunity to evade international law and justice as it pursues its illegitimate actions. However, that will not ensure — and I say this with emphasis — the security that Israel needs today.
Those who govern Israel must see that real security is possible only by building real peace. I would like once again to remind Israel from this rostrum that nothing can substitute for peace. What we face today is not a simple equation of peace for security. Israel must read the newly flourishing political and social landscape in the Middle East and understand that it will no longer be possible to carry on in environment of continuous strife and conflict.
If we, as the international community, believe that the ideal of establishing international peace and security is the founding principle of the United Nations, then it is time pressure Israel to achieve peace, despite the actions of its leaders, and to show it clearly that it is not above the law.
One of the most important steps that need to be taken in this regard is responding to the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people to be recognized as a State and to have the representatives of the State of Palestine take their well-deserved place in this Assembly as a Member of the United Nations. Indeed, in 1947 the United Nations, through resolution 181 (II), declared Palestine a State, but unfortunately that resolution was not implemented.
Turkey’s support for the recognition of the State of Palestine is unconditional. Turkey will continue to work actively in the Middle East to ensure peace. We stand ready to do so. Accordingly, we will continue to work actively for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the recognition of the State of Palestine, the achievement of unity among Palestinians, and the lifting of the illegal blockade enforced against the people of Gaza.
This commitment is a natural extension of our vision for regional peace and stability and our commitment to international law and justice. It is also the result of the responsibility we feel in this area. Similarly, when a humanitarian aid convoy of participants from 33 countries was attacked by air and sea in international waters, resulting in the deaths of nine innocent civilians, we could not remain silent. Our reaction to Israel was a manifestation of our conviction.
Turkey has never pursued hostile and confrontational policies against any State. Our foreign policy is based on the principles of friendship and cooperation. Our policy towards Israel is no exception to these principles. However, Israel has seriously wronged a country and its people who have through history shown great friendship to it and its people. What we demand of Israel is clear. Israel must apologize, pay compensation to the families of our martyrs and lift the blockade on Gaza. Until Israel meets these demands and takes steps in this direction, our position will not change.
Let me also emphasize from this rostrum that we do not have a problem with the people of Israel. Our problem arises from the aggressive policies of the current Israeli Government. In fact, we have had very constructive relations with previous Israeli Governments, making great strides in a number of areas. Currently, the source of tension is solely the Israeli Government.
Turkey is a country that is trustworthy in the international arena and whose friendship and cooperation are sought. We will not abandon this principled and determined policy.
The meeting rose at 3.15 p.m.
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 after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.