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Journée internationale de solidarité avec le peuple palestinien – Communiqué de presse de UNOG Français
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Source: United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
29 November 2011



UNITED NATIONS OFFICE AT GENEVA COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
29 November 2011


The United Nations Office at Geneva today held a Special Meeting to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Special Meeting was organized in observance of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Under-Secretary-General and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, reading out the message of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that the need to resolve the conflict had taken on greater urgency with the historic transformations taking place across the region. The Palestinian Authority was now institutionally ready to assume the responsibilities of statehood, if a Palestinian state were created, which was an important, indeed historic, achievement of the Palestinian Authority during the past year. The current suspension by Israel of customs and tax transfers owed to the Palestinian Authority risked undermining those gains and those revenues must be transferred without delay. Mr. Ban was deeply concerned about the absence of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations while trust between the parties continued to fade. Settlement activity was contrary to international law and the Roadmap, and must cease. Mr. Ban called for an end to rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and for Israel to exercise maximum restraint. Amid those many challenges to the realization of their legitimate aspirations for statehood, the Palestinian leadership had submitted an application for membership in the United Nations. That was a matter for the Member States to decide. The international community must help steer the situation towards a historic peace agreement.

Speakers at today’s Special Meeting included representatives of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union and non-governmental organizations accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The Permanent Observer of Palestine also made a statement on behalf of the President of the Palestinian Authority.

Messages or statements for the International Day were also received from the Heads of State of Turkey, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Qatar.

Statements


KASSYM-JOMART TOKAYEV,
Under Secretary-General and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, reading out the message of BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that the establishment of a Palestinian State, living in peace next to a secure Israel, was long overdue. The need to resolve the conflict had taken on greater urgency with the historic transformations taking place across the region. A solution must be agreed to end the occupation that began in 1967, and meet legitimate security concerns. Jerusalem must emerge from negotiations as the capital of two States, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all, and a just and agreed solution must be found for millions of Palestinian refugees scattered around the region. The Palestinian Authority was now institutionally ready to assume the responsibilities of statehood, if a Palestinian state were created, which was an important, indeed historic, achievement of the Palestinian Authority during the past year. Mr. Ban commended President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on that remarkable success, and said that those efforts should continue and be supported. The current suspension by Israel of customs and tax transfers owed to the Palestinian Authority risked undermining those gains. Those revenues must be transferred without delay.

Mr. Ban said he was deeply concerned about the absence of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations while trust between the parties continued to fade. A glimpse of hope came from their engagement with the Middle East Quartet. Israel’s recently intensified settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank was a major obstacle. Settlement activity was contrary to international law and the Roadmap, and must cease. For its part, the Palestinian Authority should also find ways to help de-escalate the situation and improve the prevailing divisive climate. Mr. Ban reminded those in Gaza who fired rockets at Israel or continued to smuggle weapons that those actions were both unacceptable and completely contrary to Palestinian interests. He called for an end to rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and for Israel to exercise maximum restraint. He welcomed the recent prisoner exchange that saw the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and an Israeli soldier; it was a significant humanitarian breakthrough that should be followed by further steps to end the closure of Gaza.

Amid those many challenges to the realization of their legitimate aspirations for statehood, the Palestinian leadership had submitted an application for membership in the United Nations. That was a matter for the Member States to decide. The international community must help steer the situation towards a historic peace agreement. Failing to overcome mistrust would only condemn further generations of Palestinians and Israelis to conflict and suffering.

FODÉ SECK,
Representative of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Permanent Representative of Senegal to United Nations Office at Geneva, read out a statement from ABDOULAYE WADE, President of Senegal, in which he expressed both his and the Committee’s support towards the Palestinian people and its leaders. In his message the President drew attention to the context within which the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People fell this year, which was against the backdrop of an application by Palestine for membership of the United Nations. The President of Senegal recalled that he had already expressed strong support for that request before the General Assembly last September. The Israeli Government must remove all obstacles to the continuation of the peace negotiations by ending the building of settlements and other illegal activities, which sought to modify the history, demography and culture of the occupied territories. The continued building of settlements reinforced extremist views on all sides. Mr. Wade called upon the Quartet to assume full responsibility to facilitate a just and peaceful solution to the conflict.

FODÉ SECK,
Representative of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories and Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations at Geneva, said that at the ground level, prospects of Palestine becoming an independent State remained distance and elusive. Policies and practices emanating from the current regime of occupation continued to infringe on a whole spectrum of human rights. Consequently a significant proportion of Palestinians lived in poverty; many of them totally dependent on humanitarian aid. Levels of poverty were particularly high in the Gaza Strip as a result of the Israeli-imposed blockade, and in occupied East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, due to restrictive access and discriminatory practices. The Special Committee recently presented its forty-third report on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and the occupied Syrian Golan. The report benefitted from the Special Committee’s first-ever visit to the Gaza Strip where the Committee’s over-arching observation was that Israel’s blockade continued to collectively punish the civilian population. That collective punishment had a grave impact, especially on the children of Gaza. Only with a political situation, with human rights at its heart, would Palestinians and Israelis enjoy human security and peace.

SAAD ALFARARGI,
Representative of the League of Arab States, read out a message from the Director General of the League of Arab States, who said that Israel had persistently refused to stop building settlements, continuing efforts to judaize East Jerusalem and its continued inhuman blockade of Gaza, including a frightening number of racist measures reminiscent of apartheid-era South Africa. The international community must move to take real, practical and serious measures in order to provide necessary support and ensure regional and national security to establish stability in that region. If the international community was unable to incite Israel to stop its occupation and put an end to the sufferings of Palestinian people a serious increase in regional tension would be seen with incalculable consequences. The diplomatic activities by President Abbas and the request to the General Assembly for Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations marked a legitimate request that was supported by the League of Arab States.

SLIMANE CHIKH,
Representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People came this year at an extremely difficult time, as a result of the continuing Israeli violations of international law and the political stalemate due to the obstinacy of the Israeli Government. Israel had accelerated settlement building activities in the West Bank, including the occupied East Jerusalem, and had given settlers a free hand to wreck havoc on the Palestinian territories. There had been a sharp increase in settlers’ violence and aggressions in 2011, killing and harming Palestinians, destroying their crops and stealing natural resources. Israeli settlers had also continued their aggressions against mosques in the West Bank by burning and desecrating them. The continuing construction of the Apartheid Wall was usurping large areas from the Palestinian territories and making a destructive impact on Palestinian land and people. The Israeli occupation authorities were conducting a systematic process of judaizing the Arab-Islamic identity of the City of Al Quds. Israel continued to impose an unjust blockade on the Gaza Strip and prevent the entry of vital goods and the construction materials needed to rebuild what was demolished by its aggression, making thousands of Palestinian families homeless and winter was drawing nearer. Israel must be compelled to respect the provisions of international law which it has repeatedly violated by acting as a state that was above the law and immune from its rule. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation had expressed full support and backing for Palestine in obtaining membership of the United Nations, and believed that the revitalization of the peace process hinged the ending of settlement policy.

HISHAM BADR
, Representative of the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned the settlement colonization campaign in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians and all other measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian people, including violations of human rights law and United Nations resolutions. The Non-Aligned Movement remained highly concerned by the lack of real progress in achieving a sustainable, equitable and conclusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The international community must do much more to urgently address the situation, and must rise to meet its obligations. Israel must abandon policies which only made the situation more complicated, most of all the settlement policy. Israel must take concrete measures to raise the level of confidence in its intentions and practices, through a complete freeze of settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the release of the large numbers of Palestinian detainees and prisoners, the lifting of barriers and checkpoints in the West Bank and the reopening of Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem. The Non-Aligned Movement looked forward to the day, hopefully in the near future, when they would join the Palestinian people in celebrating their independence and statehood.

GEORGES-RÉMI NAMEKONG,
Chargé d’Affaires of the African Union, said the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was and still is an occasion to assess progress of the Palestinian situation. Unfortunately an objective observer would conclude there had been a serious deterioration of the situation with an intensity of aggression and disproportionate attacks from the occupying power. The situation was intolerable, and the political process had been destroyed by the obstinance of the occupying powers in maintaining their settlement policy. The humanitarian situation was constantly aggravated by illegal Israeli activities, and that caused deep concern among African authorities, and the African Union since 1967 had asked Israel to cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. A just and lasting peace could only be achieved after the full withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Palestinian territories to the 1967 borders. The admission of Palestine to UNESCO must be commended. The African Union had asked all of its Member States, particularly those on the Security Council, to provide full support to Palestine at the General Assembly to enable their membership of the United Nations. The agreement of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo earlier in 2011 was an important step forward. Destruction of mosques, restrictions of freedom of circulation of persons, and increasing settlements were all daily matters in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli authorities in the field do not seem to attach true importance to the concerns of the international community, or international law, and had decided to be both judge and jury. That clearly showed that a climate of impunity, so denounced in other parts of the world, continued to reign in Israel.

ANA VILLANUEVA,
Representative of the Non-Governmental Organizations accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Executive Coordinator of the World Young Women’s Christian Association in Geneva, said that along with the General Arab Women Federation, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the World YWCA, their organizations had witnessed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1948 and journeyed in solidarity with women and girls in the region. After more than 60 years of occupation the toll of the conflict was manifest in everyday life. The organizations called upon the United Nations to consolidate all international efforts to put an end to the occupation; to intervene to lift the siege of Gaza; to protect and promote the human rights of all women, men and children in the occupied Palestinian territories; and to hold violators of Palestinian human rights accountable. The organizations called on the international community, including civil society, to take all non violent measures necessary to lead Israel to retract from further expansion; to support the campaign for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against goods and services from Israeli settlements in Palestinian land; to continue solidarity campaigns within their societies and with their governments; and to encourage non military regional bodies, such as CARICOM and the African Union, to engage more visibly on the issue of peace with justice in Palestine. Finally the coalition encouraged the Palestinian people and institutions to strengthen their internal cohesion for a stronger voice, as well as women’s meaningful participation, in the search for democracy, peace and justice. Deep wounds would never be cured by band aids: the international community must not allow another generation of children to be raised under occupation.

IBRAHIM KHRAISHI,
Permanent Representative of the Observer of Palestine, delivered a statement from MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the Palestinian National Authority, in which he expressed thanks for people’s expression of solidarity, and said the Palestinian people highly appreciated the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Mr. Abbas said that the images of historical injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people were reflected in different ways: nearly five million displaced refugees, the colonial settlement occupation expanding every day in the West Bank, the movement to Judaize East Jerusalem by means of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Christian and Muslim presence, the construction of the apartheid Wall, the unjust siege of the Gaza Strip and other illegal Israeli practices. For many years the Palestinian National Authority expressed readiness to reach a solution to the conflict with Israel that ensured relative justice, and conformed with international resolutions and initiatives through the establishment of a Palestinian State on only 22 percent of the territory of historical Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Mr. Abbas said Palestine had entered direct and indirect negotiations with Israel for many years, but Israel continued its settlement activities, and had disregarded international statements and declarations which declared and still declare that settlement activities were illegal and an obstacle to peace. The decision to apply for membership of the United Nations was a legitimate right based on the Partition resolution adopted on 29 November 1947. It was unjust to impose sanctions upon Palestinians because they had gained the membership of UNESCO, and Israel had no right to seize and confiscate the proceeds of customs duties and tax revenues which belonged to the Palestinian people. Palestine did not seek to de-legitimize Israel by applying for United Nations membership, but to de-legitimize its settlement activities and the seizure of occupied lands which Israel dealt with as if they were disputed territories. Palestine regretted and was greatly concerned by the application of United Nations resolutions with double standards: the strong disregarded the law and the weak alone paid the price. On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Palestinian People affirmed that they were a people clinging to their land and would remain in it. The State of Palestine would be, God willing, a democratic, pluralistic State, a peaceful State, a State whose time for independence had come after the passing of 64 years.


For use of the information media; not an official record



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