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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

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Source: Security Council
23 April 2012

Mr. Diallo (spoke in French): On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I thank you, Madam President, for giving me the opportunity to address the Council. I should like also to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the outstanding manner in which you have been guiding the Council’s work during the month of April 2012.

The Palestinian question is becoming increasingly urgent as a major challenge to the world’s conscience. Those who think they can ignore it may well face a rude awakening, given the growing deterioration of the situation, both on the ground and politically.

As settlements continue to undermine efforts towards a two-State solution, the recent launching of projects and bidding for the construction of 1,121 residential structures is the latest instalment in the vicious circle of Israeli decision-making, which has dashed the tentative hopes of those who are intent on achieving a negotiated solution. Our Committee therefore calls upon the Security Council to act resolutely in order to put an end to the construction of settlements in Palestinian territory and to dismantle them. We support the fact-finding mission recently authorized by the Human Rights Council for that purpose, and we call for a revitalization of the work of the high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

This major concern is exacerbated by the fact that the peace process has stalled, despite the exploratory contacts made in Amman under Jordanian auspices. While the setting for this enduring scene in the diplomatic repertoire may vary with the circumstances, the story, unfortunately, does not change at all.

Furthermore, the serious financial crisis affecting the Palestinian Authority could stymie the progress already made in its State-building efforts, unless an outpouring of donor generosity can counter the policy of economic strangulation it is facing. In addition, the agreement on intra-Palestinian reconciliation signed in Doha should be implemented, and Palestine’s application for membership in the United Nations should be given proper and fair consideration.

It is easy to understand the deep frustration of the Palestinian leaders, who cannot continue to accept the unbearable status quo indefinitely. The international community must therefore take bold and urgent action to break the deadlock while the two-State solution can still be salvaged. In addition, the Quartet and its regional partners must remain firmly resolved to enforce the deadline set for the end of 2012 to reach the long-awaited agreement. We therefore call upon the parties to return to the negotiating table, on the basis of the guarantees clearly set out by the Quartet for a final settlement based on the 1967 borders and minimal confidence-building measures, including a complete halt to settlement activities, the lifting of the blockade against Gaza and the release of Palestinian political prisoners.

The Committee, for its part, has continued to make a constructive contribution to achieving our shared aim of having two States living in peace and security. In February, we convened in Cairo the Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People with a view to examining the cost of the Israeli occupation. It was clearly shown that once there is an end to the occupation, which costs at least $7 billion a year, the Palestinian State will be economically independent and will not become an assisted State or a bankrupt one.

The United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, held in Geneva in April, afforded an opportunity to review the humanitarian and legal aspects of the critical problem of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons. It is abundantly clear that no agreement will be possible unless a just solution is found that will result in the release of the 4,400 such prisoners. For that reason, various remedies have been considered, including appeals to the International Court of Justice and the General Assembly to have them determine the status of those prisoners under the Geneva Conventions, and the sending of a United Nations fact-finding mission to investigate the conditions of their detention. Indeed, this problem — which remains in the headlines, as we recently saw when 1,200 prisoners began a hunger strike — will require the constant attention of the United Nations, and in particular of the Security Council.

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