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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/67/PV.18
29 September 2012

Official Records
General Assembly
Sixty-seventh session
18th plenary meeting
Saturday, 29 September 2012, 9 a.m.
New York

President: Mr. Jeremić ...........................................................(Serbia)

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Agenda item 8 (continued)

General debate

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The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Ossur Skarphedinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of the Republic of Iceland.

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Last year, I brought the Assembly the message that my Government would propose to our Parliament that Iceland recognize Palestine as a sovereign and independent State. I am happy to be able to stand here today and say that we have fulfilled that promise. What is more, not a single member of the Icelandic Parliament voted against the recognition of Palestine. Today, we have a fully fledged and strong formal diplomatic relationship between our two countries of Palestine and Iceland.

The United Nations recently estimated that Gaza will no longer be livable by 2020 unless urgent action is taken to improve water and power supplies, health and basic education. The deplorable living conditions described in that report demonstrate only too well that the situation in Palestine is unacceptable to anyone who has respect for human dignity. I have visited Gaza myself. I met with fishermen who are not allowed to go fishing in the waters out of Gaza. As an old fisherman myself, that hurts my heart. l met children in Gaza whose lives are made impossible by poverty, violence and a blockade that others have described as an open- door prison. I have seen for myself how the human rights of the people of the West Bank are violated every day by a man-made barrier that cuts through their roads, their lands and their lives.

When I was in Qalqilya, the words of a former statesman we all know rang in my head. Mr. Netanyahu, tear down this wall! I also know that the Israeli people are just like the rest of us. They want to live in peace, and they deserve it. The best way to ensure that is a two-State solution, which would benefit not only the Palestinian people but the Israeli people as well.

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The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Kairat Umarov, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

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Kazakhstan calls for the creation of conditions to settle the Palestinian issue, including through the continuation of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks. All obstacles to the negotiation process should be removed. Kazakhstan has been and continues to be a supporter of the legitimate rights of Palestine to establish a sovereign and independent State, within the 1967 borders, and its entry into the United Nations as a full member.

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Mr. Benmehidi (Algeria), Vice-President, took the Chair.

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The Acting President (spoke in Arabic): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Mourad Medelci, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria.

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At the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly, Algeria would like to welcome the State of Palestine as a new Member of the United Nations family, recognized within its 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. We believe that the time has come for Palestine to be fully represented at the centre of this irreplaceable international forum, the United Nations. Recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and self-determination is an inalienable right and a necessary precondition for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which is currently being prevented by the Israeli policy of occupation.

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The Acting President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Oldemiro Marques Baloi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique.

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We reaffirm our unequivocal support for the cause of the Palestinian people, who have been denied their inalienable right to self-determination. We fully support the principle of establishing the two States of Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace.

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The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Anifah Aman, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia.

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The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories remains bleak. For more than six decades, day after day, month after month, the people of Palestine have continued to see their lands confiscated to make way for illegal settlements. They have continued to see their families, including their children, displaced and forced from their homes. Elsewhere, we are quick in calling for action against those who force others to live under oppression and without freedom and dignity. But we are unashamed in not taking strong and decisive action to ensure that the long-deprived Palestinians can exercise their right to their homeland and regain their dignity within the community of nations.

Surely, the international community, especially the more powerful and influential nations, could do more to bring Israel to the negotiating table for a two-State solution, whereby the State of Israel and the State of Palestine could exist side by side in peace and security. How can we continue to live in the face of that glaring injustice without feeling an iota of guilt for not doing enough to bring to an end this long-standing issue?

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Like others in this Hall, Malaysia welcomes the convening of the inaugural High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law held earlier this week. At that meeting, we adopted a solemn Declaration that the rule of law shall apply to all States equally (resolution 67/1). We rededicated ourselves to resolving disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law. We also committed ourselves to upholding the right to self-determination of peoples who remain under foreign occupation, and to end impunity for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. With that declaration, it is time for the international community to put pressure on Israel to fulfil its international obligations.

At the same time, Israel must stop all illegal settlement activities in the West Bank as well as in East Jerusalem. We are particularly concerned by the threats to invade or divide the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which would be a breach of Israel’s obligations as an occupying Power. It is a holy site for Muslims and Christians alike. Furthermore, Israel must lift the illegal blockade over Gaza that has caused too much hardship for the people. It must also protect the people under its occupation, fulfil its international obligations and respect international law. Most importantly, it ought to have direct talks with the Palestinian Authority in conditions that clearly demonstrate its goodwill and sincerity. A peaceful two- State solution, accompanied by sustainable peace in the region, should be the ultimate goal for all concerned.

Recognizing Palestine and welcoming it into the community of nations has become a contentious issue. Palestine is punished for wanting to become a rightful Member of the United Nations. The feasibility of a two-State solution is being questioned. However, what choice does Palestine have? Furthermore, how would becoming a Member of the United Nations harm Palestine’s sincere efforts for independence?

The issue of Palestine’s membership of the United Nations is tied to another bigger issue that is of particular concern to Malaysia. Allow me to elaborate. One hundred and thirty-two countries recognize the State of Palestine. That number reflects more than two thirds of the membership of the United Nations. Yet, the Security Council — or more accurately, those members on which veto power has been conferred — are given the authority to determine the fate of Palestine’s membership, irrespective of the opinions of the majority.

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The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Murray McCully, Minister for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand.

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In the past few days. the Assembly has heard from both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. We are now on notice that the issue of Palestinian status in the United Nations will come before the Assembly during this session. We look forward to seeing the text of a draft resolution and to engaging in the consultations that have been signaled to us. I said earlier that New Zealanders are practical and constructive. They are also fair-minded people; they expect to see their Government bring all of those attributes to the consideration of such a resolution, and that we will surely do. Having said that, let me also be clear that we see such a resolution as a very poor substitute for the direct discussions that should occur between two leaders who live half an hour down the road from each other.

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Mr. Kanda (Ghana), Vice-President, took the Chair.

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The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration of the Republic of Chad.

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The theme of our session this year reminds us that all of the formulas that have been used to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have failed. As the crisis goes on and on, it is becoming accepted; yet, it is at the very root of the worst violence the world has seen in recent years. The community of nations cannot behave like an ostrich indefinitely, allowing a crisis as old as the United Nations itself to drag on interminably — a crisis which is a constant threat to peace and the regional and global balance. Here, too, old postures need to change and robust initiatives need to be taken to put an end to the conflict, which has gone on far too long.

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The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Hamady Ould Hamady, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

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The Israeli-Arab conflict is a permanent source of hatred and hostility and a serious threat to peace and security in a vital region of the world. The legal framework and the general conditions to address that situation have been defined and reiterated for a long time now, in a spate of resolutions in the Security Council and the General Assembly. That has all been formally confirmed via the Arab Peace Initiative, which is based on the principle of land for peace and which aims at resolving the ongoing conflict, Therefore we urge the international community to grant the request that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, made in the last Assembly session, seeking the recognition of the Palestinian State by the international community, within the borders of 4 June 1967.

That is the only way to end the suffering of the Palestinian people, which has gone on for almost as long as this Organization has existed. It is also the way for the international community to shoulder its historic responsibility with respect to Palestine and the desire to achieve justice and to ensure credibility and equity between the two parties to the conflict, in compliance with the relevant resolutions of international legality. We also reiterate our condemnation of the standing embargo of the Gaza Strip and the crimes perpetrated by the Israeli war machine against Palestinian civilians, along with the massive destruction of their properties and infrastructure.

It is no longer acceptable that all those paths continue to be firmly closed off to an unarmed Palestinian people, who have been assigned to fictitious negotiations that are themselves an insurmountable obstacle to their achieving their most basic right, which is the establishment of their national independent State on the borders of 4 June 1967, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

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The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Ali Ahmed Karti, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan.

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The Sudan is greatly concerned about new concepts and agendas that are not internationally agreed, controversial concepts such as humanitarian intervention, preventive wars, the responsibility to protect, political and economic sanctions and new mechanisms to bring pressure to bear on States, politicizing international justice. In this context, the Sudan refuses and rejects the approach taken by the so-called International Criminal Court. That body has gone beyond the boundaries set for it at its founding Rome Conference. Regrettably, it is now a political tool that criminalizes entire States, while fully ignoring heinous crimes being perpetrated by other States in the name of humanity and the fight against terrorism. Rejection of the request of the Palestinian Authority by the Court is clear evidence of injustice in the name of law and a good example of the politicization of justice.

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The question of Palestine has been on the agenda of the United Nations for more than six decades. Our Organization has adopted countless resolutions that were rejected or remained unimplemented by Israel. Israel continues to defy the will of the international community. The Sudan expresses its full support for the decision by the Palestinian Authority to seek membership in the United Nations. It is their legal right, based on the right to self-determination, one of the fundamental principles of international law.

The situation in the Middle East continues to be a threat to international peace and security, despite continuing declarations by the Arab side of their wish to reach a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. However, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to reject the option of peace. It continues its inhuman, unjust siege, which is in contravention of international law. It also continues its plans for colonialist settlement. It continues to try to change the demographic character of Al-Quds Al-Sharif by demolishing homes, uprooting trees and engaging in ethnic cleansing and coercive displacement, as well as detaining thousands of Palestinians.

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The meeting rose at 2.30 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.


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