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

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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
6 October 2008

General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
312th Meeting (PM)

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People called on Israel to end illegal policies and occupation of Palestinian land, on Palestinians to pursue dialogue towards unity and on both parties to abide by agreed obligations, as it adopted its annual report, as orally amended, this afternoon.

“Regrettably, the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations were not supported by tangible improvements of the situation on the ground,” said the Committee’s report, which noted that the Committee had been encouraged earlier in the year by the new level of engagement by major stakeholders from all regions that had led to the Annapolis conference.  It called for the end to all settlement activities, to the construction of the wall and to “numerous measures of collective punishment”.

The Committee condemned extrajudicial killings and the destruction of Palestinian homes, civilian infrastructure and agricultural lands, as well as all attacks against Israeli civilians and infrastructure.

In the report’s recommendations, the Committee stressed the need for a cessation of all acts of violence, including “military attacks, destruction and acts of terror”.  It said the Israeli occupation must end without conditions to allow the Palestinian people to establish an independent State on all territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, following the two-State solution outlined in Security Council resolutions.

The Committee also called on the Palestinian leadership, the leaders of all factions and all Palestinians to unite in support of President Abbas, his Government and all democratically elected Palestinian institutions, resolving their differences by peaceful means.

At the outset of the meeting, the Committee Chairman, Paul Badji (Senegal), highlighted some of the events that had taken place since the Committee’s last meeting on 2 September, including:  a meeting on 16 September between Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert of Israel; a Security Council meeting on 26 September to address the issue of Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and a meeting of the Quartet, also on 26 September.  He announced that Nicaragua had been appointed to be a Committee member on 11 September, increasing the membership to 23.

In closing, Chairman Badji announced that the special meeting for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People would take place on Monday, 24 November, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Consideration of the General Assembly’s agenda item 16, “Question of Palestine”, would begin that afternoon.

Briefing the Committee on the latest developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and on the political process, the Permanent Observer for Palestine, Riyad Mansour, said that, in spite of intense political activities over the last month, it was difficult to imagine that an agreement would be reached by the end of the year, as foreseen by the Annapolis process.  He hoped, however, that a new Administration in Washington would pick up the pieces and that, on the Israeli side, a partner could be found to continue negotiations.

Efforts and energy exerted since Annapolis should not be wasted, he said, and one should continue on the same path towards resolution of the six final settlement issues:  borders; Jerusalem; refugees; settlements; water and security; with the overall aim to establish an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to reach a resolution to the refugee question.

The major obstacle to the peace process, however, was continuing, intense Israeli settlement activity, he said.  There was consensus in the international community, including the Security Council and the Quartet, that if Israel continued to create new facts on the ground, negotiations could not take place.  Change in Israel’s behaviour was also required in regard to the 600-plus checkpoints in the West Bank and to the siege of Gaza.  Without it, reaching an agreement on final status issues would be extremely difficult.  He stressed that a partial agreement was not acceptable.  Either there would be agreement on all issues as a package, or there would not be any agreement.

He said he was encouraged to learn that, in an interview, Prime Minister Olmert had said that Israel should withdraw from Jerusalem and lands occupied in 1967.  He hoped his replacement would listen to Mr. Olmert’s conclusion.  He also reported on intensive discussions between the Government of Egypt and Palestinian groups in search of reconciliation and political unity.

The representative of Jordan spoke in support of the report and against Israeli settlement activity, as well as excavations around the Al Aqsa Mosque, which he said threatened Palestinian identity, as well as the physical structure itself.  Syria’s representative asked for strengthening of the report’s objection to extrajudicial killings, a proposal that was accepted by the Committee.

Saviour Borg ( Malta), rapporteur of the Committee, introduced the draft report which, following its adoption, will now be presented to the General Assembly.

In addition, a representative of the Department of Public Information announced that nine Palestinian journalists would arrive on 9 October as part of the Department’s continuing training programme.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will meet again on 10 November, at a time and place to be announced.
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For information media • not an official record

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