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        General Assembly
19 November 2009

Original: English

Sixty-fourth session
Official Records

Special Political and Decolonization Committee
(Fourth Committee)

Summary record of the 9th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday 14 October 2009, at 10 a.m.

Chairperson: Mr. Al-Nasser .......................................................................... (Qatar)
later: Mr. Petkus (Vice-Chairperson) ............................................................. (Lithuania)
later: Mr. Al-Nasser ....................................................................................... (Qatar)



Agenda item 34: Questions relating to information (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 10.20 a.m.


Agenda item 34: Questions relating to information (continued ) (A/64/21 and A/64/262)


13. Mr. Walzer (Israel) commended the Department for its efforts to promote Holocaust remembrance around the world. Together with civil society groups that worked with renowned institutions and experts in Holocaust and genocide studies, the Department was educating future generations on the dangers of hate, bigotry and anti-Semitism. He singled out the “Unlearning Intolerance” seminar series and the “Footprints for Hope” project, created to ensure that new generations learned the lessons of the Holocaust. It was inspiring that in addition to Holocaust commemoration, initiatives were undertaken to prevent similar atrocities anywhere in the future.


17. However, his delegation was disappointed at the one-sided, biased and misleading picture of the facts on the ground in the Middle East put out by the special information programme on the question of Palestine. Until a more even-handed approach was adopted, Israeli Government officials would not participate in the seminars organized under the programme.


32. Mr. Martono (Indonesia) ...


33. He called on the Department to continue implementing its special information programme on the question of Palestine. The plight of the Palestinian people, under occupation and siege in violation of the norms of international law, should be publicized to raise global awareness. To that end, in June 2009, Indonesia had hosted the United Nations Asian and Pacific Meeting on the Question of Palestine followed by the United Nations Public Forum in Support of Palestinian People.


36. Mr. Badji (Senegal) ...


39. He welcomed the Department’s special information programme on the question of Palestine and urged it to continue paying special attention to developments in that regard. It should also continue to offer its cooperation and support to Palestinian civil society organizations and to mobilize the solidarity and support of the international community for the Palestinian people with a view to promoting the exercise of their inalienable right to live in a free, independent and viable State. He accordingly urged all delegations to support the recommendations and decisions relating to the Department’s information programme on the question of Palestine.


45. Mr. Chabi (Morocco) ...


47. While commending the Department’s staff, his delegation wished to underscore that they must carry out their duties in accordance with the strictest ethical standards and without any bias. He commended the Department for its continuing attention to the special programme on the question of Palestine


61. Mr. Alzaabi (United Arab Emirates) ...


66. The Department should continue its efforts to publicize all aspects of developments in Palestine, particularly the ever increasing suffering of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation, as a result of which many innocent people were killed daily and their property confiscated and destroyed in flagrant violation of the principles of international law. In that context, he called for continued support for the annual training programme for Palestinian journalists at United Nations Headquarters.


77. Mr. Kanaan (Observer for Palestine) said that, as demonstrated by General Assembly resolution 63/28, the special information programme on the question of Palestine enjoyed considerable support and was effective in increasing the awareness of the Palestinian problem among the international community. The programme fostered a climate that was conducive to dialogue and supportive of the peace process and the ending of the Israeli occupation so as to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and to establish their own independent State with Jerusalem as its capital and to find a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

78. He expressed his gratitude to Member States for their support of the special information programme on the question of Palestine. The work of the Department in organizing annual international seminars on the question of Palestine and peace in the Middle East, the most recent of which had been held in Rio de Janeiro in July 2009, was much appreciated. He suggested that the Department should consider holding such events twice a year in future and expressed the hope that exhibitions similar to the permanent exhibition on Palestine at United Nations Headquarters would be arranged at the Offices of the Organization in Geneva and Vienna.

79. It was important to continue the Department’s training programmes for Palestinian broadcasters, journalists and information specialists. Their participation in those programmes was particularly important despite the obstacles imposed by Israel as the occupying Power and the unjust blockade imposed on the territory of Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip. At a time when the importance of the role of information in promoting dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides was under discussion, and when international efforts were being made to revive the peace process and reach a peaceful and just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Israel was continuing its illegal and inhumane activities against the Palestinian people, including Palestinian journalists.

80. That had been particularly evident during the barbaric war launched by Israel against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip in which 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, including five journalists. Israel was continuing its repressive campaign to suppress freedom of speech and of opinion and to conceal the truth. Despite the fact that international humanitarian law afforded protection to journalists even during military operations, Israel continued to target Palestinian journalists who were working tirelessly to cover events in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, subjecting them to barbaric ill-treatment. Similar treatment was meted out to foreign journalists who had been covering developments in the Palestinian homeland in order to drive them away from the scene of events, especially in occupied East Jerusalem, so that they would be unable to report to the outside world about what was happening to the Palestinian people.

81. Israel’s practices were a flagrant breach of international law and custom relating to individual and journalistic rights. He called on the international news media and on associations of journalists to publicize the inhumane and illegal Israeli occupation and to exert pressure on Israel by all available means to desist from such practices and to enable Palestinian journalists and the foreign newspaper correspondents to report on events in Palestine.

82. The report of the United Nations fact-finding mission in Gaza, known as the Goldstone report, which had concluded that Israel had committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law, deserved to be given wide international publicity.

83. Because of the continuing Israeli occupation, the Palestinian people had been deprived of access to modern communications services and information technology and no development could take place until the ending of the Israeli occupation, including the occupation of East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan, the Shab`a farms and other Lebanese territories that Israel continued to occupy, and the establishment of a lasting, just and comprehensive peace bringing security and stability so that all people in the region could exercise their legitimate rights, including their right to information and the means of communication, and could take their place in the world economy and have opportunities for employment so as to eradicate poverty and ensure that future generations could live in peace and prosperity.

The meeting role at 1 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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