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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
General Assembly
22 October 2012


General Assembly
GA/L/3444

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



Sixty-seventh General Assembly
Sixth Committee
15th Meeting (AM)


ADHERENCE TO GENEVA CONVENTIONS, ADDITIONAL PROTOCOLS CRITICAL TO PROTECTING

CIVILIANS IN DIVERSE ARMED CONFLICTS, SAYS LEGAL COMMITTEE

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Background

The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to consider two reports and one addendum of the Secretary-General, the first on the protection of victims of armed conflict, and the second on the protection of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.

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Statements

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KOUSSAY ABDULJABBAR ALDAHHAK ( Syria) ...

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He continued by saying that Israel’s impunity was evident of the country’s barbaric nature and of the recklessness of the international community in dealing with it. A continued lack of action provided immunity to Israel, which continued to prevent humanitarian assistance access to people in the Gaza strip, displaced tens of thousands of people, destroyed villages, set up illegal settlements, stole water and buried nuclear waste in the Syrian Golan. All of those violations were crimes against humanity and war crimes, according to international law.

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Right of Reply

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Responding to his counterpart from Israel, a delegate of Syria said that Israel represented a State of terror, as relayed in his earlier statement. Since its inception, Israel had violated international law and international humanitarian law instruments. Israel had committed every possible crime in the Occupied Territories, the Syrian Golan and Lebanon. In addition to previous statements, he called attention to additional events.

He said Israel had consistently been aggressive to the people of the Syrian Golan, kidnapping young children who were then taken prisoner. It had killed advocates of peace and international humanitarian law. He recalled that Rachel Corrie of the United States had been run down by an Israeli tractor while asking Israel not to demolish Palestinian houses. As the representative of Israel tried to give a lecture on international law, Israel continued its inhuman siege against the Occupied Territories, preventing materials for rehabilitation and rebuilding from arriving in Gaza.

Israel, he continued, had made every possible attempt to foil humanitarian assistance to Gaza, leading to the killing of nine Turkish brothers on the ship Freedom. Israel had also attacked the ship Estelle, which had been carrying advocates for ending the siege against Gaza. Israeli crimes were well known to all those who wished to hear and see.

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Organizational Matters

Regarding the working group on measures to eliminate international terrorism, Israel’s representative spoke of the manner under which the Palestinian observer delegation would be participating. The Vienna formula enabled participation in United Nations meetings when the status of a participant was uncertain or contested. As such, participation under that formula could not, in and of itself, be determinative of status other than the entitlement to participate in the working group. It was neither determinative nor indicative of any status or privilege more broadly. Accordingly, the current arrangement had no bearing on Palestinian observer status at the United Nations, nor did it constitute any precedent for any future United Nations fora. Israel maintained its position that Palestine was not a State.

On that same matter, a delegate of the United States said that participation of the Palestinian observer delegation in the working group did not have an effect on the status of that delegation at the United Nations. He called on parties to redouble their focus on negotiations towards a two-state solution.

It was not appropriate, said Canada’s representative, that the Palestinian delegate be seated in a manner which would cause confusion during discussions, nor should such involvement set a precedent for other Committees. Everyone needed to get back to work on issues relevant to the forum. However, she expressed full support for the efforts of the United States and the Quartet to resume peaceful negotiations without delay or conditions. Canada, in that regard, would oppose any unilateral acts that prejudged the outcome of those negotiations. Any two-state solution had to be agreed on by both the Israeli and Palestinian parties.

A representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine said that his delegation was participating in the working group in accordance with the decision made by the Sixth Committee on 8 October 2012, which without objection, opened this working group to Member States, and State members of specialized agencies or the International Atomic Energy Agency. The State of Palestine, he said, would continue to participate in multilateral meetings and conferences, and its rightful participation would not be subject to the concessions of any State or group of States. The State of Palestine was a State member of a specialized agency and bilaterally recognized by 132 States. He urged for an end to petty bickering about Palestine’s full participation in the international community.

Egypt’s representative, speaking for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) recalled that Palestine had been a member of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 2011 and had the right to be seated with other States. That right was not a unilateral action; it upheld the spirit of the Sixth Committee’s decisions. Pointing out that there had been several calls from delegations to address the issues at hand and not to politicize discussions, he said those calls should be respected.

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For information media • not an official record


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