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ECOSOC débat des répercussions économiques et sociales de l'occupation Israélienne sur les conditions de vie du peuple Palestinien – Réunion de L’ECOSOC – Communiqué de presse Français
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29 July 2009



ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL CONSIDERS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS OF THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION ON THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
Also Discusses Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and Regional Cooperation

28 July 2009

The Economic and Social Council this morning took up its agenda items on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialised agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations; regional cooperation; and economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan. The Council held a general discussion under these items, following which it adopted a resolution on the Europe-Africa link through the Strait of Gibraltar, and a decision on the venue of the sixty-sixth session of the Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific.

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Mr. Nour, introducing the note by the Secretary-General on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, said the occupation of the Palestinian territory by Israel continued to deepen the economic and social hardship for Palestinians. The Israeli mobility restrictions and closure system remained a primary cause of poverty and humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory, and restricted Palestinian access to natural resources, including land, basic social services, including health and education, employment, markets and social and religious networks. The Israeli occupation continued to have a negative impact on the livelihoods of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan as a result of measures imposed by the Israeli authorities, and discrimination with regard to access to water and construction.

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The Council needed to provide support to all persons that were under stress, duress, and economic hardship due to occupation, and examine how it could best assist them. International legitimacy remained the only terms of reference to end the conflict in the Middle East and to achieve a fair and just solution based on the Madrid Agreement. The humanitarian and living conditions were very serious in the Occupied Arab Territories, and the international community should do everything in its power to bring an end to the suffering. While the international community witnessed the events in the Middle East, generations of Palestinians had continued to suffer violations of all their economic and social rights at the hands of the occupying power. The Council, together with the international community, had to act decisively to end the suffering. The one and only viable solution to address the economic and social conditions of the Palestinians and of the Arab population in the Syrian Golan was to end the occupation.

Speaking in the general discussion were United States, Saint Lucia, China, Syria, Malaysia, Palestine, Indonesia, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Algeria, Morocco, Brazil, Kenya, and Japan.

Speaking in introductions of resolutions were St Kitts and Nevis, and Spain.

The next meeting of the Council will be at 3 p.m. this afternoon, when it is scheduled to discuss coordination, programme and other questions, economic and environmental questions, and social and human rights questions.

Reports


The Economic and Social Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General on
Assistance to the Palestinian people (E/2009/66), which says that during the period under review, the government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad made progress on fiscal, monetary and security reforms. Donors disbursed about $1.8 billion to finance the recurrent budget, which is well above the amount pledged at the Paris donor conference. During the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza, held on 2 March 2009, donors pledged approximately $4.5 billion to support the needs of the Palestinian people. The overall economic and political situation was challenging. Increased isolation, internal Palestinian divisions and armed conflict led to substantial economic and humanitarian deterioration in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas continued its control. In the West Bank, although Israeli restrictions on movement decreased in some locations, the number of obstacles remained overall the same during the reporting period. Settlements and outposts have expanded and house demolitions have increased, in particular in East Jerusalem. Bilateral political negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization continued, but no agreement was reached. Despite various attempts mediated by Egypt, no real progress has been made on intra-Palestinian reconciliation, prisoner exchange or a sustainable ceasefire.

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There is a note by the Secretary-General on economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (E/2009/13), which says the occupation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, the use of arbitrary detention, the disproportionate use of force, house demolitions, severe mobility restrictions, lack of building permits and closure policies continue to intensify the economic and social hardship of the Palestinian residents of the occupied Palestinian territory. Internal Palestinian conflict has also continued to cause casualties and disrupted the delivery of essential services to the population. Attacks by Palestinian militants and the launching of rockets into Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip continued in 2008, as did Israeli military operations. In December 2008, the Israeli army launched a 22-day military operation in the Gaza Strip that killed a reported 1,440 people and injured 5,380, and gravely deepened the existing humanitarian and economic crisis caused by the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip, which has remained isolated since June 2007, with rapidly deteriorating conditions, a near collapse of the private sector and shortages of essentials such as food, electricity and fuel. The Israeli closure system remains a primary cause of poverty and humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory, and restricts Palestinian access to natural resources, including land, basic social services, employment, markets and social and religious networks.

Introductory Statements

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AMR NOUR, Officer-in-Charge, Regional Commissions New York Office, introducing the note by the Secretary-General on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, contained in (A/64/77-E/2009/13), said the occupation of the Palestinian territory by Israel continued to deepen the economic and social hardship for Palestinians. The Israeli mobility restrictions and closure system remained a primary cause of poverty and humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory, and restricted Palestinian access to natural resources, including land, basic social services, including health and education, employment, markets and social and religious networks. The Israeli military operations in the Gaza strip, culminating in “Operation Cast Lead”, which began on 27 December 2008, further exacerbated the situation during this reporting period.

Between January 2008 and 19 January 2009, close to 1,766 Palestinians were killed compared with 396 in 2007. The majority, 1,715 – of whom 469 were children – were killed in the Gaza strip, said Mr. Nour. Between February and December 2008, 204 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished leading to the displacement of more than 400 Palestinians. In the West Bank as of June 2008 close to 28,000 Palestinians in 4,000 families had been displaced as a result of the ongoing construction of the Barrier. From 1967 to the end of 2007, Israel established 120 settlements in the West Bank. As a result of these and other settlements and outposts, 40 per cent of the West bank was currently taken up by Israeli infrastructure associated with the settlements, including roads, barriers, buffer zones and military bases. The Israeli occupation continued to have a negative impact on the livelihoods of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan as a result of measures imposed by the Israeli authorities, particularly the restrictions on land cultivation and farming, land confiscation, the uprooting and destruction of tress and seedlings, and discrimination with regard to access to water and construction.

General Discussion on the Independence of Colonial Countries, Regional Cooperation, and Economic and Social Repercussions of the Israeli Occupation on Palestinian People



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FAYSAL KHABBAZ-HAMOUI (
Syria) said half a million displaced persons from the Syrian Golan had been awaiting the implementation of United Nations resolutions for over 42 years in order to return home. Hundreds of resolutions had been adopted by the Security Council and other United Nations organizations, and had been constantly refused by Israel, a total disregard of the world's opinion. Israel had destroyed over 150 villages, and over 200 farms in the Golan. Today only five villages remained, inhabited by 20,000 Syrians, who had remained on their land and were surrounded by settlers and settlements that were increasing daily, in addition to Israeli minefields and military barracks. The Occupying Power had gone so far as to bury nuclear waste in the territories of the Occupied Golan, and was changing the demographic nature of the area, imposing Israeli identity on the inhabitants, in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions. As for the inhabitants who refused the annexation procedures in the Golan and Israeli identity, they had been jailed for tens of years. The apartheid wall had been erected as a challenge to United Nations resolutions. The world had also witnessed wide-spread destruction in the Gaza Strip, with the deaths of hundreds of civilians. International legitimacy remained the only terms of reference to end the conflict in the Middle East and to achieve a fair and just solution based on the Madrid Agreement. Israel should be made to abide by international legitimacy and cease to flaunt its double standards.

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SAMAH ATOUT (
Palestine) said item nine was a corner-stone in all the freedom movements, especially in Africa and Asia, and it was good to see most, if not all of these countries present today at the United Nations as fully-fledged members. However, it remained a dark spot in the decolonisation movement that Palestine remained an occupied territory. It was noteworthy that the Palestinian cause started as a decolonisation issue, and then became a case of foreign occupation. It was ironic to see some parties attempted to downgrade it to a humanitarian issue that could be dealt with through humanitarian assistance. Palestine would remain a clear-cut case of the legitimate struggle of peoples to regain independence. Palestine was pleased with the report. There was one concern about point seven in section two, as it may not fully express reality. However, the rest of the report contained positive and constructive elements.

KAMAPRADIPTA ISNOMO (
Indonesia) said with regard to economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people, Indonesia was concerned over the deteriorating economic and social situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories. While the international community witnessed the events in the Middle East, generations of Palestinians had continued to suffer violations of all their economic and social rights at the hands of the occupying power. While the world marked the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the end of last year, the occupying power launched its lethal assault on Gaza, through Operation Cast Lead, with a display of military might which led to the deaths of over 1,400 civilians, among them women and children. Indonesia deplored the fact that the social and economic rights of Palestinians as well as of other Arab civilians living under occupation in the occupied Syrian Golan continued to be denied. The Council, together with the international community, had to act decisively to end the suffering. The one and only viable solution to address the economic and social conditions of the Palestinians and of the Arab population in the Syrian Golan was to end the occupation.

GHEALAN QUDAH (
Jordan) said the report contained a comprehensive analysis on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel was continuing the separation wall and expanding the colonies, with displacement of people from their land, with severe consequences to both. The separation wall had accelerated the weakening of the Palestinian economy, denying the Palestinian people a stable economy allowing them economic growth. The increase in unemployment in the Occupied Territories was making Palestinians poorer, threatening the human capital now and in the future. The humanitarian and living conditions were very serious in the Occupied Arab Territories, and the international community should do everything in its power to bring an end to the suffering. To strengthen the Palestinian economy, Israel should stop its policy of enclaving the Territories. The Israeli policies were illegal. These practices should be stopped, as all they did was harm the lives of Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Syrian Golan, and the international community should assist the Palestinian people through the United Nations institutions.

RON ADAM (
Israel) said listening to the statement by the Palestinians they did not want to take the floor, and wished only to promote the spirit of peace; however, since others took the floor and there was a report they would speak. Twenty resolutions were adopted every year in the General Assembly directed against Israel, bringing Palestinian narrative to an unprecedented level. This was not the forum to resolve the 120 year old Arab-Israeli conflict; this was a forum to solve global issues with a wide perspective, such as food security or the impact of the Millennium Development Goals on public health. These discussions did not advance peace with the Palestinians, but rather gave a one-sided perspective. Furthermore, they hoped that the examination of conflicts would be conducted in a fair and non-one sided way. The delegation quoted a shop owner and said “You don’t appreciate the value of law and order until you loose it”. There had been a serious reduction in security measures. European and Western policy makers were aiming to “stitch back” the Palestinian situation, with a view to secure a two-state solution, with Mahmoud Abbas leading the country. Israel called upon delegations to not support these and other resolutions that were biased.

EMAD ADHAN (
Saudi Arabia) said Saudi Arabia had studied the report on assistance to the Palestinian people and the note on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan. Both reports contained detailed information on the living conditions of Palestinians and other Arabs under Israeli occupation, and the permanent violation of the Palestinian people's rights, including economic and social rights. Israel imposed collective punishment, and its blockade policy aggravated and deteriorated the situation even further. There was an urgent need for alleviating humanitarian suffering and meeting the basic needs of the Palestinian people. The Secretary-General pointed to the fact that it was impossible to satisfy the needs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories within the current framework. The displacement and expulsion of citizens, in order to build on the Palestinian territories, was against international legitimacy and conventions, and yet Israel pressed on with the building of settlements, leading to additional violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and harming the search for peace and the establishment of a Palestinian State. The Council should pursue its efforts in order to assist the populations in the Occupied Syrian Golan and ensure the continuation of humanitarian assistance.

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JOHN F. SAMMIS (
United States) said the United States appreciated aspects of the draft resolution currently being circulated under the agenda item on the economic and social repercussions of the Israel Occupation, in particular the emphasis it placed on the importance of good governance and ensuring the safety and well-being of civilians. The United States was also deeply concerned about the impact of the current humanitarian crisis on the Palestinian people. But the resolution as it stood was fundamentally unbalanced, criticising Israel while ignoring terrorism. President Obama was determined to reinvigorate a peace process in the region, aimed at moving both parties forward towards the goal of two States. The focus of the international community should be on helping both parties maintain progress towards that shared objective. One-sided resolutions such as this had unfortunately become a ritual - they did not advance the peace process, and ultimately undermined the credibility of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.

SIM MELLOUH (
Algeria) ... With regard to the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people and the Arab population in the Syrian Golan, Algeria expressed deep concern about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation of the occupied Arab population, depriving Palestinians of their right to food, health and education. The construction of the wall, the blockage on Gaza, the changing of the demographical conditions of Jerusalem and the occupied territories further aggravated and compounded the plight of the Palestinian economic and social crises in the occupied Arab territories, and similarly in the Syrian Golan. The only way to solve the economic and humanitarian crises was a permanent settlement to the situation - putting a stop to the occupation.

OMAR HILALE (
Morocco) said the report on the economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories showed the serious restrictions and obstacles faced by United Nations bodies and programmes to carry out their mission, in particular with regards to humanitarian aid channelling. Morocco was concerned at the deterioration of socio-economic conditions and of the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Six months after the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, numerous reports and witnesses showed that very little progress had been seen and the situation in the region continued to be alarming, with poverty and hunger, malnutrition, child anaemia, and obstacles placed deliberately by Israel to the delivery of food and medicines. Tragic events in the Gaza Strip and unilateral measures by Israel around the city of Al-Quds had a dramatic effect on the civilian population, in the form of collective punishment. Israel had obligations to implement international law. The international community could fulfil its function only if international law was respected, and all States lived up to it. This would only happen if Israel respected the resolutions adopted.



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