Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
Mr. Sardenberg (Brazil): The reasons that lead to the affirmative vote by Brazil on the draft resolution are contained in the statement by my delegation during the Security Council’s 4929th meeting, held on 23 March 2004.
The President (spoke in French ): I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the representative of France.
France voted in favour of the draft resolution submitted by Algeria because we believe that the Security Council should send a strong and clear message to the parties in the present context of extremely heightened tensions in the region.
The text was considerably amended and improved during the negotiations over the last 48 hours. The text ultimately reproduces the balance of the declaration of the Ministers of the European Union and condemns the killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as an extrajudicial execution which is a practice that France has always opposed as contravening international law. The text also condemns all terrorist acts against civilians. France has systematically condemned terrorist acts, those heinous acts which have killed hundreds of Israelis since September 2000.
Finally, we appeal to the parties to respect international law and fulfil their obligations within the framework of the road map. The road map is the only possible path. Violence is not an option and must cease.
I regret that it has not been possible to achieve consensus. France finds it particularly regrettable that the Council, once again, finds itself paralysed regarding this pivotal issue for stability and for international peace.
I now resume my function as President of the Council.
The Permanent Observer of Palestine has asked for the floor. I now give him the floor.
Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic ): Today’s events are indeed regrettable. The Security Council was once again prevented, because of the twenty-eighth use of the veto by the United States on the question of the occupied Palestinian territories. I would say the Council was unable to assume its responsibilities in the maintenance of international peace and security.
What is even more regrettable is that this action takes place amidst the very severe tension within the Middle East, including the negative effects that will be a consequence of the inability of the Council to adopt a measure as happened today.
There is no doubt that millions of people will be unable to understand what happened today and this action will therefore not contribute to calming the situation or be a push towards moderation or dialog in the region. The Arabs have shown great flexibility in the past few days in a serious attempt to adopt a unanimous decision. Before today’s action, we had considered a presidential statement that naturally, we had hoped to adopt by consensus. Again, the Arab side did this because we fully understood that the way in which the Council’s work concluded was not in the interests of any responsible party or any party that is anxious to see peace prevail in the area. As the representative of Algeria stated earlier, the draft resolution, which has not been adopted, contained a very clear condemnation of all terrorist attacks against any civilians as wel There is no doubt that millions of people will be unable to understand what happened today and this action will therefore not contribute to calming the situation or be a push towards moderation or dialog in the region. The Arabs have shown great flexibility in the past few days in a serious attempt to adopt a unanimous decision. Before today’s action, we had considered a presidential statement that naturally, we had hoped to adopt by consensus. Again, the Arab side did this because we fully understood that the way in which the Council’s work concluded was not in the interests of any responsible party or any party that is anxious to see peace prevail in the area. As the representative of Algeria stated earlier, the draft resolution, which has not been adopted, contained a very clear condemnation of all terrorist attacks against any civilians as well as all acts of violence and destruction.
Regrettably, however, the super Power that voted against the draft resolution made suggestions that were impossible to accept. Of course, we would have liked to have seen more countries voting in favour of the draft resolution in the Council, but, once again, proposals were made that we simply could not accept for various reasons, including legal aspects that were perfectly clear. Allow me to cite an example: there was an attempt to broaden the definition of terrorist attacks in a way that would not confine the definition to attacks against civilians. That is indeed bizarre and unacceptable, particularly in a case involving foreign occupation.
All we hope for now is a clear stance in the near future that will make Israel, the occupying Power, understand that it cannot continue its illegal policies, especially extrajudicial killings. This will require a clear position, particularly — if I may speak frankly — from the United States of America. Very modestly and humbly, we call upon the United States to reassess its position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We call upon the United States to adopt more neutral, objective and fair positions to enable it to assume its natural role as the sponsor of the peace process and a member of the Quartet, with a view to the implementation of the road map and the establishment of peace based on the principle of two States, Palestine and Israel.
We would like to express our deep appreciation to Algeria, the Group of Arab States, the members of the Non-Aligned Movement, the members of the Council and, of course, all countries that voted in favour of the draft resolution today. Our Palestinian people express to all of them their thanks and deep appreciation.
The President (spoke in French ): The representative of Israel has asked for the floor. I now give him the floor, and I call on him now.
Mr. Gillerman (Israel): At the outset, I would like to thank those countries that bravely and with great integrity did not vote for this draft resolution. We are gratified that this draft resolution was not adopted. This draft resolution should never even have been considered. A draft resolution mentioning Sheikh Yassin without mentioning Hamas is shameless and hypocritical. Describing Sheikh Yassin as an innocent bystander leaving prayers, without identifying him as the arch-terrorist that he was, makes a mockery of this Council. I was especially dismayed by those Council members who described Sheikh Yassin as the spiritual leader of the Islamic movement Hamas. This is sad and alarming, especially coming from countries which have themselves suffered from terrorism and continue to do so.
Ignoring the leaders of terror will not make terror go away and sends a dangerous message worldwide. I would also like to ask those Council members which were recently victims of horrendous terror the following question: If you knew, before the bloody massacre of your citizens, who was going to carry out that horrendous act, would you have sat still and let it happen?
Sheikh Yassin stood at the head of an organization that was committed to destroying Israel and to destroying the road map and every other peace initiative through the cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians. He was the head of an organization that has been recognized and declared as a terrorist organization by most of the world’s freedom-loving countries, including the whole of the European Union. In fact, it has been recognized as such in most parts of the world, with the exception of this Chamber.
The Security Council, which has endorsed the road map and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and with pursuing the global war on terrorism, would have committed an unforgivable act of hypocrisy had it come to the defence of a man whose life’s work and legacy was the eradication of peace, a man who was nothing less than a mass murderer and the godfather of terrorism. We are indeed grateful to those members of the Council that recognized this fact and voted accordingly.
Two weeks ago, Ahmed Yassin proudly —gloatingly — took responsibility for a double suicide bombing at the Ashdod port, which killed 10 innocent people. The bombers were in fact planning a mega-attack targeting chemical storage tanks at the port. Had they been successful, there would likely have been fatalities in the multiple hundreds. I wonder whether the reaction to Israel’s defensive operation would have been the same had, by a cruel twist of fate, the Ashdod attack achieved its objective. After the Ashdod attack, the Council was silent, in the same way that it has been silent after the hundreds of other terrorist attacks that Yassin orchestrated and proudly claimed as his own. Yet the sponsors of this draft resolution would have had the Council break that silence to defend the very man responsible for those attacks. There is simply no way to justify this double standard.
We hope that those Council members that were prepared to support this distorted text that was presented to them will have the decency in the future to support draft resolutions that focus on the kind of horrific acts of Palestinian terrorism for which Yassin and his co-conspirators have been responsible.
The fight against terrorism and for peace continues. Only yesterday, we all witnessed, with horror and disbelief, the abyss into which the Palestinian strategy of terrorism and murder has descended. Not for the first time, a young Palestinian boy no older than 14 years old was used as a suicide bomber. This proves once again, sadly, that there will probably not be peace until the Palestinians learn to love their children more than they hate us.
If the international community is serious about advancing the peace process for both Israelis and Palestinians, we must stop tolerating initiatives that pretend that the defensive response to terrorism is worse than terrorism itself. We cannot send the message that terrorists will be immune and satisfy ourselves with routine condemnations.
The Security Council has a responsibility to the victims of terrorism and to the cause of peace. It cannot meet that responsibility by devoting meeting after meeting to pandering to Arab Group initiatives that seek to demonize Israel and ignore Palestinian obligations. The Council can only meet its responsibility by addressing the reality that those Palestinian terrorist organizations and the regimes and leaders sponsoring them are the true enemies of peace. Unless and until they are confronted and defeated, progress towards a two-State solution under the road map will be held hostage.
The President (spoke in French ): The Permanent Observer of Palestine has asked to speak, and I give him the floor.
Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine): I promise that my further statement will be brief. Palestine, of course, is not yet a Member of the United Nations; it is obviously not a member of the Security Council; and it is not my intention to defend the Council against undiplomatic attacks — undiplomatic to say the least. However, I feel the need to make a few quick points.
For the record, we believe that the problem with the Security Council has never been that the Council was anti-Israel. The real problem is that the Council has long tolerated and allowed illegal Israeli actions; it has tolerated and allowed foreign occupation for more than 36 years — occupation that has been transformed into blatant colonialism: colonizing Palestinian land, destroying the lives of a whole people and preventing the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including our right to exercise our sovereignty in our State, Palestine. That has been the problem, and nothing else.
Secondly, we object to the low-level and, I would say, immoral attempts to link illegal Israeli practices and policies with the international fight against terrorism. Israel is not a passive, peaceful country that is subject to attacks from outside. Israel is a terrible occupying Power that has never stopped violating all aspects of international law and international humanitarian law in particular. Israeli policies are not part of the battle against international terrorism; they are part of the problem of creating terrorism.
Finally, we have had it, frankly, with Israel’s actions outside this building against us. We have had it with Israel’s statements outside this building against the Palestinian people. But in this Chamber, it is too much. Statements such as “the Palestinian people do not love their children” or “the Palestinian people send their children to die because of their hatred of Israel” are statements that are full of racism and that reflect a kind of attitude that should be rejected out of hand — and I am trying to do that now.
The President (spoke in French ): The representative of Israel has asked to speak, and I give him the floor.
Mr. Gillerman (Israel): I am sorry that I have to take the floor again, but I must say that I am somewhat dismayed, bewildered and shocked by the audacity of an entity that has given the world aeroplane hijackings and hostage kidnappings — and that, in fact, invented suicide bombings — trying to give us a lesson in democracy, human rights, international law and law and order.
There is a very clear connection between Palestinian terror and international terror. Terror is terror. There is no difference between Palestinian terror and international terror, as there is no difference between Hamas and Al Qaeda. Therefore, I think that the Members of the United Nations and the members of the Security Council should realize, sadly, that until the Palestinians realize that they are on the wrong side of the fight against terrorism and decide to choose the path of peace and reconciliation — as has been offered to them by Israel time and time again and as has been rejected by them time and time again — they will, sadly, probably not be Member of the United Nations for a long time to come.
The President (spoke in French ): There are no further speakers. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.