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20. Mr. Schlosser (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that he was surprised that Kuwait would be concerned about the Palestinians in the territories, since Palestinians had been persecuted in Kuwait shortly after the first Gulf war. He was also surprised that the observer for Palestine continued to blame Israel solely for a situation that both parties would like to change. Israel had recognized the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination many years earlier, but the Palestinians had yet to recognize Israel’s right to live in peace and security. Under the international agreements signed between the two parties, the Palestinians had not only rights but also responsibilities, the first and foremost of which was to denounce terror and stop the violence. Regrettably, despite Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the threat of suicide bombings in the territories continued, and Qassam rockets were still being launched from Gaza on a daily basis, targeting Israeli civilians and their property. The Palestinian Authority did nothing to stop them. That was all the more regrettable given that the real cause for the deterioration of the situation in Gaza was the takeover by Hamas terrorists in June 2007 and the ongoing internal fighting, to which the observer for Palestinian had turned a blind eye. Israel had a duty to defend its citizens, and it did so with due respect for international humanitarian standards and human rights. His Government hoped that the current talks and the forthcoming meeting between the Israeli Prime Minister and the Palestinian President would lead soon to the achievement of peace for the benefit of the two peoples.
26. Mr. Hijazi (Observer for Palestine), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said it was unfortunate that the representative of Israel tried to justify the massive human rights violations his Government was committing, by using dishonest arguments whose only aim was to allow Israel to shirk its legal and moral obligations and absolve itself of any responsibility for its actions. It was high time for Israel to recognize the 60 years of occupation, put an end to it and make reparation for the damage caused to millions of refugees who were still waiting to be able to return to their homes. Palestine, despite the limited means at its disposal — still further reduced in recent years by the occupying Power’s systematic destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure — had spared no effort in fulfilling its international obligations. It had condemned all illegal acts of violence, regardless of the perpetrators. The anti-terrorism that was Israel’s pretext in no way justified the suffering of the Palestinian people. Palestine supported all the recommendations and conclusions in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 and hoped that Israel would do the same.
The meeting rose at 4.30 p.m.
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