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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Réunion du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien - Communiqué de presse Français

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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
4 October 2007

General Assembly

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

Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
304th Meeting (AM)

Meeting Adopts Annual Report, Hears Chairman’s Review of Activities

The grave situation in the occupied Palestinian territory had not improved despite recent diplomatic initiatives, Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine, said this morning as the Palestinian Rights Committee met to adopt its annual report and review its activities since its last meeting.

In the West Bank, the number of roadblocks had actually increased and, although 86 Palestinian prisoners had been released, that was only a small percentage of the 11,000 held by Israel, Mr. Mansour told the Committee, formally known as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The situation in Gaza remained extremely critical, he said, maintaining that Israel’s declaration of the territory as a hostile entity was a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and appealed to the High Contracting Parties to redress the situation.  Nevertheless, recent political activities had created an atmosphere of “cautious optimism”, including the upcoming international conference planned for around 15 November outside Washington, D.C.

Welcoming the September declaration by the Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union and the Russian Federation), which called for a serious and substantive conference, he said the document being prepared by the two negotiations teams should provide the framework for a solution to the six final status issues:  Jerusalem, borders, refugees, settlements, water questions and security matters.

He appealed to all concerned to help both sides reach agreement on a useful and clear document that could be endorsed by the international conference.  After that, negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides would focus on the details of a peace treaty within an agreed-upon time frame of perhaps six months.  Hopefully that process would lead to the birth of a Palestinian State, next to Israel, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and with an agreement on the refugee issue.

Briefing the Committee on developments since its last meeting on 17 September, Chairman Paul Badji (Senegal) mentioned the Quartet’s 23 September meeting and recalled that the Bureau had issued a statement on Israel’s decision to declare the Gaza Strip “hostile territory” (see Press Release GA/PAL/1064 of 20 September). 

He said the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, co-chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Johas Gahr Støre and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, had met on 24 September to discuss technical and financial support that the international community could provide to support the current peace efforts.  Yesterday’s meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert marked the beginning of work towards a joint document to be presented to the upcoming international meeting in November.

Introducing the Committee’s draft report, Rapporteur Saviour Borg ( Malta) said it outlined the Committee’s objectives and reviewed the situation relating to its mandate over the past year.  It also denounced the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by Israel, extrajudicial killings by that country, and the destruction of Palestinian property.

The draft report emphasized that the occupation, now in its forty-first year, was the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.  It stated that the sealing-off of the Gaza Strip, unrelenting Israeli incursions into Palestinian population centres and the humiliating system of checkpoints throughout the West Bank had had an extremely destructive effect on the lives of the Palestinian people, besides rendering the Palestinian Authority nearly dysfunctional.  For that reason, the Committee would call upon Israel to end its military operations and stop any other measures that further undermined Palestinian institutions.

He said the Committee would strongly condemn the killing of innocent civilians by either side, denouncing rocket attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants.  At the same time, it would strongly oppose Israel’s expansion of settlements in the West Bank and its continued construction of the separation wall.

Through the draft, he said, the Committee would call upon the Palestinian leadership, the leaders of all factions and all Palestinians to unite in support of President Abbas, his Government and all democratically-elected Palestinian institutions.  It would call for the restoration of the situation in the Gaza Strip to that existing prior to June 2007, and for the preservation of the unity of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

He said the text reiterated that only a negotiated solution, based on relevant Security Council resolutions, could bring about the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, through the establishment of two States, Israel and Palestine, based on 1967 borders.  Towards that end, it stressed the importance of continued support for the Committee’s programme of international meetings, the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights, the special information programme of the Department of Public Information, the training of Palestinian Authority staff and related programmes.

The representative of Cuba, Vice-chairman of the Committee, commented that the report described a deterioration of the situation in Palestine over the last 12 months.  The June events in Gaza also had a negative impact on efforts to attain national unity.  National reconciliation should therefore be a priority, and leaders of all Palestinian groups should express support for the Palestinian Authority and its leader, President Abbas.

In response, Mr. Mansour recalled that President Abbas, addressing June’s “tragic coup d’état” by Hamas in the Gaza Strip during his speech to the General Assembly, had stipulated that Gaza must return to its pre-June situation in order to allow for the resumption of dialogue between the different Palestinian groups.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will meet again at a time to be announced.

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For information media • not an official record

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