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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
26 October 2005






SPECIAL BULLETIN ON

THE COMMEMORATION OF THE

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

2004






CONTENTS
Page
I. Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

1
II. Texts of statements made and messages delivered on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 2004

Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

3
Jean Ping (Gabon), President of the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

6
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
7
Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, message delivered by Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations


8
John Danforth (United States), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2004

11
Bernard Goonatilleke (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

13
Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered by Rastam Mohd Isa, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations



16
Abdullah Gül, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-first session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Ersin Erçin, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations



19
Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union, message delivered by Aminu Bashir Wali, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations


20
Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, message delivered by Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States


22
Jennifer Butler, on behalf of the international network of NGOs on the question of Palestine


24
Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization

27
Closing statement by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

28
III.Messages received on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
A.Messages from heads of State or Government
Hamid Karzai, President of the Transitional Government of Afghanistan
29
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

29
Begum Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
30
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil
31
King Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan, and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam

32
Samdech HUN Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
32
Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
33
Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s
Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

33
General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea
34
Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India
34
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia
35
Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
37
King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
38
Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People's Democratic
Republic

40
Emile Lahoud, President of the Republic of Lebanon
41
Pakalitha B. Mosisili, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho
42
Ousmane Issoufi Maïga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali
42
Paul Raymond Bérenger, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius
43
Vicente Fox Quesada, President of Mexico
44
Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia
44
Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan
45
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar
45
Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation
47
Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal
47
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

49
Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan
49
Runaldo Ronald Venetiaan, President of the Republic of Suriname
50
Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
50
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of the Republic of Tunisia
51
Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Republic of Turkey
52
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, President of the United Arab Emirates

53
Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
55
Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
56
Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen
56
B.Messages from Governments
South Africa
57
Uruguay
60
C.Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs
Rafael Antonio Bielsa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina

60
Sergei Martynov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
62
Youssouf Ouedraogo, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs
and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso

62
Nobutaka Machida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
63
Marcel Ranjeva, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar
64
Mircea Geoana, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania
64
Farouk Al-Shara`, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic
65
Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
66
D.Messages from intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters
African Union
67
European Union
67
Organization of the Islamic Conference: Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General

68
E.
Messages from specialized agencies of the United Nations system
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General

71
F.
Messages from non-governmental organizations
Caritas Internationalis
72
Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue: Latif Dori, Secretary
74
The General Union of Palestinian Women
74



I. COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

On 29 November 2004, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was observed at United Nations Headquarters, New York, and at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna, as well as in several other cities, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

All States Members of the United Nations and specialized agencies and observers were invited to attend the solemn meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

At the meeting, statements were made by Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee; Jean Ping (Gabon), President of the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly; Kofi Annan, Secretary-General; and John Danforth (United States), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2004. The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Nasser Al-Kidwa, read out a message from Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Also, Bernard Goonatilleke (Sri Lanka) made a statement in his capacity as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

In addition, the Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations, Rastam Mohd Isa, delivered a message on behalf of Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; the Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, Ersin Erçin, read out a message from Abdullah Gül, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-first session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers; the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Aminu Bashir Wali, read out a message from Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union; and Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, delivered a message from Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. Jennifer Butler, an NGO representative, also addressed the meeting.

Closing statements were made by Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People received messages from 26 Heads of State, eight Heads of Government, two Governments, eight Foreign Ministers, as well as the European Union, the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Messages were also received from three non-governmental organizations.

The solemn meeting was followed by the screening of two films entitled “In the Name of Security” and “The Wall”, in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library auditorium.

A cultural exhibit was presented under the auspices of the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations. The exhibit, entitled “Steadfast in Palestine”, featured a collection of art by the League of Palestinian Artists.

At the United Nations Office at Geneva, a solemn meeting was held on 29 November. The meeting was chaired by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who opened the meeting by reading the statement of Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Habib Mansour, spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Ousmane Camara, Permanent Representative of Senegal, spoke on behalf of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. Statements were also made by Mahmoud Hassan Elsayed, representative of the League of Arab States; Babacar Ba, representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Dato Hsu King Bee, representative of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Sophie Asimenye Kalinde, representative of the African Union; and Helène Yinda, an NGO representative. Mohammad Abu-Koash, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva, made a statement.

At the United Nations Office at Vienna, a solemn meeting was also held on 29 November. José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations Office at Vienna, opened the meeting and spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The meeting observed a minute of silence in honour of Yasser Arafat, the late President of the Palestinian Authority, and all those who gave their lives for the Palestinian cause. Franz Baumann, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, delivered the statement of the Secretary-General. Other speakers included Peter Niesner, Deputy Secretary-General of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria; Hussein Hanif, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations Office at Vienna, on behalf of Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; and Erwin Lanc, an NGO representative. Mohieddin Massoud, Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Vienna, read out a message of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Representatives from 32 Member States and Permanent Observer entities, as well as officials of the host country, non-governmental organizations, other invited guests and United Nations staff members attended the meeting.

II. TEXTS OF STATEMENTS MADE AND MESSAGES DELIVERED ON THE
OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, 2004
Statement by Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
[Original: French]
It is my great honour, for the first time in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to welcome on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, representatives of Member States, United Nations organs and bodies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations. I sincerely thank all of you, who have responded in such great numbers to the Committee’s invitation. Your sizeable presence at this commemorative ceremony is proof that the international community remains determined to work towards the achievement by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights.

This year the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People takes place in particularly trying times for the Palestinian people. In addition to the extremely difficult situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, the Palestinian people mourn the loss of their leader of long standing, Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. Palestine has lost one of its best sons, and the Palestinian people have lost one of the most fervent militants for their just cause, an invincible fighter, an exceptional strategist, a convincing orator and a charismatic and visionary leader who, for many decades, was a living symbol of their courage and of their tenacity, resistance and unity. At the same time he embodied their legitimate aspirations for self-determination , freedom, sovereignty and national independence.

Yasser Arafat’s life was closely related to the very reason for which we have gathered today in this Chamber. As the Committee is well aware, it was on this same day in 1947 that the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), which terminated the Mandate for Palestine and stipulated the formation of two States - one Jewish and the other Arab, with Jerusalem to be placed under a special international regime. The State of Israel was proclaimed without delay the following year, in 1948, but the Arab State, which was to be home to the Palestinians, has still not come into being.

The Palestinian people have had to endure long years characterized by warfare, expulsion and occupation. It was Yasser Arafat who emerged, in the course of the 1960s, as a Palestinian leader and gave the disenfranchised Palestinians an identity the world could no longer ignore. As the leader of his people, he made known the tragic plight of the Palestinians, which became a source of great concern for all peace-loving peoples.

The Palestinian leadership is determined to continue along that path and can rest assured that the Committee will support all efforts to resume the political dialogue with Israel and to pave the way for the implementation of the measures laid out in the road map.

Unfortunately, the realities on the ground and the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory show no sign of improvement, and the crisis has reached alarming proportions. In the course of this year, the Government of Israel has intensified its military raids, particularly in the Gaza Strip, resulting in an unprecedented level of destruction of homes and infrastructure, and in a rapidly rising number of civilian deaths and injuries.

Every day Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation face harassment, violence, deprivation and humiliation. Severe restrictions on their day-to-day activities hamper their ability to make a living and take care of their families. The severe damage inflicted on Gaza’s agriculture, the main source of income for the population there, will take years to reverse.

The death toll since the start of the intifada is now more than 4,000. Most of those killed have been Palestinians, but hundreds of Israelis have also lost their lives. Tragically, the number of victims among Palestinian women and children, the most vulnerable members of Palestinian society, is increasing. More than 670 children have been killed in the past four years of the intifada, of which over 570 were Palestinian and over 100 were Israeli. Palestinian women, in particular, bear the heavy responsibility of taking care of their families. Many of their menfolk have been killed or put in prison, or are stranded in long queues at checkpoints when they try to get to or return from work.

The Palestinian economy remains in a dismal state. Restrictions on movement have increased substantially this year. Unemployment in Gaza and in the West Bank remains high. Unless protective measures are taken without delay, poverty is likely to increase further. Food security, health and educational standards, water quality and sanitation all have deteriorated.

It is a matter of utmost concern that the expansion of settlements goes on. The international community has been particularly critical of the continued construction of the wall, which is asphyxiating and dividing Palestinian communities and where the majority of residents have lost homes, farmland and easy access to jobs, schools and medical care.

Once again, the Committee welcomes the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which found that the construction of the wall being built by Israel, which encroaches to a very large extent on occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regimes were contrary to international law, and that the construction of the wall severely impeded the exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination.

Our Committee strongly urges Israel to comply with international law, including all relevant United Nations resolutions. Adherence to the rules and principles of international law is a sine qua non condition for a negotiated solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Committee expresses the firm hope that the Quartet and the international community will intensify their engagement to help the parties to commence implementing their obligations under the road map, which provides for a practical way to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. Such a settlement must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) and on the principle of a permanent two-State solution to the conflict, based on pre-1967 borders, the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the right of all States to live in peace and security. The international community must now insist that Israel take the necessary measures to enable the full participation of the Palestinian from the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, in the upcoming Palestinian elections.

On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, let me welcome the participation in this solemn meeting of all of the senior officials of the United Nations, especially that of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to whom I would like once again to express the Committee’s deep appreciation for his unwavering support of the peace process. Mr. Secretary-General, I express to you once again my most positive appreciation of your active role in relaunching and revitalizing the work of the Quartet.

I also warmly welcome Mr. Jean Ping, President of the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session, and sincerely thank him for honouring today’s meeting with his presence.

To the representatives of United Nations Member States and observers and to the representatives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States, the African Union and the Non-Aligned Movement, I express my deep appreciation for their presence at this solemn meeting and for the unwavering support of their organizations for the Committee and for the search for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

I also take this opportunity to express the Committee’s appreciation for the remarkable work accomplished by the devoted personnel of the agencies, bodies, funds and programmes of the United Nations system, such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the United Nations Development Programme, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the United Nations Children’s Fund, among others.

Finally, I wish especially to note the presence among us of Ms. Jennifer Butler, Chairperson of the Non-Governmental Organization Working Group on Israel/Palestine, who is representing the International Coordinating Network on Palestine. Through her, I thank the numerous civil society organizations for their effective voluntary work in support of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause.
May we all find in this demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian people the motivation and the strength needed to persevere in our search for a peaceful, comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine, based on international law.


Jean Ping (Gabon), President of the fifty-ninth session
of the General Assembly of the United Nations
[Original: French]
This year, the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People takes place in an atmosphere of sadness because of the passing of Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, to whom the General Assembly paid solemn tribute on Thursday, 11 November.

A man of humility and courage, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a beloved leader of his people, Yasser Arafat bequeathed a great heritage: his passion and ideal to create an independent Palestinian State. Now it is incumbent upon the Palestinian people and the entire international community to continue his efforts to create an independent Palestinian State in the spirit of the Oslo Agreements. Today, 29 November, is thus also a day of hope. As Yasser Arafat once stated, peace, and the choice of peace, are the objective of our struggle because it is impossible to resolve this conflict by military means. Today, it is useful to bear those words in mind, because violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to destabilize the entire Middle East region, with its heavy toll of innocent victims on both sides.

In order to bring both sides back to the negotiating table and find a political settlement to a conflict that has been dividing them for more than half a century, we must break this vicious circle of violence, vengeance and despair. It is generally acknowledged that the road map remains the only way to break the current impasse and to resume political dialogue in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and based on the principle of land for peace and a solution providing for two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace, within secure and internationally recognized borders. I should like to recall that the General Assembly continues to encourage both sides to carry out their obligations under the road map.

I should also like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and the other members of the Committee on your tireless efforts to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and to work to find a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine, of which the General Assembly will begin its consideration this afternoon.

The General Assembly reaffirms its position that the United Nations should continue to support efforts to relaunch dialogue between the parties. That objective requires determination and, in particular, real and strong political will. Israelis and Palestinians can be certain that the international community will support them in this crucial and courageous endeavour finally to establish peace in the Middle East. We must ensure that this objective is attained. I believe that would be the best possible tribute we could pay to President Arafat.


Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
[Original: English]
I am pleased to join the Committee on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and take this opportunity to express, once again, my sympathy to the Palestinian people, who are mourning the loss of their leader, the late President Arafat. Let us hope that his memory will be an inspiration to the Palestinian people at this difficult time so that they may remain united and strengthened in their efforts to realize their national aspirations for statehood and self-determination though peaceful means.

Over the past four years, bloodshed and chaos in the Middle East have continued without respite. Palestinians have endured a dismal existence of grinding poverty and dispossession. But they have not been good years for Israelis, either. They too have borne great loss. They too need security. The past four years have demonstrated all too clearly that violence only begets violence and pushes farther away the prospect of a peaceful solution to the conflict.

However, we must not give way to despair and pessimism. Today, throughout the world, people hope that a new chance for peace may be around the corner. We must not let it pass by. The international community must gather its strength and renew its commitment to work for a reinvigorated peace process. Following the recent Quartet meeting in Sharm el Sheikh, I am hopeful that it will be so.

The Quartet’s Road Map still embodies a path to peace that is accepted by both Palestinians and Israelis and is strongly supported by the international community. It is high time that it be given a chance to succeed, and that the parties begin to live up to their commitments under it. And I have expressed my hope that Israel’s disengagement plan will revive peace efforts based on the Road Map, leading to the end of the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and paving the way for a sovereign, democratic and contiguous Palestinian State, living side by side in peace with a secure Israel.

For my part, I pledge to continue my work to support the parties and to continue our work with all the parties for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, based on Security Council resolutions and on the principle of land for peace.

Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee
of the Palestine Liberation Organization, message delivered by
Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]
On behalf of the Palestinian people, the Palestine Liberation Organization and on my own behalf, allow me to convey to the Committee our warmest greetings and heartfelt wishes on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The General Assembly, on 2 December 1977, determined that this day should be commemorated annually as the International Day of Solidarity with the just struggle of our Palestinian people. This day reflects the just cause of our people and their inalienable rights to freedom and independence. It is a rejection of injustice and the occupation and colonialism that continue to prevent our people from regaining and exercising their inalienable rights, which have been affirmed by numerous resolutions of international legitimacy and which until now remain unimplemented.

In that regard, we highly value the tireless efforts undertaken by Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, aimed at achieving peace, freedom and independence for our people. We also express our gratitude to the Chairman of the Committee, for leading the tireless effort to achieve that noble goal. Those efforts are most highly appreciated. We also extend our thanks to all the kings, emirs, presidents and leaders of the States of the world who have expressed their unwavering and sincere solidarity with our Palestinian people for the attainment of their liberation and independence.

This year, the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has a particular significance as our people in Palestine are experiencing widespread sorrow due to the passing away of our leader and symbol, President Yasser Arafat, who always carried in his conscience the worries of that people. He struggled with perseverance and steadfastness for over half a century in order to achieve the noble goals, honour, dignity and freedom of our people and to raise the name of Palestine in all international forums. Indeed, the question of Palestine gained recognition at all regional and international levels and President Arafat’s name and Palestine became synonymous. He was a messenger of the peace to which he courageously extended his hand and which he vigorously struggled to achieve. His courage, resolve, and convictions were never weakened or shaken. He was brave in making decisions, which he called making the ‘peace of the brave’ because of his conviction that only brave leaders can make such peace.

The Palestinian people and leadership have shown their ability to respond to this tragic loss in a civilized and orderly manner, which is reflected in the smooth and peaceful transition of power and authority in accordance with our basic laws after President Arafat’s passing. Today, more than ever before, the Palestinian people and leadership urgently need the support of the Council and the support of all friends of freedom, justice, peace and democracy around the world, who should strengthen and mobilize solidarity with the Palestinian people and extend all kinds of assistance to them to help them to endure and get through this delicate and critical stage in the region. That support is necessary to allow them to reconstruct their vital institutions and resuscitate their national economy; to attain their inalienable and legitimate right to self determination in their land, Palestine; and to implement the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted in Algiers in 1988 for a free, independent, sovereign and viable State of Palestine.

In that regard, we also look forward to the Committee’s assistance in ensuring the appropriate environment conducive to holding our presidential elections on 9 January 2005 with transparency, honesty, democracy and the participation of all our people who are registered to vote, including our sons and daughters in occupied East Jerusalem.

Justice and logic necessitate that each party comply with its obligations to achieve the necessary calm and the full and mutual enforcement of a ceasefire, including the withdrawal of the Israeli army to the lines prior to 28 September 2000, in order to provide the necessary platform for the implementation of the road map and the two-State solution and to resume final status negotiations, which deal with important and sensitive issues that require every faithful effort and the truest of intentions.

We look forward to the Committee’s continued support for the just Palestinian position, which is founded on right and the resolutions of international legitimacy and international law. On our part, we will continue to extend our hands in the pursuit of peace and to commit ourselves, as we have done in the past, to the peace process and its terms of reference, embodied in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978); the principle of land for peace; General Assembly resolution 194 (III), which determines the international solution for the question of Palestine refugees; the signed agreements and the necessary implementation of all obligations.

Consistent with the Palestinian position, based on right and justice, we reject all unilateral measures and call for their immediate cessation, as they affect final status issues and unilaterally and militarily predetermine the final outcome. In that regard, we refer in particular to the unilateral plan for withdrawal from Gaza and the ongoing construction of the separation wall and the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which contravene international law, resolutions of international legitimacy and the Fourth Geneva Convention. All such policies undermine and destroy the peace process because peace, settler colonialism and the building of the apartheid wall are in absolute opposition to each other. We need to build bridges of peace, good-neighbourliness and mutual respect, and not walls of separation, apartheid, hatred and malice. In that regard, we also continue vigorously to reject the Judaization of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and its isolation from its surroundings.

We call upon the Committee and all members of the international community to support our just pleas to put an end to the injustice, occupation and colonization of our land and our holy places; to ensure that all steps are taken in coordination with the Palestinian people and their leadership, a real and actual partner in the peace process; and not to endorse the policy of unilateral measures that only intensify and compound the complexity of that grave situation and do not contribute to the achievement of peace or to bringing an end to the ongoing crisis.

The support and solidarity of our dear brothers and friends on the Committee at this time are of the utmost importance to us. They will assist us in overcoming the crisis and impasse and strengthen our position and sincere efforts towards the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace - a peace that is based on right, justice, equality, mutual respect, coexistence and creative cooperation and that guarantees security and stability to all peoples and States in the region and freedom and independence for our Palestinian people to end all of the suffering, pain and oppression they have borne. That peace will herald a bright new chapter and era of coexistence and cooperation in the region, in which hope, security, safety, good-neighbourliness and cooperation can flourish, promising a better future to all generations to come.

The United Nations has a historic and ethical responsibility with regard to the question of Palestine and it has certainly assumed its responsibility. It has played and continues to play an important and distinctive role as it has embraced and advocated the rights of our Palestinian people. That has recently been manifested in the adoption of a number of important resolutions, especially the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the illegality of the occupation of Palestinian territory and the necessity of halting the construction of the separation wall, a most important ruling we deeply appreciate.

The opinion was followed by the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution ES-10/15 on 20 July 2004 in support of the advisory opinion, which called for a cessation of the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem, the dismantling of the existing parts of the wall and reparations for all damages inflicted upon the Palestinian people as a result of the wall. It is also imperative to refer to Security Council resolution 1515 (2003) concerning the implementation of the road map and unanimous support for it, in addition to other important relevant resolutions that Israel refuses to comply with, as it has done with all previous resolutions. It has instead persisted in its intransigence, aggression and destructive war, suffocating and besieging our people and destroying their institutions, infrastructure and livelihoods.

The time has come for that aggression and siege against our people and land to end, for they do not in any way contribute to the achievement of the desired peace and security, but rather accelerate the deterioration of the situation and intensify the bloodshed and the spiral of violence.

In conclusion, we reiterate our profound gratitude to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his dedicated efforts to achieve peace and for his noble stance, which was recently demonstrated by the lowering of the United Nations flag to half staff in mourning for our late President Yasser Arafat and the convening of a solemn memorial session of the General Assembly to pay tribute to our late President. We also extend our thanks to all members and the President of the General Assembly for their constant efforts, their unwavering and sincere solidarity with our people, and their support for them in their effort to achieve their national rights in their homeland, Palestine, and to establish an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital. We are also grateful to all our friends and the world’s free and peace-loving nations and peoples who have stood by our people in their just march towards the achievement of a peace of the brave, which we all aspire to achieve and under which all will live in security, stability and tranquillity and the ravages of war, destruction and violence will come to an end.”


John Danforth (United States), President of the
Security Council for the month of November 2004
[Original: English]
First, I would like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for inviting me, in my capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of November, to participate in the annual commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This is a day of remembrance and compassion for all those who suffer from the terrible conflict and a day when the international community renews its commitment to relentlessly pursue efforts for a comprehensive and lasting settlement in the Middle East. Above all, this is a day of hope that peace will prevail and that the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security will be realized.

Over the past year, the Security Council has continued to support a comprehensive and just settlement in the Middle East, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002), the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace and the agreements already arrived at by the parties. The Security Council has also continued to follow the work of the Quartet and to advocate implementation of the performance-based road map, which was officially submitted to the parties on 30 April 2003. On 19 November 2003, the Security Council adopted resolution 1515 (2003), endorsing the road map for a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Council called on the parties to comply with their obligations pursuant to the road map in cooperation with the Quartet.

The Security Council keeps the situation in the region under constant review. We have monthly briefings by the Secretary-General and by his Personal Representative and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. The Council has noted with concern the ongoing violence, terrorism and destruction, which has resulted in a tragic loss of life on both sides. It has also been concerned with the stalemate in the peace process and the economic and humanitarian situation on the ground. The deterioration in the security situation - particularly suicide bombings in Israel and military operations on Palestinian territory - is one of the main preoccupations of the Council. In its resolution 1515 (2003), the Council expressed grave concern over the continuation of tragic and violent events in the Middle East and reiterated its demand for an immediate cessation to all acts of violence, including all acts of terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction.

The Council is fully aware of the seriousness of the humanitarian crisis on the ground. Restrictions on freedom of movement continue to hamper everyday life for the people and strangle the Palestinian economy. Easing those restrictions on movement will enable humanitarian assistance to reach those people who desperately need it, and would improve living conditions for the Palestinians.

The donor community should be as generous as possible in its assistance to the Palestinians. The Council welcomes the commitment of the ad hoc liaison committee of the donor community.

The Security Council is also fully aware of the complexity of the task of achieving a lasting and just settlement of the decades-old conflict in the Middle East. That settlement will require constant efforts by the international community and by the parties involved. In this regard, the Council will continue to support the tireless peace efforts of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose political authority and moral prestige are invaluable assets for the international community as it continues to seek a peaceful settlement in the region.

The Council appreciates the constructive role played by the members of the Quartet and the international community. It also appreciates the quiet work of bilateral diplomacy in the quest for peace and stability in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, primary responsibility for the final settlement lies, above all, with the parties concerned. The elected Palestinian Cabinet and the Government of Israel must work together to overcome obstacles to the peace process. The Council stands ready to assist the parties in this challenging endeavour.

The Council notes that the Secretary-General has expressed condolences on the death of Yasser Arafat. We welcome the decision to hold presidential elections in January 2005 and support the Palestinians in their efforts to advance the democratic process.

In conclusion, I would like to assure the Committee that the Security Council will continue to shoulder its responsibilities under the Charter and will remain fully committed to the ultimate goal of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to a sovereign, prosperous and democratic State.

Bernard Goonatilleke (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee
to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights
of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories
[Original: English]
On the occasion of this solemn meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the honour to address this gathering in my capacity as Chairman of the Special Committee established by the General Assembly to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories.

First of all, on behalf of the Special Committee, I wish to express our deep sympathy and sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Palestinian people upon the untimely passing of President Yasser Arafat on 11 November 2004. For decades, the late President Arafat steadfastly epitomized the inextinguishable quest of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent State: the State of Palestine. He will be long remembered not only by the Palestinian people, to whose service he devoted much of his life, but also by peoples of other countries both near and far, with whom he interacted closely in the pursuit of his lifelong mission. In these difficult days, it is the sincere hope of the Special Committee that the Palestinian people, as well as their leadership, will commit themselves to resolutely pursuing their objective peacefully through negotiations.

While the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was established by the General Assembly in 1975, the Special Committee was established in 1968, in the aftermath of the hostilities that took place in June 1967. Those two Committees, since their inception 29 and 36 years ago respectively, have carried out their mandates and submitted reports to the General Assembly on an annual basis. It is most regrettable that, just as the numerous resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council pertaining to the question of the Middle East have remained unimplemented, the recommendations of the two Committees have also shared the same fate. Meanwhile, despite the occasional silver lining which has appeared among the dark clouds, the situation regarding the Middle East conflict seems to be stagnating, with no sign of improvement on the horizon.

Unfortunately, this year, as in the past, the Special Committee was not allowed by the Government of Israel to visit the occupied territories to observe the human rights situation there or to have direct contact with the Israeli authorities. The Committee nevertheless undertook its annual field mission, from 25 May to 8 June, to Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. It visited Lebanon for the first time with a view to broadening its knowledge and understanding of the problems that have been faced by the Palestinian refugees in that country for many decades. The Special Committee met with 84 witnesses in all - the highest number ever - in the three countries it visited. It gathered sufficient evidence to express its serious concern at the severely deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation and at the unprecedented level of destruction taking place in the occupied territories.

Most witnesses from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip highlighted the appalling and deteriorating living conditions resulting from the relentless military incursions by the Israel Defence Forces and from the construction of the separation wall in the northern West Bank. Palestinian land had been confiscated, cultivated fields had been destroyed, dwellings had been razed to the ground and families and communities had been split. Farmers had been denied access to their land, workers to their jobs, children and youth to schools, colleges and universities, and women and children to basic health and social services.

The construction of the wall - in contravention of international law, as declared in the advisory opinion rendered by the International Court of Justice in July 2004 - was causing major changes to the social fabric of Palestinian communities and was one of the most visible signs of oppression. Some witnesses expressed the fear that the purpose of erecting the wall and the moving of its contours far away from the Green Line - in some areas penetrating as much as 22 kilometres into the occupied territory - went far beyond security concerns and seemed to be aimed at annexing Palestinian land for settlement purposes.

Witnesses also highlighted the fact that every movement from one village or city to another, or even within neighbourhoods, required a special permit. Frequent road closures and numerous checkpoints, numbering more than 600 between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, added hours of driving or walking.

Extrajudicial killings continued, taking the lives not only of the leaders of militant groups, but also of children - some while on their way to school or even while attending classes. During the military operations at Rafah, in particular, about 40 children died between January and May 2004. A number of witnesses asserted that children under 12 years of age were deliberately being targeted by the Israeli military or snipers. Testimonies also referred to the worsening detention conditions of Palestinians held in Israeli jails: no family visits; scarce legal assistance; persistent abuse - especially during the initial period of arrest; and an intensification of the methods of torture.

Owing to the construction of the wall, many villages in rural areas in the northern West Bank no longer had access to hospital facilities located in cities and did not have basic health care in their local communities. Several witnesses reported that ambulances ran great risks while waiting at the gates to cross through the wall. Medical personnel were abducted, beaten up or taken into custody by the Israeli military. During the Rafah incidents, 28 ambulances were reportedly destroyed by the Israeli military and a number of volunteer ambulance staff also died.

According to some sources of information, more than 1,100 houses were totally or partially demolished in the Gaza Strip during the period January to May 2004, especially in Rafah and the refugee camps near the Egyptian border. Some 29,000 people were allegedly forced to take refuge in temporary premises made available to them by United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) or by international humanitarian institutions such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

People also suffered from a sharp increase in unemployment. The renewed policy of demolishing houses, combined with the heavy destruction of municipal infrastructure, roads and bridges, civilian institutions, such as government offices, police stations, prisons, banks, hospitals, clinics, schools and non-governmental organization properties, was perceived as a persistent collective punishment and a humiliation imposed on the Palestinian population. Those steps will impede recovery for a long time to come.

Finally, the Special Committee assessed the ongoing deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied Syrian Golan. According to official information, the current population of 20,000, inhabiting 44 Jewish settlements there, was expected to further increase by an additional 15,000 settlers over the next three years, following a decision taken by the Israeli authorities on 1 January 2004. The alleged storage of Israeli nuclear waste in a tract of land close to the Syrian border was another development of the utmost concern to the Syrian authorities.

Three positive developments are likely to bring a glimmer of hope to what has been seen as a very uncertain future for the Palestinian people. One is the renewed genuine interest taken by the international media in reporting on the harsh military occupation of the occupied territories and on the plight of its people. The second is the growing influence exercised by major segments of public opinion in some countries in alerting, and advocating among, their respective constituencies with regard to the complexity of the Palestinian issue and the need to resolve the situation now. The last development is the combined effects of the advisory opinion rendered by the International Court of Justice, the Israeli decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and the evolving dynamic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, which have focused the world attention on the Palestinian issue once again.

Let us hope that the recent changes will encourage all parties concerned to seek a negotiated settlement in a spirit of compromise so that one day, as highlighted by some witnesses, Palestinians and Israelis will be able to live side by side in peace, security and dignity in their own independent and sovereign States.

Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia ,
in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries,
message delivered by Rastam Mohd Isa, Permanent Representative
of Malaysia to the United Nations
[Original: English]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the honour, on behalf of the people of Malaysia and as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, to extend our warmest greetings to all our Palestinian brothers and sisters and express our solidarity with them. On this solemn occasion, the Non-Aligned Movement reaffirms its steadfast support and longstanding solidarity with the Palestinian people and their leadership in their longstanding quest for the full realization of their inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination, and to become masters of their own destiny in a State which they can call their own.

We observe this day today with a feeling of great loss and sorrow at the passing away, just 19 days ago, of President Yasser Arafat, a visionary, an exceptional leader, and the absolute personification of the Palestinian struggle for a homeland. We shall certainly miss him, as do our Palestinian brothers and sisters, who grieve over his demise. It is extremely sad that the late President Arafat did not live to see the fulfilment of his lifelong struggle for the Palestinian cause and his dream of a free Palestine. We are convinced, like our Palestinian brothers and sisters, that his relentless efforts, perseverance and sacrifices will never be forgotten. That should not be allowed to happen.

The departure of the late President Arafat should now motivate every Palestinian to complete the struggle that he led to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of every Palestinian. The Non-Aligned Movement calls on our Palestinian brothers and sisters to remain calm and stand united during this most difficult time to collectively address the many challenges ahead.

We welcome the appointment of Mr. Rawhi Fattouh as the Interim President of the Palestinian Authority and the return of Mr. Ahmed Qureia as its Prime Minister. We welcome also Mr. Mahmoud Abbas as the new Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Non-Aligned Movement extends its best wishes to the new Palestinian leadership. They can count on the Movement’s unwavering support.

We look forward to the successful holding of the Palestinian presidential election by
9 January 2005 in an orderly fashion in a calm, secure and peaceful environment. The election should provide a new beginning for Palestine and a new momentum towards the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the area.

It is time that the Palestinian people be spared violence, death and suffering in their midst. The application of harsh policies and practices, as well as the excessive and disproportionate use of force by Israel against the Palestinians and other Arabs in the occupied territories, must end. These measures, which have led to injuries and deaths among children, men and women and to the destruction of homes, land and property, will not provide for the building of confidence on both sides in future.

We mourn the loss of all innocent lives. We sympathize with the families concerned over the tragic loss of their loved ones. We extend our profound condolences to them. We reaffirm our call upon Israel to desist from targeting innocent civilians, destroying Palestinian homes and property, and impeding the freedom of movement of people in the occupied Palestinian territories, in particular during this period, when the Palestinians are preparing for elections.
We also urge Israel to ensure that there will not be any further deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the socio-economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Together with other leaders in the Non-Aligned Movement, I remain hopeful that the legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian people to establish a sovereign and independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, existing side by side with Israel and together with their other neighbours in peace, within secure and recognized borders, will come to fruition in 2005, as envisaged in the road map. We remain steadfast in extending our support to the Palestinian people and their leadership in their unrelenting endeavour to achieve their long-held desire to enjoy freedom, independence and dignity, and a better future for themselves and for their children. The time to act is now. The international community must lend its support.

The construction by Israel of the separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem, has introduced a new dimension to the problem and could seriously endanger prospects for peace in the region. The impact of the wall on Palestinian lives is overwhelming. The wall threatens the territorial integrity of the future State of Palestine, as envisaged in Security Council resolution 1387 (2002) and upheld in the road map.

The conclusion by the International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion rendered last July, that the construction of the wall in the occupied territories is contrary to international law should be respected by all, and in particular by Israel. The Non-Aligned Movement urges all Member States, in particular Israel, to take all necessary measures to ensure compliance with the advisory opinion and resolution ES-10/15, adopted by the General Assembly at its resumed tenth emergency special session, on 20 July 2004. The Non-Aligned Movement also urges the Security Council to seriously look into this matter.

Given the uncertainties prevailing in other parts of the region, the Non-Aligned Movement is convinced that serious efforts must be made to resuscitate the peace process. There is clearly no military solution to this conflict. The cycle of violence and intimidation will not produce any advantage to either side. A new resolve on the part of the parties to the conflict to resume the political process at the negotiating table is urgently required. The key to a just and durable solution lies in the willingness on the part of Israel to end its occupation of Arab lands and the fulfilment of the inalienable and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and to return to their homes and property, from which they have been displaced and uprooted. We urge those who have the most influence to begin working towards bringing the parties to sit together in serious negotiations.

The international community has a collective role to play in finding a solution to the Palestinian question. We must all work together to facilitate the attainment of peace in the region. The Non-Aligned Movement will continue to cooperate with the international community, particularly the members of the Quartet, towards this end. The United Nations, including the General Assembly and the Security Council, has a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until it is resolved in its entirety, on the basis of the Charter and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, international law and international humanitarian law.

As a member of the Quartet, the United Nations is well placed to play a pivotal role towards achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace and towards achieving the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Likewise, the other members of the Quartet - the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States - should play their roles, seize this opportunity to revive the road map, and work towards the achievement of peace.

The valiant struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation, against the injustices suffered by them and against the inhumane treatment meted out to them must be recognized. The Palestinian people have suffered long enough. The world must express and maintain solidarity with them. The Palestinian question deserves the continued attention of the international community in the right context and within the proper perspective.

On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and in my capacity as its Chairman, I should like to reiterate, on this very important day, our firm commitment towards ensuring that a just, comprehensive and lasting peaceful settlement is achieved on the question of Palestine in its entirety. Rest assured that the Non-Aligned Movement will strongly support all initiatives and efforts to address the Palestinian question - a question which has customarily been high on its agenda. We look forward to the day in the near future when the international community will join the Palestinians in celebrating the joy of their independence and statehood.”

Abdullah Gül, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey,
in his capacity as Chairman of the Thirty-first session of the Islamic
Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Ersin Ercin,
Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations

[Original: Turkish]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to express, on behalf of the Turkish Government and people and in my capacity as the Chairman of the thirty-first Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, the assurances of our continued support for and solidarity with the brotherly Palestinian people.

I also would like to extend, once again, our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to the Palestinian nation for the great loss of the late President Arafat. He guided the Palestinian nation throughout the long years of his leadership in their struggle for freedom, and he played a unique role in bringing the just cause of the Palestinians to the forefront.

The last four years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have only brought agony and devastation to both sides. The only solution lies in a political process that would result in a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.

The Quartet’s road map constitutes a unique opportunity to this end. In view of the recent developments in the region, we call upon the parties to take the necessary steps to revive the dialogue and cooperation that will lead to the resumption of the negotiations.

We highly welcome the decision of the Palestinian side to hold presidential elections on 9 January 2005. We strongly believe that the Palestinians deserve the right to organize their elections in a proper atmosphere and in all Palestinian territories. Therefore we urge all concerned to support the Palestinian leadership and enable it to realize their praiseworthy decision.

We also strongly believe that the current situation in the region is both a challenge and an opportunity to stop and reverse the negative trend we have unfortunately been witnessing for years.

Now it is high time for the parties to act in conformity with their obligations and for the Quartet to directly engage in and expedite the process. Priority must be attached to assisting the Palestinians in a reform process that will also help build the future Palestinian State. We should also work to provide generous economic and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

In that direction, at the end of 2003 Turkey launched an action plan designed to increase and diversify our assistance to Palestine, and during 2004 we have started to implement the plan in the areas of health, education, professional training, food and the financial and humanitarian sectors, under the supervision of a Government-appointed coordinator.

Turkey stands ready to assist the peace process in all aspects and to offer its helping hand to the Palestinian National Authority for the realization of the reform process.

Lasting peace in the Middle East will not be possible until the people of Palestine gain what is rightfully theirs. Turkey pledges, as a facilitator, to continue extending her support to the parties and to the process for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), and the principle of land for peace.

As we again express our solidarity with the Palestinian people today, I also would like to commend the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for their dedication to intensify the efforts to help the Palestinian just cause.

In conclusion, on behalf of the Turkish Government and people, and as the Chairman of the thirty-first Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, I would like to reiterate our resolute and unwavering support for the Palestinian people. We look forward to the day when peace will finally prevail in our region.

Please accept, Mr. Chairman, the assurances of my heartfelt wishes for the continued well-being and prosperity of the Palestinian people.”


Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria, in his capacity as Chairman
of the African Union, messaged delivered by Aminu Bashir Wali,
Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations


[Original: English]
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reiterate the unwavering support of the people of Africa for the Palestinian people in their quest for self-determination and sovereignty.

I would also like to express the condolences of the African Union to the Palestinian people on the passing away on 11 November 2004 of President Yasser Arafat, in a military hospital in Paris. For almost four decades, the late President personified the aspirations of the Palestinian people in their struggle for a rightful place in the comity of nations. Africa will remember him as a political giant who took the bold step of signing the Oslo Accords in 1993 towards the realization of a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel. Unfortunately, his vision for an independent Palestinian State was not realized during his lifetime.

Our thoughts also go to his close associates, as well as members of his family. We pray that his soul will find peaceful repose.

Since its inception in May 1963, the Organization of African Unity demonstrated unwavering support for the cause of the Palestinian people. That stance has been maintained by the successor African Union, which supports a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue. It is recalled that at their summit in Lusaka in July 2001, African heads of State and Government reaffirmed, inter alia, the right of the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights, including their rights to return to their homes, to recover their property, to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State on their soil, in accordance with the principles of international law and pertinent resolutions of the United Nations.

It is a matter of regret that the situation in the Middle East, particularly as it relates to the issue of Palestine, has deteriorated appreciably since that decision. Indeed, we have watched with concern the upsurge in violence, with the accompanying loss of innocent lives. The impact of this situation on the economic and social lives of the Palestinian people has been documented in the various reports of the relevant United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. That in turn has resulted in humanitarian challenges that only true and lasting peace in the region can address.

Therefore, the international community needs to take urgent steps to ameliorate the situation confronting the Palestinian people by fulfilling commitments made to the Palestinian cause, as outlined in past General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. We in the African Union will continue to support the efforts of the Quartet in that regard - especially the implementation of the principles of the road map - towards its vision of two States, Israel and an independent, viable and democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as affirmed by Security Council resolution 1397 (2002).

The African Union believes that the window of opportunity provided by the acceptance of the road map in 2003 by both Israel and Palestine, as well as its subsequent endorsement by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003), should be kept open. That would enable both sides to address the core issues that divide them and thereby create a basis for lasting peace and security in the Middle East region.

The African Union reiterates that such a renewed commitment to peace and security in the region would be the best tribute that could be paid to the memory of the late Palestinian leader. The forthcoming election of a new President for the Palestinian Authority should provide both parties with an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment and thereby generate trust and confidence among the peoples of the region in a peaceful resolution of the issue at stake. That should be done in an environment of respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The African Union is also committed to the goal of a comprehensive regional peace between Israel and Lebanon, on the one hand, and between Israel and Syria, on the other, based on the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference and the principle of land for peace. The long-suffering peoples of the Middle East deserve and should be given peace so that the urgent challenges of development can be confronted and so that the abundant resources of countries of the region can be exploited for the benefit of all their peoples. The African Union will continue to lend its support to well-conceived efforts aimed at achieving that objective.

Finally, I convey, on behalf of the African Union, our congratulations to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on its untiring efforts into drawing the attention of the international community to the plight of the Palestinian people. I wish the Committee continued success in the years ahead.”

Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States,
message delivered by Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer
of the League of Arab States to the United Nations


[Original: Arabic]
I should like to thank all those present for participating in this day of commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I had wanted to be present at this meeting, but I had other commitments. I asked Mr. Said Kamal, Deputy Secretary-General for Palestinian Affairs of the League of Arab States, to participate in this meeting.

Allow me at the outset to express our grief and sadness at the passing of Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestinian people and Palestinian revolution, who accomplished so much in the fight for freedom and independence and devoted his life to the Palestinian cause, to restoring the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to creating an independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital. We, the League of Arab States, will always proudly remember the life of this great leader, who fought for Palestinian rights, maintaining his commitment to work with all Arab States to attain the objectives of the Palestinian people.

I should also like to express the profound gratitude of the League of Arab States to the Chairman and the other members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for their intensive efforts to support the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people in various regional and international forums. We call upon the Committee to continue those efforts, particularly at this critical time when we are witnessing an unprecedented escalation in Israeli military activities against the Palestinian people and the occupation of northern and southern Gaza and of other towns in the West Bank, causing death and injury to many hundreds of people, the destruction of thousands of houses and the razing of agricultural land in acts of brutal vengeance against the Palestinian people.
Despite international condemnation, Israel is pursuing its policy through those acts of aggression. It is still building the separation wall, notwithstanding the clear and firm advisory opinion handed down on 9 July by the International Court of Justice, according to which the building of the wall was illegitimate, and despite the General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the building of the wall and for compensation to be given to Palestinians because of the damage caused by its construction. However, Israel still continues its attacks, despite the condemnation of the international community. That condemnation was purely theoretical, because no sanctions have been adopted against Israel, and that is why we are at a political impasse today.

At this juncture, the Prime Minister of Israel has submitted a unilateral plan for withdrawal from Gaza and some settlements in the West Bank without coordinating Israel’s efforts with the Palestinian Authority, despite our insistence on total withdrawal by Israel from the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories. Any withdrawal from Gaza must be full and comprehensive. Moreover, it must be carried out as part of the road map and must be accompanied by similar measures on the West Bank, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

Israel’s withdrawal, which has been approved by certain Israeli Government officials, may be a way by which Israel can avoid implementing the road map and entrench itself in the West Bank. If that is true, it would have very serious and unpredictable consequences.

The League of Arab States and Arab countries in general have done their best to achieve a comprehensive and just peace as a strategic option. At the 2002 Beirut Summit, the League of Arab States took the historic initiative of proposing a general framework for a just and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict covering all substantive issues, such as the problems of refugees, Jerusalem and regional coexistence, in accordance with Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and the principle of land for peace. We call on the international community to support that initiative. If implemented, it could restore peace between Arabs and Israelis and put an end to tension and instability in the region.

On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I appeal to the international community as represented by the United Nations, and to all Member States and organizations, to extend all possible assistance to the Palestinian Authority, which is constantly striving to reform its institutions and prepare for legislative and presidential elections, which will provide a proper framework for a Palestinian State.

We also call upon the Quartet to intensify its efforts to ensure that the road map is implemented unconditionally, in order to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to realize President Bush’s vision of the creation of a sovereign and viable Palestinian State. We call upon the United States to resume its role as a neutral honest broker in resolving the Palestinian problem because, so far, that country’s prejudice in favour of Israel has only perpetuated Israel’s hostility and aggression and its attacks against the Palestinian people and its national Authority. It is impossible to reach a solution in such circumstances.
I wish to draw attention to an important issue. The Palestinian people, who are struggling to achieve peace and put an end to violence, have made painful territorial concessions for the sake of peace, accepting those concessions in conformity with the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). Since the Palestinian people have unreservedly agreed to the road map and the Arab peace initiative, Israel should stop imposing harsh conditions. It should dismantle its illegal settlements and begin to withdraw from the Palestinian and Arab territories, in keeping with international resolutions. It is absurd to view Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories as a concession. We call on the international community and, in particular, the Security Council, and influential world powers to shoulder their responsibilities and provide international protection for the Palestinian people against Israel’s massacres and daily attacks, and to implement the road map in order to build institutions and improve the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people. That would have a positive impact on peace and security in the region.

In conclusion, I wish the Committee every success in seeking to ensure the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including the rights to freedom, to sovereignty and to the creation of an independent State with its capital in East Jerusalem.”


Jennifer Butler, on behalf of the international network of NGOs
on the question of Palestine

[Original: English]
I would like to begin by extending the gratitude of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Working Group on Israel/Palestine for the opportunity to address the Committee at this critical moment.

The NGO Working Group on Israel/Palestine is a dedicated coalition of non-governmental organizations. Our diverse membership draws individuals from three monotheistic faiths as well as from other traditions and secular organizations. We are not a think tank. We have no interest in proposing unrealistic or romanticized solutions. We have a real interest in promoting efforts that will bring about a just and lasting peace. Our member organizations have indigenous staff and local partners working on the ground, and individuals often visit the area.

It is on the basis of those experiences and our steadfast dialogue with our partners that we stand here. We bear witness to the daily reality facing the people of the land, both Palestinians and Israelis. It is easy to accept this conflict as chaos and confusion. It is easy to lose ourselves in reports and forget the daily reality in the occupied territories that is described. Reports - even ours - can only echo the painful reality that men and women experience day in and day out. For everyone on the ground, Palestinians and Israelis, their daily reality is much more insidious.

The facts are clear. The World Bank reports that at least 60 per cent of the Palestinian population lives in poverty, and that unemployment is higher than ever. Polls in the region tell us that children describe their lives as full of fear, violence and hopelessness.

As we speak, the walls grow even higher in the land: not just separation walls and security barriers, as they are called, but walls built from the fear, violence and hopelessness that plague generations. All such walls hide the humanity of those on the “other side”. We cannot forget that the trauma they have experienced and lived through for generations is quite real and devastating. Our Working Group knows the voices on the ground. We know the men and women who want to challenge those impediments to the realization of a just and secure peace.

Today, we stand in solidarity with those people and voice their challenge to all such walls. Mindful of the events of the past month, we note that this meeting takes place at a critical juncture in the peace process. President Arafat was a man dedicated to the realization of a nation for his people, based on self-determination and recognition of the rights of Palestinian refugees. As Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in the General Assembly Hall on 11 November, President Arafat “symbolized in his person” ( A/59/PV.52) the longstanding struggle of the Palestinian people. We express our sincere condolences to his family and his community. We mourn the loss of his voice and his steadfast dedication to the search for self-determination.

Some tell us that the divisions are too deep and that there is no hope for reconciliation, but the facts say something different. There have always been people, individuals and serious organizations dedicated to finding common ground to work towards reconciliation. These movements are alive and growing in Israel and Palestine. More than ever, Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Christians and Muslims are working together for peace. These partnerships, both in the region and around the world, are part of our Network. These groups renounce the culture of violence that has spread in our times. Why? Because when these men and women hear reports of a child killed - whether that child is in Jenin, Tel Aviv, Hebron, Haifa, Bethlehem or Jerusalem - they are outraged. We, too, are outraged. They look beyond the words, the politics and the justifications. They look to the truth: mothers weeping, siblings in fear, futures destroyed, human security obliterated. They see an innocent child who is lost in a conflict that has lasted too long. We echo their cry: “No more!” Those men, women and the next generation reach out, at times in spite of their communities, to work for a future for all children - a future that does not measure moral outrage in relation to the child’s nationality or beliefs.

Time is of the essence. The United Nations and its General Assembly have been there since the beginning. Countless individuals have given their lives trying to find ways to create a secure, just and lasting peace in the region. The best way to honour them and their work is to take action. Here, again, are the facts: there is a timeline and a road map; there are political developments now that could bring people together. As NGOs, we work closely with various United Nations committees and divisions both in New York and in Geneva in order to bring to light realities on the ground. We seek to link this Organization to the people on the ground.
The General Assembly’s Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in the Occupied Territories is one such body. At a historic meeting earlier this month, NGO representatives and members of the Committee met and exchanged vital information. We agreed to research together the many facts from the ground, including issues regarding human rights violations in all communities. Such a joint effort is a way to monitor realistic expectations as we move towards a just solution. All parties agree that now is another crucial moment for action.

This body does not concern itself with a vote today. Undoubtedly there are many diverse opinions on many of the details. Can we agree that there is a need for urgent, unified action to end the occupation as a means towards sustainable peace in the region?

We said before that the humanitarian situation is dire. Our partners point to a disturbing trend of increased violence where, intentionally or not, humanitarian workers, schools, clinics and other places that should be unquestionably safe are directly impacted by violence. Those violent episodes create profound instability, enormous human insecurity and a crisis of truth.

Like others, we struggle to find the core of those problems. Violence is a common threat that undermines efforts for both justice and peace. Our NGO Working Group condemns all forms of violence. The NGO Working Group on Israel/Palestine is seized of the issue. We are not new to those concerns; nor should we abandon them as hopeless. At the same time, we have no desire to stand here a year from now and ask the same questions. Peace will take a long time to achieve, but the process starts now. We will invest our time and our expertise in seeking ways to make a substantial difference.

Participants in this meeting know the issues. We do not need to repeat them. The question of the wall was answered at The Hague earlier this year. The question of settlements has been answered continuously: the expansion of settlements is an impediment to peace. The proposed disengagement in Gaza is not a simple matter. It requires comprehensive review.

We do not need more resolutions. We need to act on those already passed. More than anything, as always, we need to concern ourselves with the people who call the land their home. We need to concern ourselves with families: the 764 Palestinian and Israeli families that have lost children in this conflict since 2000. We need to concern ourselves with the millions of children who are living.

Today we stand in solidarity: we remember the past, the struggles, the hopes, the causes of this conflict. We remember all of the facts from the ground in order to stop ourselves from moving into positions of polarized and unchecked intolerance. It is a very long road - a road that requires careful and deliberate steps. We need to respect fears, but at the same time to commend action. As we move forward, our actions must bear witness to lives lost in this conflict. For one moment, we need to be silent.

Let us allow the people who are there - the people whose lives are defined by this conflict - to speak. We hear them. They spend their days walking and driving through checkpoints, past destroyed buildings. They are surrounded by the diverse effects of occupation - and of being occupied. They spend their evenings in fearful anticipation in emergency rooms and ambulances. Are we listening? We are here because we hear their voices. From every corner of the land we hear and share their cries for justice, their prayers for peace and their deep desire for security. That is why today we stand in solidarity, and why tomorrow we will continue working for a true and just solution to the question of Palestine.

]
Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department
of the Palestine Liberation Organization
[Original: Arabic]
Mr. Chairman, I would like at the outset to extend my thanks to you and to the other members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for your unremitting efforts to support the question of Palestine and to establish peace and security by finding a just solution to the question of Palestine. On this occasion, we would like also to express our deep appreciation to the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Jean Ping, and to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for their participation in this solemn meeting to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and for the statements they made regarding the Palestinian people, especially the condolences they extended to my people.

My thanks go also to all those who participated in today’s meeting on this Day of Solidarity through the statements that were read out or through their personal participation. Their presence and participation strengthen our hope for a future that will be better than the situation we are currently facing. That complete solidarity with the Palestinian people will undoubtedly help move the peace process forward and strengthen the hopes and national aspirations of the Palestinian people.

I would like to extend my thanks to all those who have voiced their condolences on the passing of the leader of our revolution, President Yasser Arafat. When we needed his leadership most, he - God bless his soul - was a courageous leader, a hero in this struggle, remaining true to his principles and beliefs. He respected his commitments and pledges, but his struggle was with an enemy which behaved and acted quite differently. That enemy completely did away with previous agreements, failed to fulfil its commitments and imposed a siege on our leader, hoping for his surrender. The siege only strengthened his beliefs. In order to break his will, the enemy intensified its siege, but this only increased his perseverance and his strength. The fire of the Palestinian revolution continued to rage against the occupation forces in response to the unjust siege under which our courageous leader lived for three long years. The cowardly enemy was angered by this and acted treacherously against him. The loss of our leader will not weaken us. He has left behind him our young people: stronger fighters and strugglers who will, with great perseverance and determination, continue to pursue the aspirations for which our courageous leader, President Arafat, struggled.

We highly appreciate the participation in this meeting. We value all the efforts that participants have made, and we will continue on the difficult road towards peace, security and justice. We pledge that we will continue on that path in loyalty to the legacy and will of our leader. I would like to thank participants once again for the condolences they extended to us. Peace be upon you all.


Closing statement by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]
Before adjourning this solemn meeting, I wish to thank everyone who made this meeting possible, in particular the members of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, the Department of Public Information, the Office of Central Support Services and everyone who works behind the scenes.

I also want to remind participants that a Palestinian cultural exhibit, organized by the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, will open this evening at 6 p.m. in the public lobby of the General Assembly building. This year’s exhibit, entitled “Steadfast in Palestine”, will feature works by members of the League of Palestinian Artists. The opening of the exhibit will be followed by a reception, to which all are invited.

Immediately following the present meeting, two films will be screened in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library auditorium. One of these films is entitled In the Name of Security , and relates to a visit by a delegation of the United States National Lawyers Guild to the West Bank. The film documents what members of that delegation saw: destroyed cities and impassable checkpoints. The film describes a continuous occupation designed to prevent Palestinian statehood and tells the story of the courage of the Palestinian people. A second film, entitled The Wall , is about the barrier being built on Palestinian territory and its devastating effect on Palestinians being separated from their land. Participants are invited to now proceed to the film screening.

In conclusion, I would like once again to thank everyone for their participation, and to thank, in particular, the interpreters - who have given us a few extra minutes to finish our meeting in a proper fashion - the conference officers and all other conference services staff.


III. MESSAGES RECEIVED ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE


A. Messages from Heads of State or Government
Hamid Karzai, President of the Transitional Government of Afghanistan
[Original: English]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to express the support of the Afghan people for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular, the right to self-determination and an independent State.


Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People’s Democratic Republic
of Algeria

[Original: French]
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, I would like to express, on behalf of the Algerian people, and on my own behalf, sincerest congratulations to the Palestinian people and to its leadership.

This day of commemoration comes at a time when our brothers, the Palestinian people, continue to be deprived of their legitimate right to live in peace on the land of their ancestors and continue to be subjected to a brutal foreign occupation.

The commemoration of the Day of Solidarity also comes this year in a context of mourning, following the death of President Arafat, the historic and democratically elected leader of the Palestinian people, who for 40 years embodied the aspirations of the Palestinian people for an independent State. We have no doubt that the Palestinian people will remain united and rally around his authority and, ultimately, make the dream so cherished by its deceased leader, the establishment of a Palestinian State with Al-Quds as its capital, a reality.

Algeria, which has never ceased to express and show its support for the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people, would like to reaffirm its total solidarity with its brothers the Palestinian people on this memorable occasion. It is convinced that, like all peoples under colonial or foreign occupation, the Palestinian people will find, in the heroic commitment of its sons and the sustained support of the international community, the resources to assert its historical and legitimate rights, including the establishment of a sovereign State with Al Quds Al Sherif as its capital. The international community in general and the United Nations in particular must make every possible effort to ensure that that noble goal is attained.

The road map elaborated by the Quartet and approved by the Security Council urges the international community to step up efforts to promote a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question corresponding to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and in accordance with international legality.

On this solemn day of commemoration, I would like to reiterate Algeria’s support for the Palestinian people and to make an urgent appeal to the international community as a whole and the United Nations in particular to redouble efforts to ensure the prompt implementation of the road map and the restoration of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including its right to establish its own independent State.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, whose commitment and contribution have been crucial in advancing the just struggle of the Palestinian people, is called on to play a major role in continuing to further mobilize efforts and support to promote this noble cause, until the day when the Palestinian people may at last exercise fully their legitimate rights.

Begum Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
[Original: English]
On this solemn occasion, Bangladesh joins the international community in reiterating its firm solidarity with the people of Palestine in their just and legitimate struggle for an independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital. This year the occasion coincides with the sad demise of President Yasser Arafat. President Arafat, during his long decades of courageous leadership, had emerged as a powerful symbol of national aspiration and unity of the Palestinian people. His death has been a great loss for not only the people of Palestine but all those who stand by them in their legitimate struggle for self-determination and independence.

The continued dispossession of rights of the Palestinian people, forced occupation of their lands, the uprooting of thousands of Palestinians from their homes, deportation and suppression of all their fundamental rights, including the right to return, constitute the greatest injustices committed against any people. The people of Bangladesh strongly condemn such mindless acts of violence against the people of Palestine.

In observing the Day today, Bangladesh would urge the international community to act in unison, with renewed vigour and greater resolve towards achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. We are convinced that comprehensive peace in the region can be guaranteed only through a political process and full and unconditional implementation of all relevant UN resolutions. Bangladesh remains committed to all efforts, including the initiative of the Quartet Group, that aim at achieving genuine and lasting peace in the Middle East.


Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil

[Original: English]
The Brazilian Government once again expresses its deepest condolences to President Yasser Arafat’s family, the Palestinian people and the Arab world for the loss of a leader who will stand forever as a symbol of Palestinian struggle, national unity and aspirations.

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Brazil reaffirms its firm commitment to and support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle to bring about their legitimate aspiration to self-determination.

It is sad to realize that instead of positive developments, we have been faced with a further deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories in the past twelve months, especially in what concerns the persistence of measures that aim to disrupt the social, economic and political structures of Palestine, such as the separation wall.

In this regard, the Brazilian Government welcomes the recent International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the case concerning the legality of Israel's construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as it clarifies, for the international community, the legal aspects of the issue. We encourage the parties to act in accordance with the advisory opinion handed down by the ICJ, in order to restore the status-quo-ante and build trust and confidence.

We reaffirm once again the responsibility of the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, regarding the implementation of its resolutions on the establishment of an independent, viable and democratic Palestinian State. Also, we expect Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide by its obligations under internationa1 humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, and to allow free access to international humanitarian assistance.

Brazil is fully committed to the aspiration of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in internationally recognized borders. Brazil reiterates its support for the work of the Quartet, in its goal to promote, with the cooperation of the international community, an end to terrorism and violence, an end to occupation, and a permanent settlement of the conflict based on resolutions 242, 338 and 1397 and other relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

It is our hope that political dialogue will be resumed, prevailing over violence, so that the Palestinian people can finally benefit from an environment of peace and stability, in which it can concentrate on its development and prosperity and thus achieve its full potential.


King Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan
and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam

[Original: English]
On this day, when we renew our solidarity with the people of Palestine in their pursuit of a just and lasting settlement of their inalienable rights in their homeland, our Government and the people of Brunei Darussalam join us in expressing our warmest greetings to all Palestinians.

At the same time, we express to them our deepest condolences on the death of their leader, the late President Arafat, who embodied their most profound hopes and aspirations for almost half a century.

In doing so, we pay tribute to his inspiring leadership and the vision he gave his people of a Palestinian State existing in peace and dignity within the international community of nations.

As his people prepare for the difficult task of choosing their late President's successor, we are with all the leaders of Palestine in our prayers asking that they be granted the wisdom and special insight that will be called for as they prepare to take up the many solemn tasks and new challenges before them.

As always, we remain steadfast in our support for their work on behalf of their people and in our call for the nations of the world to offer their resources, goodwill and diplomatic commitment to help bring about a peaceful, lasting and just resolution of all matters affecting the future happiness and prosperity of our brothers and sisters in Palestine.


Samdech HUN Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
[Original: English]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Royal Government and people of Cambodia wish to express their strong support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their untiring efforts in the quest for an independent and sovereign State, living side by side with their neighbours in peace and harmony and with dignity.

In this regard, I believe that the international community, particularly the United Nations, should continue to support the struggle and the inalienable and sacred right of the Palestinian people to an independent State and, at the same time, continue to urge all parties involved to stop violence once and for all, and to resume negotiation as early as possible.


Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

[Original: Chinese]
(Unofficial translation)
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, my warmest congratulations to the special commemorative meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deep condolences over the recent passing of President Arafat and my heartfelt sympathy to the Palestinian Government and people. President Arafat was an outstanding leader and prominent statesman of Palestine. He was the founder and active promoter of China-Palestine relations. His death is a loss not only to the Palestinian people and the peace-loving people in the Middle East, but also to the Chinese people, who found in him a great friend.

The question of Palestine is at the core of the Middle East issue. A solution will be achieved only by political negotiation. Relevant UN resolutions and the "land for peace" principle constitute the important political foundation for the Middle East peace talks. The restoration of the Palestinian people's legitimate rights, including the right to statehood, should be the primary objective of the efforts to resolve the Middle East issue. China stands opposed to violence of any form and is of the view that the sovereignty and security of all countries in the Middle East should be effectively protected.

The Middle East situation is now at a critical moment and its future evolution will have a great impact on peace and stability in the world. The international community should push Israel and Palestine to end violence and resume talks at an early date, so as to rebuild mutual trust and implement the road map plan. China stands ready to work with all parties concerned to achieve the long-term peace and stability in the Middle East.


Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s
Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
[Original: Korean]
(Unofficial translation)
[Addressed to the Chairman of the Legislative Council of the Palestinian
National Authority]
I extend firm solidarity with you and the Palestinian people on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The progressive people of the world express their sympathy and support to the Palestinian people in efforts to put an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and to retake legitimate national rights, including the right to found an independent State with Al-Quds as its capital.

On this occasion, I wish you and the Palestinian people greater success in the struggle for national independence and liberation.


General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea

[Original: French]
On the occasion of the commemoration of the historic day of 29 November, I wish to express to you and the members of the Committee my sincere congratulations and wishes for brilliant success in the noble and delicate mission of protecting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

The current celebration comes at a time where the emotions stirred by the death of Yasser Arafat on 11 November 2004 are still strong.

The death of President Arafat, who was able more than anyone to embody the Palestinian cause during the past 40 years, is a loss not only for the Palestinian people but also for all justice-loving peoples.

I remain confident that, despite this serious loss, the Palestinian people as a whole will be able, thanks to the sustained efforts of the international community, to overcome obstacles to building an independent and sovereign State.

In this ongoing heroic struggle, I would like to assure you once again of the active solidarity of the people and Government of Guinea.


Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India

[Original: English]
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November is an occasion to salute the indomitable spirit of the Palestinian people and their struggle for the realization of their national aspirations.

India is deeply concerned at the ongoing conflict in the region, which prolongs the suffering of the Palestinian people. The escalation of violence in northern Gaza last month caused the tragic and unnecessary loss of innocent lives, including women and children. Violence is a serious impediment to the peace process; we hope that a negotiated solution to end this conflict will be found soon. Renewed and redoubled efforts are necessary for the peace process to move forward in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions, the “Quartet” road map and international law, with the support of the international community, so that Palestine and Israel may coexist side by side as two independent States, within secure and recognized borders. To demonstrate India’s support for the Palestinian people in their quest for nationhood, we have doubled our contribution to UNRWA this year.

For four decades, President Arafat had been the enduring symbol of steadfast courage in leading the struggle of the Palestinian people for an independent homeland. On this solemn occasion, we pay homage to his memory and recall his everlasting contribution to the cause. We also take this opportunity to wish the Palestinian people, under their new leadership, peace and an end to this decades-old conflict. India reaffirms its solidarity with the fraternal Palestinian people for the realization of their legitimate rights.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia

[Original: Indonesian]
(Unofficial translation)
On the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to reaffirm the commitment of the people and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia to the Palestinian people in the continuing struggle for their just and inalienable rights to self-determination and for the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.

The Palestinian people have just lost their beloved and brave President, Yasser Arafat. I avail myself of this opportunity to pay tribute to his great work and long struggle to achieve an independent State of Palestine through a peaceful process. The testament to this endeavour was his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. Although he has passed away, his conviction and determination shall remain his enduring legacy. He has thus left us with the strong belief that Palestine will someday gain its independence. Indonesia believes that this burning spirit will continue to inspire the international community to support the struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable rights.

This year marks a significant step towards this noble destination, following the historic decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 9 July 2004. On that day the ICJ categorically declared Israel’s construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem, as well as its associated regime, illegal and contrary to international law. Consequently, the construction of the wall is to be condemned by the international community. Albeit a lack of enforcement of this advisory opinion, it is clearly an important and triumphant achievement for the Palestinian people, whose sufferings have multiplied over the years at the hands of the Israeli military occupation. The statement of the President of the ICJ, Judge Shi Jiuyong, delivered before the Sixth Committee this year, is quite relevant in this context. He stated that even though advisory opinions are not legally binding in nature or res judicata, they are invariably given authoritative status by the organs and States concerned.

The time is now ripe, therefore, for the international community to ensure the enforcement of the ICJ decision, through the United Nations General Assembly or the Security Council. Only through the concerted efforts of these august bodies, particularly the Security Council, because of its main responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, will we be able to bring this illegal situation to an end. Needless to say, implementing the advisory opinion of the world court would strongly contribute to the objective of peace and security in the region. It is important to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the advisory opinion of the ICJ to send a strong message to the public as to the fairness of international law.

The plight of Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territories continues to deteriorate owing to the construction of the wall, the increasingly aggressive Israeli methods that take the form of extra-judicial killings, the destruction of Palestinian agriculture and livelihood, and the assorted violations of human rights. As the United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories reported last year, over 60 per cent of the Palestinian population now lives below the poverty line. Indeed, between 2000 and 2003, the population of the Palestinian poor tripled, from 637,000 to near1y 2 million. This trend cannot continue.

The observance this year of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is an opportune time to remind the international community of its obligation to support the Quartet’s performance-based road map to a permanent two-State solution as a viable peace initiative in the Middle East. As a practical way out of the conflict, the notion of a permanent two-State solution offers both Israelis and Palestinians security within internationally recognized borders. Indonesia therefore calls upon the international community to recommit itself and do everything to ensure its implementation.

Fundamentally, however, Indonesia believes that lasting peace in the Middle East can be achieved only if the illegal occupation by Israeli forces, which began in 1967, ends. Only through the fulfilment of this condition is coexistence of the two States, living side by side in harmony, as envisioned by the road map, feasible. In this regard, Indonesia urges Israel to end the occupation, as mandated by relevant resolutions on the Palestinian issue, including General Assembly resolution 194 (1948), and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002). Indonesia further urges members of the international community to give their unflinching support towards ensuring that the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, such as resolutions 1515 (2003) and 1544 (2004), are implemented.

Finally, let me conclude by expressing, once again, the continued and enduring support of the entire people of Indonesia for Palestinians on this occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We look forward to the establishment of an independent, sovereign and dignified Palestinian State.


Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
[Original: English]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

As the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I first would like to express my deepest sympathy and profound condolences to the Palestinian people on the passing of Yasser Arafat, the late President of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian people have lost a great leader, who struggled hard to achieve a homeland for his people, including millions of homeless Palestinian refugees. He is remembered not only by the Palestinians as a leader who symbolized their long search for statehood and independence, but also by peoples from all parts of the world for his courage and determination against all odds in championing and protecting the inalienable rights of the people of the Palestine. I hope that the Palestinian people recover soon from the shock and the loss of their leader, and that the new leaders of the Palestinian people will take forward the candle that was long kept alight by the late President Arafat.

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People provides a valuable opportunity for me, once again, to express the heartfelt solidarity of the Iranian Government and people with the Palestinian people and authorities.

The unbridled atrocities committed by the forces of the Zionist regime against the defenseless Palestinian people and the enormous casualties and damages inflicted upon them have caused great concern among many countries, particularly in the Islamic world.

Over the past fifty years, Palestinians have been persecuted for their wish to live in their homeland, and have been prevented from their right to existence. The failure of the international community to address the Palestinian issue fairly and effectively, coupled with the lack of sufficient and proper means to balance the heavy weaponry of Israeli forces, have further exacerbated this condition. Indeed, the Palestinians have been engaged in a disproportionate and unjust war with the Israeli regime that has resulted in the slaughtering of their men, women and children in their ancestral land.

The illegal Israeli policies and practices against defenseless Palestinian take different forms and shapes. They include the well known policy of targeted assassination of Palestinian political and religious figures, continuation of the construction of settlements in the occupied lands, destruction of homes, hospitals and office buildings, and blockade of Palestinian areas. These are all flagrant violation of basic principles of international law particularly those of human rights. Such actions are usually carried out with the blessing and support of a superpower which declares itself the champion of human rights. Moreover, the inconceivable silence of a number of the defenders of human rights have been, in turn, emboldening the Zionist regime to attach very little value, if any, to world public opinion, as well as to the principles of international laws and human rights.

Hence, the international community shoulders enormous obligations to tackle the Palestinian issue in order to maintain its relevance and credibility. In this context, I refer to the annexation of the occupied territories to those previously occupied in 1948, the construction of new settlements in the territories occupied in 1967, the implementation of a policy of apartheid by segregating Palestinian residential areas from the other areas, the construction of the wall which has been pronounced illegal by the International Court of Justice, the deportation of Palestinians to other countries, and many other transgressions that threaten the lives of Palestinian men, women and children on a daily basis.

The Palestinian situation is a clear manifestation of a human tragedy. It therefore requires the attention of every human being in every corner of the world. Scholars and thinkers must find logic for the international community's inability to find a fair solution to the Palestinian issue. What are the responsibilities of different countries as members of the international community vis-a-vis this issue? In this day and age, is it acceptable for the UN Security Council to be unable to put an end to the atrocities that are being committed by Israelis? Is it acceptable for the Security Council not to fulfill its primary duty, which is to prevent threats to international peace and security, because of the use of veto by the United States?

I, as the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and in the name of the Iranian people, once again express sympathy and solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.

Clearly, the international community, and especially the United Nations, must work harder to restore and secure the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. I further declare that the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran will spare no effort to help in the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

I pray to the Almighty God for durable peace and tranquility in Palestine.


King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
[Original: Arabic]
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

It is a pleasure for me to address you on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and to recall that, although we are about to enter the sixth-year of the twenty-first century, the entire world is still following the cause of the Palestinian people, the sole people still labouring under occupation. We are filled with hope that our efforts will succeed in removing that occupation, which does injustice to all of us as human beings, and will enable the Palestinian people to achieve their rights and establish their independent State on their national soil.

I wish to express to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the Committee thanks and appreciation for your continued efforts over the years to enable the Palestinian people to obtain their inalienable rights to their national soil.

Your august Committee, which was created in 1975, is convening for the first time since the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat departed this world, after devoting his life and his very being to defending the just cause and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to achieve international legitimacy, including the establishment of an independent State on their national soil. I pray to God to grant him mercy and forgiveness, and I wish the new Palestinian leadership success in continuing the efforts to achieve the hopes of our brothers and sisters, the Palestinian people.

The relationship of Jordan and the Jordanians to the Palestinian people over the past decades is one of historical, civilizational, cultural and human bonds and interrelations stemming from the fact that our region is the cradle of the three revealed religions, all of which share in the call for human values consisting of mercy, communication, justice, fairness and respect for the humanity of human beings and their rights as individuals and as groups. That is why Jordanian political and diplomatic efforts since the outset of the Palestinian question have been based on respect for international legitimacy, the adoption of peaceful ways to resolve disputes, the rejection of violence, cooperation with States and international organizations, including this Committee, and an appeal to others to respect them. Why? Because our values do not permit us to stand by with our arms folded before the humanitarian tragedy of the Palestinian people resulting from the denial of the most elementary internationally recognized rights, namely their right to freedom, self-determination and the establishment of an independent State and their entitlement to the enjoyment of human rights.

In view of the worsening tragic conditions in which the Palestinian people are living as a result of the continuing Israeli occupation, Israel’s excessive use of military force against civilians and innocent persons, its abusive measures, including recourse to collective punishment such as the destruction of homes and infrastructures and the prevention of access to humanitarian aid, and the resulting acts of retaliation stemming from the despair in which every Palestinian lives every day under the occupation, targeting also civilians and innocent persons, it is incumbent upon us now more than ever to strive together to reactivate the road map and put it back on its proper course. Indeed, the road map is the plan that served fundamentally as a basis for the agreements between the parties, the Arab initiative for peace in the Middle East and the resolutions constituting international legitimacy, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III). Moreover, it was agreed upon by the two sides for the resumption of their bilateral peace endeavours under international supervision and monitoring, with a view to achieving peace. In this connection, we commend the efforts of the Quartet, which we urge to exert itself further. We also welcome the recent statements by the President of the United States (made on 12 November 2004 during his press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair) regarding his commitment to achieving his vision of the formation of an independent Palestinian State living in peace with its neighbours.

International legitimacy was strengthened this year, for the first time, by the consultative legal decision handed down by the highest competent international court, the International Court of Justice advisory opinion concerning the separation wall, in which the Court ruled that the wall, which is still being erected by Israel in violation of international law, must be removed and that compensation must be provided for the damage caused by it. The Court also recognized that the wall had resulted in a state of rapid deterioration of all humanitarian aspects of Palestinian life, social, economic and political, dividing the West Bank into three separate parts and thus aborting the previous agreement between the parties and international efforts, in particular the road map, aimed at a peaceful solution for the creation of two neighbouring independent peace-loving States, in accordance with international legitimacy. We must all therefore exert our greatest efforts to stop its construction and obtain its removal. In this connection, we again welcome General Assembly resolution ES-10/15, which is viewed as an important first step reflecting the international community’s recognition of the illegality of the wall and its desire for the practical implementation of the provisions of the advisory opinion.

Jordan, which continues to believe, as it has for many years, that political negotiations founded on international law constitute the only possible way to arrive at a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem, which will come about only through a rejection of violence and military force, is closer than anyone to the Palestinian question. Its people feel the constant suffering and experience the devastating regional effects of the struggle. For this reason it has been and continues to be ready to offer assistance and exert every effort possible with the parties and the international community towards achieving a just solution to this problem.

Finally, permit me, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, to thank you once again for your generous efforts towards the establishment of Palestinian rights and to shake your hands, for in those efforts you are upholding the right of an entire people who has not for a single day given up hope of obtaining its freedom and independence.

Peace and the mercy and blessings of God be upon you.


Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
[Original: English]
It is with deep sorrow that the international community observes the 2004 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in the wake of President Yasser Arafat's demise. May I take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Government and people of the Lao PDR, my deepest condolences and sympathy to the Palestinian people for the great loss of their beloved Leader. As a true patriot and adamant fighter, President Arafat devoted his whole life to the cause of national liberation and independence. We believe his lofty mission will be carried on by the Palestinian people in their just struggle to create an independent state of Palestine eventually come true.

It is regrettable that violence continues unabated in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Such violence would harm the peace efforts in the Middle East and prolong the suffering of the peoples in the region. On this note, we urge that the parties concerned engage in serious dialogue, settle their conflict and realize a vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders, in accordance with relevant UN resolutions. To this end, we stress the need for the

international community, particularly the Quartet, to intensify its efforts to bring the peace process back on track with a view to finding a peaceful and viable solution to the conflict.

Undoubtedly, lasting peace and stability cannot be brought about unless the Israel-Palestine conflict is resolved. In this context, the Lao PDR reaffirms its unwavering support to the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle for the full exercise of their inalienable rights to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine.


Emile Lahoud, President of the Republic of Lebanon

[Original: Arabic]
On the occasion of the meeting of your distinguished Committee on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People I should like to point out that Lebanon was one of the first countries to support and continues to support the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, especially their right of return to their land, as opposed to their settlement in host States, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III), and that that objective has become part of the Lebanese Constitution, which calls for its realization.

I highly appreciate the work of your Committee within the United Nations and its activities in support of the rights of the Palestinian people, who have been subjected to various forms of aggression, violations and assaults against their very existence, their security and their dignity. We spare no effort in regional and international forums to expose the distortion of the Palestinian issue that has taken place at the hands of the Israeli media. Nor do we spare any effort in reminding the major powers of the need to exert the utmost pressure and apply sanctions against Israel in order to compel it to implement the international resolutions concerning the Palestinian people.

I am confident that that there can be no suitable solution to the Palestinian question other than through the implementation of the will expressed by the competent international authorities, best represented by the United Nations, and the fulfilment by the international community of its duties. In that way, the Palestinian people will come to have their State as an independent entity and justice will have been established in the region, thus opening the door to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

In closing, I hope for yet further action on the part of your Committee for the achievement of right and justice.


Pakalitha B. Mosisili, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho
[Original: English]
On behalf of the Government and people of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and on my own behalf, I reiterate Lesotho’s support to the Palestinian people in their struggle for the right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty.

The untimely demise of President Yasser Arafat served as a painful reminder to all that the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination, national independence and sovereignty has been ongoing for more than forty years, with no end in sight, and that the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people continue.

President Yasser Arafat’s tireless efforts will not have been in vain if the international community adopts a more dynamic strategy, with an independent, democratic and stable Palestinian State being our primary goal.

We remain optimistic that implementation without any reservations of all United Nations resolutions, particularly the resolution on the Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, adopted by the General Assembly in July 2004, will bring true and lasting peace to the region.

Once again, we would like to express our solidarity with the people of Palestine in their search for everlasting peace, socio-economic development and prosperity.

Ousmane Issoufi Maïga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali
[Original: French]
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am particularly pleased to transmit to you and to the Palestinian people, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Mali and on my own behalf, my warm and sincere congratulations. Convinced that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace cannot be achieved in the Middle East without the effective exercise by the Palestinian people of their national rights, Mali will continue to work with the international community for the triumph of justice and of the principles of international law. I reaffirm the unwavering solidarity of the people and Government of my country.



Paul Raymond Bérenger, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

[Original: English]
[Addressed to the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority]
Allow me to express to you and the Palestinian people the best wishes of the Government and people of the Republic of Mauritius on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

This year’s event is also marked by the painful loss for the Palestinians of their leader Yasser Arafat, whose entire life was dedicated to the just cause of his people. On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, let us be inspired by the lofty principles upheld by former Chairman Arafat and strive towards making his vision of a just peace in the Middle East a reality.

As you are aware, Mauritius has always supported all resolutions and actions of the United Nations General Assembly aimed at finding a comprehensive and lasting solution to the crisis in the Middle East. This is a reflection of our longstanding commitment to the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people.

In this regard, we strongly believe that the implementation of the Quartet-backed road map by both the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel would create an enabling environment for ensuring the pacific coexistence of both States and stability in the region.

The Government of Mauritius, therefore, reiterates its serious concerns with respect to the unilateral action of the Government of Israel of erecting the security fence inside Palestinian territories despite international condemnation and the major set-back it represents to the peace process.

Mauritius will continue to back all efforts and initiatives of the international community to put an immediate end to the unacceptable climate of violence in the region, including in the occupied territories, and the unjust hardship and humanitarian tragedy currently faced by the Palestinian people.

I wish to reassure you that, in these difficult times, we continue to stand by the Palestinian people, whose resilience in the face of adversity reinforces their legitimate aspirations for self-determination.

I, therefore, seize this opportunity to reiterate the unwavering support of the Government of the Republic of Mauritius to the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to an independent and sovereign State within secure and recognized boundaries.


Vicente Fox Quesada, President of Mexico
[Original: Spanish]
Dialogue, observance of international law and the implementation of United Nations resolutions are the best instruments for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

With that conviction in mind and on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Mexico hopes that the parties involved in the conflict in the Middle East will find the mechanisms to allow them to embark once more upon the path of negotiation and to establish a just and lasting peace for all peoples of the region. Accordingly, Mexico considers that the Road Map proposed by the Quartet presents an opportunity to achieve that result, and hopes that it will soon be fully implemented.

Mexico wishes to convey its best wishes for the success of the activities to be held in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia
[Original: English]
On behalf of the people and the Government of the Republic of Namibia and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to express our appreciation to you Mr. Chairman, and through you to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for organizing this important Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The people of Namibia join the people of Palestine in mourning the sudden death of Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority. President Arafat was a visionary leader and distinguished himself by devoting his entire life to the heroic struggle of his people for self-determination and national independence. For this he will always be remembered as the embodiment of the collective aspirations of the Palestinian people in their quest for freedom and sovereignty. His legacy will live on until final victory is achieved.

We welcome the new Palestinian leadership and encourage the people of Palestine to remain united and rally behind their new leaders so as to intensify their liberation struggle until their inalienable rights to self-determination and independence have been realized.

As we reiterate our solidarity with the people of Palestine, we continue to support the full and unconditional implementation of the road map and the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine. In this connection, the international community should spare no effort in assisting the Palestinian people.


Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan
[Original: English]
As the world observes today the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine, Muslims in general and the Palestinians in particular are mourning the death of their undisputed, legendary leader President Yasser Arafat. His passing away has left a big void. But we are sanguine that the new leadership that will emerge after the elections in a few weeks time will pick up the mantle and lead the Palestinian people to their destiny that lies in an independent homeland.

We in Pakistan also join the world in expressing our solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine, whose sufferings are unfortunately far from over. Indeed the region is witnessing unending violence, adding further to the miseries of the Palestinian people.

During the last one year alone, there have been countless acts of violence against the Palestinians by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories. Collective punishment, demolition of houses, targeted killing of Palestinian leaders and arrests and tortures have added to the agony of the Palestinians, fueling violence in reaction. The illegal construction of the Separation Wall by Israel in and around the Palestinian territories and Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan from Gaza has further caused a setback to peace process.

Pakistan attaches great importance to an early negotiated settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict in accordance with the dictates of justice and international law, as enunciated in UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1515. Pakistan believes that the only way to ensure durable peace in the Middle East is through negotiations consistent with UN resolutions, the Quartet road map and Crown Prince Abdullah’ s peace plan leading to a two-State solution.

On this day, the people and Government of Pakistan reiterate their resolve to continue to extend unequivocal and unreserved support to the Palestinian cause, the fundamental elements of which include total withdrawal of Israel from occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and the restitution of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination and an independent homeland with Jerusalem as its capital.


Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar
[Original: Arabic]
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

First of all I should like to express my appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for inviting the international community to take part in the official celebration taking place today, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Credit is due to the Committee for its long-standing commitment, especially to its Chairman, Ambassador Fall, and to its other members, for reminding the international community of the ordeal of the Palestinians labouring under the illegal Israeli occupation, for without those noble efforts the Palestinian question might not remain alive in the conscience and feelings of the rest of the world.

Nevertheless we must admit, most regrettably, that the international community has failed until now to bring that unjust occupation to an end, despite the tireless efforts exerted by the Committee and the support it enjoys from member States. For this reason, we believe that the General Assembly and the Security Council must take up the challenge posed by their inability to end Israeli occupation to date or to deal with the grave situation existing in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, as Israel continues to commit aggression against innocent civilians and to pursue a policy of assassinations, collective punishment, destruction of homes and property, confiscation of land and building of settlements and the separation wall, which violates the rights of Palestinians in areas belonging to them. Added to all this is the worsening of the economic and social conditions in which the Palestinian people live, which have truly deteriorated as a result of the tyrannical measures implemented by the Israeli authorities. Those measures involve the imposition of severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods, including humanitarian supplies, in flagrant and grave violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and of the provisions of international law, international humanitarian law and human rights. In recent months, moreover, Israel has escalated its illegal and inhumane practices, wreaking intense, widespread destruction in the occupied territory, especially the Gaza Strip.

In view of all this, it is imperative for the international community, the Quartet and the Security Council to take the necessary steps to force Israel to put an end to the constant violations and war crimes which it commits against the Palestinian people and to make it abide by its commitments as an occupying State under the fourth Geneva Convention and comply with all other relevant provisions of international law. Only such a step will be able to stop the enormous losses of life and property and the total destruction of infrastructures inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian civilian population labouring under its occupation.

Resolving the Arab-Israeli struggle is one of the most long-standing diplomatic challenges going back more than half a century. Consequently, it is our duty now to intensify our efforts towards achieving peace, which will not be accomplished otherwise than through earnest efforts to end the Israeli occupation; the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State; the enforcement of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002); and the reaffirmation of the principles that constituted the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the most important of which were the inadmissibility of seizing land by force and the principle of land for peace; the Arab peace initiative adopted by the League of Arab States in Beirut; the agreements actually arrived at by the two parties; and the road map, whose implementation is called for by the Quartet and backed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) dated 19 November 2003. All this will lead to a permanent solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the existence of two States living side by side in lasting peace and security. In this way alone, too, will a comprehensive and lasting peace be achieved for all the peoples of the Middle East and just solutions found to all the issues to which the prolonged Arab-Israeli conflict has given rise, so that all the peoples of the region may enjoy the security and prosperity to which they aspire.


Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation
[Original: Russian]
[Addressed to the Leadership of the Palestinian National Authority]
I should like to congratulate you and all Palestinians on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The Russian Federation consistently advocates a just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the establishment of comprehensive peace and stability in the Middle East. We believe that the international community must intensify its efforts to achieve those vital goals. For our part, we intend to do our utmost to contribute to this process.

There are now real prospects that confrontation can be overcome and that constructive dialogue can continue. I believe that the new Palestinian leadership is able to demonstrate political will and, after consolidating its ranks, to do everything that is needed to progress towards peace on the basis of the road map drawn up by the Quartet of international mediators. It is precisely that route that will ensure the achievement of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent State, coexisting peacefully with Israel.

Wishing you good health and success, and wishing the friendly Palestinian people prosperity and fulfilment in their homeland.



Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal
[Original: French]
The celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is clouded this year by the sad news of the death of President Yasser Arafat, at a delicate moment in the history of the long-suffering people of Palestine.

As soon as I learned of the sad news, I sent messages of condolence to Mrs. Arafat and the Palestinian leaders before taking part in the official funeral in Cairo.

I had a personal relationship with the late President.

While reiterating my heartfelt condolences to the family of President Arafat and to our friends and brothers, the Palestinian people, I would like once again to pay tribute to that eminent leader, who fought to the last breath for the defence of his people, the restoration of its inalienable rights and the establishment of a State in the land of Palestine.

A man of uncommon tenacity and determination, President Yasser Arafat, who led a legitimate struggle for a just cause, unfortunately did not live to see the realization of his great dream: the establishment of a free, independent and sovereign Palestine, living side by side with Israel, in peace and security within secure and internationally recognized borders.

To attain that major goal, it is urgent for the international community to step up its efforts to put a definitive end to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and to achieve the establishment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region of the Middle East in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

In that context, the United Nations is entrusted with a special responsibility and must continue to play its proper role fully and even more actively until a comprehensive and definitive settlement of the question of Palestine is reached.

The moment has come for the members of the Quartet to act with greater determination to ensure that Israel, the occupying Power, complies with its obligations under international law.

I would like in particular to condemn once again in the strongest terms the policy of targeted killing that has claimed the lives of Palestinian officials, such as Sheikh Yassin and Abdulaziz Rantissi.

Furthermore, the State of Israel must be required to withdraw from the entire occupied Palestinian territory, to put an immediate halt to the expansion of settlements and to stop unconditionally the construction of the separation wall in accordance with the judgment of the International Court of Justice to the effect that the construction of the wall and its associated regime are illegal.

Moreover, the decision of the Israeli Government to withdraw unilaterally from some settlements must be carried out with the consent and collaboration of the Palestinian Authority under the supervision of the members of the Quartet.

The plight of the Palestinian people in the occupied territory is a matter of considerable concern.

I reiterate my appeal to international donors and all people of good will to provide the necessary assistance to meet the huge humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population.

We must face the fact that the option of a military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and violence in all its forms are a dead end. That is why I urgently call on the parties to seize every opportunity afforded to them to reactivate the peace process based on the road map so that the Palestinian and Israeli peoples may at last live under normal conditions of peace and good neighbourliness.

With respect to the coming presidential elections, I strongly urge the State of Israel to take all the necessary measures, as promised, throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, to enable the holding of free, fair and transparent elections.

In its capacity as Chair of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Senegal solemnly reaffirms the inherent right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and an independent State on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1976), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002) and supports the proposal of the Non-Aligned Movement to convene a meeting at the beginning of next year of organizations and regional groups on the question of Palestine.

On behalf of the members of our Committee, I reiterate our solid support for the just cause of the Palestinian people, as well as our firm commitment to work with all peace-loving partners to achieve the ideal that reunites us here today.


Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President of the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
[Original: English]
Over the years, Sri Lanka has consistently extended its firm and unequivocal support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to realize their inalienable rights, including the right to statehood, under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat.

We are deeply saddened at the passing away of President Arafat, who fought relentlessly throughout his life to uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

The reports of the loss of life, injury, and destruction of property that occur in the occupied territories almost on a daily basis fill me with profound sorrow. While conveying my deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones, I hope that efforts to pursue an end to violence and revive the peace process will soon be realized.

On behalf of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, I take this opportunity to reaffirm our continuing solidarity with the Palestinian people and convey our sincere wishes for their well-being. We share the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people of seeing an end to foreign occupation, the achievement of a lasting solution, the realization of a Palestinian State and a durable peace.


Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan


[Original: Arabic]
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

We should like, at the outset, to express our profound sadness and grief at the passing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who devoted his efforts to supporting the just causes of his people and led their struggle with the utmost courage and devotion.

We are pleased, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to reaffirm that the people and Government of the Sudan stand beside the Palestinian people in their just struggle to realize their legitimate aspirations towards the establishment of their own independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

We also reaffirm our support for the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people in their efforts to unite the ranks of the Palestinians and continue the faithful defence of the rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the international legitimacy and the related resolutions.

In condemning the unprecedented escalation of the action of Israel’s machinery of suppression, which has long persisted in its aggression against the Palestinian people, we reiterate our plea to the international community to take immediate steps to compel Israel to desist from its criminal aggression and to require it to commit itself to complying with the relevant international resolutions.


Runaldo Ronald Venetiaan, President of the Republic of Suriname
[Original: English]
It gives me great pleasure to extend warmest greetings and congratulations to the Palestinian leadership and their people on this memorable day, when the international community commemorates the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

It is indeed sad that the Palestinian people have to commemorate this day for the first time without their long-time leader and symbol of their cause, Yasser Arafat.

I would like to assure the Committee of the continued support of the Republic of Suriname in the plight of the Palestinian people for their inalienable right to self-determination and the establishment of the independent State of Palestine.

On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Suriname, I would like to convey our heartfelt congratulations to the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people on this Day, and wish them prosperity and success in their future endeavours.


Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
[Original: English]
On behalf of the Government and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand, I wish to join the international community on this special occasion in expressing our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their long struggle for freedom. The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People provides an opportunity for all nations to unequivocally voice their concerns over the plight of the Palestinian people and their determination to work together towards a peaceful settlement regarding the question of Palestine.
Thailand is saddened by the unnecessary deaths of innocent civilians and the hardship many Palestinians have had to endure throughout this prolonged conflict. Thailand therefore acknowledges the importance of pressing forward with common resolve to end the anguish of the Palestinians by achieving the proposed two-State solution through the road map to peace elaborated by the Quartet, and it stands ready to support this initiative to the end. Thailand denounces any use of violence, rejects all forms of terrorism, and upholds the principles of self-restraint and mutual respect. A peaceful and reasonable dialogue among the parties concerned provides a sustainable solution to this complicated problem.

Thailand fully supports the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and believes that with good intention, compassion and endurance, the two-State solution is not far from realization. I therefore wish the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority the best success as they embark upon their journey towards statehood and peace.


Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of the Republic of Tunisia
[Original: Arabic]
This year Tunisia, along with the international community, is celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People under special circumstances marked by a feeling of sadness over the loss of the historic leader of the Palestinian people and symbol of their long struggle, the late President Yasser Arafat.

These difficult circumstances reaffirm the need for peace-loving countries to continue their support for the unchanging and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to which President Yasser Arafat dedicated his life.

Tunisia, which follows with deep concern the aggravation of conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory and the continued violence and escalation of tension resulting from Israeli policies, affirms once again its support for and effective solidarity with its fellow Palestinian people for the restoration of their legitimate national rights, first and foremost the right to establish an independent state on their national soil.

Tunisia wishes to take the opportunity offered by the celebration of this international day to renew its appeal to the family of nations and active parties to intervene quickly and in a beneficial way to provide the necessary protection to the Palestinian people and make Israel cease its practices against them and put an end to its unilateral measures.

A continued policy based on force, the imposition of a de facto situation and the hampering of Palestinian national institutions constitutes a flagrant violation of international covenants and customary practices, the resolutions embodying international legitimacy and existing conventions and agreements. Moreover, such a policy thwarts efforts to achieve the desired peaceful settlement.

Tunisia, which occupies the chair of the Arab Summit, is eager to continue coordination and consultation with all parties, with a view to implementing the decisions of the Tunis Summit, which reaffirmed adherence to peace as a strategic choice, continued solidarity with our brothers and sisters, the Palestinian people and support for their struggle for the restitution of their legitimate rights and a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the situation in the Middle East.

Tunisia is also eager to see the continuation of efforts to resume negotiations on the basis of the relevant international resolutions and the implementation of the road map, and calls upon the Quartet to redouble its efforts in that direction.

A return to a logic of peace, the recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the finding of a just solution on all tracks will provide opportunities for peaceful coexistence among all the peoples of the region in an atmosphere of security, stability and mutual understanding. In such an atmosphere those peoples will be able to turn their full attention to the phase of building and reconstruction on the path to progress and prosperity for all.

Tunisia expresses its appreciation for the valuable efforts exerted by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to affirm and give concrete form to those rights. It also expresses its continuing determination to back those efforts in order to support the Palestinian people and the causes of justice and peace.


Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Republic of Turkey
[Original: Turkish]
(Unofficial translation)
On the happy occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to reaffirm the support of the Turkish nation for the just cause and demands of the people of Palestine.

The passing of President Yasser Arafat, who carried the just cause of Palestine to the international arena and made serious efforts to bring about a sustainable peace to the Middle East, has resulted in deep grievances for the Turkish nation, as it did for the Palestinian people. During this precarious period which the Middle East region is currently undergoing, our sole consolation is that the new Palestinian generation will move with increased determination on the path to peace in deference to the memory of President Arafat.

It is essential that the Palestinian people are granted their inalienable rights in order for the long- awaited peace, well-being and stability to be established in the Middle East region. In this regard, we observe with appreciation the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The events during the last four years have clearly proven that violence does not serve the cause of peace. Given the current juncture in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, both the parties and the international community should assume their obligations to bring an end to the atmosphere of violence, and, through revitalization of the dialogue process, the necessary steps should be taken to initiate the road map peace plan envisaged by the Quartet. Hence, the vision of two States, living side by side in peace and security, will be realized in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1397, and Palestine will acquire its place in the community of nations as a sovereign and equal member.

In this context, it will be extremely important that the Palestinian presidential elections, scheduled for 9 January 2005, are carried out smoothly. Therefore we call upon the entire international community to assist the Palestinian National Authority in the holding of the elections.

It is crucial to support the reforms that will shape the administrative and institutional structure of the Palestinian State in the future and that financial and humanitarian aid is made available to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people and to revitalize its economy.

Towards this end, Turkey, at the end of 2003, initiated a plan of action to increase and diversify the financial and social support to the Palestinian people and to help the Palestinian economy prosper. In 2004, the plan has been put into action in the fields of health, technical and vocational education, as well as food, financial and humanitarian aid, through the supervision of a coordinator. Turkey will continue its material, moral and political support to the people of Palestine within this framework.

Stressing the importance of the invaluable work of your Committee, I would like to emphasize here that Turkey will continue to support the just cause of Palestine and display its solidarity with the Palestinian people with determination. I avail myself of this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Turkish nation and on my own behalf, sincere wishes for the welfare and prosperity of the Palestinian people.


Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, President of the United Arab Emirates
[Original: Arabic]
Peace and the mercy and blessings of God be upon you

It is a pleasure for me to express to you and to the other distinguished members of the Committee, on behalf of the Government and people of the United Arab Emirates, my thanks and appreciation for the excellent positions you have adopted and the noble efforts exerted by you to enhance the support of the international community for the Palestinian cause and enable the Palestinian people to obtain their just, legitimate and inalienable rights and determine their own destiny on their national soil.

As we celebrate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year, the Palestinian cause is passing through a an extremely delicate and critical historical phase, especially after the death of the late President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat - may he rest in peace - whose contributions were not limited to his being the leader of the long struggle and resistance of the Palestinian people during the past decades, but also included his role in heading toilsome political peace negotiations with the Israeli side, despite all the unprecedented policies of blockade and violence which the Israeli Government levelled against him and his people within their own occupied territory. This all played a part in yielding negative results, including the thwarting of the efforts for peace and the spread of further suffering, frustration and despair not only in the hearts of the Palestinians, but among the countries and peoples of the region as a whole.

Instead of positively welcoming the initiatives arising from genuine good intentions and courageous confidence-building measures proffered by the Palestinian people and the National Authority over the past years with a view to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, which would restore stability and the principle of peaceful coexistence in the region, the Israeli Government chose the path of violating the political and moral commitments it had undertaken in all the agreements it had concluded with the Palestinian side, as well as those stipulated in the road map. In this way it followed grave and systematic policies of premeditated murder, assassination, expulsion, imposing of blockades and closures, starvation, destruction of homes and property, confiscation of land and natural resources, expansion of illegal settlement activities and violation of holy places in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, especially the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif. This has been the most abominable material, legal and political violation of the principles and foundations on which the peace process was based, the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, international humanitarian law, the United Nations resolutions and international legitimacy, including the most recent International Court of Justice advisory opinion calling for the cessation of the construction of the separation wall in the West Bank and the tearing down of the already existing part due to the illegality of the wall.

The United Arab Emirates, observing with great concern all these grave endeavours on the part of Israel to divest the peace process and the road map of their political content in order to serve its expansionist objectives and consolidate its existing occupation of the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, holds the Israeli Government responsible for the inevitable evil consequences of its hostile policies, which are at variance in both form and content with the peaceful orientations of the countries of the region towards the achievement of regional and world peace and security. On this occasion, therefore, we wish to reiterate our appeal to the international community and especially the principle States members of the Quartet and the United Nations to strive in earnest to put an end to these grave Israeli violations of the principles of the Charter. This must be done by applying greater political, economic and military pressure on the Government of Israel in order to make it end its blockade, its constant attacks on Palestinian lands, towns and camps and its deliberate destruction of their national institutions, and in order to induce it to return in earnest to the negotiating table with a view to placing the peace process back on the normal track, thus making it possible to arrive at lasting peace and a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question and the problem of the Middle East. Justice calls for a complete and unmitigated Israeli withdrawal from all Arab lands occupied since 1967 and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

In this context, the United Arab Emirates also stresses the need to increase the various aspects of political and economic support and assistance to the Palestinian people, including assistance in conducting the coming presidential elections of the Palestinian National Authority. We also call for the establishment of an international mechanism to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people, their property and their natural resources against the policy of aggression pursued against them by Israeli forces and extremist groups and to guarantee the safe delivery of the relief supplies, food and medical, economic and technical assistance earmarked for the Palestinian people to enable them to achieve development and rebuild their devastated security, economic and social institutions.

Finally, on behalf of the Government and the people of the United Arab Emirates, we renew our backing, our solidarity and our full support for the noble and just struggle of the Palestinian people and will continue to do so until they obtain their freedom and national independence and the exercise of all their inalienable rights guaranteed under the Charter, first and foremost the right of self-determination and the right to establish an independent State of Palestine on their national soil, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.


Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
[Original: Spanish]
On behalf of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, I wish to extend our fraternal greetings to the Palestinian people and their national authorities on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to be held once again at United Nations Headquarters.

This message of solidarity comes tinged with feelings of deep and lasting sadness caused to the Venezuelan people by the death of Yasser Arafat, father of the Palestinian homeland. His libertarian example and his spirit of sacrifice is, and will remain, a source of inspiration to the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in their determined struggle to recover their sovereignty.

I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm my country’s unfaltering support for the efforts of the United Nations to achieve peace in the Middle East region. We hope that the road map, which has been elaborated for that purpose, will continue to be supported by all the parties involved. It is my country’s conviction that the final resolution of the rightful claim of the Palestinian people is the optimal way to re-establish peace in the region.

We are certain that dialogue and cooperation are the instruments for seeking a just and lasting peace that will help to strengthen stability, security and economic development in that region, based on the resolutions of the Security Council.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela agrees that it is the responsibility of the international community to promote a peaceful solution to this regional conflict and expresses its wishes for the prosperity of the Palestinian people and for the achievement of peace throughout the Middle East region.


Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
[Original: English]
Upon the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to extend to the Palestinian people my warmest greetings of solidarity.

In the current complicated situation in the Middle East we are of the view that it is necessary for the concerned parties to put an end to violence and to push forward the Middle East peace process. Viet Nam welcomes and supports every initiative as well as efforts of the international community, of the concerned parties, to achieve a peaceful, fair and stable solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, aimed at the establishment of an independent Palestinian State living peacefully with Israel and other States in the region.

On this occasion, I reaffirm the consistent support of the Vietnamese Government and people for the just cause of the Palestinian people, and firmly believe that the struggle of the Palestinian people, with the support of the international community, will achieve full victory.


Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen

[Original: English]
I am pleased to offer my sincere wishes for the success of the United Nations observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and to express my immense appreciation of the Committee’s clear desire to consecrate this annual tradition, which reflects the highest political, moral and humanitarian ideals championed by the Organization since its establishment. Prime among these is support for the struggles of subjugated peoples to gain their freedom and independence from occupation and colonization.

With its positive connotations, the observance of this important occasion affirms the stand of the international community, headed by the United Nations, for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent State on their national soil, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. This is particularly true in view of the escalation in the brutal policies and practices of the Israeli Government founded on violence, killing and destruction and the imposed isolation of and racial discrimination against the Palestinian people. The latest and most significant of these practices is the construction of the racist separation wall, in disregard of international resolutions and in defiance of all agreements signed with the Palestinian side, affirming the obstinacy of the Tel Aviv Government and its lack of seriousness in moving forward the peace process.

The situation in which the Palestinian people now live as a result of the policy of genocide and State terrorism practiced by Israel is a serious sign of damage to the peace process and to international and regional efforts, in particular those of the Quartet to implement the road map. Moreover, the escalation of such practices is an omen of grave dangers that may plunge the region into a cycle of violence and threaten international security and peace.
The Republic of Yemen expresses its deep concern over the aggressive Israeli policies towards the Palestinian people and reiterates its established and fundamental position in support of the Palestinian people, with a view to the restoration of all legitimate rights guaranteed to them by resolutions of international legitimacy and affirmed by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice concerning the illegality of the construction of the racist wall. The Republic of Yemen also affirms its support for the efforts of the United Nations to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their legitimate rights. We call on all international forces to take concrete and serious action to exert pressure on the Israeli Government with the aim of convincing it to cease its policy of violence and State terrorism and obliging it to implement the international resolutions, agreements and initiatives on reviving the peace process in order to achieve a just and comprehensive solution to the question of the Palestinian people.

\
B. Messages from Governments


South Africa
[Original: English]
On behalf of the people of South Africa, I extend warm greetings to all Palestinians and to the Palestinian leadership on this occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Sadly, as we meet here today, we also mourn the loss of Yasser Arafat, a dear comrade and leader, a product and exemplar of struggle for justice during all the years that his people, the people of Palestine, had been condemned to a condition of statelessness.

The Palestinians stand out as peoples denied the right to belong to a country of their own. They have to contend with the reality of having to live for intolerably protracted periods of time in refugee camps. There are those Palestinians who have spent nearly six decades in refugee camps. For all those decades, even those still occupying their ancestral lands have lived as though they were tenant of another who is the true landowner. Thus they have been unable to say “in this, our home, we will determine what life we shall live and what tomorrow we shall have”.

Instead of freedom, peace and a land they can truly call their own, what they have known is permanent struggle; war; death of young and old alike, of men and women, destruction; the uprooting of their olive trees, and despair seemingly without end. Yasser Arafat was produced by this reality. As with Yasser Arafat, many have given their lives in this struggle for dignity and sovereignty.

As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, it is rendering the Middle East region entirely volatile. Threats to peace in the region are threats to world peace. The South African government believes that Israel, as the stronger party, has a responsibility and an obligation to work together with Palestine in order to create the conditions for the resolution and prevention of conflict in the region. In this regard, South Africa has called on all parties to the conflict in Israel and Palestine to demonstrate responsibility in avoiding actions that could add to an already volatile situation. It trusts that the Palestinian Authority's progress on the road of reform would be recognized internationally and supported locally through similar confidence-building measures on the side of the Israeli Government. The high death toll in Israel and Palestine, especially amongst civilians in the Gaza Strip in recent months, is not only a major concern, but is counterproductive to an already challenged diplomatic process. Furthermore, the economic crisis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has left thousands of people highly vulnerable and, if prolonged, could lead to a dire humanitarian crisis.

To give practical expression to this commitment, South Africa has played a proactive role to bring about a comprehensive, just and permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Middle East region will not be able to realize its full potential and will remain a key source of instability and thus a threat to world peace and security.

South Africa has consistently stated that it is in the common interest of humanity for there to be a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and the Arab states. To this end, an active programme of support has been undertaken under the auspices of the Presidential Peace Initiative. The Peace Retreat formalized one of the key focus points of South African engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - that of strengthening the voices for peace and building a common vision for peace. Contacts at government and civil society level have taken place with those Palestinians and Israelis who believe, not necessarily from the same starting point, that Israel will not achieve peace and security whilst the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to national self determination remain unfulfilled.

It is our Government’s view that by sharing the South African experience in negotiations, peacemaking and transition to democracy and by supporting the strengthening of the peace camps in Palestine and Israel as well as helping the general dynamic towards peace we can present a supportive initiative to the process. By bringing both sides of the conflict together in an informal environment, conducive to sharing experiences, both parties can explore creative ways in which to move the Middle East peace process forward.

The Government’s clear position of support for the establishment of a viable Palestinian State is based on its firm belief that only a realistic two-state solution can bring lasting peace to the Middle East. In this vein, it is hoped that, by commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine, this act will focus world attention on promoting support for international peace efforts, the aim to stop the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, salvage the political process and realize the vision of peace for both Israelis and Palestinians based on the creation of an Israeli and Palestinian state living side-by-side within secure borders

South Africa unequivocally supports the creation of an independent Palestinian state, living in peace, side-by-side with Israel. We remain convinced that negotiations are the only means to end the conflict and bring peace and security to both Palestine and Israel, as well as to the entire region.

In this regard, the South African Government believes that we have the right to expect the United Nations and the Quartet to act in bringing full influence to bear on both Israelis and Palestinians, but very specifically and most emphatically on Israel, to cease all acts that will further erode any progress towards the implementation of the road map.

An issue of continued concern remains Israel’s construction of the apartheid wall. Frowned upon by the international community, the Israeli Government has obstinately pursued the construction of their so-called security wall that cuts through the West Bank territory, confiscating large chunks of Palestinian farmland, residences and commercial property for this purpose. Israel’s continued construction of the apartheid wall, despite overwhelming international opposition, is unacceptable. It also runs contrary to the will of the international community. It is not in the long-term security interests of Israel that such a barrier should be in place.

South Africa presented a written legal argument to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), as well as participating in the oral deliberations in The Hague on 23 February 2004. South Africa’s presentation to and participation in the proceedings before the ICJ in The Hague is a logical consequence of our principled position in respect of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, namely that all efforts to resolve this matter through negotiations must be supported.

The South African government believes that the only way to bring about peace in the Middle East is to have a comprehensive and unconditional negotiated settlement to end the occupation of the Palestinian and Syrian territories. This will contribute towards peace and security throughout the Middle East region.

It is the sovereign right of the Palestinians to elect their own leaders. No one, least of all the occupiers of other people’s lands, have any right to insist on who should lead the Palestinians.

The South African government is committed to assisting the Palestinian people in the upcoming Palestinian national elections called for 9 November 2005 by providing election monitors under the auspices of the Independent Electoral Commission. The international community must work together to ensure that the Palestinian elections are free and fair and that freedom of movement and campaigning is guaranteed by the State of Israel. In this vein, the Government and people of South Africa will continue to lend a hand in working with the peoples and leadership of the region as well as the international community in the development of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution in the Middle East.

In the end there must and will be peace between Israel and Palestine. There must and will be peace between Israel and the Arab world. The violent days of the death of Palestinians and Israelis, brought about by the lack of courage and will boldly to take to the peace road, which is sustained by the belief that statesmanship consists in a deadly competition about the use of force, will also come to an end.

It will then be possible for everybody, both friend and foe, to say that Yasser Arafat was correct to speak about the peace of the brave. It should be possible even now, as we say farewell to a great human being and fighter for freedom, that the leaders and people of Israel and Palestine should honour the memories of both Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin by acting in practical ways to achieve the peace of the brave.
To arrive at this outcome, Israelis, Palestinians and all of us in the rest of humanity indeed require the peace of the brave that Yasser Arafat spoke about. Time will tell whether the Palestinian and Israeli leaders have the courage to make peace rather than to make war.

Farewell, brave heart, our comrade Yasser Arafat! Roballa ka kgotso, sinatla sa dinatla! Peace unto you, dear brother.


Uruguay
[Original: Spanish]
On the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay reiterates its fervent hopes for a return to dialogue and a comprehensive Middle East peace process that will lead the Palestinian people to peace and security, in which their rights are guaranteed and the stability and security of all countries of the region is assured.

Uruguay reiterates its firm support for the peace process as the only valid instrument for reaching peaceful co-existence, within the framework of international law and the principles of the United Nations. It is convinced that such a process will bring about the attainment by the Palestinian people of the right to self determination.

Uruguay remains deeply concerned by the suffering and loss of human life in different parts of the region and therefore calls once again upon all parties to the conflict to make every effort to put an end to the confrontation and to return to the negotiating table.


C. Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs



Rafael Antonio Bielsa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade
and Worship of Argentina
[Original: Spanish]
I have the pleasure of conveying to the Committee the message of the Government of the Argentine Republic on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The Government of the Argentine Republic reaffirms its full solidarity with the Palestinian people and reiterates its unfaltering commitment to this important commemoration.

This is a crucial time for the Palestinian people, who have recently suffered the loss of their historic leader, President Yasser Arafat. The Argentine people reiterate their solidarity with the Palestinian people at this sorrowful time.

This year there has been a dangerous escalation of violence in the region. During the first six months, in particular, acts of uncommon gravity gave rise to new victims and much material damage, pushing the possibility that the parties to the conflict might swiftly reach an equitable solution further into the distance.

This is especially tragic as the only way to reach a lasting solution to the conflict is through an agreement between the parties, which will guarantee the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in their own territory and the right of the Israeli people to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders.

The parties must therefore be urged to contribute to re-establishing conditions for the resumption of peace negotiations within the framework of the agreements signed by them and the decisions of the United Nations, in particular the principles of the Madrid Conference, the Oslo Accords and other agreements in force between the parties, as well as Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1515 (2003).

The Government of the Argentine Republic supports the work of the Quartet. It reiterates that the implementation of the road map is still the appropriate mechanism through which the parties can adopt new and specific measures to advance the negotiations, and invites them to fulfil the obligations set forth in that document.

Argentina has associated itself with the requests of the international community, as expressed by the General Assembly, to halt and reverse the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory. We have noted that the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice concludes that the construction of the wall contravenes international law. We hope that measures will be taken to reverse it.

The announcement by the Prime Minister of Israel of the withdrawal of some settlements from Gaza and some from the West Bank may be cause for fresh hope for a just and peaceful solution to the conflict. Nevertheless, let it be known that any withdrawal must be full, complete and in conformity with the road map, and that the parties should not take unilateral action where such might prejudice questions that can be resolved solely through negotiations and agreements between them.

The people and Government of the Argentine Republic firmly support the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. They hope that both sides will be able to embark once again upon the path of negotiation so as to transform into a reality the hope that two States, Palestine and Israel, can finally live side by side in a climate of peace and understanding.


Sergei Martynov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
[Original: English]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People I am honoured to extend sincere assurances of friendship and solidarity of the people and Government of Belarus to the long-suffering people of Palestine.

Being a long-standing member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Republic of Belarus is a convinced advocate of a peaceful and just solution of the Middle East conflict and the full and comprehensive exercise of the rights of the Palestinian people.

We believe that the international community, in particular the United Nations, has a vital role to play in order to bring closer the day when peace, stability and prosperity will be settled in the land of Palestine.


Youssouf Ouedraogo, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs
and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso
[Original: French]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People allow me, on behalf of the Government and people of Burkina Faso, to express our sincere congratulations and our encouragement to the Palestinian Authority and people for the determination with which they are fighting and the successes they have achieved.

This Day also provides an opportunity for my country to reiterate its support for the Palestinian cause of bringing about an independent Palestinian State freely determined by the Palestinian people themselves. Convinced that tolerance and dialogue alone are able to guarantee a just and lasting solution, Burkina Faso calls for strict compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002).

Burkina Faso stresses the need to cease all initiatives that are liable to exacerbate the situation on the ground. Along the same lines, it makes an urgent appeal to the occupying Power to adopt the conclusions contained in the advisory opinion handed down by the International Court of Justice on the question of the wall that it has undertaken to build around the Palestinian territory in breach of international law.

The targeted killings, plundering of Palestinian resources and destruction of homes are by their nature acts that are at variance with international rules and ethics and must be halted unconditionally.

On this Day, Burkina Faso would like to pay a final tribute to the memory of President Yasser Arafat, who died on 11 November 2004.

We have no doubt that the political legacy that he left to his people will guide his successors’ future actions towards the achievement of a free and sovereign Palestinian State.

May I wish every success for this commemoration.

Nobutaka Machida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Original: English]
On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to express my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

On behalf of the people and the Government of Japan, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences on the passing away of H. E. Yasser Arafat, the President of the Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority and the Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). I sincerely hope that Palestinians will overcome this sorrow and strive to achieve peace and prosperity in a united
manner.

I am convinced that without progress in the Middle East peace process, it is impossible to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East. It is important to promote the peace process to realize just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. In particular, regarding the Palestinian issue, Japan supports the solution of the Palestinian issue by realizing the peaceful coexistence of the two States of Israel and Palestine. To promote the road map, Japan continues to provide active assistance to the Palestinians. Furthermore, Japan will positively play a political role and actively support the efforts of both parties to achieve peace.

I recognize that we are facing the turning point in the Middle East peace process. I participated in the international ministerial meeting on Iraq at Sharm el Sheikh on 23 November. On that occasion, I had several talks with Foreign Ministers of participant countries and reconfirmed that the time is ripe for the resumption of the peace process.

The election of the successor of the late Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority, is scheduled to be held next January. Japan welcomes that the election preparations are proceeding steadily, on the basis of the Basic Law. Japan intends to actively support the effort by the Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority to hold the election, so that a new President will be elected through a fair and free election. Furthermore, we are encouraging Israel to take positive action towards the resumption of the peace process.

Japan will become a non-permanent member of the Security Council from next January. We are determined to address in a more active manner the issue of the Middle East peace process, which has a significant impact on international peace and security.


Marcel Ranjeva, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar

[Original: French]
The celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People gives me an opportunity once again to pay tribute to the memory of the late President Yasser Arafat, historic leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. A powerful symbol of national hope, unity and courage of the Palestinian people, he devoted his life to achieving his people’s right to self-determination.

The peaceful transition under way in Palestine offers new prospects for the permanent and definitive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The international community has the duty to support the Palestinians in the current process of designating new leaders to be the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people in future peace talks.

The opportunities for peace in the Middle East, despite current difficulties, are not merely hypothetical. They are real, and they must be seized. The road map, endorsed by the international community, sets the course to be followed to achieve a permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the establishment of two democratic and economically viable States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within secure and internationally recognized borders.

For its part, Madagascar remains steadfast in its commitment to the cause of the Palestinian people and wishes to express its sympathy and support to the Palestinian people and leaders for a better future.

Mircea Geoana, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania
[Original: English]
The celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People offers me the opportunity to convey to the Committee my best wishes of success, prosperity and peace for the Palestinian people.

We take this opportunity to express our solidarity with the people living in the Palestinian territories and their just and legitimate objective of building an independent sovereign State, alongside a secure Israel. This goal is widely supported by the international community, and Romania has been and will continue to be a staunch supporter of the two-State solution, based on the principles of the Road Map, as the way to achieve a genuine and lasting peace in the Middle East.



Farouk Al-Shara`, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic
[Original: Arabic]
Every year this distinguished Committee celebrates the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I with to take advantage of the opportunity offered by this excellent humanitarian event to commemorate the occasion with an expression of thanks and appreciation to you for the role played by the Committee in organizing this important international encounter, which touches our conscience to the quick and is intended to remind the international community that there is a people who is suffering the most extreme forms of oppression and violence practiced against it by the Israeli occupying authorities without any international deterrent to their terrorist practices, which are growing more tyrannical and brutal day by day.

A year has elapsed since the last International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People organized by the Committee. On this occasion we ask ourselves: How many martyrs, including women, the elderly and children, have fallen during the past year? How many homes have been demolished over the heads of their owners? And what has the international community done in the face of a terrorism which, like fire, has consumed everything with its high-handedness and brutality. Over the past few years, the Israeli occupying authorities have turned their regular army into gangs that engage in organized murder operations and war crimes against Palestinian civilians in their own occupied land in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Israel attempts to cover its crimes by creating groundless pretexts, alleging that it commits those crimes "in self-defence". Israel’s leaders forget, however, and pretend to forget that the international community has rejected the policy of murder and destruction practiced by the brutal Israeli military force against innocent Palestinian civilians and has adopted, within the United Nations, over 40 Security Council resolutions and 600 General Assembly resolutions, all demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Arab territories in order that a just and comprehensive peace may be established in the region. What is more, following the adoption of each resolution Israel has announced its rejection, heaping accusations and scorn on our international organizations, refusing to receive their committees and attacking their members. Israel has also constantly been intent on imposing a policy of faits accomplis , reflected recently in its Government’s unilateral decisions and its persistence in building the apartheid wall, thus openly scorning international legitimacy and international resolutions and decisions demanding that it call a halt to such racist practices.

For many centuries our region has been, and today still continues to be, unique among the regions of the world in terms of exposure to foreign threats, unjust attacks, distortion of the facts and use of force against our peoples. The fact that this is still true is due to the continued Israeli occupation and aggression against our lands. Yet how long can Israel continue to fool some people into believing that it is the victim, while it occupies others’ lands by force and holds Palestinians in a state of siege, destroying their homes, uprooting their crops and killing their sons and daughters on their occupied land? How is it that the victims of occupation, colonization and expulsion came to be viewed as outlaws and terrorists having no just cause, whom it is permissible to murder on the pretext of self-defence by means of warplanes and weapons fire from tanks?
We call upon the international community, in the light of these questions, to shoulder its responsibility and wake up to the dangers to which the Palestinian people are exposed as a result of the oppressive practices and organized terrorism being perpetrated by the Israeli occupying authorities. We urge it to make earnest efforts to stop the daily carnage perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people in their own occupied territory in violation of every international covenant and in disregard of the relevant international resolutions and decisions.

The Syrian Arab Republic has repeatedly expressed its persistent desire for a just and comprehensive peace. It has continued to demand Israel’s withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 1967 and the guarantee of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return, the right of self-determination and the right to establish an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital in accordance with international legitimacy and the relevant resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the terms of reference of the Madrid Peace Conference and the Arab peace initiative adopted at the Beirut Summit in 2002.

We greatly value the efforts of the Committee, which spares no effort in support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and encourage it in the continuation of its dedicated work towards enabling our Arab people in Palestine and the rest of the occupied Arab territories to enjoy security and peace.

Kostyantyn Gryshchenko Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
[Original: English]
On behalf of the Government of Ukraine, I would like to address the Committee on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

We share the grief of the Palestinian people over the demise of President Yasser Arafat, their leader, who dedicated his entire life to the cause of achieving the inalienable rights of his people, including the right to self-determination and statehood. At this important moment I would like to reiterate our solidarity with the Palestinian people in achieving this goal.

Ukraine supports the Quartet road map as a way to achieve through negotiations final, just and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We fully support its final goal of resolving the conflict, ending violence and the occupation that began in 1967, and creating an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel.

The presidential elections in Palestine in January 2005 will be an important contribution towards this end. Ukraine also welcomes the intention of Israel to withdraw from all Gaza settlements and from parts of the West Bank. We view it as an opportunity to get the peace process back on track, and, ultimately, to achieve the two-State solution.

Ukraine will continue to support comprehensively the international efforts aimed at establishing peace in the Middle East.

D. Messages from intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation
to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly
and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters

African Union
[Original: English]
The African Union today expresses support to the Palestinian people, as the international community continues its search for durable peace, security and development in the Middle East. The Palestinian question is the core issue of the Middle East conflict. Consequently, the attainment of comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region will be possible when Israel fully withdraws from all Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967.

The African Union reaffirms its commitment to a vision of two States living side by side, in peace and security. We condemn all acts of violence from whichever side, and call upon the Security Council to take appropriate action to stop the use of internationally prohibited weapons and excessive force against civilians and to work towards securing the release of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including juveniles and women.

The African Union assumes and is committed to the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and therefore calls on the international community and the Quartet to undertake the necessary measures to salvage the peace process.

European Union
[Original: English]
At the outset, the European Union would like to convey its profound condolences to Madame Arafat, to the family of Mr. Arafat and to the Palestinian people.

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the European Union would like to reiterate its firm commitment to the self-determination of the Palestinian people through the estab1ishment of a viable, sovereign, peaceful and democratic Palestinian State living side by side with Israel in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.

The European Union is gravely concerned about the continued violence between Israelis and Palestinians and is deeply saddened at the almost daily loss of lives among the civilian population. The European Union would like today to pay its respects to the families of the victims of the clashes. It is profoundly saddened by the heavy toll of the violence, which has caused widespread suffering and loss of life on both sides. The EU strongly condemns the economic and social consequences of the measures taken against the Palestinian population, and calls for the rapid restoration of the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the Palestinian territories and the lifting of all restrictions, in particular on the passage of humanitarian aid.

It is absolutely imperative to put an end to the escalation of violence. The European Union reiterates its appeal to both sides to take all possible political, security, economic and social measures to bring about a resumption of negotiations on the basis of the road map accepted by both parties in June 2003. The road map is essential in achieving a just and lasting settlement which satisfies the legitimate expectations of the peoples of the region, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1515, the principles adopted at the Madrid Conference - in particular the principle of land for peace - and the Oslo accords and subsequent agreements.

The parties concerned must resume their dialogue without further delay. The European Union reiterates its willingness to support this process in close cooperation with the other partners of the Quartet.

It also confirms its commitment to continue its technical and economic aid for the Palestinian people and to contribute to the strengthening of Palestinian institutions functioning in accordance with the rule of law.

Finally, the European Union stands ready to assist the Palestinian Authority financially, technically and politically with the holding of elections. Free and fair presidential elections are an indispensable step in the process of consolidating democratic institutions. The electoral process should be supported by all.


Organization of the Islamic Conference:
Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General
[Original: Arabic]
Every year 29 November is an occasion to reaffirm the international community’s solidarity with the Palestinian people in implementation of General Assembly resolution 32/40 of 1977 and expression of commitment of support for the Palestinian people’s struggle to restore all their imprescriptible rights.

I am particularly gratified to take this opportunity to express the deep appreciation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and its member States for the role undertaken by the United Nations and its various organs and committees in order to promote the Palestinian people’s cause and for the continuing support and assistance the United Nations has been extending to the Palestinian people in their just struggle to regain their inalienable national rights, particularly with regard to the role assumed by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the excellent efforts being deployed in this respect by its Chairman, H.E. Ambassador Paul Badji.

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year coincides with the shocking and sad demise of President Yasser Arafat in the wake of the harsh, unjust siege imposed on his headquarters throughout the last three years. With the loss of President Arafat, the Palestinian cause has been deprived of a staunch resistance campaigner and a man of peace of the highest caliber, who instigated the first peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and remained, to his very last day, true to his demand for Israel’s withdrawal to the 4 June 1967 borders and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, considering this principle as the sound foundation of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East region. Nevertheless, Israel’s intransigence and utter disregard for the demands of the Palestinians and of the international community to resume the peace process has led to greater escalation in the region and has stalled international and regional efforts to restore calm and resume the peace talks.

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year also comes at a time when Israel has persisted, for the fifth consecutive year, in its mounting aggression against the defenseless Palestinian people. Nearly four thousand Palestinians have been killed and tens of thousands wounded, in addition to the detention of thousands of Palestinians in conditions so severe as to be incompatible with the most basic of human rights and contravening international laws and conventions. What’s more, Israel has perpetrated war crimes, crimes against humanity, and daily violations of international conventions and covenants, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Times of War, as Israel remains intent on applying the policy of collective punishments and carrying our deliberate extrajudicial killings of Palestinian civil society activists, leaders, and politicians. Moreover, Israel has been persistent in demolishing Palestinian buildings, bulldozing their farms, confiscating their lands, and building illegal settlements thereon. For the fifth consecutive year, Israel has also been imposing a tight stranglehold on border crossings that paralyze the movement of Palestinians and prevent access to food and medical supplies, thus dismembering the Palestinian territories, which Israel has totally reoccupied, using military barricades to separate towns and villages and even districts of the same city. To top it all, Israel has proceeded to build an apartheid wall that isolates hundreds of Palestinian villages, eating up thousands of hectares of land and creating faits accomplis that obstruct the establishment of a future Palestinian State.

In addition to all these violations, the Israeli occupation authorities are applying an apartheid policy against the occupied city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, which has been besieged with scores of military barricades and trenches that prevent worshippers from reaching their mosques and churches, which in turn have not been spared daily violations, desecrations, and interference in their affairs. Thus Israel, is seeking to impose a fait accompli through interference in the religious affairs of Palestinian Muslims and Christians, as well as attempts to interfere in the renovation of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, whose perimeters have finally been cracked as a result of the Israeli excavations, against whose repercussions we have long forewarned.

The persistent Israeli attacks have left their destructive impact on the Palestinian economy, pushing it to the very brink of ruin with the destruction of its infrastructures, the imposition of curfews, and the implementation of the policy of collective punishments.

Just as the whole world has shown its enthusiasm for the peace process, so it should spare no effort to put an end to the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and compel Israel to implement the signed agreements, abide by the resolution of international legitimacy, and open the way for Palestinian elections to be held.

In this respect, we support the efforts of the Quartet Committee to implement the road map, put an end to Israel’s aggression and occupation, and move towards establishing the independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. We believe that the success of any peace plan remains contingent upon the definition of a time frame for implementation and compulsory mechanisms for the implementation of the provisions of the plan under the supervision of international observers who represent the will of the international community.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that the only way to halt the deterioration that has rocked the region as a result of Israel’s aggression lies in the following needs:

1. For Israel to put an end to its aggression, lift the blockade it has imposed on the Palestinian people, facilitate the organization of Palestinian elections according to the timetable set by the Palestinian Authority, and allow all Palestinians, including the inhabitants of Al-Quds City, to exercise their right to vote;

2. Immediate resumption of the peace process in accordance with the provisions of the road map and on the basis of the terms of reference of the Madrid Peace Conference and the resolutions of international legitimacy, particularly UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and UN General Assembly resolutions 194, and the land-for-peace formula;

3. The need for the international community to assume its responsibilities to secure international protection for the Palestinian people from the daily aggressions and crimes perpetrated against them at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces;

4. For Israel to stop the building of the apartheid wall, remove the parts built so far, pull back from all occupied Palestinian territories to the 4 June 1967 borders, including the occupied city of Al-Quds, terminate the existing Israeli settlements built on Palestinian territories, and put an end to all settlement designs as a flagrant violation of international laws and the resolutions of international legitimacy;

5. A just settlement of the refugee problem on the basis of the resolutions of international legitimacy, including resolution 194, in a way that secures the return of refugees to their towns and villages and their properties;

6. To grant the Palestinian people their right to establish their independent Palestinian State with full sovereignty and with Al-Quds as its capital;

7. To reject all decisions and measures that contravene the resolutions of international legitimacy concerning the occupied city of Al-Quds, as well as any attempts to undermine Palestinian sovereignty over the Holy City as the capital of the Palestinian State.

The success of international efforts to settle the question of the Middle East and the Palestinian cause remains inextricably contingent upon the fulfilment of the above-mentioned provisions, without which these international attempts are doomed to failure. On this occasion, therefore, the international community is called upon to act to reaffirm and reiterate its solidarity with the Palestinian people, to redouble its efforts to put an end to the Israeli aggression, and to put the peace process back on track on the basis of the foundations and principles on which it was launched.

In conclusion, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and its member States, let me salute and pay tribute to the Palestinian people, making special mention of the accomplished smooth transfer of power. Let me also reaffirm OIC support for the timely organization of Palestinian elections. Finally, I would like to reassure the Palestinian people of the solidarity of the Islamic Ummah with them and with their national authority in their bid to end the aggression and regain their inalienable and imprescriptible national rights, including their right to return, freedom, self-determination, and the establishment of their independent Palestinian State on their national soil with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.



E. Messages from specialized agencies of the United Nations system


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization:
Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General
[Original: English]
Today, on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to express UNESCO’s solidarity with and deepest sympathy towards the Palestinian people at a time when they are facing great changes and challenges. May the Palestinian people and its leaders continue to show the same courage and inspiration to achieve a peaceful coexistence between Israel and the future Palestinian State which inspired the late President Arafat and guided him to sign the Oslo Accords in 1993.

Education, culture, communication and science have – I firmly believe – an immense role to play in building a vibrant, prosperous and democratic Palestinian society, where every child, woman and man can fully develop her or his intellectual abilities and live in dignity and peace. Education and culture, in particular, are crucial means for promoting a sense of Palestinian identity, deeply rooted in principles of openness, diversity and understanding between peoples.

Therefore, as in the past, UNESCO stands ready to assist the Palestinian people in building strong foundations for peace, especially by promoting and protecting its educational, scientific and cultural institutions and endeavours. UNESCO will continue its efforts to foster stronger solidarity with the Palestinian people by encouraging the scientific, academic and cultural communities worldwide to create privileged ties with their Palestinian counterparts. Indeed, creating the conditions for more international exchanges and cooperation between intellectuals, professionals and - most importantly - young people is essential to counteract isolation and the new forms of ignorance it may generate.

In this regard, I look forward to two forthcoming events which, despite difficult circumstances, symbolize the vibrancy of today’s Palestinian culture and hopes it embodies. These are an exhibition of Palestinian contemporary painters, which will be held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and the Palestinian book fair in Ramallah, organized jointly with the Palestinian Ministry of Culture. I sincerely hope that the year 2005 will witness real progress towards the concrete fulfilment of the Palestinian people’s aspirations to development and peace.

F. Messages from non-governmental organizations

Caritas Internationalis

[Original: Spanish]
With deepest hopes amidst sustained apprehensions, our Caritas Internationalis Catholic confederation of relief, development and humanitarian organizations offers both our individual and collective solidarity to the Palestinian people with their long search for peace based on equal rights, especially self-determination, and true sustainable justice in the land that is home to nearly four million Palestinians.

We stand with all people in need living in the land today. We do not stand against one person over another, one community over another, one state over another in waiting. We work daily to relieve misery and hopelessness through practical acts of compassion and human development, as members of civil society investing in a better future for all.

We approach this day of international recognition for the Palestinian people with a reiteration of our commitment to work with all peoples of good will and respect for others to lift up their human rights and dignity. It is never enough to simply speak about these humanitarian necessities. We are all stakeholders, struggling to build up what has been lacking, while working together to remove every kind of wall that willfully separates innocent people from the life their Creator has given to them. We stand in solidarity to support and sustain life. We do so united with all our staff, colleagues and partners on the ground, with their families and neighbors. We stand with all Palestinians and Israelis who work for peace today.

We stand with national and international NGO colleagues witnessing constantly to the untiring belief in humanity's ability to transform even the darkest difficulties.

The international community has stood by for decades healing with human and economic assistance, commenting, and sometimes clamoring for action to end the conflict, to end the occupation, to cease the spiral of violence and gross disorder in the land. We recognize the impediments to peace where new constructions by one side both visibly and invisibly destruct the other side, where concrete facts on the ground destroy the human spirit and the will to try to trust once more.

From the beginning of this long conflict the international community has brought forward resolutions, legal instruments, declarations and agreements to help the conflicting parties reach a sustainable solution. Caritas Internationalis pledges its continued solidarity on the basis of international and humanitarian law. We know the phrase "peace is possible" to be something more vital than a slogan or a campaign. Peace requires respect for and application of international law. We call upon Palestinian and Israeli leaders to uphold the basic measures of international law, to use these life-saving instruments for something greater than politics or policy.

We implore leaders of the international community to commit themselves seriously to the road map. Each deliberate partnership in this process brings forward the welcome light of a new moment.

We call for an end to the occupation so that the possibilities for peace in the land, as well as the region, might authentically surface again. We call on the international community to invest in this moment of reconsidered possibilities, to be an abiding, even monitoring presence, to ensure humane accompaniment and objective assessments for practical movement forward. We call on Palestinians and Israelis to engage with each other as human beings, as neighbors, respectful of differences.

The rounds of chaos and violence escalate the desperation which is endured inside homes and hearts, schools and streets, places of worship and healing. The crisis multiplies a kind of degrading madness which breeds reckless behaviour and belligerent authorities. None of this brutalization or demonization has ever contributed to peacemaking.

We condemn, as always, every form of violence whatever its source. We stand apart from every action that willfully diminishes the humanity of other persons. We seek to be the very bridges between peoples which permit Palestinians and Israelis to transcend the walls that have so long separated them and the possibilities for peace. We see beyond the deadlock.


Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue :
Latif Dori, Secretary
[Original : Arabic]
Shalom - Peace - Salaam

Fate wills it that this year’s celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People should follow the passing of the inspired leader Yasser Arafat.

We offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Palestinian people on the death of our dear brother and close friend Abu Ammar, one of the giants of modern times, a symbol of generosity and steadfastness, to whom we were bound by friendly relations and comradeship for many long years.

We saw amid the excited, thronging masses at the Muqata`a how the lion returned to his lair exalted and honoured by his people and by world leaders, who had known him as a modest person who had devoted his life to serving his faithful people and had recorded enormous, splendid volumes in the history of continual struggle against the fierce occupation.

We record for history the doings of the spiteful Israeli leaders, who are continuing, even after his death, to spread despicable lies. All this reveals their deep-rooted racism, for it was they who orchestrated his imprisonment in the besieged Muqata`a, an act that impaired his health owing to the poor conditions there. This act will leave a mark of disgrace forever imprinted on their brows.

To all, both near and far, we say that Abu Ammar is still alive, residing in the hearts of his Palestinian people and the hearts of tens of millions in the four corners of the earth, who accompanied him and supported him in his persevering struggle to end the Israeli occupation and realize his lofty goal: to establish the Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

We have stood in humility and reverence before the grave of the dear departed leader to shed any remaining tears and reaffirm that we will continue to travel on the path of the maker of the peace of the courageous, Abu Ammar.

The General Union of Palestinian Women

[Original: English]
On this day, the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we wish to extend to our friends all over the world our deep appreciation for honouring our late President by participating in the funeral ceremonies and by sending warm messages of sympathy and condolences. Their solidarity during those grave moments has given us courage and has helped us in confronting the challenges ahead, with fortitude and determination.

On this day also the world is reminded that, despite scores of international resolutions and hundreds of declarations proclaiming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and despite the resounding cries of masses of human beings around the world, raising their voices in solidarity with our cause, the situation on the ground in Palestine continues to deteriorate as Israel continues to flout international law and to commit war crimes against our people, with impunity. Israeli relentless attempts at dispossessing our people of their land and resources and at establishing facts on the ground by aggressive and oppressive means are not merely being overlooked, but are, indeed, often legitimized by those who hold the reins of power in this world.

The agony we Palestinian women are experiencing is deeply aggravated by the silence of those powers and their persistence in equating our people oppressed by the occupation with the occupying power which, with its most sophisticated and developed military arsenal, is openly and blatantly bent on a policy of ethnic-cleansing and dispossession. The assassinations, the construction of settlements and bypass roads on confiscated Palestinian land, the demolishing of homes, the destruction of crops, the imprisonment of those who dare speak out, the construction of a monstrous wall separating families and depriving people of their land and livelihood, the road blocks and check posts, sometimes causing death to people failing to reach a hospital in time, or hindering school children and university students from reaching their institutions, the desecration of holy places and the daily indignities and abuses have all, sadly, become an integral part of Palestinian life, threatening the very existence of the Palestinian people and jeopardizing all sincere efforts at achieving a just peace in the region.

We call upon all those who value the dignity of human life and the integrity of the earth which embraces us all to intensify their efforts within their communities and their own governments to uphold international law and to empower the UN so that it may become able to shake the dust off scores of its resolutions affirming Palestinian rights and to put them into action. It is only by adhering to the principles of justice and equality upon which this prestigious body is based that peace can be achieved in the region and everywhere else in the world, and not by silencing by brute military force those people whose rights have been denied and trampled.

Our globe is a little village, indeed. Injustice is a virulent virus. No one can escape its consequences if it remains untreated and unredressed.

Let us, therefore, join hands and unite our voices to welcome a new dawn in the history of mankind, when peace based on justice and equality will become the order of the day and when the deadliest of weapons will be transformed into tools for alleviating the suffering of the sick and the pain of the bereaved.


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