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Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 19 October 2001, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Al-Haini ....................................................... (Oman)
Agenda item 112: Advancement of women ( continued)
Agenda item 113: Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” (continued)
The meeting was called to order at 10.20 a.m.
Agenda item 112: Advancement of women (continued ) (A/56/3, A/56/38/Rev.1, A/56/174, A/56/222-S/2001/736, A/56/268, A/56/279, A/56/306, A/56/316, A/56/328, A/56/329 and A/56/472)
Agenda item 113: Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” (continued ) (A/56/222-S/2001/736, A/56/306 and A/56/319 and Add.1)
27. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) associated herself with the statement made by the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
28. Poverty, violence, fundamental rights and armed conflicts were issues of particular importance to Palestinian women. Accordingly, they endeavoured to implement the recommendations of major conferences concerning women’s rights so that they could play a more decisive role at all levels and in all fields. Palestinian women continued to struggle to achieve freedom, peace and prosperity in the face of the harsh reality of the continuing Israeli occupation, and to fight inequality and discrimination within their own society. The main obstacle, however, continued to be the oppressive Israeli policies and measures which impeded their socio-economic progress and thus prevented them from enhancing their status. It had therefore been very difficult for them to promote a viable and comprehensive plan of action. They had also suffered from the confiscation of land and water resources, the expansion of settlements, the restriction of movement and the closure of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem. Moreover, the indiscriminate use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians by the Israelis had aggravated the situation on the ground, causing over 680 deaths, many of them children, and over 25,000 injured among Palestinian civilians, to say nothing of the devastation and destruction of land, homes and infrastructure.
29. Those obstacles had not prevented Palestinian women from pursuing initiatives and promoting national programmes of action geared towards their full participation in the building of society. Thus, they had helped to establish the foundations for the social, economic and institutional development of a future Palestinian State, including the educational, health and economic infrastructure, while bearing in mind the issue of gender. They had played a role in mainstreaming women’s issues in policies, plans and programmes, including at the ministerial level, and had cooperated with non-governmental organizations in elaborating a national strategy for achieving equality, development, peace and prosperity. Thus, the Palestinian Authority adhered to the purposes and principles of all the relevant conventions and all the recommendations of major conferences when preparing legislation and programmes to assist women.
30. In spite of the serious deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, the Palestinians reaffirmed their commitment to achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace for both parties — a peace that would also ensure the rights of women in Palestinian society.
91. Mr. Millo (Israel) said it was unacceptable that certain delegations diverted the Committee’s attention from the agenda items under consideration in order to attack his country. Israel was not fighting against Palestinian women or against Palestinians in general. It was merely combating Palestinian violence and terrorism and exercising its legitimate right of self-defence.
92. The difficulties endured by the people of Palestine in recent years were the sole responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, which had rejected the very generous proposals made by Israel at Camp David and unleashed violence and terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians. That approach had not achieved anything, resulting only in a veritable bloodbath on both sides. There would be no solution if the Palestinians continued along that path.
93. That tragic situation should lead the Palestinians to the only valid logical and moral conclusion: that a solution would only be reached through negotiations; and the sooner the better.
96. Ms. Barghouti (Permanent Observer for Palestine) said that her delegation had not wished to exercise its right of reply, but the many misleading affirmations contained in the representative of Israel’s statement, in particular, that the Palestinian Authority had caused the Camp David negotiations to fail and had resorted to violence and terrorism, forced her to speak.
97. The truth was that it was the Israeli occupying forces, with their racist and authoritarian practices, that were the cause of what was happening in the occupied territories. The Palestinian Authority had condemned violence in all its forms, particularly killing, many times. In response, the Israeli occupying forces had continued to commit assassinations, launch attacks and close off the occupied territories; all such practices had been condemned by the pertinent international instruments and by the international community, which considered that they were war crimes and a form of State terrorism. As to the statement that Israel was a peaceful State, it was evident that it did not apply to the current Israeli Government, which, through its policies and the declarations of its official representatives, sought to sabotage every effort to achieve a ceasefire, prevent the implementation of the recommendations of the Mitchell report, and obstruct the peace process, while clearly trying to undermine the efforts to establish a broad coalition against international terrorism.
The meeting rose at 12.35 p.m.
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Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.