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Mr. SHAREIM (Observer for Palestine) said that the report of the Secretary-General (A/48/188-E/1993/78) contained a detailed examination of the economic and social repercussions of the establishment of settlements by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory. Those settlements were illegal and were one of the largest obstacles to the achievement of a lasting and comprehensive solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They were a flagrant violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant resolutions of United Nations bodies, in particular Security Council resolution 465 (1980).
The Israeli policies, motivated by dominance and occupation and aimed at attaining full control of the Palestinian territory, had forced the Palestinian people to leave the areas that Israel wished to occupy and diverted Palestinian natural resources to Israeli benefit. With the signing by both parties of the Declaration of Principles, which recognized the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights, it was logical to expect that the stage was set for the abolishment of the ideological basis for that policy. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were not Judea and Samaria, and the settlements could not be considered to be security measures for Israel: on the contrary, they constituted a threat to peace in the region. Those policies belonged to the past and should not be taken into the upcoming era.
Palestine trusted that the Israeli Government would immediately cease all settlement activities and discontinue all privileges being extended to the settlers, which would be considered a confidence-building measure on the part of the Israelis and would facilitate the implementation of the agreement. His delegation believed that any continuation of the settlement activities was in direct contradiction to the agreement.
The international community should continue linking assistance to Israel to the status of those settlement activities, since any final settlement of the conflict should include a fair solution to the problem of the settlements. He sincerely hoped that the Committee would give full support to the draft resolution that his delegation would be introducing with regard to that issue.
The occupation had led to the impoverishment of the Palestinian people and caused them to endure many hardships. There must be a broad and continuous international effort to compensate them for their immense losses. Palestine had welcomed the conference to support Middle East peace, held in Washington, D.C., on 1 October 1993, as a first step which should be followed by direct and practical measures for the immediate implementation of its results. Donor countries should take into account the uniqueness of the Palestinian situation and channel their assistance through the official Palestinian institutions.
Palestine, which was confident that its institutions would be able to establish a prompt and effective mechanism for the implementation of assistance programmes, called on the United Nations system to begin, without delay, a coordinated effort to assist the Palestinian people and to establish a direct and official presence in the Palestinian territory in order to participate in the process of building the new Palestinian society. Palestine welcomed the steps taken by the Secretary-General in dispatching a mission to assess the measures to be applied by the United Nations. It also called on the donor countries generously to support those programmes.
Peace and security could not survive for long without the existence of economic stability and security. Palestine was working towards peace based on economic welfare for its people and neighbours, and for equitable relationships free of political and economic dependence. On that basis, it would be submitting a draft resolution on assistance to the Palestinian people that would take into account the recent positive developments and the good intentions that the international community had expressed in supporting the Palestinian people and their needs and priorities. He hoped that the Committee would send a clear and unambiguous message to the Palestinian people in the occupied territory by fully supporting that resolution and adopting it by consensus.