Press Releases

     

    GA/PAL/933
    12 November 2003

    PALESTINIAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE SEEKS END TO ISRAELI
    SETTLEMENT ACTIVITIES, REVERSAL OF BUILDING
    OF SEPARATION WALL

    Action by General Assembly Called for; Other Texts Urge UN

    To Continue Information, Related Efforts to Mobilize International Support

    NEW YORK, 11 November (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly would call on Israel to halt all settlement activities, and stress the urgent need for it to stop and reverse construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, according to one of four draft resolutions approved today by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

    By further terms of that text, the Assembly would call for implementation of the “Road Map”, and urge Member States to expedite the provision of economic, humanitarian, and technical assistance to the Palestinian people and Palestinian Authority to help alleviate the people’s suffering, rebuild their economy and infrastructure, and support the restructuring and reform of their institutions.

    The other texts approved today by the Committee would have the Assembly:  request the Secretary-General to provide the Secretariat’s Division for Palestinian Rights with the necessary resources; request the Department of Public Information to continue its special information programme on the question of Palestine through 2003 and 2004; and request the Committee to continue promoting the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to support the Middle East peace process and to mobilize international support for, and assistance to, the Palestinian people.

    The Committee Chairman, who called all four resolutions “realistic and sensible”, said they should receive the Assembly’s overwhelming support.  He also urged Committee Members to express their active solidarity by co-sponsoring the texts.

    Speaking after approval of the drafts, the Palestine Observer said the most important current development in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was Israel’s construction of its “conquest expansionist” wall; if allowed to continue, the wall would destroy the two-State solution and the potential for peace in the region.

    Referring to a draft before the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee, concerning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he said the unsolicited text, which had been presented to the Assembly by the United States, without prior consultations with Palestine or the Arab-concerned parties, needed improvement.  For that reason, the Arab Group had tabled five amendments to the draft, which would help avoid different legal and political bases for the functions and operations of UNRWA.

    Background

    The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met this morning to review developments in the Middle East peace process and the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.  It was also expected to consider four draft resolutions on the question of Palestine.

    Those concerned:  the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine; the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat; the special information programme of the Department of Public Information (DPI) on the question of Palestine; and the work of the Committee itself.

    Summary of Drafts

    By one draft, on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the General Assembly, convinced that achieving a final settlement of the question of Palestine was imperative for lasting peace and stability in the Middle East, would call for implementation of the “Road Map”.

    In the context of the Road Map, the Assembly would stress the importance and urgency of establishing a credible and effective third-party monitoring mechanism.  It would also stress the need for a commitment to the two-State solution, the principle of land for peace, and the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

    Calling upon Israel to stop all settlement activities, and gravely concerned about Israel’s construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Assembly would also stress the urgent need for Israel to stop and reverse that construction, including in and around East Jerusalem.

    Further, the Assembly would urge Member States to expedite the provision of economic, humanitarian, and technical assistance to the Palestinian people and Palestinian Authority to help alleviate Palestinian suffering, rebuild the Palestinian economy and infrastructure, and support the restructuring and reform of Palestinian institutions.

    By the draft resolution on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat the Assembly would consider that the Division continues to make a useful and constructive contribution.  It would request the Secretary-General to provide it with the necessary resources to ensure that it continues to carry out its work as detailed in the relevant earlier resolutions.

    The Assembly would also ask the Secretary-General to ensure the continued cooperation of the Department of Public Information and other units of the Secretariat in enabling the Palestinian rights division to perform its tasks and in covering adequately the various aspects of the question of Palestine.

    The Assembly would request the Committee and the Division, as part of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, to continue to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.  It would encourage Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to that observance.

    The draft on the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information (DPI) would have the Assembly consider that the programme was “very useful” in raising the awareness of the international community concerning the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East, and that it was contributing effectively to an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and supportive of the peace process.

    In that context, it would request the DPI to continue, with the necessary flexibility as may be required by developments affecting the question of Palestine, its special information programme for the biennium 2003-2004.  The aims, in particular, would be:  to disseminate information on all United Nations activities relating to the question of Palestine; to continue to issue and update publications on the various aspects of that question; and to expand its collection of audio-visual material and continue the production and preservation of such material and the updating of the exhibit in the Secretariat.

    The Department would also be requested to:  organize and promote fact-finding news missions for journalists to the area, including the territory under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and the occupied territory; organize international, regional and national seminars or encounters for journalists, aiming in particular at sensitizing public opinion to the question of Palestine; continue to promote assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development, in particular, to strengthen the training programme for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists initiated in 1995.

    According to the draft text on the Committee itself, the General Assembly would request the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to support the Middle East peace process and to mobilize international support for, and assistance to, the Palestinian people.  It would authorize the Committee to make such adjustments in its approved work programme as it might consider appropriate and necessary, in light of developments, and to report thereon to the Assembly at its next session and thereafter.

    The Assembly would also ask the Committee to keep the situation under review and to report and make suggestions to the Assembly, the Security Council or the Secretary-General, as appropriate.  It would further request it to continue to extend its cooperation and support to Palestinian and other civil society organizations, in order to mobilize international solidarity and support for the achievement by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights and for a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.

    In a related provision, the Assembly would invite all governments and organizations to extend their cooperation to the Committee in the performance of its tasks.

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