Press Releases

     

    GA/SPD/277
    7 November 2003

    SPEAKERS CONDEMN ISRAEL’S HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION
    IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES, CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL
    DISENGAGEMENT FORCE, AS FOURTH
    COMMITTEE CONTINUES DEBATE

    NEW YORK, 6 November (UN Headquarters) -- Speakers condemned Israel’s violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people under its occupation, with several recommending the dispatch of international forces to the region, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) this morning continued its debate on Israeli practices.

    The representative of Pakistan said that, despite international legal frameworks safeguarding the rights of the occupied people and the United Nations resolutions adopted with their express consent, the occupying power in Palestine had refused to comply with its legal obligations.  For it to be credible, international law should not be seen as a tool in the hands of the powerful, and should be enforced indiscriminately and without conditions, particularly in cases where innocent lives were in danger due to State-sponsored heavy-handedness, he added.

    The representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, strongly condemned terrorism, in particular the vicious attacks against Israeli citizens.  Such attacks were not only morally indefensible, but also damaged the interests of the Palestinian people, he added.  He also stressed the Union’s demand that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the occupied territory, as it undermined Palestinian’s trust in the “Road Map” and appeared to prejudge final borders of a future Palestinian State.  Continuing settlement activity threatened the basis for the realization of the two-State solution, as laid out in the Road Map, he added.

    The representative of Israel said he saw no point in debating the contents of the Special Committee’s report, which he described as irrelevant at best and counterproductive at worst.  The report was not only dishonest and false, but also undermined the very prospects of a peaceful settlement under which such important issues as human rights were best resolved.  It was uncritical of aggression and terror and blind to compromise and accommodation, and could only provide Palestinian extremists with an incentive to eschew negotiations and pursue the path of violence.  In that context, he urged delegates to vote in favour of peace by voting against the Special Committee’s report and the resolutions associated with it. 

    The Moroccan representative said the Road Map had given the world a glimmer of hope that had turned into a hail of bullets.  She said violence could not stop violence and military might and occupation could not crush the will of the Palestinian people.  The international community and world public opinion were awaiting a courageous move to stop the current cycle of violence, she added.

    Stressing the need to achieve a fair and lasting solution to the conflict, several delegates called for international forces to be deployed in the region.  The representative of Senegal said he favoured the deployment of an international disengagement force that would provide security for civilians and establish a truce, so that both parties could return to the negotiating table.

    The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) said that, during the tenth Islamic Summit Conference held in Malaysia last month, the OIC had urged the Security Council to endorse the Road Map for the Middle East and stressed the need to dispatch international disengagement forces between Palestinians and Israelis to guarantee stability and calm in the region, and to monitor the implementation of commitments by both sides.

    At the end of the general debate, and following a proposal by the representative of Italy on behalf of the European Union, the Committee decided to postpone action on the draft resolutions on the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and Israeli Practices.  The representatives of the United States and Australia supported the proposal, as did the Permanent Observer for Palestine.

    Also speaking today, were the representatives of Malaysia, Cuba, Kuwait, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Bahrain.

    Speaking in the exercise of the right of reply, were the representatives of the Permanent Observer for Palestine and Lebanon.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Tuesday, 11 November, when it is expected to take action on the draft resolutions.

    Background

    The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its discussion on Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.  [For background, see Press Release GA/SPD/276 of 5 November 2003.]

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