ON QUESTION OF PALESTINE...Sixty-sixth General Assembly
67th Meeting (PM)
ASHAR JA'AFARI (Syria) called for an end to the tragedy of the Palestinian people, who suffered daily from six decades of occupation, murder and racism. The “international legitimacy” had this morning renewed an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian peoples, and such solidarity and support had a special significance, especially after the Palestinian application to the United Nations to become a full-fledged Member State. That presaged dire consequences in view of the continued State terrorism practised by Israel, the occupying Power, in the occupied territories, its continued policies of aggression and racism, and the systematic violations of rights in blatant defiance and cynical disregard for the will of the international community.He said those actions placed the entire international community before an “acid test”, and greatly undermined the prestige and credibility of the United Nations itself and the principles that underpinned it. It was no longer acceptable for the United Nations to stand idly by and fail to assume its responsibilities for the question of Palestine. The Organization still had a chance to prove it was capable of preventing a small number of States that protected Israel from obstructing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. He affirmed the need for the “international legitimacy” to take concrete and serious steps compelling Israel to put an end to the “killing machine” and settlement activities, lift the embargo, end the occupation of the territories, and return to the pre-1967 borders.
NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon) said the 1948 resolution partitioning Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem as a separate entity, was unfair to Arabs, because the Arab population was double that of the Jews. Data showed that while 93 per cent of the land of Palestine had been owned by the Arabs, the Jews had been given 55 per cent of that land, meaning that only a third of the people, who had historically only possessed 7 per cent of the land, now possessed more than half. It was logical, therefore, that Arabs would reject that decision. It was also normal that the Palestinians would come back and accept resolution 181 as a reference point, as set out in the 1988 Algeria declaration on the establishment of a Palestinian State. It was also normal that the two‑State solution would be the cornerstone of the new peace initiative.He said that the Palestinians had agreed to establish their State on only 22 per cent of the land of Palestine. However the establishment of a Palestinian State was not a negotiable right. The question was how to achieve productive negotiations as long as the Israeli leadership did not stop settlements, did not allow the return of refugees, did not accept the 1967 borders as a reference point, and would not negotiate the status of Jerusalem.
OSCAR LEÓN GONZÁLEZ (Cuba) observed that the Assembly had been unable to reverse the occupation of the Palestinian Territory by Israel, which had defied the international community with its constant violations of international law and United Nations resolutions. Israel had not heeded the calls of international leaders to stop those actions, he said, adding that the situation had continued its “downward spiral” since the Assembly had last convened to address the matter.He said that Israel had continued its illegal settlement activities in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and had ignored its international obligations, as well as the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. Further, it had failed to protect civilians living in the Gaza Strip, and attacks continued to be carried out against civilians by Israeli soldiers. Those were only a few of the facts that underscored the gravity of the situation.Indeed, there were ample reasons to adopt binding political measures against Israel in the Security Council, which remained “inert” in the face of Israel’s violations. He further noted the hypocrisy and double standards imposed by a number of developed countries that claimed to defend human rights. The United States, for one, refused to condemn Israel’s actions, whereas the countries of the global South did so. Cuba roundly condemned those crimes; its position in that respect was unwavering. It further supported the establishment of a Palestinian State, as well as Palestine’s request to join the United Nations. Cuba condemned the illegal settlement construction and the imposition of “arbitrary and racist restrictions” throughout the occupied territories, among other transgressions.Nevertheless, Cuba recognized the right of Israel to exist, and harboured fraternal feelings towards the Israeli people, who were also the victims of the same conflict. Finally, the inclusion of Palestine as a United Nations Member State, and its full recognition, must be accomplished “with or without” the support of the Security Council, and with or without a United States veto.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Iran said he had heard a baseless allegation against his country by the Zionist regime that based its own practices on State terrorism, torture and violence, and he said he wished to place on record that such remarks were a preposterous and well-worn practice by that regime to distract the international community’s attention from its own heinous crimes in the region. There were rarely any human rights principles that were not systematically violated by the Israeli regime. The regime had no respect for the basic values of the civilized world, nor did it respect basic human rights. It was high time for the international community to counter the Israeli regime’s inhuman polices and practices in imposing humanitarian disaster on the Palestinian people throughout the Palestinian Territory.
The representative of Syria also took the floor in exercise of the right of reply, saying that Israel’s delegate had been distressed by the fact that the General Assembly was celebrating solidarity with the Palestinian people. To that delegate, all sentiments in support of the rights of the Palestinians were biased against Israel and a futile effort that served no useful purpose and added no value because they did not support Israeli aggression and occupation. It seemed that Israel’s isolation in this serious debate had left its delegate with no alternative except to fabricate and expand the scope of the discussion beyond the limits and beyond the question of Palestine, in order to divert attention away from the crux of the matter, which was its oppression of the Palestinian people “around the clock” in a way that was indescribable.