Wednesday, November 14, 2012

General Assembly
ISRAELI ATTACKS TIMED TO COINCIDE WITH OLIVE HARVESTS, SECOND COMMITTEE TOLD DURING DISCUSSION ON ARAB SOVEREIGNTY OVER RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED LANDS  There had been deliberate increases in Israeli attacks on Palestinian farmers during the olive-harvesting season, with some 8,000 trees uprooted, burned or destroyed this year alone, the Observer for Palestine told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today as it took up the question of permanent sovereignty of Arab peoples under occupation over their natural resources.Pointing out that olive cultivation and the associated olive oil industry accounted for 14 per cent of the Occupied Palestinian Territory’s gross domestic product, he said they supported nearly 100,000 families. Furthermore, agriculture, the cornerstone of Palestine’s economic sustainability, was deprived of its capacity to play a central role due to expropriation, the prevention of access to agricultural land and water resources, and the denial of access to local and foreign markets in which Palestinians could sell their produce could purchase necessary inputs. Additionally, Israel exploited more than 90 per cent of Palestinian water resources for its exclusive use, including in settlements, while allocating less than 10 per cent for use by Palestinians..Echoing that sentiment, Syria’s representative said Israel continued to dump industrial and chemical waste in the occupied Syrian Golan and to burn Syrian villages, adding that their inhabitants could not benefit from their main sources of income. Yet multiple resolutions and other international provisions, including the Rio+20 outcome document, affirmed clearly the right of the occupied Syrian Golan’s citizens to development, while calling for an end to the “barbaric” Israeli occupation, he noted, calling on Member States who regularly expressed support for human rights to stop ignoring Israel’s actions. By doing nothing, they supported the practices of Israeli terrorism, he said, emphasizing that the continuing occupation was the main obstacle to achieving any sort of development for the people of occupied Palestinian and Syrian lands.The Deputy Executive Director of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) presented a report which stated that Palestinians continued to suffer death, injury and incarceration under Israeli occupation. Among the Palestinians killed during the reporting period alone, 12 had been children. In 2011 alone, 620 Palestinian structures had been demolished, a 42 per cent increase compared to 2010, and 1,100 Palestinians had been displaced. That policy was ongoing in East Jerusalem, as part of clear strategy to change facts on the ground, in violation of international resolutions, including Security Council resolution 478 (1980), he said.Mr. JIMÉNEZ ( Nicaragua) noted that the Palestinian people had been suffering for more than 62 years with the current blockade of Gaza strangling them and causing economic conditions that denied them basic economic needs. The economy was “based on occupation”, according to the report, and occupation infiltrated all levels of Palestinian lives, especially in the Gaza Strip, he said. There were not enough resources for people to devote even to their own survival, and there was no sense in talking about economic growth and sustainable development under military occupation. The people had no control over their land, water or other natural resources, he said, adding that the invading State had made even the most basic rights unattainable. There was complete economic stagnation and thousands of victims, and Nicaragua supported the right of Palestinians to resist until their sovereignty was restored and there was an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. Condemning Israel’s violations of international law and United Nations resolutions, he said “State terrorism” had been the daily lot of people in the occupied lands, and Israel should be denounced ceaselessly until the Palestinian aspirations to sustainable development was met and Israel recognized their sovereignty.The representative of Syria, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the remarks by Israel’s delegate were insolent. Accusing the Committee of bias, he said Israel continued to commit crimes while preventing the population of the occupied Syrian Golan from accessing their natural resources. Citing the population’s great suffering, he added that the Israeli representative had no right to talk about human rights or freedom because while her country continued to deny the human rights of peoples under its occupation.The representative of Iran called for the return to Palestine of all Palestinian refugees, saying he looked forward to their enjoying the right to vote in the United Nations soon. The representative of South Africa said the report’s analysis was “deeply disturbing”, with the occupation continuing to have adverse social and economic ramifications on the Palestinian people. The report demonstrated why the Palestinian economy continued to operate so much below its potential, with prospects having become even bleaker in 2011 than previously. Problems included reduced real wages, a paralysed private sector, devastated infrastructure and a chronic fiscal crisis. Persistent widespread high unemployment exacerbated poverty, he said, emphasizing the importance of providing the Palestinian Authority with greater financing to establish a viable State. Describing support for Palestine as a major part of his country’s international policy, he said South Africa wished to see expanded mandates for the agencies supporting the Palestinians, commensurate to the people’s needs.He went on to say that the policy position was informed by South Africa’s history of apartheid and human rights suppression. Expressing opposition to any effort to prevent Palestinian self-determination, he said his country continued to support Palestinian representation in the United Nations, as had been achieved in UNESCO. Among the proactive policies followed by the South African Government, traders were required to refrain from incorrectly labelling products as emanating from Israel when they came from illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. That enabled South African consumers to decide for themselves whether or not they wished to purchase a given product, he said, calling on other States to implement similar measures in support of the Palestinian cause.

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