Received on Dec. 3, 2000
Press ReleaseCommittee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
UNITED NATIONS

Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York
 

Committee on Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
254th Meeting (AM)GA/PAL/846
21 November 2000
 
 

COMMITTEE APPROVES FOUR DRAFTS ON PALESTINIAN RIGHTS

Taking action on four draft resolutions this morning, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People approved one text by which the General Assembly would stress the necessity for commitment to the principle of land for peace, and to the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

The Assembly would also stress the need for implementation of agreements reached between the parties, including the redeployment of Israeli forces from the West Bank, and call for the speedy conclusion of the final settlement agreement between the two sides, according to the draft -- one of four approved without a vote.

By other terms, the Assembly would call upon the Israeli and Palestinian sides, the co-sponsors of the peace process, other interested parties and the entire international community to ensure a successful and speedy conclusion of the peace process. Further, it would reaffirm the necessity of achieving a peaceful settlement of the Palestine question -- the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict -- in all its aspects.

A draft on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat would have the General Assembly request the Secretary-General to continue providing the Division with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continues to carry out its programme, which includes the further development of the documents collection of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, and the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority.

By a text on the special information programme on the question of Palestine, the General Assembly would request the Department of Public Information to continue its special information programme for the biennium 2000-2001. It would also request the Department to promote the Bethlehem 2000 project, including the further development of the "Bethlehem 2000" site on the United Nations Internet home page.

According to the fourth draft, the General Assembly would authorize the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to continue to exert all efforts to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and adjust its programme of work, as it may consider appropriate and necessary in light of developments.

Also this morning, the Permanent Observer for Palestine said that yesterday's escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, caused by Israel's use of helicopter gunships and warships to bombard cities and other locations in the Gaza Strip, threatened to take the entire situation into a new, unknown and exceptionally dangerous phase. The Israeli campaign against the Palestinian people had already caused more than 220 Palestinian deaths and injured several thousand people, many of whom remained in critical condition. Many would be permanently crippled, including a large number of children.

Since 25 October, Palestine had repeatedly called on the Security Council both to end Israel's campaign of terror, and to dispatch to the region a protection force for the Palestinian people, he said. But there had been no action. Palestine was also concerned about delays in the formation of a fact-finding mission to investigate the violence. Palestine saw the fact-finding mission and the protection force as complementary but, at the same time, separate and distinct. The Palestinians could not wait much longer for action on those two issues, since casualties and destruction were mounting.

Before adjourning the meeting, Committee Chairman Ibra Deguene Ka (Senegal) announced that the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People would take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 29 November in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

The Committee will meet on the afternoon of the same day to begin consideration of the agenda item "Question of Palestine".
 

Committee Work Programme

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met this morning to take action on four draft resolutions.

By the terms of a draft on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the General Assembly would authorize the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, adjusting its programme of work as it may consider appropriate and necessary in light of developments, and laying special emphasis on the need to mobilize support and assistance for that people.

By the terms of a draft on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division for Palestinian Rights with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continues to carry out its programme of work as detailed in the relevant earlier resolutions. That programme includes the organization of meetings in various regions with the participation of all sectors of the international community, the further development of the documents collection of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, the preparation and widest possible dissemination of publications and information materials on that question, and the provision of the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority.

By other terms of that draft, it would request the Secretary-General to ensure the continued cooperation of the Department of Public Information (DPI) and other units of the Secretariat in enabling the Division to perform its tasks. It would also note with appreciation the action taken by Member States to observe annually, on 29 November, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It would request them to continue to give the widest possible publicity to the observance, and request the Committee and the Division to continue to organize, as part of that observance, an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine.

By the terms of a text on the Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat, the General Assembly would request that Department, in full coordination with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to continue its special information programme for the biennium 2000-2001. That activity would including disseminating information on relevant United Nations activities, issuing and updating relevant publications, expanding its collection of relevant audio-visual materials, organizing and promoting fact-finding missions and seminars for journalists, and to continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development, in particular, to strengthen the training programme for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists.

By other terms, it would request the DPI to promote the Bethlehem 2000 project, within existing resources and until the Bethlehem 2000 commemoration comes to a close, including the further development of the "Bethlehem 2000" site on the United Nations Internet home page.

Among the terms of a text on the Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the Assembly would call upon the concerned parties, the co-sponsors of the peace process and other interested parties, as well as the entire international community to ensure a successful and speedy conclusion of the peace process.

By other terms, it would urge Member States to expedite the provision of economic and technical assistance to the Palestinian people during this critical period. And it would request the Secretary-General to continue his efforts with the parties concerned, and in consultation with the Security Council, for the promotion of peace in the region.

It would also express its full support for the ongoing peace process that began in Madrid, including the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of 1993, as well as the subsequent implementation agreements. It would express the hope that the process would lead to the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

By further terms, it would also stress the necessity for commitment to the principle of land for peace, the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, the need for immediate implementation of the agreements reached between the parties -- including the redeployment of the Israeli forces from the West Bank -- and for the speedy conclusion of the final settlement agreement between the two sides. It would stress the need for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, and the need for resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees in conformity with its resolution of 1948.

IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal), Committee Chairman, outlined a number of developments since the Committee's last meeting. They included the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 16-17 October, and the tenth emergency General Assembly special session on "Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory", which resumed on 18 October.

Other developments included the 22 October Extraordinary Summit of the League of Arab States; the announcement on 7 November of the formation of a committee to look into the causes of the present crisis; and the 12 November Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Doha, Qatar.
 

Action on Drafts

The Committee then took up consideration of the draft resolutions, approving all four texts without a vote.

NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, recalled yesterday's dangerous escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict caused by Israel's use of helicopter gunships and warships to bombard cities and other locations in the Gaza Strip. About 50 Israeli missiles had hit Palestinian Authority locations, he said, including a police station, preventive security headquarters and buildings of the Palestinian mainstream organization, Fatah.

He said the air raids had caused the death of at least one person and injuries to at least 70 people. They had knocked out electricity, damaged property and caused serious panic among the whole population. The relatively low number of casualties had basically been due to the Palestinians' anticipation of such an action by the Israelis, which was reminiscent of the 12 October attacks on Ramallah and Gaza though on a much broader scale. Such actions threatened to take the entire situation into a new, unknown and exceptionally dangerous phase.

The Israeli campaign against the Palestinian people had already caused more than 220 Palestinian deaths and injured several thousand people, many of whom remained in critical condition, he said. Many would be permanently crippled, including a large number of children. Since 25 October, Palestine had repeatedly called on the Security Council both to end Israel's campaign of terror, and to dispatch to the region a protection force for the Palestinian people. But there had been no action since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1322 (2000).

He was also concerned about delays in the formation of the fact-finding mission to investigate the recent violence, he said. He saw the fact-finding mission and the United Nations observer force as complementary but, at the same time, separate and distinct. The Palestinians could not wait much longer for action on the two items, since casualties and destruction were mounting.

Yesterday, he said, might have been a turning point, given the recall of the Egyptian Ambassador. At the same time, the Arab Group had sent a letter to the Security Council to request another open debate. He hoped to have one as soon as possible, to allow Members to again express their opposition to Israeli actions against the Palestinian people. There was no contradiction to having those meetings while the Secretary-General continued his efforts.

Finally, he said that Switzerland, in its role as host of the Fourth Geneva Convention, had issued a memorandum suggesting a reconvening of the high contracting parties to that convention. He strongly urged a positive response to that suggestion, by the deadline of 31 December 2000, in order to ensure respect for that convention in the occupied territories, including Jerusalem. It was the legal obligation, he said, of the high contracting parties to ensure the convention's implementation.
 

Other Matters

Under other matters, the Chairman announced that commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People would take place on 29 November in the Trusteeship Council Chamber from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Committee's consideration of agenda item 41, "Question of Palestine", would begin on the afternoon of the same day.