Statement by Mrs. Somaia Barghouti, Charge d'Affaires, a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the U.N., before General Assembly Plenary, Agenda item 44: The Situation in the Middle East (Qana), 50th Session, 24 April 1996: 

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, I have the honor to address this resumed session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 44, entitled the Situation in the Middle East, to consider the continuing Israeli aggression against Lebanon. The convening of this session reflects the high degree of concern of the international community regarding this matter, as well as its concern for reaching an immediate solution to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.

The recent Israeli attacks have been the cause of immense suffering to our brotherly Lebanese people, resulting in the deaths of over one hundred civilians, hundreds of casualities, thousands of refugees and the widespread destruction of the homes, property and infrastructure of the Lebanese people. Moreover, it is clear that the Israeli aggression against Lebanon is causing great harm to the Middle East peace process, which is at a very critical stage at this time.

Mr. President,

We condemn the Israeli attacks on Lebanese villages and cities, including the capital city of Beirut, and in particular the massacre at Qana last week, where more than one hundred innocent refugees were killed as a result of Israeli shelling. This attack is further deplorable because of the fact that it occurred at a United Nations base in Lebanon where Fijian troops with UNIFIL were stationed and where those civilians had taken refuge in order to be protected from the Israeli bombardment.

Mr. President,

We reiterate our solidarity with the Lebanese people in their steadfastness and determination to bring the Israeli occupation of their land to an end. In this regard, the Palestine National Council (PNC), which is now meeting in its 20th session in Gaza City, has given special attention to the prevailing situation in Lebanon and has expressed the unwavering support of the Palestinian people for the Lebanese people at this critical time. Moreover, at the opening session of the Council, President Yasser Arafat called for an Arab Summit to address both the situation in Lebanon and the situation in Palestine.

Throughout history, the link between the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples has always been strong. The Palestinian people will never forget the long years of support given by the Lebanese people when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had its headquarters in Lebanon nor will they forget the many sacrifices made by the Lebanese people in support of Palestinian people in their shared struggle for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Mr. President,

We had hoped that the Security Council would be able to undertake its responsibilities and duties in a more appropriate manner with regard to both the timing and the substance of the position adopted by the Council concerning the tragic situation in Lebanon. In this context, we reaffirm the need for the Security Council to work towards bringing an immediate end to the Israeli aggression and towards the implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, particularly resolution 425 (1978). Nevertheless, the convening of this resumed session of the General Assembly is truly indicative of the international community's position in rejection of the Israeli aggression and in support for the Lebanese people to overcome this tragic situation. We therefore call upon the General Assembly to bear its responsibility by adopting a resolution condemning the Israeli attacks, calling for an immediate cease-fire and offering humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people and to allow Lebanon to attain security and stability.

Thank you, Mr. President.