Right of Reply by Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Ambassador, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, before the Security Council, New York, 14 October 2003:

 

Mr. President,

 

            I wish to briefly reply to some of the more erroneous statements made today by the Israeli representative before the Council.

 

            First, he claimed that no Palestinian leader has ever stated that killing the innocent is wrong.  This is a totally false claim.  We have repeatedly condemned, including in this very forum, the suicide bombings against Israeli civilians as morally wrong.  The records of the Council, of the General Assembly and past press statements clearly refute this claim.  Moreover, we have stated that the killing of innocent civilians is wrong, both when they are Israelis and when they are Palestinians.  This is the difference between us and them the difference between me and him.  Has the Israeli side ever condemned the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians, a tragedy that occurs almost every day at the hands of the occupying forces? No.

 

            Secondly, the Israeli representative seems to be speaking about a different wall and not the actual one constructed on the ground by Israel.  He stated that no city is closed off by the wall.  This is a lie.  One needs only to look at the situation of - and a map of - the Palestinian city of Qalqilya to prove the mendacity of such a statement. 

 

Mr. President,

 

            The Israeli representative also announced today that the so-called Green Line has never represented an international boundary.  Suddenly, he decrees that this is not the border demarcating Israel from the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Perhaps then we should refer to the actually more legal border that of the Arab State, as delineated by partition resolution 181.

 

            Going even further, he repeated once again the Israeli claim that this land is actually disputed territory.  This is actually the essence of the problem the Israeli government does not acknowledge or accept the applicability of international law or Security Council resolutions in this regard.  It is occupied territory and the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable to it.  I reiterate that this Council itself has recalled this in a total of 26 resolutions.  Israel has occupied the Palestinian land since 1967 and it is on the basis of that occupation that they have carried out all efforts to expand and to negate the Palestinian national existence.  This position and these actions are completely and absolutely incompatible with any notion wanting peace and belie their empty claims or slogans about seeking peace. 

 

            Today, the Israeli representative also claimed that the decision to build this expansionist wall was because Israel had no other options.  The option to the route that they have chosen is clear however the 1949 armistice line, also known as the 1967 border.  Moreover, he stated that international humanitarian law allows for territory to be requisitioned for security purposes.  The provisions of international humanitarian law do provide the occupying Power with some exceptions with regard to certain actions but only if rendered absolutely necessary for military purposes, not to provide for settler colonialism, expansion and even the protection of settlers brought illegally by the occupying Power into the occupied territory.  Indeed, we have been told that many pretend that Israels actions occur in a vacuum.  No, actually we are all very cognizant that they do not.  They obviously occur, or rather are perpetrated, within the greater context of the expansionist designs of the occupying Power.

 

            Member States were also asked to remember an Israeli family killed in a recent suicide bombing and then to reflect on what your government would do in response.  First, we should recall all of the innocent civilians - Israelis and Palestinians - who have been killed during these horrific three years.  After doing so, we can find the answer as to what Israel must do in response to this situation and in order to provide real security its people.  It must end the occupation, instead of persisting with its confiscation and colonization of the Palestinian land.  It must end the occupation completely instead of perpetuating it by various illegal means and methods.  It must accept and adhere to international law and international humanitarian law.   This is the path for true security and true peace, a path very different from the one chosen by the State of Israel. 

 

Mr. President,

 

            A last point I would like to make regards the repeated questioning by the Israeli representative as to why the Security Council convenes to discuss these issues, while it does not convene immediately to address suicide bombings.  This is clearly not a shortcoming of the Security Council.  Israel, like any other member of this organization, has the prerogative to request a meeting of the Council.  But it chooses not to do so. Why?  Because Israel does not want the Security Council to be involved at all.  We, on the other hand, come to the Council because we have always believed in the primacy of international law, the legitimacy of the Security Council, the importance of its role in maintaining international peace and security and, ultimately, the need for this Council to take the necessary actions to address these very serious issues we face.