Excerpts from the statement of Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa,
Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, before the Resumed 10th ESS
. . . The tenth emergency special session is of great importance for the Palestinian people, and I believe, for the United Nations as well . . . we take pride in our contribution, however modest, to the process of democratizing international relations and giving more importance to the General Assembly and the general membership of the United Nations.
. . . The convening of the tenth emergency special session was not an easy task and it was not intended to superficially deal with the issue of illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The convening of an emergency special session for the first time in fifteen years, following the failure of the Security Council to exercise its responsibilities for the maintenance of peace and security, was definitely intended to take serious positions and adopt recommendations for collective measures, within the context of General Assembly resolution 377 A (V), to ensure the cessation of illegal Israeli actions . . .
. . . The tenth emergency special session adopted two resolutions, ES-10/2 and ES-10/3, by an overwhelming majority. These two resolutions contain clear demands: First, the immediate and full cessation of the construction in Jabal Abu Ghneim and of all other Israeli settlement activities, as well as of all illegal measures and actions in Jerusalem. Second, that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 to all the territories occupied since 1967, and that it comply with relevant Security Council resolutions, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. Third, that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately cease and reverse measures all actions taken illegally under international law against Palestinian Jerusalemites. Fourth, that Israel, the occupying Power, make available to Member States the necessary information about goods produced or manufactured in the illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.
Israel has not complied with any of these demands and has actually continued to carry out its illegal measures.
. . . We believe that both the recommendation mentioned in operative paragraph 10 of resolution ES-10/3 and the information contained in the report of the Secretary-General necessitate the convening of a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and to ensure its respect in accordance with common article 1 . . .
. . . It should be mentioned that the Security Council has adopted twenty-five resolutions in which it affirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem. There is also international consensus in this regard, including by the International Committee of the Red Cross . . .
What gives our action today urgency is the severe deterioration of the peace process as a result of the policies and practices of the Israeli government. Many members of the present Israeli government have clearly expressed their rejection of the basis of the peace process, which is based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace, and they have also expressed their extreme disdain of the agreements reached . . .
. . . The government has resumed its colonial settlement campaign through the confiscation of more Palestinian land, the theft of natural resources, the construction of settlements and the transfer of more settlers to the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967. The government has also resumed its campaign to judaize Occupied Arab East Jerusalem by making more changes to its legal status and demographic composition, including by building colonial settlements and abrogating the right of Palestinian Jerusalemites to live in their city . . . The Israeli government has also continued to suffocate the Palestinian economy and to grossly exploit the Palestinian market by imposing sieges and closures and by restricting the freedom of movement of persons and goods . . . all of which has resulted in suffering and the severe deterioration of the living conditions of our people . . .
. . . The Israeli government has increased direct oppressive measures against our people, such as the demolition of homes, kidnappings, collective administrative detentions and even killings and assassinations. The present Israeli government has not implemented any of the provisions of the agreements reached, despite the fact that many of them are overdue, including the stages of Israeli redeployment from the West Bank and other important issues such as the return of displaced persons . . .
. . . It appears that the real aim of the current Israeli government is to get rid of the existing agreement . . . It has also described its visions for a final solution which completely destroy the essence of the peace process and the essence of the mutual recognition between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. This is the crux of the problem and it necessitates serious intervention by the international community, particularly by the two co-sponsors of the peace process . . .
On our side, the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership remain committed to their strategic decision to become engaged in the peace process and are still committed to the agreements reached. In all cases, we have an unshaken, deep faith that our people will be able to realize their inalienable rights and establish their independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital, and will consequently be able to integrally participate in the realization of a just, permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
Excerpts from the statement of H.E. Ambassador Jeno C.A. Staehelin,
Permanent Observer of Switzerland to the United Nations
(Unofficial translation from French)
Switzerland has the honor of having been designated, by the Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as the depository of these instruments and of the laws of the additional protocols of 1977. This is a role to which Switzerland attaches the utmost importance, a role which confers upon my government, beyond the technical tasks linked to the role of the depository, the particular responsibilities as regards to the development and implementation of international humanitarian law . . .
The consultations taken recently by Switzerland, as the depository of the Geneva Conventions, at the request of the Secretary-General, and contained in the report presented by the Secretary-General in application of resolution ES-10/3, have shown that there is no consensus among the parties to the Geneva Conventions as for the opportuness of convening a conference. These consultations have not provided an indication as to the results that would be reached by such a conference. Nevertheless, the major tendencies are clear. The responses received by the Depository, from the majority of the Parties to the Convention, are in favor of the conference. A few of them pronounced their decision against it. Moreover, important preoccupations have been expressed. One among them is linked to the concern not to do anything which could potentially prejudice the real efforts made to advance the peace process, whose fragility worries the whole of the international community. A second preoccupation touches upon the necessity of contributing to an effective amelioration of the situation on the ground. Another rests on the necessity of careful planning for an eventual conference, with a view to its possible success and to achieving as much participation as possible. Finally, certain Contracting Parties have presented ideas for alternative and complimentary solutions or preliminary stages before the holding of the conference . . .
We have no doubt that these three objectives listed here - non-politicization of humanitarian action, supporting the efforts for peace, and the amelioration of the situation on the ground - constitute the all-around objectives which will be able to shape a consensus. Switzerland, is for its part, at the disposition of the parties to the Geneva Convention, and holds ready to search for the better ways to achieve these objectives.
Excerpts from the statement of Mrs. Sylvie Junod,
Head of the Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
. . . In its capacity as the custodian of international humanitarian law and in agreement with the international community, the ICRC has always affirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Today, the ICRC considers that Israel remains bound by the provisions of that convention . . .
. . . The ICRC established a permanent presence in Israel and the occupied territories in 1967 with a view to carrying out its humanitarian activities there . . . In the course of its activities, the ICRC has repeatedly noted disrespect for various provisions of international humanitarian law, such as the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its population into occupied territory, in contravention of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The ICRC is particularly concerned about the serious humanitarian consequences of such disrespect and has repeatedly expressed its concern through bilateral and multilateral representations, and in public appeals.
Article 1 common to all four Geneva Conventions stipulates that the "High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances." Indeed, the ICRC has always welcomed all individual and joint efforts by the States party to the Geneva Conventions aimed at discharging this obligation and enhancing respect for international humanitarian law . . .