Statement by Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Ambassador, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, before the Resumed Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 8 December 2003:

(Original: Arabic)

 

Mr. President,

In his report to the General Assembly, submitted pursuant to the request made by the tenth emergency special session in its resolution ES-10/13, the Secretary-General, in his observations, reached the conclusion that Israel "is not in compliance with the Assemblyís demand that it stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory".

Moreover, resolution ES-10/13 stated that upon receipt of the report "further actions should be considered, if necessary, within the United Nations system". All of this is very clear. Israel has not complied with the resolution and additional actions must be taken.

As you are all aware, we believe that the additional possible action at this stage is to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice about the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in disregard for the relevant provisions of international law as well as other relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. In the absence of any other specific practical measures to compel Israel to stop building the wall and to dismantle the existing parts, at minimum we must seek to affirm the legal aspects in this regard, such as the illegality of the wall and the necessity of non-recognition by States and by the U.N. system. The hope also is that this will constitute additional pressure on Israel that might lead to its compliance with and adherence to the provisions of international law and the will of the international community.

The draft resolution before the Assembly today covers the above-mentioned and we hope it will be adopted by an overwhelming majority. We believe that all the countries that believe in the importance of respecting the law and working within the United Nations system should support the draft resolution before us today. There is no credibility to the opposing argument, particularly in light of Israelís intransigence, in flagrant challenge to all of you, to continue to forge ahead in its construction of the wall.

Mr. President,

With regard to the expansionist annexation wall, in and of itself, its nature and its route and the accompanying confiscation of land and creation of closed areas and finally the humanitarian and socioeconomic impact of it, we believe that we do not need to add anything to the report of the Secretary-General. The report presents the facts as they are on the ground and in more detail than what we presented to you during our last meeting and before the Security Council on this matter.

Now, and after the facts were confirmed, we feel it is our right on behalf of the Palestinian people to ask: How could this possibly happen? How was it possible to allow the destruction of the livelihood of tens of thousands of people with the confiscation of their lands and the destruction of their farms? How was it possible to allow the confinement of thousands of people within walls through which they must enter and exist through gates? What is happening is the enslavement of the whole Palestinian people on the way to being confined to cantons by the fascist, colonial occupier of Israel. It is the shame of the century; it is the shame of the 21st century, which screams for serious action to bring it to erase it.

Despite our feelings and our deep wounds, I would like to remind of two things that we think are very clear in the report of the Secretary-General. First, this wall cannot be a means of achieving security. This excuse was used before as a reason to colonize our land through the illegal transfer of Israeli settlers and the establishment of settlements on our lands, in what constitutes an immense war crime. Today, the same excuse is being used to acquire the land by force and to commit yet another immense war crime. The issue was and still is the land and the illegal expansionist designs of Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people and their rights.

In the war of 1948, immediately after the declaration of its creation, Israel appropriated and began incorporating more than half of the lands allocated by the United Nations to the Arab State when it partitioned Mandated Palestine under the pretext that it was attacked by the Arab countries. In the 1967 war, it occupied the remaining half of the land allocated to the Arab State, which represents less than a quarter of Mandated Palestine. And, it has refused to withdraw from it for more than 36 years. When the Palestinian leadership made the unprecedented, historical compromise by accepting the coexistence of the two States, on the understanding that Palestine would be established only on the territories occupied since 1967, Israel continued to colonize our land and to illegally transfer its citizens to this land. Even after the start of the peace process in Oslo and up until now, including after the launching of the Road Map, the occupying Power doubled the number of its settlers.

Israel is doing this, while it has not even resolved the issue of the ownership of land and properties in Israel itself. There are 5.5 million dunums of land privately owned by the Palestine refugees - I speak here particularly about the private ownership and not the public - all of which has been identified and registered by the U.N. Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP), which is composed of the United States, France and Turkey, and it is a record that has recently been modernized and is thus ready for practical use. 5.5 million dunums represents almost half of the land of Israel, if we exclude the Negev desert. Not only has Israel taken over this land instead of restituting it to its rightful Palestinian owners, but it proceeds to colonize the rest of the Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip - once again, in one of the biggest war crimes of its kind in contemporary history.

Second, this wall means the end of the two-State solution and of course the end of the Road Map towards achieving this goal, and in this respect it violates Security Council resolution 1515 (2003). Mr. Sharon and his government worked to sabotage all attempts to stop violence, the deterioration of the situation and a return to the path of peace. They destroyed the Mitchell Recommendations and they are now destroying the Road Map, starting with the submission of their reservations and now with the construction of the wall. It is not possible to claim readiness to go ahead with the Road Map while building the wall at the same time. For us, any negotiations are meaningless without first stopping the wall. For us, it is either the wall or the Road Map. It should be as such for the international community as a whole as well, particularly for the Quartet.

If Israel continues building the wall, this will be the end of the Road Map and of resolution 1515 (2003), and there must be a reaction to that, particularly by the Security Council. This reaction should take the form of an additional step in which the final outcome of the solution would be defined in what could be described as a comprehensive resolution by the Security Council calling upon the parties to negotiate its details. During its last ministerial meeting on Palestine, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has already called for this scenario. It has also called for ensuring that the credentials of Israel to the General Assembly do not cover the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including Occupied East Jerusalem, as a first practical step in this regard.

I also wish to refer to the civil society initiatives in relation to the conclusion of a final status settlement, including the Geneva Accords, as a model that could be useful and upon which we can build.

The political meaning for all of the above is clear Ė the wall must be stopped at any cost. If we fail in doing so, Israel should bear the consequences and the international community should accelerate the imposition of a final settlement on both parties.

Mr. President,

I would like to thank you for your cooperation with the request to resume the tenth emergency special session. We believe that in the future this meeting will be viewed as one of great importance. I would also like to express our thanks and appreciation to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his report. His report does not present any analysis by the Secretary-General, but it contains an honest description of the facts as they are, as we are all aware. Israel on the other hand has expressed its extreme indignation with the report and its rejection of it. Prior to that, Israel also expressed its extreme indignation with Security Council resolution 1515 and considered it non-binding. This comes as part of the same specific pattern of its dealings with the United Nations, its Members and its organs. During the 58th session, Israel attacked the members of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices and attacked the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and attacked the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the human rights situation in the occupied territory and attacked the Special Rapporteur for the right food and attacked the representative of the Secretary-General to the Middle East Peace Process and attacked the Commissioner-General of UNRWA and finally attacked the overwhelming majority of Member States. Today, we will hear yet another attack on the tenth emergency special session.

All of these attacks represent the height of insolence, arrogance and superiority and contain accusations of being anti-Israeli and sometimes anti-Semitic. All of this reflects the classic thinking of occupiers and colonizers and the arrogance of power. This is a combination of two elements: the conviction that threats and intimidation will lead to results and the inability to see things as they are as facts. The problem is not with the United Nations; it is with Israel. The United Nations is that which created Israel and nurtured it. The United Nations is not anti-Israel, but it is opposed to the policies of Israel that violate the Charter, international law and the resolutions of the organization that are based on that law and it is opposed to the policies that destroy and continue to destroy the life and future of another people. The United Nations wants peace and security for Israel, but also for Palestine. What is required then is not to change the United Nations positions but a change in the policies and positions of Israel. Israel must understand that and its main ally must stop spoiling it. We must all reject Israeli positions. If we are unable to change the situation on the ground, at least we must insist here in the General Assembly on the correct positions.

Thank you, Mr. President.