Right of Reply by Dr. Nasser
Al-Kidwa, Ambassador, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Resumed 10th
Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, 5 February 1999:
I do not want to describe the Israeli statement today with adjectives,
and I will limit myself to presenting the following comments:
The basic problem was, and still is, the Israeli occupation of our
people and Israeli attempts to deny such an occupation, exactly as we heard today, where
the Israeli representative used terms such as "territories under Israeli
administration", which reflects an ideological vision, the essential aim of which is
colonizing the land and preventing the Palestinian people from realizing their national
rights on their own land.
The Israeli representative said that some 97% of Palestinians are
living under Palestinian control, therefore are not occupied by Israel. Once again, this
reflects an ideological vision, the crux of which is expansionism and colonialism of our
land. In addition to being false information, I want to affirm that every single
Palestinian in the Palestinian territory is still subject to Israeli occupation. Whether
the Israeli tanks are inside the city of Ramallah, for example, or around the city only,
the fact remains that it is not possible to get a can of baby milk in or out without the
approval of the occupying authorities. Moreover, the mere Israeli claim indicates the wish
to establish a new apartheid system, to build bantustans for the Palestinians, or maybe
even to put them in camps, in order to allow the Israeli settlers to enjoy their lives as
respected colonizers in the Palestinian land.
As the Israeli representative is interested in figures, I would like to
refresh his memory. The whole of mandated Palestine comprised 27,000 square kilometers.
The partition plan allotted the Jewish State around 54% of this area, and during the war
of 1948 Israel illegally occupied additional areas and extended Israeli law upon them.
That whole territory totaled around 78% of mandated Palestine, which means that the West
Bank and Gaza Strip comprise only 22%. Recently, Israel redeployed from less than 10% of
this territory, that is less than 2% of the territory of mandated Palestine. This is the
territory of which the Israeli representative wants us to live happily in.
The Israeli representative has to understand that the Occupied
Palestinian Territory since 1967, all of it, is occupied territory. And that, if there is
any disputed territory, it is the one between the borders as decided in the partition
resolution and the lines of the Armistice Agreements of 1949, that is the West Bank,
including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
On our part, we will not engage in discussion on the principle of
convening a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention,
because this has already been decided and accepted by the overwhelming majority of Member
States. We will not as well get into discussions on the violations of the Wye River
Memorandum, because the knowledge and position of everyone is clear in this regard.
What the Israeli representative said about concerning the point that
the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention have not met before to
consider specific cases is true. But this is an unfortunate fact and it definitely does
not mean that such a meeting should not happen in the future. On the other hand, what the
Israeli representative said about the Palestinian situation was wrong. It was as if the
Israeli violations of the Convention were not important. These violations have been
continuing over the last thirty years. They have destroyed the social and economic fabric
of the Palestinian population under occupation and now they constitute continuous
colonialism of our land. In fact, this is the only colonialism in our contemporary time,
the aim of which is to negate the existence of the Palestinian people.
During the second Right of Reply exercised by Dr. Al-Kidwa, the
following points were made:
The title of this delegation is the Permanent Observer Delegation of
Palestine, and I request that the representative of Israel use the proper name. The mere
fact that he cannot do that - that he cannot utter the name Palestine is again
indicative and regrettable.
The terms of reference are clear. It is relevant U.N. resolutions and
With regard to the map on our stationary, to which the representative
of Israel referred to, as he takes us back to an old and regrettable discussion: this is
the map of historic Palestine. On the other hand, Israel, which is a Member State of the
United Nations, has no map, despite the fact that it assured the United Nations, upon
acceptance of its membership, that it would comply with resolution 181. In any case, we
would be more than happy when the Israeli representative tells us about Israels map
so we can draw our map of Palestine on our stationary.
What the Israeli representative said about settlements is again a
problem. It is actually a political scandal. We must reiterate here that Israeli
settlements are illegal and they will remain so forever. It is enough that the Palestinian
people were uprooted from their homes and properties in 1947 and 1948. It is totally
unacceptable now to continue colonizing what is left of their land. We are ready for peace
based on justice, albeit minimum justice, and based on equalities between neighbors and
the existence of two states.