24 April 1997

Press Release



The representative of Saudi Arabia this afternoon called on the United States and the Russian Federation, co-sponsors of the Middle East peace process, to reactivate those negotiations, as the General Assembly continued its emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory. Citing Israel's decision to build a housing project in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of East Jerusalem, the representative of Nigeria said that settlement was only the latest in a series of Israeli measures aimed at presenting the Palestinians with a fait accompli. The unique character of Jerusalem was the criteria behind the agreement to defer discussions on its status until the very last stage of negotiations, he added. The representative of Turkey said Israel should recognize that the Palestinians could not go on negotiating while Israel carved up the land which was the very subject of those talks. Calling upon Israel to cease all inflammatory actions, the representative of Guyana said Israel's confiscation of lands, demolition of houses, expropriation of property, detention without trial and other violations of the Palestinians' human rights were all issues that must be addressed. Warning that the present situation might lead the region back to a whirlpool of tension and insecurity, the representative of the United Arab Emirates said the policies of the Israel's current Government deprived the peace process of its content. The representative of Viet Nam said the Non- Aligned Movement had recently stressed the need for action if the current situation continued, while Zimbabwe called Israel's settlement policy cynical and myopic. Statements were also made by the representatives of Japan, Jordan, Colombia, Yemen, United Republic of Tanzania, Russian Federation, China, Singapore, Djibouti, Costa Rica, Pakistan, Philippines, Namibia, Malaysia, Argentina, Cuba, Republic of Korea, Bahrain, Oman, Malta, Afghanistan and India.

The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 25 April, to continue its emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.

Assembly Work Programme

The tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its consideration of "illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory". The session was convened at the request of the Arab Group, with the concurrence of a large majority of Member States. It follows a series of Security Council and Assembly meetings on the recent Israeli decision to build a new settlement in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of East Jerusalem. (For further information, see Press Release GA/9235 of 24 April.)


HISASHI OWADA (Japan) said it was essential that both parties summon the courage to implement the commitments they made in Madrid, Oslo and thereafter. Since learning of the Israeli decision to construct housing in Jabal Abu Ghneim, his Government had expressed its deep regret to the Israeli Government on a number of occasions. The tragic spiral of violence in the area was deplorable, but what lay beneath it was the sense of frustration and powerlessness permeating the region since the death of Israeli Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin. Japan condemned all violence and urged all concerned to refrain from such acts which could seriously jeopardize the peace process.

To prevent further deterioration of the situation and possible derailment of the peace process, Japan urged Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Arafat to resume the process of cooperation on the basis of restored mutual confidence. Without a degree of trust, no compromise proposal would gain acceptance by both sides. Japan had sent a special envoy to persuade the leaders to again assume their responsibility to engage in a collaborative peace process.

He said his Government was providing $11 million in emergency grant aid to assist Palestinians who were facing worsening economic difficulties as a result of the closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip imposed by Israel. It was hoped that assistance would help prevent an environment of desperation, which was conducive to terrorism.

While it was hoped that Prime Minister Netanyahu would listen to the voices of the international community, Japan did not consider that the adoption of a resolution containing collective measures was the best way to promote the peace process, he said. Without the broadest possible support from the international community, such a resolution would fall short of promoting peace. The Assembly could, however, send a strong unanimous message to the effect that the parties should spare no effort to revitalize the peace process.

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HASSAN ABU-NIMAH (Jordan) said Israel's actions ran counter to the peace process and contradicted international law. They represented a violation and breach of all Security Council resolutions. The Palestinian side had no doubts about what had been signed and what the commitments were with regard to the peace process. That process had opened doors for all Arab States to cooperate with Israel and they had hoped it would lead to the development of the entire region. Unfortunately, they now feared that there would be a reversal of the peace process.

He said the deferred questions in the agreements should remain as they were and should not be used as an opportunity to change facts. Any action taken by Israel to change or modify the legal or demographic status was not be acceptable and not in the interest of peace or the benefit of the people of the area. He was concerned by the threat to the peace process posed by Israel's actions. Israel had not complied with its agreements. Its continued adoption of such policies as the siege blockade returned the region to the atmosphere of the past. Israel was not committed to fulfilling the agreement to return the occupied land to its owners.

He appealed to the Assembly to adopt a resolution calling on Israel to desist from its present actions and all actions that impeded progress to peace. He called on the international community to stand against that activity and to resist it. The commitment to peace was the only option. His Government would not diminish its efforts to achieve peace, but peace could not be achieved through the commitment of only one party.

JULIO LONDOŅO-PAREDES (Colombia) said the agreements reached between 1991 and 1995 in the frame of the Madrid Conference had brought a feeling of satisfaction and general rejoicing throughout the international community. The parties had negotiated with extraordinary commitment and courage, and their attitude had met with general recognition, including the Nobel Peace Prize for leaders Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres. It was, therefore, understandable that the mere announcement made by the Government of Israel of the building of an important settlement in East Jerusalem had generated a justifiable Palestine reaction, and that tension in the area had immediately increased.

The argument that the settlement was just a routine urban development was less than convincing, he said. Nor could it be argued that the matter was merely a bilateral issue. The fact that the current dynamics of the peace process did not involve the United Nations had been the criteria used to justify the veto in the Security Council. That was unacceptable. If the Organization did not contribute to the creation of favourable conditions for peace in the Middle East, it would lose all its relevance. That was why Colombia opposed and would continue to oppose the use of the veto and had supported the convening of the present emergency special session.

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The parties in the Middle East had demonstrated that they had the courage to face the two enemies of peace: terrorism and extremism. Such obstacles could not be used as an excuse to stop the irrevocable commitment to the road to peace.

MOHAMMAD J. SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates) said it was unfortunate that Israel was irresponsibly defying the will of the international community, continuing its illegal building of a new settlement in the southern part of occupied East Jerusalem, and confiscating land by force. That had been done in order to isolate that important Muslim territory from the West Bank and to Judaize it.

He said Israel had refused to stop the building of settlements throughout occupied territories. It all boiled down to Israel's abandoning the basics of the peace process. The Palestinians had the right to recover occupied lands seized by force. The policies of the current Israeli Government tended to deprive the peace process of all its content, subordinating that process to their objective of taking Palestinian territory by force. That might lead the region back into a whirlpool of tension and insecurity. A fair, global and lasting settlement should be attained. Pressure should be put on Israel to carry out its Madrid commitments.

ABDALLA SALEH AL-ASHTAL (Yemen) said construction of the settlements in East Jerusalem contravened Security Council resolutions. His Government did not agree with the Member State that had said the Council was not the correct place to discuss the problem and then, thus, opposed action by the Council. The United Nations, especially the Council, was the international forum for resolving the Middle East problem. The Madrid Conference was based in Security Council resolutions.

Any attempt to block the Security Council from discussing the issue of Jerusalem played into the hands of Israel, he said. Israel's persistence in continuing construction of settlements undermined the agreements reached at Hebron. The construction at Jabal Abu Ghneim must be stopped, he said.

HUSEYIN E. CELEM (Turkey) said the emergency special session might be one of the last opportunities "for us to see the forest and not only the trees". Member States could not be sure whether the session would correct the serious deviation in the peace efforts until both parties put all their faith and political will behind the peace process. Member States could only encourage and support their efforts to reach a common understanding. The current situation represented neither a credible way of making peace nor a rational way of providing security. Attitudes had to change. The necessary steps had to be taken without delay to reduce the tension, diffuse the charged atmosphere and allow constructive negotiations to resume.

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The views of the international community and its concern must be taken into consideration, he said. Its efforts were only aimed at bringing about the desired common understanding and agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. Israel should recognize that its partner in peace could not go on negotiating, while at the same time watching Israel carve up the very land they would be negotiating about. It should be said, on the other hand, that terrorism, organized or individually perpetrated, could not be an acceptable response.

As had been pointed out during last month's debates, the status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif under international law should be respected. The sanctity of the city for all three monotheistic religions should also be recognized. All settlement activities in the occupied areas, especially the Jabal Abu Ghneim project, should be ended. Only then would the peace process again start moving in the right direction. The opportunities which durable peace and security could bring to the Middle East and beyond were evident. Turkey was confident that Palestinians and Israelis would work together to achieve peace and security in the Middle East.

DAUDI NGELAUTWA MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) said the new settlement under construction in Jabal Abu Ghneim might mark a turning point against the hopes which arose following the accord reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in January on the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Hebron. The Assembly should not condone any measures aimed at altering the legal status of East Jerusalem. Its overriding objective must be to assist the parties to recommit themselves to a mutually agreed course of action in good faith.

He urged the Government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint and called on the co-sponsors of the peace process to bear their responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the peace process. However, the Assembly and the Organization were not the appropriate forums for dealing with the problem at hand, especially when the parties themselves were not in agreement on how best to execute their respective commitments. It was incumbent upon the international community to help the process by urging the parties to fulfil their agreed undertakings. Unless that happened, a just, lasting and comprehensive peace could not be attained in the Middle East.

SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) expressed regret that the Government of Israel had not heeded the General Assembly's urgent appeal to stop immediately construction of the new settlement in East Jerusalem. The Middle East realities today were already largely shaped by the negative consequences of that step. Confrontational moods had been seething, the stocks of mutual confidence between the Israelis and Palestinians had been dwindling and negotiations on all tracks of the peace process had ground to a halt.

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He said clashes between the Palestinian population and Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been causing most serious concern. The prospect that a new intifada might break out had clearly increased the complexity of the situation, when any inconsiderate wilful step was likely to be costly to the peoples of the Middle East. The resolution to be adopted by the Assembly must be a clear landmark in the forward movement of the peace process and an obstacle to unilateral action and the recurrence of violence and terrorism.

Issues relating to Jerusalem and Israeli settlements -- as agreed upon by the parties concerned -- would be addressed within the framework of negotiations on the final status, he said. He hoped that the decisions of the session would be thoroughly studied by the Israeli Government and would become an effective incentive for it to reconsider its action to change the status quo in East Jerusalem. The policy of fait accompli with regard to the occupied territories would result in an impasse. He hoped that the session would do its utmost to deny extremists and warmongers on both sides grounds for again undermining the situation in the region.

His country, as a co-sponsor of the peace process, had been making persistent efforts to prevent the disruption of the peace process. Its policy consisted of: a purposeful promotion of the normalization of the situation; and placing Palestinian-Israeli mutual relations onto the track of continuing talks on the basis of legitimate interests, commitments and obligations of the two parties. At the moment, both short-term prospects and the very future of the Middle East hinged on those aspects. He hoped that the signal given by the Assembly would be correctly understood and evaluated by all those who cherished peace and security in the region.

GAAFAR M. ALLAGANY (Saudi Arabia) said the Assembly, through its resolution 51/223, had called on Israel to desist from its settlement activities and from changing the status of Jerusalem. Less that 24 hours later, it defiantly began the construction of the Jabal Abu Ghneim. Israel's settlement plan ran counter to a return to pre-1967 borders and sought to effect the Judaization of Jerusalem, changing its Arab character.

"We are keen on continuing the march of the peace process on all Arab tracks", he said. Jerusalem was the true key to peace and war in the region. There would be no peace unless Jerusalem was returned. The sponsors of the peace process, the United States and the Russian Federation, must reactivate that peace process. Peace in the Middle East must be based on justice. It required honesty and goodwill.

QIN HUASUN (China) said that Israel's building of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem had brought the Middle East peace process to another deadlock and urged it to immediately stop that activity. China had always supported settlement of the question of Jerusalem through peaceful negotiations. The

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international community was deeply disturbed by the current difficulties in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and concerned about the future of peace in the Middle East. At the current critical juncture, all parties concerned should exercise restraint and strictly observe their agreements, so as to create conditions for an early, fair, reasonable and lasting solution to the Middle East question.

MACHIVENYIKA MAPRURANGA (Zimbabwe) said the Middle East peace process was in mortal danger as a result of the myopic and cynical policy of establishing new Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and other parts of the occupied Arab land. That policy had been overwhelmingly disapproved by the world community. The non-aligned movement had concluded that the policy of establishing new settlements was a grave menace to the peace process.

He said his Government had supported the call for the convening of the emergency special session because the United Nations could and should play a role in rescuing the peace process and putting it back on track. He supported the draft resolution and called on Israel to desist from establishing the settlements. Israel must give serious consideration to the grave consequences that the settlements policy had for the peace process.

BILAHARI KAUSIKAN (Singapore) said the Israeli Government's decision to proceed with the construction of an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem could undermine the spirit of trust and cooperation which was vital to the success of the Middle East peace process and unravel the hard work achieved thus far. Israel was entitled to plan for the housing needs of both Jews and Arabs in the country. However, the selection of East Jerusalem as the venue for the project was controversial because unilateral steps that could alter the current status of Jerusalem would only complicate the already difficult negotiations.

The final status of Jerusalem, a city of sacred importance not only to the Jews but also to Muslims and Christians, was still subject to the outcome of negotiations between the two parties, he said. Singapore therefore urged the Israeli Government to reconsider the housing project in East Jerusalem so the peace process might continue unimpeded.

ROBLE OLHAYE (Djibouti) said the case against Israel's actions was very clear and had been made by many delegations. Jerusalem could not be legally treated as "one city". Inasmuch as East Jerusalem was part of the West Bank and had been so since the partition of Palestine, its status was clearly covered by the Oslo Declaration and 1993 bilateral agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In addition to the legal dimension, the status of East Jerusalem had a tragic human side as well, he said. During the last 18 months, a policy of quiet deportation of East Jerusalem Palestinians had been in force, leading to

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the expulsion of thousands. Restrictions on building and planning permits were also in force. Attempts to unify families were systematically frustrated. Residence status for person who moved outside the municipal borders of Jerusalem were revoked, on the pretext that their "centre of life" had changed and was no longer Jerusalem. The documented result had been the forced separation of families, husbands, wives and children. He questioned Israel's call for "accelerated final status" talks now, in the current atmosphere of extreme distrust and low confidence. Israel's actions, involving a denial of basic human rights, confiscation of rightful property and ancestral homes, denial of free movement, obstruction of necessary economic activity and importation of thousands of foreigners to be settled in confiscated land in occupied territory amounted to a clear record of violence against the Palestinians. The Assembly must express the overwhelming opinion of the international community and pass a resolution calling for an immediate halt to the illegal construction at Jabal Abu Ghneim. Settlement activity must cease. The world community and the Assembly must make known its demand for a halt to divisive measures and for return to a real peace process. IBRAHIM A. GAMBARI (Nigeria) said the construction of new housing units was only the latest in a series of measures and policies adopted by the Israeli Government concerning the occupied territories, all of which were aimed at presenting the Palestinians with a fait accompli. Those policies were not only unhelpful to the peace process, but contravened relevant Security Council resolutions and Israeli obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Government and people of Israel should recognize that Palestinians and others felt equally strongly about Jerusalem, he said. The unique and highly sensitive character of the status of Jerusalem informed the wise decision made in Oslo to defer discussions on the subject until the very last stage of negotiations. It had also been decided that the parties should refrain from taking any actions that sought to change the status quo. The recent step taken by Israel could only prejudice the outcome of those negotiations. The United Nations had an important role in promoting peace everywhere, he said. He was particularly pleased that the Assembly was exercising that role responsibly, by calling for and supporting the peace process on the basis of prior agreements reached and the need for equity, justice and fair play. It was not too late for the Israeli Government to reconsider its position and decide against continued construction. It was the only way to give new impetus to the peace process and ultimately ensure long-term peace and security for the region. Those who could influence Israel must do so in favour of peace and stability. Further, those who had assumed the leading role in reconciling the parties should avoid taking the side of one of the parties. Only an even-handed approach could bring peace to the region.

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MELVIN SAENZ BIOLLEY (Costa Rica) said he supported the rights of the Palestinians as well as Israel's demands for a secure frontier. Only the peace process would achieve those goals. Israel's decision to build a settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim was contrary to international law and seriously harmed the peace process. It departed from the courageous commitment to peace made by the late Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin. He called on Israel to resume the courageous path to peace.

He said the spirit of peace should prevail in the Middle East and supported a clear call to both parties to refrain from all acts which might obstruct the peace process. The recent terrorist acts against civilians in the territories were criminal and unjustifiable, wherever and by whomever they were committed. They ran contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. The fact that both parties had rejected the use of terrorist tactics was welcomed. There must be a just and comprehensive solution that would secure the rights of all parties.

AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said it was imperative that the General Assembly pronounce itself in unambiguous terms on the current situation. It was also essential that the voice of reason and justice of the international community be heard and that effective measures be adopted to address the illegal actions and policies adopted by Israel.

Pakistan strongly condemned those policies, which constituted a blatant violation of The Hague Regulations of 1907, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, the Declaration of Principles, as well as the subsequent agreements and accords concluded between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Provocative Israeli actions had once again shattered the hopes that the peace process would lead to the early exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination through the establishment of an independent homeland, he said. The Security Council must continue to play an effective role to resolve the Middle East problem in a comprehensive manner. Any attempts to scuttle its involvement through the introduction of arbitrary "benchmarks" for peace-keeping operations should be opposed. The UNTSO, established in 1948, continued to operate in the Middle East. Its observers had, at short notice, formed the nucleus of other peace-keeping operations. They had been assisting the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The present status and structure of UNTSO must be maintained until the final resolution of the Middle East situation.

He said it was now incumbent on the General Assembly to do what the Security Council had failed to do. The Assembly now bore the solemn responsibility to ensure that the peace process was now undermined due to provocative and irresponsible actions by Israel. The draft resolution before

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the Assembly embodied the measures which must be taken by the Israeli authorities to restore the trust and understanding between the two parties. Pakistan was a co-sponsor of that draft and hoped that all Member States would support its adoption without a vote.

FELIPE MABILANGAN (Philippines) said his country had long held that the holy city of Jerusalem was the sacred treasure of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. There was, therefore, no room for unilateral action with respect to its administration and development. Israeli action to proceed with construction in East Jerusalem did not conform with the spirit of dialogue and reconciliation, nor was it consistent with the spirit and intent of the agreements concluded between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

The emergency special session provided the international community with an opportunity to discuss the situation and to take effective action in addressing it, he said. The passage by a significant majority of a resolution was necessary. That resolution should embody elements essential for a just solution of the situation, including affirmation and support for the Middle East process on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and 425 (1978), and for full and timely implementation of agreements already reached between Israel and Palestine.

He went on to say that the resolution should stress the need to preserve the territorial integrity of all the occupied Palestinian territory and the need to guarantee freedom of movement of persons and goods. It should also affirm the applicability of relevant international humanitarian law, namely, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and The Hague Regulation of 1907, as they applied to East Jerusalem and the occupied territories in general. The Philippines hoped that any resolution adopted would also include provisions giving the United Nations an active role in the current crisis, including through the dispatch of a team of observers.

MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said the inability of the Security Council to send a unanimous message reaffirming the Palestinian people's right of self- determination had been most disheartening. Namibia was in unflinching solidarity with the people of Palestine and supported the full realization of their rights. Significant momentum had to be made in the peace process to ensure the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by the Palestinian people. Those rights were essential components of the right to self-determination.

He said the unfortunate bloodletting of people on both sides warranted that the leaders gather around the negotiating table so as to give peace a chance. He urged all Arab and Israeli leaders not to relent in their efforts within the framework of the agreed principles and timetables. The United Nations had a permanent responsibility towards Palestine until all aspects of the peace process had been resolved. Namibia would vote in favour of the

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draft resolution on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestine territory".

HASMY BIN AGAM (Malaysia) said the situation in Palestine was grave. The construction of an Israeli settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim constituted a threat to the peace and stability of the entire region. Recent events, which had claimed several lives, had demonstrated the potentially explosive consequences of the Israeli actions. Unless the construction was stopped, it could seriously undermine the very foundations of the peace process.

He said that over the years Israeli policy on Jerusalem had been characterized by intimidation and harassment, destruction of Arab property under various pretexts, Judaization of the Arab economy in East Jerusalem by various political and administrative measures, and the registration of Arabs aimed at depriving the absentees of their properties, which were then expropriated.

The current policy of construction in Jabal Abu Ghneim was merely an extension of an established Israeli policy of systematically altering the character, demographic composition and legal status of Jerusalem, he said. The international community could not allow the continued violations of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), which underscored the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by force and changing the legal status of Jerusalem by altering its character and demographic composition. He strongly condemned those actions and called on Israel to cease its settlement activities.

He said there was no alternative to a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement to the conflict, one that would bring durable peace and stability to all countries in the region, consistent with the various resolutions of the Security Council and the Assembly and within the framework of international law. To that end, it was imperative that, in the wake of the Security Council's failure to carry out its responsibility, the Assembly pronounce itself on the issue.

The Assembly should endorse the draft resolution before it and send a clear message to Israel that the international community did not approve of or condone its actions, he said. By doing so, the Assembly would not be interfering in bilateral negotiations. Rather, it would merely be expressing its serious concern at the possible negative impact of the continued Israeli actions on those extremely delicate negotiations.

SAMUEL R. INSANALLY (Guyana) said the Declaration of Principles on Palestinian self-rule, signed on 13 September 1993, had been regarded by the international community as a quantum leap and a sign of hopeful change. Yet several unhelpful developments had occurred since then. A controversial

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tunnel had been constructed and opened in contravention of Security Council resolution 1073 (1996), and housing settlements continued to be built in disputed areas.

He said Guyana regretted that the Israeli Government had seen fit to proceed with construction of another housing settlement in East Jerusalem despite objections by the Palestinians and the wider international community. The present emergency special session should give urgent attention to the many injustices perpetrated against the Palestinians. The confiscation of lands, the demolition of houses, the expropriation of property, detention without trial and other human rights violations were all serious issues that had to be addressed. The Government of Guyana called for a cessation of all inflammatory policies and actions which threatened to worsen the situation. Both parties must abide by the agreements they had reached and the relevant United Nations resolutions must be implemented.

FERNANDO ENRIQUE PETRELLA (Argentina) said the convening of the emergency special session represented a genuine wish that the parties continue their commitment to peace. Unilateral and extreme actions that were counter to peace should be avoided. The Jabal Abu Ghneim settlement had changed the atmosphere of mutual confidence which was conducive to peace. Israel should reconsider its actions. The Israeli settlement was illegal, as was the taking of territories by force. The parties should make efforts to restore the atmosphere of confidence.

NGO QUANG XUAN (Viet Nam) said the construction of the Jabal Abu Ghneim settlement by Israel endangered the hard-won progress in the peace negotiations, making the situation there more volatile. Israel's actions must be strongly rejected and an end must be put to them immediately. The recent Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement had made clear that if the current situation continued, it would prompt measures and actions by the Movement. That message should be taken seriously. The non-aligned Ministers had urged Israel to respond positively. Viet Nam supported the early achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement which would ensure the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination and statehood.

BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said the Security Council once had once again shown it was incapable of fulfilling its responsibilities to maintain international peace and security. The calls for peace and justice from the people of the Middle East were not being heard in the Council because of the anachronistic and undemocratic use of the veto. It was unfortunate that the provisions of the Charter were being selectively interpreted. The Assembly, however, was taking up the cause of the Palestinian people.

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He said his Government joined in condemning Israel's decision to build a new settlement in East Jerusalem, an action which constituted an unacceptable challenge to the Palestinian people and a violation of international law and all relevant Security Council resolutions. That decision was also in violation of Assembly resolutions on the peace process and of the Madrid and Hebron agreements.

He demanded that Israel withdraw from all occupied territories and cease all settlement building. Israeli settlements in the occupied territories since 1967 were illegal. It was hoped that the Assembly would assume its responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security and act in accordance with the special circumstances that had brought Member States together today.

PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said that the resolution adopted last month by the Assembly on the situation provided a blueprint for resolving the crisis. The solution of the problem was within the grasp of the parties. Settlement activities must stop. The progress made to date showed the ability of the parties to move the process forward. The Israelis and the Palestinians has been presented with a momentous opportunity to resolve their differences. He reiterated the importance of dialogue and urged the parties to resume negotiations.

JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said the decision of Israel to build new settlements aimed at isolating Jerusalem and altering its status was another in a series of provocative actions. All of those actions were designed to create an illegal situation that would give Israel an edge. Israel had denied Palestinians the right to live in their own city, which violated international law and the resolutions of the Council.

The peace process had led to positive results and to great expectations in the region, he said. Israel must realize that the situation had changed and that there could be no return to the previous situation. It must respect the rules of international law and not create a situation on the ground to advance its expansionist policies. The Assembly must force Israel to cease its actions and stop the settlements. It must intervene to stop Israeli policies and support the peace process.

MOHAMMED AL-SAMEEN (Oman) said Israel was racing against time to create a de facto situation in Jerusalem in order to define the city's future. The peace process was in danger of collapsing under irresponsible Israeli policies. Those policies and actions of Israel constituted a rejection of international agreements and United Nations resolutions.

He said Oman reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian people and for the complete withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967. Israel should stop the construction of settlements in

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Jabal Abu Ghneim. It must respect agreements entered into with the Palestinians.

MOHAMMED AL-SAMEEN (Oman) said Israel was racing against time to create a de facto situation in Jerusalem in order to define the city's future. The peace process was in danger of collapsing under irresponsible Israeli policies. Those policies and actions of Israel constituted a rejection of international agreements and United Nations resolutions.

He said Oman reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian people and for the complete withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967. Israel should stop the construction of settlements in Jabal Abu Ghneim. It must respect agreements entered into with the Palestinians.

GEORGE SALIBA (Malta) said the item before the special session had been before the international community for some time. In the recent past, the Middle East had been blessed with the hope of a different future. The construction of new housing in East Jerusalem, however, stood in stark contradiction to that new hope.

He said the Middle East peace process was passing through a most critical stage. He hoped that the contacts made and the agreements reached would stand. Respect for the principles of international law were crucial to the achievement of a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. It would be through the courage of the leaders of the area that peace would be achieved. His Government called for the immediate cessation of the construction in East Jerusalem and for an end to other actions that militated against the peace process.

RAVAN A.G. FARHADI (Afghanistan) said the fragile peace process had been dangerously threatened. The building of settlements in East Jerusalem contravened United Nations resolutions. The occupying Power was doing everything to change the character of Jabal Abu Ghneim. Previous Security Council resolutions had said such actions were illegal. Carrying out construction on occupied territories destroyed confidence-building instead of promoting it. The world community must call on Israel to end its settlement activities and work for peace. He hoped the draft resolution to be introduced tomorrow would be adopted.

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PRAKASH SHAH (India) said that once again the General Assembly was meeting due to the stalemate of the Security Council. He recalled that the Non-Aligned Movement, meeting in New Delhi two weeks ago, had said that collective and effective measures should be taken immediately at the United Nations to redress the problem caused by the failure of the Security Council to discharge its responsibilities, because of the unfortunate lack of unanimity of its permanent members. It was in pursuance of that proposal that the Assembly was meeting today, he said.

Israel, he continued, must cease the construction of new settlements in Jabal Abu Ghneim. What was most important at this point in time was for the international community to intensify its efforts to restore and build confidence. The need of the hour was to restore and build mutual confidence in the Middle East.

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