15 December 2011
General Assembly
GA/PAL/1215

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on the Inalienable Rights

 of the Palestinian People

338th Meeting (PM)


Bid for Full United Nations Membership ‘Not a Provocation’, Head of Palestine

 

Observer Mission Tells Committee


Palestinian efforts for full membership of the United Nations and its agencies was not a provocation but rather the exercise of their legal right to sovereignty and independence, Riyad Mansour, head of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, assured the Palestinian Rights Committee today.


Mr. Mansour said that, in a step towards that independence, Palestinians had seen their flag raised over the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the first time last Tuesday, after having been being recognized as the agency’s 195th member.


As was well known, Palestine was trying to become a part of the international community as a full member of the United Nations, Mr. Mansour told the Committee, formally known as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.  President Mahmoud Abbas had been present for that “proud and moving moment”, he added.  However, it was as a result of the admission to UNESCO that Israel had embarked on a series of punitive actions and collective measures against the Palestinian people, including through the acceleration and intensification of settlement activities.


Regarding this year’s observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, he said the Headquarters event had been pervaded by a “special atmosphere” of enthusiasm, excitement and a positive attitude, reflected in the large number of participants and supportive statements by leaders from across the globe.


As for the Palestinian application for United Nations membership, he said the submission committee had presented to the Security Council, but there had been no consensus on recommending approval.


Committee Chair Abdou Salam Diallo (Senegal), briefing on recent developments concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territory, called attention to remarks by Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, stressing the need for urgent political progress between Israel and the Palestinians through renewed negotiations in a conducive environment.


Mr. Diallo went on to emphasize that without a critical path forward, accompanied by more far-reaching steps on the ground, the viability of a Palestinian State and the two-State solution itself could not be taken for granted.  He recalled that President Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal had met in Cairo on 24 November to advance reconciliation between the two major Palestinian factions, and had agreed that elections would be held in May 2012.


Turning to the situation in then Occupied Palestinian Territory, he said there had been almost daily incidents of violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers, many of which had resulted in serious confrontations with the Palestinian inhabitants.  On 8 December, an Israeli airstrike near a crowded park in downtown Gaza City had killed two members of an armed Palestinian group, triggering renewed rocket and mortar fire into Israel.  In subsequent Israeli airstrikes, two civilians — a father and his young son — had been killed, he added.


On a positive note, he said that on 30 November Israel had released $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues, held since October, as a result of mounting international pressure.


Briefing on efforts by the Department of Public Information to disseminate information about the plight of the Palestinians, Deborah Seward, Director of the Strategic Communications Division, presented information on exhibitions installed to inform the public.  In addition to the main ones in New York and Paris, versions had also been hosted internationally by United Nations information centres in Jakarta, Dar es Salaam, Moscow, Pretoria, Baku and Mexico City.


Mr. Diallo said the Committee would meet again in Cairo on 6‑7 February 2012, for the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian people.  The theme would be the economic cost of the continuing Israeli occupation, and the event aimed to call attention to the Israeli occupation’s role as the major impediment to socio-economic development in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


He also invited delegates to participate in the 19 January 2012 presentation on legal issues relating to housing, land and property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, to be held in New York by the Norwegian Council for Refugees.


In other business, the Committee approved Saudi Arabia’s request to become an observer.


Also speaking during the meeting was a representative of Egypt.


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For information media • not an official record