18 November 2013
General Assembly
GA/PAL/1279

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

Committee on the Inalienable Rights

of the Palestinian People

355th Meeting (AM)


Palestinian Rights Committee Approves 4 Draft Resolutions

 

as It Considers Situation in Occupied Territory

 


Members Briefed on Developments amid Israel’s Continuing Settlement Activity


The Palestinian Rights Committee today approved four draft resolutions relating to the question of Palestine, as it considered the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly with regard to Israel’s recent settlement activities.


Approved by consensus for submission to the General Assembly, were texts titled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”, “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat” and “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”.


By the terms of the first text, the Assembly would stress the need for the removal of checkpoints and other obstructions to the movement of persons and goods through the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as the need to respect and preserve its territorial unity, contiguity and integrity.  It would also stress the need for an immediate and complete cessation of all acts of violence, including military attacks, destruction and acts of terror.  The Assembly would demand that Israel comply with its legal obligations under international law, as mentioned in the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, to cease immediately its construction of the separation wall.


Also by that draft, the Assembly would stress the need for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily their right to self-determination and to an independent State.  It would further urge the parties to undertake, with the support of the Middle East Quartet and the international community, immediate and concrete steps in follow-up to the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Understanding reached at the international conference held in Annapolis, Maryland, in the United States.  The Assembly would further stress the need for Israel to abide by its road map obligation to freeze all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and to dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001.


By the draft on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, the General Assembly would consider that the Division made useful and constructive contributions to the raising of international awareness of the question of Palestine, and of the urgency of a peaceful settlement.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue providing the necessary resources to enable it to continue carrying out its programme of work.


According to the draft resolution on the special information programme, the Assembly would have the Department of Public Information disseminate information on all United Nations activities relating to the question of Palestine and the peace process, through various media, and continue to assist the Palestinian people with media development, particularly by strengthening the annual training programme for Palestinian journalists.


By the text on the Palestinian Rights Committee — formally known as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People — the Assembly would decide to proclaim 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  It would also request the Committee to organize activities to be held during the Year.


Committee Chair Abdou Salam Diallo ( Senegal) recalled that Israel’s Interior Ministry had announced in October that it would proceed with a plan for 1,500 new housing units in East Jerusalem.  The following month, it had issued tenders for 1,061 housing units for settlements in the West Bank and 1,255 in East Jerusalem.  Israel had also freed 26 pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners in late October, the second group in a total of 104 prisoners that it had agreed to release in connection with the resumption of peace talks.


He went on to recall that earlier this month, Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), had told the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) that the Agency’s general fund had a $48 million cash deficit that, if not covered, would prevent it from paying the salaries of teachers, medical personnel and social workers and bring its operation to a standstill.  The Bureau of the Committee had also issued a statement condemning the continued settlement expansion in November, he said.


Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Deputy Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, said the issue of settlement activity had intensified tension and mistrust, and was seen as a reflection of “bad faith” on Israel’s part.  Noting that the Palestinian leadership had gone into negotiations fully committed to finding a solution, she said recent provocative declarations that Israel would proceed with the construction of thousands of new settlement units had been met with the resignation of Palestine’s negotiating team, which had found itself unable to proceed with the political process under such conditions.


As for the release of Palestinian prisoners in October, she said that although Israel had abided by the relevant agreement, it had undermined that action with its announcement of further illegal settlement activities.  Moreover, Israel continued to detain Palestinians, including children.  The situation in the Gaza Strip was of grave concern as people there continued to live in dire conditions.  Essential goods and services were unavailable, and power outages not only affected families at the most basic level, but also institutions, most notably, hospital services.  The water situation was also critical, she stressed.  Warning that Gaza would be uninhabitable by the year 2020 unless something was done, she said now was time for the international community to show its desire for peace and to exert efforts to that end.  Declaring 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People would raise global awareness and increase empathy for their cause, she added.


Mohamed Selim ( Egypt) expressed concern that a small number of African States had deviated from the African position on Palestinian-related draft resolutions in the Fourth Committee.  One delegation had even voted against when it had previously abstained, he recalled, stressing the need to vote in favour of such texts.


Deborah Seward, Director of the Strategic Communications Division in the Department of Public Information, briefed the Committee on the 2013 International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, held on 8 and 9 October in Istanbul, Turkey.  The Seminar had been planned as part of the Department’s Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine and in cooperation with Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she said.  The panel segment of the Seminar programme had featured discussions on the shifting media coverage of Middle East peace efforts and the question of Palestine; forgotten narratives of Palestinian refugees and the contemporary news agenda; youth activism, digital journalism and social media in the Middle East; and the role and impact of film/visual media on coverage of the question of Palestine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Seminar participants had come from Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the wider Middle East region, Europe and the United States, she said, adding that they represented a broad range of journalists, bloggers, activists, filmmakers, policymakers, academics, diplomats and senior United Nations entities.  The Seminar had been supported and promoted by integrated digital platforms, including Twitter, Tumblr and Storify, prompting active online engagement before, during and after the event, not only by participants, but others interested in the subject matter around the world.  Specific efforts had been made to invite more women and youth to the event than in previous years, which had resulted in a good gender and generational balance among participants.


Yasar Halit Cevik ( Turkey) said non-governmental actors and media, in particular, had played an active role in encouraging both sides to have empathy towards each other.  Expressing his country’s support for a two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, and for East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital, he welcomed the resumption of negotiations under the auspices of the United States, saying it was a unique opportunity that must be seized.  A lasting solution to the Palestinian question should not be missed, and both sides must avoid actions that would jeopardize the talks, he stressed.


The Committee will meet again at a date to be announced.


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For information media • not an official record