|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
334th Meeting (AM)
With State-building Programme Complete, Time Is Ripe for Palestinian Statehood,
United Nations Membership, Permanent Observer Tells Committee
The Palestinian people had completed their two-year state-building programme, fulfilling a substantial part of their “contract” with the United Nations, and it was now time for the international community to uphold its end of the deal so that they would see the Organization admit their viable and independent State during the General Assembly’s sixty-sixth session, Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for Palestine, told the Palestinian Rights Committee today.
“We are ready to govern ourselves, not at the level of a least developed country but at the level of a middle-income State,” Mr. Mansour stressed as he reported on developments since 20 June. He recalled that, during the International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, held in Brussels on 28 and 29 June, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations had all concluded that the state-building process had been completed. “We’ve completed, from our side, our obligations,” he reiterated. “We are awaiting the international community to meet their part of the contract to deliver an end of occupation to our land.”
Indeed, Palestinians wished to legislate the end of their contract, he said, noting that the contract had been reflected in Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s plan to build institutions within two years, end the Israeli occupation and achieve independence. It had been enthusiastically received, endorsed and financed by the international community, he said, pointing out that the Palestinians had convinced more than 120 countries, two thirds of the United Nations membership, to invest in peace by recognizing the State of Palestine. “We are as ready and deserving as our brothers of South Sudan,” he continued, noting that the latter had marched to United Nations membership in five days. The Palestinians, who had lived miserably under occupation for more than 60 years, deserved the same independence. “That is what we believe is right,” he stressed, adding: “The time is now.”
The main obstacle to realizing that vision was a powerful country in the Security Council, he explained, adding that other options for keeping the Palestinians moving on the path to United Nations membership would be detailed at the appropriate moment. For now, the focus would be on “legislating” the results of the first stage of the process. In that context, he urged Israel to “wake up” and negotiate the six final-status issues, citing the often-stated “first, second and third options” of President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority — a return to meaningful negotiation under the “Road Map” and international law. “We are at a critical moment,” Mr. Mansour insisted, calling for redoubled efforts to recognize a State of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders as an investment in peace.
On the broader situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, he said he had visited twice in the last month, meeting on both occasions with the Minister for Prisoners and Ministry “activists” who were former prisoners. Discussions had centred on the latest intensification of repression by Israel — and by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself — during which he had told them that the Committee was willing to hold another meeting on prisoners, perhaps next year in Geneva.
He said he had also visited Na’alin, where he had met with the Popular Committee, adding that in Bil’in, the symbol of resistance against the separation wall and Israeli settlements, he had seen the remarkable success of a village determined to struggle against occupation, where villagers had pushed the wall back by one kilometre.
Earlier, Committee Chairman Abdou Salam Diallo ( Senegal) outlined recent developments, saying that on 23 June, Under-Secretary-General B. Lynn Pascoe had briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. On 28 June, the United States Senate had passed a resolution threatening to suspend financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority if it went ahead with its September bid for admission to the United Nations. Also on that day, the Committee had convened the United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process in Brussels.
Among other activities, he said that on 5 July, Israel had published tenders for the construction of some 400 housing units in settlements on the West Bank. On 7 July, the United States House of Representatives had passed a resolution reiterating its strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian State outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Chairman reported that in the last month, the Palestinian leadership had continued its efforts to gain the widest possible international recognition as a State within the 1967 borders, and to seek support for Palestine’s request for United Nations membership. Syria had recently recognized the State of Palestine, while Azerbaijan, Iceland, Norway, Spain and Turkey had all confirmed their support for Palestinian efforts to take their request for recognition to the next General Assembly. Norway and Iceland had raised the status of the Palestinian diplomatic missions in their respective capitals, he added.
Later in the meeting, the Chairman took up the report of the International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, saying that representatives of non-governmental organizations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the media had gathered for the Meeting in Vienna on 28 and 29 March. Speakers had stressed the importance of urgent need for the parties to resume negotiations, urging the diplomatic Quartet to adopt the principles outlined by President Barack Obama of the United States with a view to establishing a transitional Government in Palestine.
He said participants had also wondered what would happen to the negotiations if a State of Palestine were admitted to the United Nations, with several voicing concern that little time remained to achieve a two-State solution. Attendees had also noted the absence of a consensus within the European Union on the creation of a Palestinian State, stressing that European countries should be left to make their own individual decisions on that matter.
Hasan Ferdous, Chief of the Committee Liaison Unit in the Department of Public Information, also briefed the Committee on the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, held in Budapest, Hungary, on 12 July, which had brought together former and present policymakers from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, academia and civil society, among others.
The Palestinian Rights Committee — known formally as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People — will meet again on a date to be announced.
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