Palestinian Rights Committee Approves Programme for Asian and Pacific Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Reviews Political Developments

12 June 2012
GA/PAL/1238

Palestinian Rights Committee Approves Programme for Asian and Pacific Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Reviews Political Developments

12 June 2012
General Assembly
GA/PAL/1238
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on the Inalienable Rights

of the Palestinian People

343rd Meeting (PM)

Palestinian Rights Committee Approves Programme for Asian and Pacific Meeting

in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Reviews Political Developments

The Palestinian Rights Committee this afternoon approved the provisional programme of the upcoming United Nations Asian and Pacific Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, to be held in Bangkok, as it also heard reports on previous international meetings, as well as on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Presenting a briefing on the meeting to take place on 10 and 11 July at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Abdou Salam Diallo (Senegal), the Committee Chairman, said that its objective was to encourage broad international action for achieving a peaceful solution based on a shared vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.

He said that the meeting, to be held under the theme “international efforts at addressing the obstacles to the two-State solution — the role of the Asian and Pacific governmental and non-governmental actors”, would look at obstacles and opportunities on the road to achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The representative of Thailand said that his country was honoured to serve as venue for the meeting.  The Government hoped to participate at a high level in the opening and closing sessions and would work to ensure the meeting’s success.

Earlier, in a briefing on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mr. Diallo had highlighted key developments, including the reshuffling of the Palestinian Cabinet on 16 May; the agreement in Cairo under Egyptian auspices on a new timetable envisioning elections in six months; the convening of a United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris from 30 to 31 May, followed on 1 June by a meeting of civil society in support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace; and the release by Israel on 31 May of the remains of 91 Palestinian militants buried in areas under Israeli control.

He also mentioned the voting down by the Israeli Knesset of a bill that would have retroactively legalized the Ulpana settlement outpost, which was ordered demolished by the Supreme Court, and the announcement the same day by the Israeli Government of plans to build 851 new settlement housing units.  He said the announcement had been condemned by the international community, including the Committee, which had reiterated that settlement activities were illegal under international law and needed to be stopped and reversed. 

He noted that the Department of Public Information was holding its annual United Nations Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East in Geneva, today and tomorrow.

The representative of Pakistan told the Committee that the Non-Aligned Movement had raised the issue of a visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory with the President of the Security Council yesterday.  The President was holding discussions on the matter and would get back to the Movement in about a week.

Speaking on the latest developments in the Occupied Territory, the representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, said that as the forty-fifth year of the occupation was commemorated, followed by the marking of the sixty-fourth year of the uprooting and dispossession of the Palestinian people of their homeland, it was difficult not to despair at the decades of incalculable oppression and injustice.  Continued expansion by Israel, the occupying Power, and the continued inability of the international community to hold Israel accountable and to make it comply with International law contributed to that situation.

She reported that conditions in the Occupied Territory had deteriorated since the Committee last met, including the prisoner crisis, which affected almost every Palestinian family.  Close to 5,000 children and young people were being held, and every day, more were arrested and detained.  Israel continued to act in bad faith and, as a result, many of the prisoners had embarked on hunger strike.  That issue required immediate redress.  The international community, including the Security Council and General Assembly, needed to act to return the rights that those prisoners had been stripped of.  Illegal settlement activities also continued.  That expansionism continued to undermine efforts at peace and was going hand-in-hand with continued demolition of Palestinian homes.  The international community must be firm in condemnation of Israel’s illegal activities.

Committee Rapporteur Christopher Grima, reporting on the recent United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine at UNESCO Headquarters and the United Nations Meeting of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, said that the themes of the two meetings had been complementary.  They had been attended by representatives of 59 Governments, the Holy See and Palestine.  Also in attendance were the representatives of five intergovernmental organizations, four United Nations system entities, 26 civil society organizations and seven media outlets.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a video message to the International Meeting, had urged Palestinian and Israeli youth to build a future of peace, and called for greater involvement of women in the peace process, Mr. Grima said.  The speakers had focused on the damaging impact of Israeli occupation on youth and women, the need to empower women and youth and the role of the international community in that, including the United Nations and civil society.

At the meeting of civil society, there had been frank and open exchange on the ways to move forward, he continued.  Among the recommendations were the need to educate both sides to overcome the conflict, for media tools and financing to support the establishment of independent media, and for assistance to be transparent and responsive to local needs.  Following social media outreach efforts, information about the meetings had reached an estimated audience of 150,000 on Twitter alone, he said.  All the papers and the press releases from the meetings were available on the website of the Division of Palestinian Rights.

The Committee took note of the report by Mr. Grima.

Mr. Diallo also briefed the Committee on the bilateral meeting held with Portuguese parliamentarians and civil society representatives during a visit to Lisbon by a delegation of the Committee on 2 June.  The objective of that meeting was to sensitize the parliamentarians and academics about the Palestinian question, receive information on the activities of civil society and, in that regard, explore the possibility of organizing an international United Nations meeting on that subject in Lisbon.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.