|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
354th Meeting (AM)
Palestinian Rights Committee, in Briefing, Hears Current Diplomatic Initiative
May Be ‘Final Window of Opportunity’ for Negotiated Two-State Solution
Members Adopt Annual Report, Enlarge Bureau
Welcoming the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian direct negotiations and stressing that the current diplomatic initiative may represent “the final window of opportunity to achieve a negotiated two-State solution”, the Palestinian Rights Committee adopted its annual report this morning and heard a briefing on the most recent developments in the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
By the terms of the draft report (document A/AC.183/2013/CRP.2), which covers the period from 8 October 2012 to 7 October 2013, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, its formal title, called for the international community’s sustained engagement and support for the negotiations, including a revitalized diplomatic Quartet, which the report states was vital to ensure the parties negotiated in good faith, lived up to their commitments, and refrained from steps that jeopardized the talks.
The report, which was introduced by Committee Rapporteur Christopher Grima (Malta), expressed concern about Israel’s settlement activity, which, he said, threatened to derail negotiations. In that connection, he welcomed the European Union’s recently adopted guidelines prohibiting funding by the Union’s institutions for Israeli entities connected with the settlements. The Committee also called for further international action against settlements.
Stressing the importance of Palestinian unity under the legitimate leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas to secure a comprehensive peace, the Committee expressed concern in the report that the accomplishments made towards Palestinian State-building and reform were now endangered, owing to a chronic financial crisis. The report called upon donors to meet their prior commitments.
Further, the Committee suggested that its programme of international meetings in 2014 should be focused on widening support for the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as well as the creation of a favourable atmosphere for the success of the resumed permanent status negotiations. The report encouraged the Committee to examine the legal ramifications of the new international status of the State of Palestine.
Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez (Cuba), who opened the meeting in the absence of the Chair, briefed the Committee on recent developments, such as the holding of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on 14 August in Jerusalem, the first since September 2010, and the release by Israel hours later of 26 Palestinian prisoners as a good-will gesture. On 15 and 16 August, he stated, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had visited Ramallah and Jerusalem and met with Palestinian and Israeli officials.
On 24 September, United States President Barack Obama had stated in an address to the General Assembly that his country was determined to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he recalled, and, at Mr. Obama’s meeting with President Abbas that day, he had reiterated the United States position that the Israeli-Palestinian border should be based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon land swaps.
Riyad H. Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, also briefed the Committee, stating that after the historic recognition of the State of Palestine by the General Assembly as a non-member observer State, Palestine had been able to welcome the Secretary-General in August as a State guest when he visited Palestine for the first time.
During his visit, the Secretary-General had held extensive meetings with representatives of the governmental and nongovernmental sectors and, in his presence, a country agreement had been signed between the United Nations and the State of Palestine. “To use the words of the Secretary-General himself,” Mr. Mansour stated, it was “a very moving visit”.
The current session of the General Assembly had so far been a busy one for the delegation from Palestine, he added, with bilateral meetings with several Heads of State, including President Obama, who had indicated that doors were opening towards a meaningful political process. But after eight rounds of negotiation with Israel, there had been no significant breakthrough. Israel’s “illegal” behaviour was not conducive to furthering the process.
A positive development did take place during the negotiations, he stated, regarding an agreement on the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners, who had been languishing in Israeli prisons for more than 20 years. The issue of prisoners was a passionate one for Palestinians. “There was no single family in Palestine whose sons and daughters had not visited an Israeli jail as part of the struggle for freedom.” Altogether, almost 1 million Palestinians had “graduated” from those Israeli institutions, he added.
Palestine sincerely hoped that it would be possible to reach an understanding on all six status issues, he went on. He encouraged the Committee to participate in the forthcoming open debate, to be held by the Security Council on 22 October, and to express solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The representative of Indonesia, newly elected Vice-Chair, stated that it was necessary to increase the number of States that recognized the State of Palestine and to build broader support for Palestine among mass media and civil society. The Committee should explore how to put in place a common mechanism to prevent Israel from economically benefiting from the occupation, such as the European Union initiative had done.
Enlarging its bureau, the Committee elected Desra Percaya (Indonesia), Wilfried I. Emvula (Namibia) and María Rubiales de Chamorro (Nicaragua) as additional Vice-Chairs.
In other business, the Committee approved the application requests of three civil society organizations — the Youth Development Resources Centre, Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation, and the International Association of Justice Watch — to accreditation to the Committee.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Namibia and Nicaragua. The Chair said the Committee would reconvene at a date and venue to be announced.
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