QUESTION OF PALESTINE REMAINS MOST INTRACTABLE CONFLICT SITUATION IN UNITED NATIONS HISTORY19970610 Assembly President Tells Special Meeting of Palestinian Rights Committee
Following is the statement of the President of the General Assembly, Razali Ismail (Malaysia), delivered by the Permanent Representative of the Philippines and a Vice-President of the Assembly, Felipe Mabilangan, yesterday, 9 June, in the special meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the occupation:
This special meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has been convened in order to observe the thirtieth anniversary of occupation by Israel of the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories.
In the past few months the Security Council twice held extensive discussions. The General Assembly was once resumed and then an emergency special session of the General Assembly was held. The discussions in the Security Council proved to be inconclusive, since it was unable to take action because of the lack of unanimity of its permanent members.
The convening of the emergency special session of the General Assembly in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 377 (V) of 3 November 1950, entitled "Uniting for Peace", at the request of a Member State and with the concurrence of a large majority of Members, and the resolution that was adopted by the emergency session demonstrated clearly their gravest concern and awareness of the implications of the present situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular in Jerusalem.
The question of Palestine remains the most intractable conflict situation in the United Nations history. More than five years ago, historic decisions were taken by courageous and farsighted leaders of Palestine and Israel. Encouraged and supported by Powers from outside, those leaders overcame their fear of committing themselves to a common destiny, and took decisions to agree on mutually reinforcing steps that would lead to a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.
- 2 - Press Release GA/9250 GA/PAL/761 10 June 1997
The prospect of a just and durable peace for the peoples of Palestine and the Middle East is now seriously at risk and has been recently jeopardized due to actions taken by the Israeli Government.
The United Nations should be a vocal critic of those who want to derail the peace process. There are milestone United Nations resolutions that recognize the rights of the Palestinian people to manifest their aspirations for the achievement of its inalienable rights. The Palestinians are arguably among the people whose struggle for a homeland continues to be denied. The international community must continue to support their legitimate cause on the basis of international law, the principles of the United Nations Charter and United Nations resolutions.
The current policy of construction in Jabal Abu Ghneim is merely an extension of an established Israeli policy of systematically altering the character, demographic composition and legal status of Jerusalem. The international community, which we represent here, cannot allow the continued violations of international law, the principles of the United Nations Charter and relevant United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), and other United Nations resolutions, including the recent resolution adopted by the emergency special session of the General Assembly in its resolution ES-10/2. These resolutions underscored the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and of changing the legal status of Jerusalem by altering the character and demographic composition of the Holy City.
Steps by the Israeli Government bent on taking action in defiance of world opinion erodes the confidence and trust so necessary for peace to prevail in the region. Without doubt, the question of Jerusalem remains the crux of the efforts for a lasting peace. Given its critical importance, attempts to change its status cannot be condoned by the international community. The relevant United Nations resolutions on this issue must be complied with by Israel. The status of Jerusalem, the holy city to three major religions of the world, can only be resolved in the final process of peace shared by all in the region and not by unilateral actions taken by the Government of Israel.
Peace must be given a chance to take root and to flourish in Palestine and the region, but peace can only be meaningful and durable if the Palestinians are part of that peace. The international community must not only stand ready to help with words of encouragement, but by substantive action to ensure that peace, justice and stability prevails.
In conclusion, I would like to state that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has done much to contribute to the Palestinian cause by bolstering efforts to promote the decisions of the United Nations regarding the question of Palestine. I take this opportunity to express appreciation to the Committee for its endeavours in the fulfilment of its mandate on the basis of General Assembly resolutions.
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