SPECIAL BULLETIN ON

THE COMMEMORATION OF THE 

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY

WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE 

2000


CONTENTS

Page

I.

Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

1

II.

Texts of statements made and messages delivered on the occasion of the

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

 

 

Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the

Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

3

 

Mr. Harri Holkeri (Finland), President of the fifty-fifth session of the

General Assembly of the United Nations

6

 

Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

8

 

Mr. Peter van Walsum (Netherlands), President of the Security Council

for the month of November 2000

10

 

Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the

Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority,

message delivered by Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine

to the United Nations

11

 

Mr. John de Saram (Sri Lanka), Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the

United Nations and Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli

Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other

Arabs of the Occupied Territories

13

 

Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and Chairman of the

Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered by

Mr. Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, Permanent Representative of South Africa

to the United Nations

14

 

Datuk Seri Seyed Hamid Albar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia,

in his capacity as Chairman of the twenty-seventh session of the

Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers

16

 

General Gnassingbé Eyadéma, President of Togo and Chairman of the

Organization of African Unity, message delivered by Mr. Roland Y. Kpotsra,

Permanent Representative of Togo to the United Nations

17

 

Mr. Ahmed Esmat Abdel Meguid, Secretary-General of the

League of Arab States, message delivered by Mr. Said Kamal,

Under-Secretary-General for Palestine Affairs of the League of Arab States

19

 

Mr. Don Betz, on behalf of the international network of NGOs on

the question of Palestine

22

 

Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the

Palestine Liberation Organization

23

 

Closing statement by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the

Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

25

III.

Messages received on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity

with the Palestinian People

 

A.

Messages from heads of State or Government

 

 

Mr. Burhân-ud-din Rabbâni, President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan

26

 

Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

26

 

Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

27

 

Mr. Vladimir Yermoshin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus

28

 

Mr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil

29

 

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam

29

 

Mr. Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia

30

 

Mr. José Miguel Insulza Salinas, Vice-President of the Republic of Chile

30

 

Mr. Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

30

 

Mr. Fidel Castro Ruz, President of Cuba

31

 

Mr. Glafcos Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

32

 

Mr. Hipólito Mejía Domínguez, President of the Dominican Republic

33

 

Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

33

 

Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana

35

 

Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of the Republic of India

35

 

Mr. K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid, President of the Republic of Indonesia

36

 

Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

37

 

King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

38

 

Mr. Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

38

 

Mr. Pakalitha B. Mosisili, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho

39

 

Mr. Eddie Fenech Adami, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta

39

 

Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

40

 

King Mohammed VI of Morocco

40

 

Mr. Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia

41

 

Mr. Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan

42

 

Mr. Valentin Paniagua Corazao, President of the Republic of Peru

43

 

Mr. Joseph Ejercito Estrada, President of the Republic of the Philippines

43

 

His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar

43

 

Mr. Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation

45

 

Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal

45

 

Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President of the

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

46

 

Lieutenant General Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir,

President of the Republic of the Sudan

47

 

Mr. Chuan Leekpai, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

47

 

Mr. Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of the Republic of Tunisia

48

 

Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Republic of Turkey

49

 

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

50

 

Mr. Hugo Chavez Frias, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

51

 

Mr. Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

52

 

Lieutenant General Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen

52

B.

Messages from Governments

 

 

Burkina Faso

53

 

Central African Republic

53

 

Uruguay

54

C.

Messages from Ministers for ForeignAffairs

 

 

Mr. Adalberto Rodriguez Giavarini, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

International Commerce and Worship of the Republic of Argentina

54

 

Mr. Guillermo Fernández de Soto, Minister for External Relations

of the Republic of Colombia

55

 

Mr. János Martonyi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary

56

 

Mr. Mohammed S. Al-Sahaf, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq

56

 

Mr. Yohei Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

57

 

Mrs. Lila Hanitra Ratsifandrihamanana, Minister for Foreign Affairs

of the Republic of Madagascar

58

 

Mr. Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for

Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman

59

 

Mr. Petre Roman, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania

60

 

Mr. Farouk Al-Shara', Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic

60

 

Mr. Anatoliy Zlenko. Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

61

D.

 

Messages from Permanent Missions to the United Nations

 

Zimbabwe

62

 

E.

Messages from intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters 

 

 

European Union

63

 

Organization of African Unity: Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary-General

64

 

Oganization of the Islamic Conference: Mr. Azeddine Laraki, Secretary-General

65

F.

Messages from specialized agencies of the United Nations system 

 

 

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: 

Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General

66

G.

Messages from non-governmental organizations

 

 

Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue: Mr. Latif Dori, Chairman

66

 

European Coordination Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine:

Mr. Pierre Galand, Chairman

67

 

Federación Palestina del Perú: Dr. César A. Salomón Herrada, Secretary-General

68

 

International Progress Organization : Mr. Robert W. Thabit,

Permanent Representative to the United Nations

69

 

Organización de Solidaridad de los Pueblos de Africa, Asia y América Latina:

Mr. Juan Carretero Ibañez, Secretary-General

70


1

I. COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY

WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

  On 29 November 2000, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was observed at United Nations Headquarters, New York, and at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna, as well as in several other cities, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

  All States Members of the United Nations and specialized agencies and observers were invited to attend the solemn meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

  At the meeting, statements were made by: Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee; Mr. Harri Holkeri (Finland), President of the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly; Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; and Mr. Peter van Walsum (Netherlands), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2000. The Permanent Observer of Palestine, Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, read out a message from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority. Also, Mr. John de Saram (Sri Lanka) made a statement in his capacity as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

  In addition, the representative of South Africa, Mr. Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, delivered a message on behalf of Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, in his capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Datuk Seri Seyed Hamid Albar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, spoke in his capacity as Chairman of the twenty-seventh session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers; Mr. Roland Y. Kpotsra, the representative of Togo, read out a message from General Gnassingbé Eyadéma, President of Togo and Chairman of the Organization of African Unity; and Mr. Said Kamal, Under-Secretary-General for Palestine Affairs of the League of Arab States, read out a message from Mr. Ahmed Esmat Abdel Meguid, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. A statement was also made by Mr. Don Betz, on behalf of the international network of NGOs on the question of Palestine.

  Closing statements were made by Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

  Messages to commemorate the occasion were received from 30 heads of State, 10 heads of Government, 3 Governments, 11 foreign ministers, a permanent mission to the United Nations, as well as the European Union, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Messages were also received from 6 non-governmental organizations.

The Solemn Meeting was followed by the screening of two films in the Trusteeship Council Chamber. In further commemoration of the International Day, an art exhibit entitled “The Land” was presented by the Committee, in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, in the Public Lobby at United Nations Headquarters, from 29 November to 12 December 2000. The aforementioned films were also screened in loop format at the exhibit area, throughout the duration of the exhibit.

  At the United Nations Office at Geneva, a solemn meeting was held on 29 November. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Vladimir Petrovsky, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who opened the meeting by reading out the statement of Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Michael Bartolo, spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Ms. Absa Claude Diallo (Senegal), representative of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, made a statement. Further statements were made by Mr. Saad Alfarargi, representative of the League of Arab States; Mr. Amadou Tidiane Hane, representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Mr. Sipho George Nene, representative of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Ms. Sophie Asimenye Kalinde, representative of the Organization of African Unity; and Ms. Musimbi Kanyoro, representative of non-governmental organizations accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Mr. Nabil Ramlawi, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva, made a statement.

  At the United Nations Office at Vienna, a solemn meeting was also held on 29 November. Mr. Luis García Peraza, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations Office at Vienna, opened the meeting and spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Mr. Francis Maertens, of the United Nations Office at Vienna, delivered the statement of the Secretary-General. Other speakers included Mr. Christian Prosl, Deputy Secretary-General of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria; Mr. Aly Safwat Soliman, Head of Delegation of the League of Arab States and Permanent Observer to the United Nations Office at Vienna; and Mr. Hans Koechler, representative of non-governmental organizations accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Mr. Faisal Aweidah, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Vienna, read out the statement of Chairman Yasser Arafat. Representatives from 35 Member States and Permanent Observer entities, as well as officials of the host country, non-governmental organizations, other invited guests and United Nations staff members attended the meeting.


II. TEXTS OF STATEMENTS MADE AND MESSAGES DELIVERED ON THE

OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH

THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, 2000

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS

OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

Statement by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise

of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]

 It is now more than 20 years that, prompted by a feeling of shared responsibility, we have commemorated each 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People with just such a solemn meeting as we are holding this morning. It is a great honour to welcome so many of you, representatives of Member States or observer States, United Nations organs and bodies, non-governmental organizations or bodies of civil society. The fact that you are here in such numbers proves that the international community, by responding to the invitation extended by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, wishes once again to express its unfailing support for the Palestinian people in its legitimate struggle to recover its inalienable rights. For that, I thank you all.

  Over the past year, the parties to the conflict have succeeded in overcoming some obstacles and even made a certain amount of progress. The Committee welcomed the various measures taken in order to follow up the 1999 Sharm al-Sheikh Memorandum, with reference in particular to the freeing of Palestinian prisoners, the opening of a safe passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip known as the Southern Route, the continued withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank, the resumption of final status negotiations and the signing of agreements by the Israelis and the Palestinians on economic matters and the beginning of construction work on the Gaza port.

  While they had not reached a successful conclusion, the intense discussions held under the auspices of President Clinton at Camp David in July 1999 and the subsequent agreement on principles gave rise to a certain optimism.

  It was therefore a matter for consternation when, at the end of September 2000, the peace negotiations were violently broken off following the visit by Mr. Sharon to the holy site of Al-Haram al-Sharif and the cataclysmic violence provoked by that visit. It is extremely disappointing that, after seven years of arduous negotiation, our shared hope to see the parties reach a final settlement that will lead to the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and, above all, to celebrate the declaration of an independent Palestinian State, a State of Palestine that will be a full member of our organization, has not been realized. We were, however, right to dream of a future of peace, reconciliation and cooperation that would benefit all the peoples of the Middle East, including Israel.

  Currently, the peace process has been brought to an abrupt halt and the region threatens to return to a state of chaos and violence. The resumption of the violence which, in two months, has claimed some 300 dead and thousands of wounded has, unfortunately, created a breach between the parties. It is a matter of the greatest concern to the international community, which is, rightly, making clear its fervent wish that the violence should cease, calm be restored and the parties resume their discussions around the negotiating table.

  In recent weeks the Security Council and the General Assembly, at its resumed tenth emergency special session, have adopted important resolutions in which they reaffirm the rights of the Palestinian people, insist on the obligations of the occupying Power and underline the need to end the violence in order to put the peace process back on track.

  The only, and I stress the only, way open to the parties in the Middle East is to accept and respect in full the resolutions adopted by the United Nations. Unilateral acts and the use of force, however brutal, will never be able to eliminate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people or supplant international legitimacy. Only the full implementation of the recommendations made in the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement of October 2000 and the immediate resumption of the peace talks will put an end to the current crisis. With that in view, both parties must cooperate fully with the United Nations and the sponsors of the peace process.

  We are all well aware that the issues that must still be resolved are extremely complex, highly emotive and of the greatest importance for the future relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians and for the future of all the peoples in the region. There is a difficult road ahead, but with good will and determination the parties will be able to overcome the obstacles and see their endeavours crowned with success. We must hold on to the hope that the Israelis and the Palestinians will respect the letter and the spirit of the bilateral agreements that have been concluded to date and apply them in full, in good faith and with all possible speed.

  If this hope is to be realized, I believe that it is particularly important to end the policy of establishing settlements which is relentlessly pursued by the Israeli party, with little apparent consideration of the peace negotiations it should be conducting. The international community has on many occasions stressed the unacceptable and illegal nature of such settlements, both old and new. The Committee, for its part, has never stopped reiterating that such schemes make profound changes to the shape of the Palestinian territory that is the subject of the negotiations. These illegal actions upset the territorial balance and are likely to predetermine the outcome of the final status negotiations. The establishment of settlement colonies, which are a material manifestation, and therefore the most obvious sign of the occupation, contravene the spirit and the letter of the peace process based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). Today we are seeing the consequences of that policy, and the settlements have become the stage for violent confrontations that have caused enormous suffering and huge losses.

  The situation in the Holy City of Jerusalem is a further matter of the greatest concern to the international community, in view of the various illegal measures that have been taken on the ground and which are intended to modify the status of the Holy City with regard to its demographic composition as well as its physical appearance. I should not have to repeat that the occupying Power should guarantee protection for and access to Muslim and Christian sacred sites.

  The explosion of violence which we have witnessed in recent weeks must be contained if the peace process and the progress towards peace that has been made over several years are not to be fatally compromised.

  In their quest for a shared future of peace, security and prosperity, the parties may always count on the support of the international community and, in particular, the laudable endeavours of the sponsors of the peace process and other parties.

  The international donor community has an important role to play through increasing the economic assistance that it has for a number of years provided to the Palestinian people, which lives in conditions that are made yet more precarious because the occupying Power has imposed a systematic blockade on the Palestinian territory and has just taken draconian financial measures against the Palestinian Authority.

  This international community also has a duty to apply itself urgently to an examination of the modalities for deploying an interposition force between the conflicting parties in order to halt the blood bath and the high loss of human life. That would be a measure of confidence which would not only protect the people but also allow peace to be re-established in confrontation areas and eventually help the members of the commission of enquiry established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) to carry out the mission entrusted to them by the international community.

  The United Nations must continue to carry out its responsibilities with regard to the question of Palestine until such time as all aspects of that question are settled. In this respect, our Committee must thank the Secretary-General of the Organization for the courageous initiatives he has taken and the remarkable efforts he has made, which have helped to revive the discussions between the parties. His ideas, advice and political clear-sightedness have made a major contribution to containing the situation, and the international community has greatly appreciated his positive involvement.

  Last year I said that, at the dawn of the third millennium, we were hopeful that the Palestinian people would finally be able to exercise its inalienable rights and that all the children in the Middle East would face a better future because peace and security had been re-established in the region. If the parties have not been able to seize the chance that was offered at the beginning of this highly symbolic millennium, it is now incumbent upon us to launch a renewed appeal to the sponsors of the peace process, other Governments, the United Nations family, non-governmental organizations and the bodies of civil society, as well as to prominent persons, to make a resolute effort to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement to the Israeli-Arab crisis.

  On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I proclaim once more our unwavering commitment to the realization of the noble objective which we shall continue to pursue, in cooperation with all Member States and all the actors of civil society.

  I should also like to take the opportunity I am offered to express yet again our deep gratitude to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, for the active support which he continues to bring to the activities of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. In his role as a peacemaker, he has never failed to support us, and we are duly grateful.

  I should also like to thank the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council for the interest which they show in the work of our Committee, and for the unremitting attention they accord to the problems of the Middle East.

  It is with great satisfaction that we note the presence of numerous ambassadors bringing messages of support and solidarity. Those messages are a source of inspiration and encouragement not only for the Committee, but also, and above all, for the Palestinian people.

  I have the pleasure to welcome among us the representatives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States, with which our Committee has, since 1997, enjoyed valuable three-way cooperation on the question of Palestine. I should like to thank the Secretaries-General of those two organizations for that cooperation.

  In conclusion, I should like once more to call upon all the representatives of Member States and the representatives of inter- and non-governmental organizations to redouble their efforts in support of the peace process, which must, at all costs, be saved. Whatever the difficulties, the obstacles and the bitterness, the parties have no other alternative to the peace process, which is an irreversible strategic choice.

Mr. Harri Holkeri (Finland), President of the fifty-fifth session 

of the General Assembly of the United Nations

[Original: English]

  It is an honour for me to address this solemn meeting in my capacity as President of the Millennium Assembly of the United Nations. I am following in the steps of my predecessors, who come here every year to reaffirm, in front of you all, the international community’s overwhelming support and commitment to promote the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

  The question of Palestine has been on the United Nations agenda for more than 50 years. It was on 29 November 1947 that the General assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), partitioning Palestine into two States, one Arab and one Jewish, with an economic union between them. Jerusalem was to be placed under a special international regime. This plan was never implemented but it is interesting to note how proposals aimed at breaking the current impasse go back to these or similar arrangements.

  Since the 1991 Middle East peace conference in Madrid, a number of important agreements have been reached by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, signed in 1993, was welcomed by the international community as a significant step towards peace in the Middle East. It showed that it was indeed possible to overcome years of animosity, mistrust and suspicion.

  The path the two sides have embarked upon since has not been an easy one. There have been numerous setbacks in recent years but also many achievements. This year should have been special, in the sense that a final status agreement should have been reached. Instead, in recent weeks we have been witnessing a sharp deterioration of the situation, which challenges the very foundations of the peace process.

  The United Nations has been present throughout all this, consistently upholding the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the norms of international law and human rights, and relevant resolutions. In view of the recent outbreak of violence, the General Assembly and the Security Council responded with urgency and determination. The General Assembly, in its resumed tenth emergency special session in October, condemned the violence and the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians. It reiterated the illegality of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and demanded that the occupying Power abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. The General Assembly supported the establishment of a mechanism of inquiry into the recent tragic events and called for the resumption of peace talks and the speedy conclusion of the final settlement agreement between the two sides.

  I would like to pay special tribute to our Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his role at the recent Sharm el-Sheikh summit and subsequent efforts at ending the violence and bringing the negotiating process back on track. I fully support the efforts of the Secretary-General and his representatives, in coordination with the co-sponsors of the peace process and other interested parties, at ending the current spiral of violence and restarting peaceful negotiations towards a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. With respect to human rights I would like to refer to the recent report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in which she expressed her deep concern about the serious deterioration of the human rights situation. She also noted the importance of the quest for peace with justice and respect for human rights and the need for renewed efforts by both sides to halt the violence.

  As President of the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly, I would like to reaffirm the Assembly’s position that the United Nations should retain a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until it is effectively resolved in all its aspects, in accordance with international law and justice. We are all committed to working towards that goal, guided by respect for the universally recognized principles of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and relevant United Nations resolutions, notably Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The Palestinian people should be able to exercise their inalienable rights, as spelled out by the General Assembly, in particular the right to self-determination without external interference; the right to national independence and sovereignty; and the right to return to their homes and properties or to receive compensation for those choosing not to return.

  For peace to take root and become viable, social and economic development is essential. In particular, it must accompany political agreements and arrangements. In this respect, the international community should step up its efforts at providing much-needed economic assistance to the Palestinian people.

  Allow me, Mr. Chairman, to end my intervention by paying tribute to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which, under your most able and dedicated guidance, has continued to promote the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to support the peace process and to bring the question of Palestine to the forefront of issues dealt with by the General Assembly, the Security Council, the broader United Nations system, as well as international civil society. In implementation of the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly, the Committee has made and continues to make an important contribution to the accomplishment of all these tasks. I wish you every success in your mission.

Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

  [Original: English]

  Allow me first to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for once again inviting me to participate in this annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  This solemn occasion allows us to renew our commitment to the goal of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine – the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict – and express our solidarity with and support for the Palestinian people. Since November 1947, all of my predecessors have been engaged in efforts aimed at finding a fair, equitable and peaceful solution to this complex issue. I pledge to continue to pursue this objective with all the means and resources at my disposal.

  We are meeting today at a very sensitive and difficult period in the peace process. In the course of the past year, the parties have continued to make a determined effort to overcome decades of suspicion and animosity in order to build bridges of reconciliation and partnership. They have succeeded in narrowing gaps on some points and have reached agreements on a number of specific issues. And, in spite of the difficulties in reaching an agreement at Camp David last July, both sides had demonstrated determination to move forward. We were reassured by their resolve and hoped the negotiating momentum would not be lost.

  Regrettably, following the September events in East Jerusalem, the situation on the ground began to escalate, rapidly reaching crisis proportions and putting on hold again the prospects of further negotiations. You may recall that, in the past two months, various parties, including myself, have been working to persuade the two sides to end violence and breathe life into the negotiating process. Throughout my visit to the region, the situation on the ground in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip remained extremely tense and volatile.

  The understandings reached at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit were viewed as a critical first step towards restoring the status quo ante, resuming the peace process and setting up a mechanism to inquire into the causes of violence. To achieve this, it was absolutely essential for the parties to implement these understandings in full and in good faith. Earlier this month, I welcomed the appointment by President Clinton of a committee of fact-finding, established in accordance with the understandings reached at Sharm el-Sheikh. I was also hopeful that the committee would carry out its duties with impartiality and thoroughness, and that it would thereby make an important contribution towards the search for a just and lasting peace.

  As the situation deteriorated, I appealed to the leadership of the two sides to refrain from making emotional public statements and weigh their words with great care. The same should apply to the wider international community. We all should do our best to assist the Palestinians and the Israelis in their truly historic quest for peace. I would like to seize this opportunity to call upon the parties once again to preserve the achievements of the past nine years of the peace process and steadily move ahead along the path of peace and reconciliation.

  Let me also add that there is one issue that is viewed by Palestinians and many others as a principal cause of the present crisis. I am referring to the continued confiscation and destruction of Palestinian property and the construction and expansion of settlements and roads in the occupied territories. These actions seriously complicate the discussions by the parties of the permanent status issues.

  The worsening of the situation on the ground in the past several weeks has had an extremely damaging effect on the Palestinian economy. Repeated border and internal closures have led to a dramatic deterioration in the living conditions of the Palestinians, whose economy is largely dependent on that of Israel. As a result of the conflict, the unemployment and poverty rates have risen considerably after several years of improvement. There is a growing sense of despair, frustration and anger among

Palestinians. This is why it is absolutely essential to restore calm as soon as possible, and to revive the peace negotiations, in order also to restart the economy.

  United Nations agencies, such as United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and many others, continue to support the peace process by helping to lay the economic and social foundations for a sustainable peace. These efforts have focused on developing Palestinian infrastructure, strengthening institutional capacity and improving the quality of daily life for millions of Palestinians.

  For more than half a century, UNRWA has been providing varied humanitarian assistance and essential basic services to some 3.7 million Palestinians registered with the Agency. I would like to use this occasion to call once again upon donors to provide UNRWA with the resources it requires to keep up with the rising needs of the refugee community. Donor assistance is especially vital now, at a time of crisis and economic hardship.

  The United Nations development system has brought extensive multilateral and bilateral assistance to the Palestinian people. UNDP, often in cooperation with other United Nations agencies and individual donor Governments, has been involved in a wide range of development and rehabilitation projects and programmes. This work includes, among other things, poverty alleviation, capacity-building, institutional development, health care, agriculture and environment, as well as activities in other areas.

  The United Nations is also supporting the peace process through the efforts of Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and my Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority. During the past year, Mr. Larsen has worked closely with the various parties in the region in order to provide them with political support, and to coordinate United Nations assistance in the areas of development and peace efforts. I would also like to mention here the important work carried out by the Humanitarian Task Force for Emergency Needs, headed by the Special Coordinator, in coordinating international assistance for urgent humanitarian needs. To date, the Task Force has coordinated over US$ 9 million in such assistance.

  In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the full commitment of the United Nations to supporting the parties through the peace process.

  I can also assure you that the United Nations will continue to provide the various forms of assistance to the Palestinian people until a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine is achieved and peace and prosperity prevail in the region of the Middle East.

  Allow me to commend the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for 25 years of untiring and dedicated work. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Committee and to you, Mr. Chairman, for organizing this annual observance. I wish you every success in your important mission.

Mr. Peter van Walsum (Netherlands), President of the

Security Council for the month of November 2000

  [Original: English]

  Allow me, first of all, to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the kind invitation extended to me, in my capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of November, to participate in the annual commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This is a special event, through which the international community demonstrates its solidarity with the Palestinian people and its enduring commitment to the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, in accordance with United Nations resolutions.

  The question of Palestine has been at the top of the United Nations agenda for more than 50 years. In the exercise of its responsibilities under the Charter, the Security Council has been involved directly and has played a crucial role in this. Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), in particular, are broadly recognized as the basis for any viable solution to this question. As President of the Council, I am really gratified by the fact that virtually all agreements and understandings reached by the parties in recent years, including those of the last few months, make explicit reference to the aforementioned resolutions.

  As always, the members of the Security Council have been following closely the situation on the ground, as well as the developments in the peace process. We had been encouraged by the measure of progress achieved by the parties at Camp David last July, despite the inconclusive end of the Summit. We look forward to a prompt and comprehensive agreement, which at times did look imminent. Regrettably, we witnessed a major outbreak of violence in late September. This remains a grave concern and preoccupation of the Council. The Council acted promptly in response to the situation and the escalating violence by adopting, on 7 October, resolution 1322 (2000).

  The Sharm el-Sheikh understandings were a welcome step, as they provided an opportunity to end the vicious circle of violence and get the negotiations back on track. On behalf of the Council, I wish to extend the condolences of the members of the Security Council to the families of all the victims. I regret to note that events on the ground have not been helpful, leading to greater animosity, tragic loss of life, destruction of property and infrastructure, and the dismantling of those psychological and symbolic bridges that the parties had been building over the last decade, with the assistance of the co-sponsors of the peace process and the broader international community. In this respect, I would like once again to call upon the parties to abide by those understandings and to implement them swiftly and in full. We hope that the serious blow delivered to the peace process by the recent clashes can be overcome and that the process can soon be resumed with a view to achieving a final settlement.

  The five-member fact-finding committee, which has already been appointed in consultation with the parties and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, should take up its responsibilities as soon as possible.

  The Council will remain seized of the situation in the Middle East and will continue to explore ways of normalizing the situation. In this process we benefit from the invaluable support of the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, who maintains direct contact with the parties, offers encouragement for constructive steps to be taken and advises on courses of action that could lead to de-escalation. The Council is indeed grateful to the Secretary-General for his close personal involvement, discreet and yet forceful work and dedication. It recalls the Secretary-General’s mandate from the Council to pursue his good offices with the parties.

  We are hopeful that the two sides will soon return to the negotiating table in the spirit of renewed confidence and will be able to make up for the lost time and goodwill. This is the only way to achieve tangible and lasting results. Stirring up differences, mistrust and suspicion will only lead to the perpetuation of mutual misery and destruction. Bridges have to be rebuilt and a real sense of partnership established. The parties should realize that, instead of confronting each other, they should join forces to confront the common problems associated with their unavoidable coexistence. If they accept each other as equal partners and manage their relationship wisely, they can both reap significant benefits.

  The Security Council appreciates the efforts of the international community aimed at assisting the parties in overcoming the many hurdles in the way of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. This is the only way that the long-running Arab-Israeli conflict can come to an end and peace, stability and prosperity can take root in the Middle East.

  In conclusion, on behalf of all the members of the Security Council, I would like to assure you that the Council will continue to exercise in full its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations as regards the question of Palestine. We shall remain committed to the goal of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, for the benefit of all parties concerned, including, of course, the Palestinian people.

Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the

Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority,

message delivered by Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa,

Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations 

  [Original: Arabic]

  On the occasion of this solemn meeting being held by the United Nations on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am pleased to transmit to you, and through you to the international community as a whole, the greetings of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership. We convey to you our deep thanks for your enduring solidarity and for your continuing support to the struggle of the Palestinian people to secure the exercise of its inalienable rights, including the right to establish its independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

  It had been expected that the International Day of Solidarity would this year arrive as we were celebrating Palestine's admission as a Member of the United Nations and with the achievement of peace between Palestine and Israel. The sad reality is, however, otherwise, and the Palestinian people is instead being subjected to a bloody military campaign that the occupying Power is waging for reasons that appear to include an attempt to break the political will of our people and its leadership and to impose on it unacceptable solutions. Since the calamitous visit of Sharon to the Haram al-Sharif on 28 September last and our people's ample protest against it and against the maintenance of the Israeli occupation, Israel has made use of its colossal military machine, including heavy weapons such as tanks and helicopters, and has inflicted terrible human and material losses on our people. The number of Palestinian martyrs has exceeded 300 and there have been more than 10,000 wounded, about one third of them children under the age of 18 and large numbers of them still in serious condition. The occupation forces have also inflicted extensive damage on our cities, villages and camps and have imposed a military blockade on them that has prevented the movement of persons and goods, thereby exacerbating the suffering of our people to an unbearable degree and inflicting far-reaching damage on a vulnerable Palestinian economy.

  The world has expressed its condemnation of this Israeli aggression against our people and has called for a halt to Israeli acts of repression and for a return to the peace process. At the United Nations, as you know, the Security Council has adopted resolution 1322 (2000) and the General Assembly, at its resumed tenth emergency special session, has adopted resolution ES-10/7. While we appreciate the positions taken by the international community, we nevertheless point out that the resolutions in question have yet to be implemented. What is now required is the demonstration of ever greater solidarity with our people and the adoption of an unequivocal international stance so that Israel will comply with these resolutions and with international law and, in particular, international humanitarian law. We now urge that there must be full implementation of resolution 1322 (2000) and effective action by the international fact-finding committee with a view to determining the truth with respect to what happened and ensuring that there is no recurrence. We also call for the provision of international protection to Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation, and we believe that the proper way to achieve this objective is the establishment of a United Nations force of observers to be deployed in all localities occupied by Israel since 1967.

  The aforesaid essential steps would doubtless help to halt the Israeli campaign against our people, and this would be conducive to the restoration of calm to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and to the region in general. It would then be possible, given the necessary political will on the Israeli side, to resume the peace process and to reach a final agreement between the two sides. We remain committed to the peace process and to the endeavour for such an agreement provided that there is a commitment to the basis for this process, namely Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace, and subject to the realization of the rights of the Palestinian people, including its right to establish an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

  We stress the importance of your solidarity – as well as that of all brothers and friends and all those who cherish peace, freedom and justice – with the Palestinian people in the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves and in the short period of time that remains to us to achieve independence and to build our democratic society in Palestine so that we may subsequently, God willing, participate actively alongside other States in the international system and contribute to the strengthening of global peace and the building of a better world for all the peoples of the planet.

  Allow me, lastly, to offer high commendation of the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and to its Chairman, Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, for their sustained efforts to secure these rights in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. I should also like to commend the efforts of His Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi A. Annan, whose important and intensive endeavours for the restoration of peace and the achievement of the necessary agreements in the region we have recently witnessed. We believe in the enduring responsibility of the United Nations vis-à-vis the question of Palestine, and we believe that the United Nations will play an active and decisive role in the coming period. We also welcome the efforts made by many parties to support the peace process and their endeavours for the formulation of the necessary solutions. We call upon all these parties to step up their efforts, in coordination with the co-sponsors of the peace process and the United Nations, so as to ensure the wide participation that will inevitably help advance the peace process.

   I salute you once more, on behalf of the Palestinian people and its leadership, and I thank you for all your efforts. I invite you to maintain and intensify these efforts so that we may together move on from the present crisis to a lasting and comprehensive peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East as a whole.

Mr. John de Saram (Sri Lanka), Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka

to the United Nations and Chairman of the Special Committee 

to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights 

of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

 [Original: English]

  I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me – as the Chair of the Special Committee established by the General Assembly to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories – to be present on this solemn occasion and to address this distinguished gathering.

  To the Palestinian people I have honour to convey the Special Committee’s profound respects and good wishes.

  Each year, the Special Committee has, as required by its mandate, reported to the General Assembly with reference to such difficulties in the occupied territories as: settlements and the tense relations that obtain around settlements; confiscations of land; water supply for domestic and agricultural use; restrictions on movement of persons and goods; “closures” of Gaza and the West Bank; treatment of prisoners and detainees; residence in East Jerusalem; travel between Gaza and the West Bank, and between the West Bank and East Jerusalem; and economic and social conditions in the occupied territories.

  The Special Committee has informed the General Assembly that there is – undoubtedly because of the overall tensions that cloud life in the occupied territories – a comprehensive and elaborate system of laws and regulations and administrative measures in place that affect all aspects of the lives of the peoples of the occupied territories and infringe, significantly and substantially, on their human rights, in a manner that is not in accord with what are now regarded as international standards of human rights and humanitarian values.

  Tragic, overwhelmingly shocking events have unfortunately, as we know, also taken place in the occupied territories since the end of September. The Special Committee is profoundly distressed at: the magnitude of the force used by the Israeli authorities; the disproportionately large number of Palestinians killed and wounded; the nature of the weaponry utilized by Israeli authorities concerned; the closures and restrictions that affect Palestinian areas and the movement of Palestinians. This is a state of affairs that unfortunately appears to continue, in depressing cycles of ever increasing violence.

  Where there was once hope there is now death and destruction and a turning away from endeavours for peace.

  To those who have lost loved ones in the violence, I convey on behalf of the Special Committee the most heartfelt sympathies and condolences.

  Where deep human emotions are in conflict, as they are and have been for much too long in the occupied territories; where a mood of frustration and hopelessness pervades, as has been the case for much too long in the occupied territories; where tensions are always close to dangerous and explosive levels, as has happened far too often in the occupied territories – then, if violence is not to engulf all, sensitivity and thoughtfulness are the essential overarching requirements.

  We most profoundly hope that the processes of peace will soon prevail and that steps will once again resume along that difficult and necessary path that all must tread if a just, comprehensive and lasting peace long-awaited by all the peoples of the region may be satisfactorily concluded.

Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and Chairman of the Movement of

Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered by Mr. Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo,

Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations 

[Original: English]

  On behalf of the people of South Africa and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, I extend warm greetings to all Palestinians on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, whether in Palestine or in the Diaspora.

  Allow me first of all to convey the Non-Aligned Movement’s deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of victims of the ongoing attacks of the Israeli security forces on Palestinians. We decry the excessive and disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army.

  At this occasion last year, we were filled with hope for a future which appeared so promising because of the truly encouraging developments and the positive steps that had been taken to move the peace process forward. It is therefore with sadness that we have to commemorate this important day this year amid violent conflict, a situation far removed from our visions of last year.

  As Chair of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, I wish to reiterate our common conviction that just and lasting peace can only be achieved through peaceful negotiations. We believe that the first priority on the road towards that aim should be the cessation of violence. This can be achieved through concrete steps. Firstly, it is of the highest importance that Israeli troops should be withdrawn at least to the positions that they occupied before 28 September, the day of Mr. Ariel Sharon’s fateful and provocative visit to the Haram al-Sharif.

  Furthermore, the illegal measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian people, such as the total blockade of the Palestinian territories and the economic embargo placed on Palestine, should be ended forthwith. We note that, following the 2 November understanding reached between President Arafat and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, President Arafat has made several calls for calm while Prime Minister Barak did not give effect to that agreement, because of the explosion in West Jerusalem the next day. Only when these conditions have been met can it realistically be expected that President Arafat’s calls for calm will be heeded.

  The international community can make a meaningful contribution to the restoration of calm and the rebuilding of the trust that has been shattered in the past two months. I want to take this opportunity to renew our call for the immediate stationing, in the occupied Palestinian territories, of an international observer force under the auspices of the United Nations. As Israel has no legitimate jurisdiction in the occupied Palestinian territories, the South African Government does not understand why Israel should be allowed to exercise a veto over the deployment of such a force.

  It is of the greatest importance and urgency that good faith negotiations between Palestine and Israel should resume, once calm has returned to the region. It has become clear that the Oslo process,

which carried on for more than seven years prior to the recent outbreak of violence, has had major flaws. These relate directly to the manner in which Palestinians on the street experience the results of the peace process. Although the Oslo process has brought a visible improvement in, inter alia, Palestinian infrastructure, by and large it has brought a much more intrusive Israeli security presence into ordinary Palestinian lives by the need to cross interminable checkpoints that have sprung up around every Palestinian urban centre. This could be offset in the past when there was progress in the negotiations and the implementation of agreements. However, this has all dried up and there is no tangible evidence for anyone in the Palestinian streets of a peace dividend any longer. Now there is just the daily humiliation of enduring Israeli roadblocks and the interminable arrogance and provocation of Israeli settlers in Palestine.

  It therefore seems improbable that the Oslo process can simply be resumed without considerable amendment. The South African Government believes that the United Nations, as the organization entrusted with the safeguarding and promotion of world peace, should play a central role in future negotiations, whatever the context or formula for a resumed peace process. Major players such as the European States, various Middle Eastern States and others can also make a meaningful contribution to building peace and should be allowed to play a role.

  To a considerable degree, future negotiations should be about the modalities for the implementation of the existing international consensus enshrined in United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which call for Israeli withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied since the 1967 war. The Security Council has also recognized the principle of the self-determination of the Palestinian people and has, conversely, provided for Arab recognition of the right of Israel to exist within secure borders. “ Land for peace” is the only viable option.

  To all our Palestinian brothers and sisters, I wish to reiterate that their struggle is for a legitimate cause. In September this year the Foreign Ministers of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries reaffirmed the Movement’ ;s traditional and long-standing solidarity with the Palestinian people and its support for the implementation of all United Nations resolutions on the question of Palestine, in their declaration in the context of the Millennium Assembly.

  Allow me, therefore, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and particularly on behalf of the Republic of South Africa, to reiterate our commitment to invigorate our support for and solidarity with your legitimate struggle for freedom and equality as a sovereign member of the family of nations. In effect, it is an affront to all humanity that, while we are dealing with the challenges of and aspirations for the new millennium, our Palestinian brothers and sisters are still hankering for their basic human rights and, as a nation, for the realization of their right to self-determination. It is inexcusable that, more than 50 years after the United Nations affirmed the right of Palestinians to sovereign statehood and more than 30 years after the United Nations Security Council, in a binding decision, called upon Israel to withdraw from all the Arab territories that it had occupied in the war of June 1967, the suffering and humiliation of foreign military occupation still continue.

 

Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, 

in his capacity as Chairman of the twenty-seventh session of the Islamic

Conference of Foreign Ministers

 [Original: English]

  I am deeply honoured to join you and others for this annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We have come together every year to express our support for the people and leadership of Palestine in their quest for a just and comprehensive solution to the question of Palestine, which undeniably lies at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This event also reminds us of the pressing need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace throughout the Middle East.

  It is with deep regret and sorrow that our observance this year is taking place against a backdrop of escalating violence and the gravely deteriorating situation on the ground. Malaysia rejects and condemns the excessive use of force by Israel against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. We cannot afford to remain silent in the face of the continued flagrant violations of the rights of the Palestinian people living under occupation. The current onslaught against them is a clear manifestation of a consistent policy of harassment, intimidation and suppression pursued for decades by Israel, the occupying Power. When human rights are violated, silence simply means condoning such actions. This is tantamount to penalizing the unfortunate victims.

  To date over 280 Palestinians have been killed – most of them innocent civilians, including children – and over 3,000 wounded as a result of the disproportionate and excessive use of force by Israeli security forces. As most aptly described by Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the reality of life for Palestinians in the current crisis had been one of “grinding, petty humiliations, discriminations and inequalities” that are “ultimately dehumanizing”. Malaysia deeply mourns the senseless deaths and offers its profound condolences to the bereaved families as well as to the Palestinian Authority and the people of Palestine.

  Malaysia also calls upon Israel to rein in the high-handed actions of its security forces and to bring to justice those directly and wilfully responsible for these tragic deaths. These actions constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which is applicable to all the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. The United Nations has a clear responsibility to put an end to violations of the Convention, as well as to ensure the safety and protection of civilians, especially children. The international community must ensure that all appropriate actions are taken to curb the continuing violence and to ensure the protection of innocent civilians – hence the importance and urgent establishment of a United Nations protection force which is now being considered by the Security Council.

  As a member of the community of nations, Israel cannot continue to turn a deaf ear to the numerous pronouncements of the international community, the latest being Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000; resolution S-5/1 of 27 October 2000, adopted by the fifth special session of the Commission on Human Rights; and resolution ES 10-7 dated 1 November 2000, adopted by the resumed tenth emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly. These resolutions, among others, have called upon Israel to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949. They demanded the immediate cessation of violence, and that all necessary steps be taken to ensure that the violence ceases. They also demanded that new provocative actions be avoided, and that the situation return to normality in a way which promotes the prospects for the Middle East peace process.

  A just and lasting peace can only be achieved with the complete withdrawal of Israeli armed forces and illegal settlers from all Arab and Palestinian lands occupied since 1967, including the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and occupied Syrian Golan. The people of Palestine have the inalienable right to establish an independent and sovereign State of their own, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its undisputed capital. To this end, Malaysia calls upon Israel to comply with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1322 (2000), and all other relevant resolutions.

  Malaysia applauds President Arafat’s unflinching commitment to the peace process. We recognize that his decision to defer the declaration of the independence of Palestine is a clear manifestation of this commitment as well as his great restraint and statesmanship. Malaysia stands firmly by the side of Palestine in its struggle and in this regard strongly supports President Arafat’s efforts towards declaring the establishment of an independent State of Palestine. We also appreciate the efforts made by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in consultation with the relevant parties so as to bring an end to the long-drawn-out Middle East conflict.

  The time has come for us to call for stronger action by this Organization as well as those States that have the capacity to act, with the same enthusiasm in dealing with the Palestinian issue as they do with respect to problems in other parts of the world. At this critical juncture we should renew and reinvigorate our collective efforts to support the struggle of the people of Palestine for self-determination and for an independent and sovereign homeland and the quest for peace and security in the region. This meeting, today, provides us with the opportunity to manifest our continuing support for and solidarity with the people and leadership of Palestine in this quest, which they continue to deserve.

General Gnassignbé Eyadéma, President of Togo and Chairman of the Organization

of African Unity, message delivered by Mr. Roland Y. Kpotsra, Permanent

Representative of Togo to the United Nations

  [Original: French]

  The commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has a particular significance for the Organization of African Unity and the African States.

  Ever since it was established, the pan-African organization has demonstrated unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people and has never faltered in its support for that people’s aspiration to self-determination.

  Today, despite the progress that has been made over recent years, we are deeply preoccupied by the obstacle that has been placed in the path of the peace process, and movement towards the complete independence and self-determination of the Palestinian people has once again reached an impasse.

  The intolerable resurgence of violence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip over the past three months has, unfortunately, polarized the positions of both sides.

  It is therefore to be hoped that the parties concerned will make every effort to implement unconditionally the ceasefire agreement concluded at Sharm el-Sheikh on 17 October 2000, in order to end the hostilities and re-establish confidence between the Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

  We should like to see the international commission responsible for determining the causes of the recent explosion of violence carry out its mission and submit its report as soon as possible. We also hope that all the protagonists will abide fully by its conclusions.

  In this respect, we welcome the endeavours which the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the sponsors of the peace process continue to exert with a view to inducing the parties to honour the undertakings to which they made a commitment at Sharm el-Sheikh and work towards bringing lasting peace to the region by ending the violence and returning to the negotiating table.

  It cannot be said too often, however, that there is no question but that the peoples of the Middle East will only know lasting peace, stability and security through an amicable pursuit of the peace process based on the relevant Security Council resolutions and the principle of land for peace, and a more resolute political determination on the part of all the parties concerned.

  We are therefore taking the opportunity offered by this Day of observance to urge, yet again, President Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ehud Barak to spare no effort to ensure that the peace talks disrupted by the tragic events that continue to bathe the occupied Palestinian territory in blood are rapidly resumed.

  It is also appropriate here to recall that the General Assembly has, on many occasions, reaffirmed that the United Nations has permanent responsibility with regard to the question of Palestine until that question is satisfactorily resolved in accordance with international legitimacy.

  The United Nations must therefore use all its influence in order to ensure that fanaticism of any kind does not bring about a return to the politics of despair and that the obstinate rejection of signed undertakings does not end by compromising the security of the whole Middle East.

  The Organization of African Unity and the African States are hopeful that the States Members of the United Nations will do all they can to allow the United Nations to assist in bringing about a peaceful settlement to the question of Palestine.

  That being said, we would like to warmly congratulate the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the unremitting efforts they exert with a view to realizing that noble objective.

  May God bless those efforts and permit the return of lasting peace to the Middle East.

Mr. Ahmed Esmat Abdel Meguid, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States ,

message delivered by Mr. Said Kamal, Under-Secretary-General 

for Palestine Affairs of the League of Arab States

  [Original: Arabic]

  On behalf of the League of Arab States, I wish to convey the greetings of the Secretary-General, Mr. Ahmad Esmat Abdel Meguid, as well as his appreciation of all the efforts that the Committee, Member States and organizations are making in solidarity with the Palestinian people and its just cause.

  It is a great honour for me to represent the Secretary-General of the League at this international commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, who more than ever before need the support and assistance of the international community to provide protection and end the aggression unleashed against them by the forces of the Israeli occupation. With that help the Palestinian people will be able to exercise their inalienable national rights, including their right to self-determination and to establish their own independent State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

  In that connection, we express our gratitude and appreciation for the political and material support provided to the Palestinian people by the United Nations, its organs and specialized agencies. I wish to extend special thanks to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, its members and its Chairman, the Permanent Representative of Senegal, Ambassador Ibra Deguène Ka.

  Every year on this date we meet to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and to review the ongoing Israeli policies that are the source of that people’s continuing tragedy and that deprive Palestinians of the rights set out by international law and resolutions of international legitimacy. The Israeli spirit of aggression in recent days and months has reached an unconscionable and unacceptable extent. On behalf of the League of Arab States, I have frequently warned from this very podium of the serious consequences of those policies for the Palestinian people, the stability and security of the region, and the vital interests of other States.

  I need not repeat today what I have said in the past with regard to Israeli policies that are inimical to peace, as the positions held by those represented here permit them to follow the daily aggression and oppression unleashed against the Palestinian people, as well as the abuse and sabotage of the Middle East peace process by Israel. I will confine myself to quoting a paragraph from my statement last year on this occasion.

  “Such Israeli practices and ideas strip the peace process of its essence and undermine its foundations. They threaten eventually to explode the region and return it to a spiral of violence: people cannot tolerate injustice forever, especially on core questions of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, such as Al-Quds, settlements, the rights of refugees and self-determination.” (A/AC.183/PV.249, p. 20)

  Recent developments have confirmed our explicit warning. On 28 September 2000, bloody events broke out in Al-Quds Al-Sharif and spread to all other occupied Palestinian territories and to Israel itself. That took place in the wake of a provocative visit by the leader of the extremist Likud party, Mr. Ariel Sharon, with the support of the current Israeli Government. Mr. Sharon violated the sanctity of the esplanade of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, thereby offending the feelings of Palestinians and others in the Islamic and Christian worlds. As is well known, there was no religious reason for that provocative visit. Instead, it was an example of simple disregard for the Holy Places and an attempt to manipulate them for partisan, domestic and external purposes. The Israeli leadership probably even took a strategic or tactical decision to eliminate the Palestinian leadership and return the peace process to square one, something that would have extremely grave results.

  The forces of Israeli occupation have used brutal and excessive force against unarmed Palestinians, targeting sensitive parts of their bodies. They have targeted children in particular. They have not hesitated to use every sort of weapon – including tanks, planes and rockets – to strike at residential neighbourhoods and centres and at the offices of the Palestinian National Authority. Those attacks have led to the deaths of hundreds of martyrs and to thousands of injuries, in addition to paralysing life in the Palestinian territories. Of course, to those effects must be added the results of the embargo, isolation and collective punishment.

  The mass media and international human rights organizations have already given a clear picture of the brutal aggression perpetrated against the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation forces. I would, however, like to condemn in the strongest terms possible the aggression perpetrated against the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Mary Robinson, by Zionist settlers while she carried out her duties in the Palestinian territories. This was a blatant violation of the principles and norms of international law. It also underscores Israel’s cynical disregard for the institutions of the international community, foremost among which is the United Nations, and also underscores the brutality of the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.

  Given this serious situation, the Arab, regional and international response has been unanimous condemnation of Israeli aggression and affirmation of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, as well as support for their just struggle to regain those rights. The extraordinary Arab summit convened in Cairo on 21 and 22 October 2000 illustrated the national unanimity of Arab solidarity from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. That solidarity supports the struggle of Palestinians for their sovereignty and dignity and for all they hold sacred. Arab leaders at that meeting held Israel responsible for plunging the region back into tension and violence through its use of aggression and embargoes. It also condemned its violation of the norms of international law and the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Israel’s actions have practically destroyed peace efforts in the region. It seems that the leadership of Israel has failed to understand the clear political statement issued by that Arab summit. That statement was, and continues to be, a clear warning.

  The summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, held at Doha from 12 to 14 November, affirmed the solidarity of the Islamic world with the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain its rights. Like the Arab summit, it held Israel responsible for the events in the Palestinian territories. Support for the intifada of the Palestinian people has come also from the Non-Aligned Movement, from friendly States in Europe and from numerous human rights organizations and committees. That support reflects a noble position that deserves our thanks and our appreciation.

  The League of Arab States once again recalls the decisions of Arab and Muslim leaders, and calls for the establishment of an impartial international United Nations fact-finding committee to identify the causes of and the responsibility for the serious deterioration of the situation in the Palestinian territories and the massacres perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people. That should take place on the basis of Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000, the 19 October 2000 resolution of the fifth special session of the Commission on Human Rights, and the 20 October 2000 resolution of the General Assembly. The League of Arab States also urgently calls upon the Security Council to keep under review developments in the Palestinian territories, because these pose a threat to international peace and security, and to join the General Assembly in shouldering its responsibility to provide international protection for the Palestinian people chafing under the yoke of Israeli occupation. We call upon the United Nations to continue to shoulder that responsibility until the Palestinian people regains all its inalienable rights in Palestine, in accordance with the legitimate demands of the international community.

  The ongoing Palestinian intifada and support for that intifada are not incompatible with the Arab and Palestinian peoples’ belief in the strategic option of a just peace. In no sense do they mean responding to the calls to engage in the war that Israel is trying to impose on the unarmed Palestinian people and on the entire region by deploying its military arsenal – tanks, aircraft and missiles – to confront children who have nothing but stones with which to defend themselves.

  By its very essence, the intifada sends a complex message to the Israelis and to the entire world: that the Palestinian people is tired of waiting for its legitimate rights, that it is tired of procrastination and that it can no longer tolerate further oppression by the occupying Power. The Palestinian people has provided sufficient opportunities for a just peace in the region and has taken sufficient initiatives, none of which, regrettably, have met with understanding or responsiveness from the Israeli side. The message of the intifada is also that the Palestinian people, while committed to the United Nations principle of renouncing war and terrorism, holds fast to its legitimate rights of self-defence and self-determination, which it is determined to gain by all means accepted by international legitimacy for peoples and nations chafing under the yoke of occupation.

  It is time for the Israelis to grow wise, to understand the opportunity to build peace in the region and to bear in mind the human, psychological and economic costs of war. It is time for the Israeli leadership to reconsider its position and to stop the forces of extremism, whether they be military or political, from exercising the arrogance of power and engaging in a policy of aggression and domination. Israel must realize that peace has to be comprehensive and just, and that it can be so only if Israel complies with the norms of international legitimacy, especially Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the principle of land for peace and General Assembly resolution 194 (III) regarding the right of return and compensation for Palestine refugees. This would enable the Palestinian people to exercise its legitimate rights, foremost among them the right to self-determination and the right to establish an independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. Otherwise, the Palestinian people’s intifada will continue and escalate in successive waves in the context of a balance of terror. It will gain support from a long history of steadfastness, from broad international support and from the fact that all Arab States will continue to stand by the Palestinian people until it gains its national rights.

  The establishment of peace in the Middle East is more crucial than ever before. The experience of the past 10 years of the peace process has provided numerous lessons that must be learned for the future. The Committee understands the importance of strict compliance with the terms of reference for peace on the basis of the resolutions of international legitimacy, not only because they are the legitimate and logical terms of reference accepted by the international community, but also so that time will not be wasted in a maze of explications and interpretations.

  The Committee understands also that sponsorship of the Middle East peace process solely by the United States of America must not be divorced from the spirit of the international terms of reference or from the spirit of balance and impartiality. Otherwise, how can the United States be the major sponsor of the peace process while that process is being destroyed by its strategic ally, Israel, which is using American weapons to kill hundreds and to wound thousands of unarmed Palestinians?

  If Israel is not ready for peace on the basis of the international terms of reference, but still dreams of imposing its racist concept of peace – having wasted 10 years in prevarication and in evading even the commitments to which it has agreed – the next phase of the peace process will require that serious consideration be given to the provision of international protection for the Palestinian people from the oppression of Israeli military arrogance, and to the imposition of sanctions against Israel for violating the norms of international legitimacy and the resolutions of the United Nations. Responsibility for ensuring the success of the next phase of the peace process lies primarily with the United States of America, with the other permanent members of the Security Council and with the United Nations as the competent international organization.

Mr. Don Betz, on behalf of the international network of NGOs 

on the question of Palestine

 [Original: English]

  We are gathered for this solemn meeting in the house of peace at a moment of unparalleled peril for the Palestinian people. In my capacity as the Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee on the Question of Palestine, I have had the honour of representing the world’s network of NGOs actively committed to the question of Palestine at this honourable event on several occasions since 1982. I have heard eloquent appeals for solidarity with the people of Palestine for many years. But rarely has there been a time in the struggle for Palestinian individual and national rights when the costs have been so grave. At this time, international protection for the Palestinian nation must be on the daily agenda of the United Nations and on the priority list of every Member State committed to peace and justice in the Middle East. Survival of the people may literally depend on the clear, focused attention of the world’s States and the gathering place they have created, the United Nations.

  Each day the world’s media report the grim and steadily increasing number of dead and wounded in occupied Palestine. Each day the toll rises in both columns. Each day the antiseptic press admits that “most of those killed or wounded are Palestinian”. In this chamber and among NGOs dedicated to support the creation of the state of Palestine, the harsh realities of such reporting are written in the names, ages and description of the injuries that Palestinians are suffering each day. Many Americans think that the daily clashes that have become almost monotonous to most of them are occurring in Israel. The fact of the occupation is now lost on a world preoccupied with a thousand distractions, including monitoring the world’s global financial markets. The issue of Palestine and peace in the Middle East is not foremost in the global public’s mind. The raw and protracted injustice of this reality does not command the sustained interest of a cyber-preoccupied, self-indulgent world.

  First and foremost, the immediate issue before us must be saving lives, so that parents and their children may actually be able to live that peace all of us daily dream of, and strive for, in thought, word and deed. Today peace is an orphan, almost a myth among the reports of gunships destroying buildings, reports that it is the Palestinians who have Israel under siege, and the inexorable daily tally of the dead and wounded, most of them young and disfigured for life. The scars of this national, sustained cry for independence and for assistance are indelibly written on the faces and maimed bodies of the children of Palestine.

  NGOs have been speaking, writing, gathering, lobbying and demonstrating about the impact of this injustice and proclaiming their support for United Nations resolutions on peace and justice in the Middle East for many years. There has been a close association between the NGO movement and the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People since the 1983 United Nations International Conference on the Question of Palestine. NGOs have assumed increasingly relevant roles on international issues and the work of the United Nations. The Secretary-General reminded us earlier this year that it is in collaboration among nation-States, international organizations and NGOs that an effective, active coalition can be assembled to tackle the problems of the planet that eclipse the ability of any one actor to satisfactorily resolve. NGOs remain unswervingly committed to the United Nations and its relevant resolutions as the only effective pathway to peace. The collapse of the peace process, which conspicuously bypassed the United Nations, clearly confirms the accuracy of this NGO vision. One nation alone, even a super-Power, cannot produce this peace between the parties when its policies and relations are consistently and overwhelmingly biased in favor of one party.

  The NGO network firmly believes that it is time to return to the United Nations as epicenter of any international search for peace, and for the United Nations to step forward and fulfil the convener role. Any serious path to peace has been directly or indirectly connected to Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and to the United Nations. It is time to return this global organization to its rightful place at the center of new resolve. And there is not a moment to spare. Though it is 26 years old, the land-for-peace formula squarely addresses the illegality of protracted occupation and reminds us that, despite sophistry to the contrary, whole sections of international law, the law of responsible nations, squarely apply to the question of Palestine.

  This is Day 61 of the new intifada and the number of dead and wounded will increase at the expense of Palestinian youth and their mourning families. For many NGOs this stark reality means that genuine progress to end the confrontation by seeking a real and workable peace must emerge as the top priority of the United Nations and each of its Members each and every day. And for every Member State there are numerous non-governmental organizations in all parts of the world actively striving to produce that result.

  Bring the quest for peace back to this House dedicated from its inception to the pursuit and maintenance of peace. NGOs are eager to assist in mobilizing civil societies to demand support from their Governments for such an initiative. Since 1982 and the United Nations Conference on Palestine, NGOs, as an emerging network, have toiled as civil partners of the United Nations in championing the rights of the Palestinian people. The securing of the right to a state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return, the right to freedom from want and fear, and the right to live a normal life is the common bond that links NGOs to one another and to this international organization.

  It is time to introduce a new generation to international law, to resolution 242 (1967) and to a United Nations striding into a new era with confidence and competence. The fate of the Palestinian people is the issue before us.

Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department

of the Palestine Liberation Organization

  [Original: Arabic]

  It gives me pleasure, at the close of this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to restore its inalienable national historic rights, to express on behalf of the Palestinian people and its representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization, our deep thanks and gratitude to all those who have participated in the observance of this Day.

  Special thanks go to the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Holkeri; Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and Mr. Peter Van Walsum, President of the Security Council, for their participation this morning and for their messages of solidarity.

  We also wish to express our full appreciation for the messages of solidarity sent by heads of State or Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs of friendly countries.

  We are also grateful for the messages sent by the Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement and by Mr. Albar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, in his capacity as Chairman of the Twenty-seventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, and by the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

  The concerted and continuous efforts and leadership of the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has had a great supporting impact on the cause of Palestine in all international forums. We appreciate these dedicated and sincere efforts on his part and by all members of his Committee. We also appreciate all his good offices, carried out both in the name of his country and on his own behalf. We would like to express our thanks to everyone who made this celebration possible, and for their participation, either by their presence or by making statements of solidarity.

  The question of Palestine has now reached a boiling point because of the failure of the peace process. This failure is due to the intransigence of the rulers of Israel, to their procrastination and to their resort to terrorism and use of force and violence in trying to coerce our people to acquiesce to their failed proposals. Our people have demonstrated great patience, and nine years have passed since we accepted the peace process along with other Arab brothers. We have pursued the course of negotiations, but still to no avail. These negotiations have strengthened the doubts of the Palestinian regarding the peace process, with its accumulation of constant offers and promises that have not materialized.

  Let me cite as an example the content of a letter sent by a sponsor of the peace process, President Clinton, to President Arafat on 4 April 1999:

  “In this context, and in the spirit of my remarks in Gaza, we support the aspirations of the Palestinian people to determine their own future on their own land. As I said in Gaza, I believe Palestinians should live free today, tomorrow and forever.
  “The United States further believes that the Oslo process was never intended to be open-ended, although we have extended the negotiations for two years, and now we are stopped at the impasse of the peace process.”

  In looking back at these long experiences and futile negotiations, and in view of these provocative Israeli acts and acts of aggression, we note that all these factors have led to the eruption of the uprising of the Palestinian people.

  The United Nations is, in the final analysis, the organization responsible for maintaining peace and security across the globe. Therefore, we call upon the United Nations to provide protection for the Palestinian people, because the United Nations itself was the entity responsible for creating the problem of Palestine. Political settlements should be reached on the basis of United Nations actions. This remains the paramount responsibility of the United Nations until a just solution to the Palestine question is reached.  

  In closing, we would like to express our thanks and appreciation to you all. Peace be upon all of you.

Closing statement by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the

Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People 

  [Original: French]

  I believe that the instructive points that Mr. Kaddoumi has raised will have been useful to us all. I would ask Mr. Kaddoumi to convey to President Arafat and to the Palestinian people our wholehearted solidarity and support.

  We are still receiving messages. The list will be updated later. We have received messages from Mr. Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen; from General Pervez Musharraf, Executive Head of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana.

  Before adjourning this solemn meeting, I wish once again to thank everyone who made it possible, in particular the members of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services, the Department of Public Information and everyone who has been working behind the scenes.

  I also wish to recall that an exhibition of Palestinian art, organized by the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, will be opened tonight at 6 p.m. in the public lobby of the General Assembly building. This year’s exhibition, entitled “The Land”, comprises a collection of paintings by Palestinian artists. The opening will be followed by a reception, to which everyone here is invited.

  Also, immediately following this meeting, there will be a screening in this Chamber of two videos, one entitled “Behind the Walls”, a joint United Arab Emirates/Palestinian Authority production, and the other entitled “Despite the Odds”, produced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). All those present are kindly invited to remain in the Chamber to see these videos.

  Once again, I wish to thank all those present for their attendance.


 

III. MESSAGES RECEIVED ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL

DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

A. Messages from heads of State or Government

Mr. Burhân-ud-din Rabbâni, President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan

 [Original: French]

  I wish to express, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, on behalf of the people of Afghanistan and on my own behalf, my most sincere desire for the victory of the Palestinian people in its struggle to win its right to self-determination, the freedom of the occupied territories and the establishment of a Palestinian State with the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

[Original: Arabic]

  The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has been tireless in promoting the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and it has indeed been the worthy tradition of your distinguished Committee to mark this Day on 29 November each year since 1975.

  Unquestionably, this year's observance acquires a special character from the fact that it is taking place at a time when the Middle East region finds itself in a very delicate situation.

  If this indicates anything, it is that the truth must prevail and cannot be suppressed and that the international community, as represented in your discerning Committee, remains faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, based as they are on equity, the enforcement of rightful claims and the promotion of justice for the oppressed and vulnerable of the world.

  In my capacity as current chairman of the Arab Maghreb Union and on behalf of my colleagues in the Union, I am pleased to convey to you and to the other members of the Committee our respectful greetings and to wish you success in the worthy, laudable and commendable tasks in which you are engaged.

  You are undoubtedly aware that the Palestinian issue is the essence of the Arab-Israeli conflict and that persistently ignoring it will inevitably perpetuate the danger looming over the entire Middle East region. Given the grave developments that have brought the peace process between the Arabs and Israel to a halt, there is clearly a need for prompt action to bring peace to the region and enforce all rightful claims in accordance with the appropriate frame of reference established by international legitimacy.

  We can be certain that Israel's action in transforming the peace process into a war process directed against the Palestinian people in which it is using its military might to encircle, isolate and hold that people hostage inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is unlikely to contribute to the search for peace and security in the region or the achievement of peaceful coexistence among its peoples.

   The bitter frustration experienced by the Palestinian people after long years of awaiting the outcome of a political settlement that has proved fruitless because of Israel's intransigence, procrastination, evasion of commitments and responsibilities and provocation of Palestinian and Arab sensibilities and the religious sentiments of the Muslim and Christian communities alike is also less than helpful in creating an appropriate climate to further the peace process.

  It is, accordingly, incontrovertible that Israel alone bears the responsibility for returning the region to an atmosphere of tension and for the manifestations of violence resulting from its practices and aggression, to say nothing of its flagrant violation of the norms of international law and subversion of the efforts to build a just and comprehensive peace in a region that has served as the cradle of prophets and apostles.

  For the Arab Nation there are certain constants that are inviolable, certain rights that cannot be bargained away or relinquished and certain objectives whose achievement cannot be abandoned if it is to advance its higher interests. We are therefore certain that a lasting, just and comprehensive peace can only be achieved with the restoration of Jerusalem to full Palestinian sovereignty, with the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the terms of reference of the Madrid conference providing for the exchange of land for peace, and with the return to Syria and Lebanon of all of their territories.

  From this forum, we appeal to the United Nations, to the co-sponsors of the peace process and to all who carry influence in the world to meet in full their historic responsibilities.

  We must, on this occasion, bow our heads in veneration and humility before the departed spirits of the valiant martyrs of the intifada who have sacrificed their pure and innocent blood for the independence of their beloved homeland.

 May God grant you success and guide your steps.

Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

[Original: English]

  On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the people and the Government of Bangladesh join me in reaffirming our unreserved and total solidarity with the people of Palestine in their just struggle for an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. This Day, let us recall, was dedicated by the United Nations General Assembly to reaffirm that the United Nations has a permanent responsibility in respect of the question of Palestine. It is also a stark reminder for the international community that the plight of the Palestinian people continues to be characterized by a viscous cycle of violence and intolerance and flagrant violations of their human rights and international humanitarian law.

  Bangladesh’s unswerving support to the just struggle of its Palestinian brethren for their self-determination is principled. The Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, categorically voiced Bangladesh’s deep concern at the continued illegal occupation of Arab land and the denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in his address to the United Nations General Assembly 26 years ago. Since then, Bangladesh has remained consistent and uncompromising in expressing its unfettered commitment to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital and the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes to live in dignity and honour. We believe that full and immediate implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978) regarding the withdrawal of Israeli occupation from all Arab territories and resolution 237 (1967) regarding the return of Palestinian refugees, are the key to a permanent, honourable and just solution to the question of Palestine. Bangladesh has welcomed all international peace initiatives aimed towards bringing comprehensive peace to the Middle East.

  We are deeply concerned over the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East and have condemned the excessive use of force and blatant violation of humanitarian law by Israel on unarmed Palestinian civilians, including children, causing increasing death and injury in the occupied Palestinian territories. It is unfortunate that these actions have been undertaken at a time when the Middle East peace process had reached a crucial stage. At the recently held emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly and the special meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the question of Palestine, we categorically reiterated our call on the international community to put effective pressure on Israel to immediately stop the brutalities inflicted on the Palestinian people, the destruction of the economic infrastructure of the occupied Arab territories and the building of new settlements therein with a view to altering the religious, ethnic and political character of the region. At the Security Council, Bangladesh has strongly affirmed the need for sending a United Nations protection force to the occupied territories to provide protection to the unarmed Palestinian civilians. We emphasize the need for full implementation of the Sharm Al-Sheikh understanding for an early return to peaceful negotiation and commend the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the initiatives taken by the leadership of the United States and Egypt towards restoration of the peace process.

  On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we call upon the international community to mobilize all possible efforts to put an end to the sufferings of the Palestinian people, which have been haunting them for more than half a century. It is only through the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people by establishing a sovereign and independent homeland with Jerusalem as its capital, that we can ensure an early, permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Mr. Vladimir Yermoshin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus 

[Original: Russian]

  I have the honour to convey to you, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Belarus, my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  The Republic of Belarus traditionally attaches great importance to the development of the process of settlement of the situation in the Middle East and welcomes all the initiatives aimed at the peaceful solution of the conflict. It is our sincere hope that on the eve of the new millennium the ways of achieving a comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine will be found and the inalienable rights of Palestinians to self-determination and independence will be materialized.

  On this solemn Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Republic of Belarus reaffirms its commitment to the solution of the conflict in the Middle East based on the provisions of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which guarantee a fair and comprehensive peace for all peoples of the Middle East.

Mr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil

[Original: English]

  On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend, on behalf of the people and the Government of Brazil, my best wishes for peace and harmony to the Palestinian people.

  The Government of Brazil has already expressed its deep concern regarding the stalling of the peace process in the Middle East and has deplored the recent outburst of violence and the loss of human life, particularly the deaths of innocent civilians.

  Brazil regrets that the diplomatic efforts by the international community to restore stability in the Middle East did not produce concrete results and was actually followed by an intensification of the conflict.

  We particularly regret that these developments are occurring at a time when the international community was confident that diplomacy, peace negotiation and restraint would prevail.

  Brazil has, over the years, firmly backed the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, on the understanding that only constructive dialogue and respect for agreements could lead to the establishment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.

  Once again at a critical moment for the Middle East, we wish to commend the Palestinian people for their endurance through long and difficult times, and we reaffirm our conviction that peace must be the ultimate reward for its patience and determination.

  It is our hope that violence will soon be over and political dialogue resumed, so that the Palestinian people can finally benefit from an environment of peace and stability, where it can concentrate on its development and prosperity and thus realize its full potential.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam 

  [Original: English]

  On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, my Government and people once more renew the lasting cooperation and goodwill we share with the Palestinian people.

  We also wish to express our heartfelt concern about the recent tragic events that have brought great sadness to their families and communities and to all who share their desire for justice and freedom.

  In doing so, we reaffirm our long-standing support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and in keeping with the spirit of the Middle East peace process.

  In such a spirit, we therefore commend the efforts of all concerned and interested parties who are working to bring an end both to the current violence and to over half a century of injustice suffered by the people of Palestine.

  At this holy and joyous time of Ramadhan we extend our warmest friendship to our Palestinian brothers and join them in our prayers for a future that will bring lasting peace to the Blessed Land.

Mr. Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia

[Original: French]

  I have the pleasure to convey to you, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and on behalf of the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia, our firm support for and unshakeable solidarity with the inalienable rights of the entire Palestinian people and to wish for a speedy solution by peaceful means to the problem of Palestine.

  Allow me to take this opportunity to express our best wishes to you and to the Palestinian people and our desire that peace should reign in Palestine so as to enable the building of the Palestinian nation.

Mr. José Miguel Insulza Salinas, Vice-President of the Republic of Chile

 [Original: Spanish]

  On the occasion of the observance of yet another International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government of Chile wishes to take this opportunity to express its gratitude to the United Nations for its efforts to promote peace in the Middle East and for its support of the Palestinian people, particularly the assistance which is designed to improve the latter’s economic and social conditions and thereby foster a climate of reconciliation and compromise.

  The Government of Chile reiterates its support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinians and for the peace process, which is intended to bring about a just, comprehensive and lasting solution that will guarantee prosperity and well-being for the region. It also hopes that, in the very near future, there will be a return to the path of dialogue and an end to the violence that has plunged the region into mourning and aroused the international community’s concern.

Mr. Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

[Original: Chinese]

  On the occasion of the convocation of the conference marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, our warm congratulations to the conference.

  The Palestinian people have over the years made strenuous efforts to recover lost territory, return to their homeland and restore their legitimate national rights and interests, and have realized self-rule on their own territory through peaceful negotiation with Israel. However, violent clashes between Israel and Palestine erupted at the end of September this year and Israel has used heavy weapons, causing heavy casualties and property damage to many Palestinian civilians as well as a severe setback for the Middle East peace process. The deteriorating Middle East situation has aroused the grave concern of the international community. Such developments fully indicate that a comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestine question is still faced with major difficulties and obstacles and that the efforts of the Palestinian people to fully restore their legitimate national rights and interests call for still greater support and assistance from all peace-loving forces in the world.

  The Palestine issue is at the core of the Middle East question. The Chinese Government has all along stood for a political resolution of the issue through peaceful negotiation on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions on the Middle East question and under the principle of “land for peace” established by the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference. This will not only serve the fundamental interests of all countries in the region, including Palestine and Israel, but also contribute to peace and stability in the region and the world at large. We hold that the legitimate national rights and interests of the Palestinian people should be restored, and that the Palestinian people have the right to establish their independent State and that the sovereignty and security of all countries in the Middle East should be guaranteed. Only in this way can a comprehensive, just and lasting peace be realized in the Middle East region. As amply shown by facts, the use of force can only lead to further deterioration of the situation, and political negotiation is the only way forward. We strongly appeal to all parties concerned to return to the negotiating table and seek a peaceful solution to the question. We also solemnly call upon the international community, particularly the United Nations, to play a bigger and more active role in resolving the Middle East question. The Chinese Government and people will as always support the Middle East peace process and stand ready to work with the rest of the international community in an unremitting effort to seek a comprehensive, just and reasonable solution to the Middle East question, including the question of Palestine.

Mr. Fidel Castro Ruz, President of Cuba

[Original: Spanish]

 Once again we commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, with the international community not being able to rejoice to see that the long-suffering Palestinian people fully enjoys the exercise of its inalienable rights.

  The first United Nations resolutions on the Palestinian issue are already very old. The establishment itself of the Committee that you honourably chair dates back to 1975. Both the Committee and the General Assembly have unequivocally acknowledged the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, by rejecting the illegal occupation of the Arab and Palestinian territories by Israel, as well as by condemning the massive and flagrant violations of human rights by the occupying Power.

  The Palestinian issue is the key element for peace and stability in the Middle East. There will not be a just or lasting peace unless there is an independent Palestinian State. The bases for peace in the region are strongly erected on international law. Israel’s occupation of the Arab and Palestinian territories is the main cause of the conflict. It clearly challenges the principles of international law and the norms of humanitarian international law that govern international relations, as well as the resolutions adopted by both the General Assembly and the Security Council on this issue.

  The situation resulting from the provocation of the Israeli extreme right wing on 28 September, and the brutal repression unleashed by Israel’s military and security forces, through an excessive and unjustified use of force, have been a serious setback for the peace process in the region. Today, it would be difficult to assure that the peace process will survive the current crisis. There will not be peace unless the United Nations takes on its direct and irreplaceable responsibility in accordance with the Charter and the will of the international community, and if the course of negotiations continues to be determined by narrow objectives of domestic policy.

    The resumed tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and the special meeting of the Commission on Human Rights have adopted two resolutions condemning Israel as the main element causing this new violence build-up, which has claimed the lives of over 100 Palestinians.

  The international community expects stronger and more effective action, without double standards, by the Security Council, taking into account the seriousness and brutality of the violations.

  Cuba strongly condemns the violence unleashed against the Palestinian people and the use of force and heavy weapons against the civilian population.

  The Government of the Republic of Cuba and its people renew their total solidarity with the Palestinian people in its just struggle for the respect for its inalienable rights, reiterate their support to the work of the Committee that you preside over, and demand the compliance by the Government of Israel with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, thereby contributing to the achievement of a strong and lasting peace in the region, which has been wanted and called for by the international community for such a long time.

Mr. Glafcos Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

[Original: English]

  On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like, on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus, to express our feelings of profound respect and genuine friendship for the Palestinian people.

  Moreover, I wish to reiterate and reaffirm our support to all the efforts towards establishing a home for the Palestinians and peace, security, prosperity and stability throughout the entire region of the Middle East.

  Despite the setback suffered at the Camp David summit and the failure to reach an overall agreement, which would have gone a long way towards alleviating the ordeal of the Palestinians, we wholeheartedly support the continuation of the peace process.

  Needless to emphasize, we declare our readiness to contribute in any palpable and specific way to peace and to the reconciliation of all the people of the whole area.

  Cyprus has demonstrated its deep and veritable interest in the Middle East by becoming involved with the multilateral track of the peace process. Our participation aims at bringing the people of the Middle East together and at improving their standard of living. To that end, we are now implementing a programme of economic assistance to the Palestinians, which constitutes an irrefutable proof of our commitment and dedication to the noble cause of establishing peace with justice, security and economic prosperity for all the countries in the Middle East.

 At the same time, we must express our sorrow and regret at the recent outbreak of violence and the loss of innocent lives, especially of children, which constitutes a real tragedy on a grand scale. This must not be allowed to continue. It also tends to undermine any effort towards resuming the peace dialogue among the participants, a possibility that cannot be allowed to materialize.

  The people of Cyprus, in their wish to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by the use of force, are ready to help in practical ways, by offering, inter alia, medical care to the wounded and the needy.

  We hope and pray that the efforts for peace will prevail and that the shadow of confrontation and violence shall forever be removed from the scene of the Middle East. Some time ago, the foundations of peace were laid. It is the duty of the same people, the architects of those foundations, to carry on with the legacy, in order to complete the unfinished journey towards peace. To this end, no effort should be spared and no stone left unturned so that peace, justice, security, stability and prosperity shall be established for all the peoples of the Holy Land.

Mr. Hipólito Mejía Domínguez, President of the Dominican Republic

[Original: Spanish]

  On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am pleased to send you my warmest congratulations and fervent wishes for the peace, prosperity and well-being of the noble Palestinian people.

Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt 

  [Original: Arabic]

  This year, our observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People comes at a critical turning point for the Palestinian cause as the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories continues to deteriorate. The Palestinian people has been subjected for the past two months to open Israeli aggression to which many have fallen victim, both killed and wounded. This has caused enormous losses in terms of property as well as to the economy of the Palestinian people and has brought the peace process to a halt.

  These bloody events have reflected the accumulated feelings of despair and frustration of the Palestinian people at the deadlock in the peace process brought about by Israel's retreat from compliance with the undertakings it had given under the agreements reached and at the maintenance of the occupation and of Israel's settlement activity. They have also reflected the disappointment felt in proposals that can lead only to a faulty and unjust peace settlement that takes no account of international legitimacy, the relevant United Nations resolutions or the principles of the peace process, particularly as they relate to Jerusalem.

  I am sure that you agree with me that now, more than at any time in the past, the Palestinian people is in need of the solidarity of the international community and the United Nations if it is to maintain its steadfastness in confronting the unjustified use of Israeli military might, the economic and commercial embargo that has been imposed on it and the policies of closure and isolation being pursued in violation of Israel's international obligations as the occupying Power.

  The extraordinary Arab Summit Conference held in Cairo in October 2000 gave expression to such solidarity, as did the Islamic Summit held in Doha in November. The two meetings adopted strong and pragmatic positions in support of the perseverance of the Palestinian people, and they affirmed the basic principles of international legitimacy as they relate to inalienable Palestinian rights and to the Middle East peace process.

  We are confident that the United Nations, like your distinguished Committee, will spare no effort to express its solidarity with the Palestinian people and its legitimate rights in its current plight and will do so in a manner commensurate with the unwarranted use of brute force against it and with the gravity of the present deplorable situation.

  On 7 October 2000, the Security Council adopted its resolution 1322 (2000) on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories; on 19 October, the Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution on the same subject; and on 20 October, the General Assembly, at its resumed tenth emergency special session, adopted a related resolution. We stress that the faithful implementation of the provisions of these resolutions would help in containing the deteriorating situation. At the same time, the Israeli forces must also withdraw to the positions they occupied before the confrontations began in September, and the Security Council must give consideration to the deployment of a United Nations protection force as requested by the Palestinian Authority with the support of the Cairo and Doha summits.

  It is still Egypt's fundamental goal to halt the ongoing deterioration in the occupied Palestinian territories and create an appropriate climate to revive and consolidate the peace process, given that it has been preaching peace in the Middle East for more than 20 years. It also remains our fixed position and our firm conviction that a just and comprehensive peace can only be achieved with Israel's compliance with international legitimacy and the resolutions of the United Nations and with its respect for the principles underlying the peace process.

  I should further like to take the opportunity presented by the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to reiterate the expression of our appreciation to you and to the members of this distinguished Committee. We were glad to be able to host a Committee seminar in Cairo on 20 and 21 June 2000, for the fifth year in succession. We were pleased to see your report on that seminar and on the Committee's other activities and the sincere efforts you are making to promote awareness of the Palestinian cause and mobilize support and international solidarity in order to assist the Palestinian people in the exercise of its inalienable rights. I am hopeful that next year our observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People will take place in circumstances altogether different from those of this year's observance.

General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea 

  [Original: French]

  I have the honour to transmit to you, on the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the content of the following message addressed to you by His Excellency General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea:

  “It is with particular pleasure that I convey to you my warmest congratulations on and encouragement for the Committee’s remarkable work in support of the inalienable rights of the martyred Palestinian people. I am taking this opportunity to reaffirm the active solidarity of the Guinean people and Government during this tragic time for the Palestinian people. Highest consideration.”

Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana

[Original: English]

  The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is being observed this year against a background of violence and bloodshed in their relations with Israel.

  The international community, including Guyana, had been hopeful that the Oslo peace process and other diplomatic efforts would have led to a final settlement of the Palestinian issue. Unfortunately, these mechanisms have now been halted, leading to renewed conflict. As the violence mounts, the Palestinian people continue to suffer severe loss of life, including the lives of children who represent the future of their independent state. Guyana calls for restraint on all sides, especially Israel as the occupying Power, to bring an end to confrontation and reopen a peaceful dialogue and negotiations.

  It must be clear to all that the use of force cannot resolve problems that have deep historical roots, and thus require careful resolution. We call upon peace-loving States, including those in the Middle East region, to use their influence to secure a rapprochement between Palestine and Israel that would allow the peace process to be restarted. An essential first step is an effective ceasefire between the two sides.

 As we have repeatedly stated, a final settlement should be worked out within the framework of all relevant United Nations resolutions. Both the General Assembly and the Security Council should exert their best efforts to facilitate the search for a definitive solution. My Government will do what it can to support these endeavours.

Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of the Republic of India 

[Original: English]

  On this International Day of Solidarity, India reaffirms its support to the Palestinian people in their legitimate aspirations for peace and justice and their inalienable right to a homeland.

  Our civilizational links and historical bonds with the Palestinian people span centuries. We have, therefore, a clear understanding of their struggle and an unwavering sympathy for their cause. India is convinced that dialogue is the only viable option in the search for a just, durable and comprehensive peace settlement in West Asia. We are therefore deeply concerned at the recent cycle of violence, the killing of innocent civilians and the excessive use of force. The imperative need is for restraint, for avoidance of provocation and for a return to the peace process. Diplomacy and statesmanship have to prevail over hatred and violence; there is no other road to a lasting peace.

  We are convinced that the national aspirations of the Palestinian people, which have remained unfulfilled for so long, will be realized under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat. India rededicates itself to solidarity with the Palestinian people for the realization of their long-cherished goals.

 

Mr. K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid, President of the Republic of Indonesia 

[Original: English]

  On this solemn occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government and people of the Republic of Indonesia wish to reaffirm their unequivocal support and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their courageous struggle for the establishment of an independent homeland with Al Quds Al-Sharif as their capital.

  Today, the annual commemoration is taking place at a moment in time when the question of Palestine constitutes a profound concern and the greatest challenge to international peace and security amidst a rapidly deteriorating and volatile situation in the occupied territories. We had hoped that the peace negotiations would have been given added impetus with the convening of the United Nations Millennium Summit and thereby facilitate the conclusion of the final status talks by the September 2000 deadline. Instead, the peace process has ground to a halt while the renewal of violence is dangerously reminiscent of the years of diminishing hopes and despair. It was thus with deepening dismay that Indonesia noted the provocative visit of an Israeli opposition leader on 28 September 2000 to re-emphasize claims of illegal sovereignty over the holy site of Al-Haram Al-Sharif. Since then, the massive and deadly confrontations have earned Israel the condemnation of the international community, especially when excessive use of force is aimed against unarmed Palestinian civilians, resulting in scores of deaths and casualties.

  Furthermore, untenable policies imposed by the occupying Power continue unabated. The restrictive and extended blockades, demolitions, endless incarceration of prisoners, arbitrary practices and settlement activities, among other issues, have indelibly marked the consciousness of the global community regarding the brutal injustices inflicted on a whole nation and its people. General Assembly resolution ES-10/7 adopted on 20 October 2000 at the tenth emergency special session and Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) were a clear manifestation of the support of the international community for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people and a call for the immediate cessation of such intransigence that could bring greater conflict, violence and instability to the region.

  Over the long years, despite the numerous setbacks and formidable obstacles strewn along the way, the courageous actions of the Palestinian leaders are reflective of their unswerving commitment to stay on the path to peace. For they are fully cognizant that without peace there can be no progress or development and their peoples will be forever deprived of the right to live in prosperity and security like other nations of the world. Hence, at this crucial juncture of the peace process, the sacred Palestinian cause acquires paramount importance. In this regard, the undeniable role of the United Nations and its Member States to strive for and to promote that noble objective until a comprehensive peace is attained can not be over- emphasized.

  From the outset, Indonesia has held steadfast to its position that peace would prove elusive unless Israel withdraws from all Arab and Palestinian land occupied since 1967 and that securing peace could only be permanently anchored in the region based on the full and complete implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and on the principle of land for peace. Similarly, it demands a genuine and honest commitment by Israel to engage in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, who have demonstrated remarkable resilience and courage during this most tenuous period. Indonesia's observance of this Day reflects its concrete expression of unwavering support for the cherished aspirations of a dispossessed people for justice, freedom and dignity which emanates from its own commitment to uphold the purposes and principles of all those relevant instruments, including the Charter of the United Nations, affirming the right of all people to self-determination and independence. It is indeed a travesty of justice that since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the question of Palestine, which is about occupation and freedom, security and self-determination and about true independence and creating facts on the ground as faits accomplis , remains an unresolved issue.

  On this occasion, therefore, the international community should reiterate its commitment to assist the Palestinians in their pursuit of their legitimate rights to statehood and renew all endeavours to support the judicious path to peace through negotiations, dialogue and cooperation. It is Indonesia's earnest hope that the necessary wisdom and strength will be summoned by the concerned parties to resume peace talks as equal partners, which should bring an expeditious end to this long chapter of grief in the region's history.

  In conclusion, Indonesia would like to convey to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People its sincere appreciation for its unstinting efforts exerted to promote the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and it remains convinced that in the not too distant future, the State of. Palestine will take its rightful place amidst the comity of nations.

Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran 

[Original: English]

  The commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is an opportunity to recall the plight of an oppressed people who have been living under regrettable conditions for more than half a century. The commemoration of this Day offers us an opportunity to reiterate the renewal of our friendship with the people of Palestine. For the Iranian nation, which has always attached pivotal importance to the issue of Palestine and its people, this Day provides another opportunity to renew her amity with the Palestinian people. On behalf of the Iranian people, I wish to seize this opportunity to reiterate the support of the great nation of Iran for the sacred cause of Palestine.

  It is regrettable that, at the start of the new Millennium, no bright prospect is on the horizon, as far as the improvement of the situation of the Palestinians is concerned. Millions of Palestinian refugees in the neighbouring Arab countries long to return to their ancestral homeland, an inherent right which is denied by the Zionist regime, whereas the United Nations has recognized their right to return in its numerous resolutions.

  The Palestinians residing in the occupied territories have always been exposed to threats, intimidation, torture and various forms of collective punishment. Unemployment, poverty and lack of sanitation overshadow their daily lives. The holy shrines in the occupied lands are being desecrated, and efforts are being made towards drastically changing the demographic and geographic fabric of the Arab residential areas through the Jewish settlement-building activities.

  The international organizations concerned have unanimously underlined, in their reports, the blatant violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, by the occupying Power in the occupied territories. What I briefly referred to was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the situation of the people of Palestine at the beginning of the third millennium is concerned. Therefore, this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, all of the above should be seriously taken into consideration.

  In conclusion, while stressing the rightful stands of the Palestinian nation in achieving their undeniable rights, I hope that the commemoration of this Day helps to bring about practical solidarity with the causes of the people of Palestine and marks the beginning of the complete restoration of the rights of the people of Palestine.

King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 

[Original: English]

  On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to express, on behalf of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, our continued and unwavering support to the brotherly Palestinian Arab people in exercising their inalienable rights of freedom and statehood on their national soil. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, as called for by international legality and expressed in the various resolutions of the United Nations, is sacrosanct and must therefore be respected and implemented.

  At the present time, when the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is threatening the foundations of the peace process that culminated in a number of key achievements over the past seven years, we reiterate our strong condemnation of the continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. We call for the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (l967), 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and seek the early resumption and conclusion of the process of working towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace that is based on those resolutions. At this time, we also call upon the international community, and the United Nations in particular, to stop the bloodshed that is taking place in the Palestinian areas and to take a stand with regard to the fulfilment of the rights of the Palestinian people.

  I assure you that Jordan will spare no effort to support the Palestinian people in reaching their goals and in helping all the relevant parties to reach a peaceful solution that would contribute to the establishment of stability and prosperity in the Middle East.

Mr. Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

[Original: English]

  On this solemn occasion ofthe commemoration of the International Dayof Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reaffirm on behalf of the Government and the people of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and indeed on my ownbehalf, our strong commitment to and consistent support for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to establish an independent and sovereign Palestinian State.

  Last year, the international community witnessed some promising developments in the Middle East peace process, particularly the signing of the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, which had ended a prolonged deadlock of the peace process and reopened the hopes for a final settlement of the Palestine-Israel question. Regrettably, the earnest hope of the world community was immediately ruined by the bloody clashes that have occurred since 28 September this year in Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The situation on the ground has deteriorated and the existence of peace and security remains in jeopardy. The Lao People's Democratic Republic strongly condemns all acts of violence and the excessive use of force against the Palestinians and calls for an immediate cessation of violence and a full implementation of the ceasefire agreement of 17 October so as to pave the way for the resumption of negotiations and bring the peace process back on track with a view to achieving a just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, which is the core of the Middle East conflict, in compliance with all relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the principle of land for peace.

  The Lao People's Democratic Republic would like to seize this opportunity to express once again its solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to live in dignity and peace in their own homeland. We are confident that under the wise leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Palestinian people will certainly achieve complete victory and establish their independent and sovereign State in the near future.

Mr. Pakalitha B. Mosisili, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho 

[Original: English]

  On behalf of the Government and people of Lesotho and on my own behalf, I wish to convey to you our hopes for lasting peace in the Middle East on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  Recent developments in the Middle East have once again demonstrated the need for genuine and honest commitment to the Middle East peace process. Lesotho is deeply concerned by the resumption of hostilities in the Middle East and urges the international community to intensity efforts for bringing about peace in the region on a just and equitable basis. The leaders of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people should summon the courage and political will to bring an end to hostilities and bloodshed in the region. Lesotho supports all efforts aimed at bringing an end to the suffering and grief currently experienced by the people of the region.

  Once again, Lesotho expresses its solidarity with the people of Palestine in the search for everlasting peace, socio-economic development and prosperity.

Mr. Eddie Fenech Adami, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta 

  [Original: English]

 

 This year’s event, marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, is witnessing the sad and tragic events unfolding daily in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The escalation of violence only serves to substitute peace, security and cooperation with human suffering and hatred. Unless brought to an end, this situation will put in serious jeopardy the peace process.

  My Government has joined the international community in condemning the excessive use of force that has engulfed the area and has continuously implored for a cessation of hostilities and a return to normalcy. The end to all violence will eventually create the best possible atmosphere for a resumption of talks on the peace process in a sober and rational manner.

  The initiatives and the great strides forward toward the resolution of the conflict cannot be allowed to go to waste. The Government and the people of Malta call upon all leaders in the area to intensify their efforts to resolve this conflict, thereby giving to the peoples of the region the peace and stability they have longed for and which they rightfully deserve.

Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius 

[Original: English]

  On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Mauritius, it gives me great pleasure to convey to the people of Palestine our friendship, support and above all our solidarity on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  My country is deeply concerned by the tension and violence currently prevailing in the West Bank and Gaza, which has resulted in the loss of many lives and untold suffering.

  It is my strong conviction that any existing impediments to the peace process can be overcome through mutual trust and dialogue. This can only be possible if both sides exercise restraint, with the main objective of achieving the successful implementation of the Wye Plantation and the Sharm-el-Sheikh agreements.

  Mauritius has always believed in the need to achieve a comprehensive and lasting peace settlement of the Palestinian issue that would lead to the Palestinian people securing their long-cherished aspiration to a legitimate homeland.

  On this historic occasion, I wish to reiterate our support to the struggle of the Palestinian people for their legitimate rights.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco

 [Original: Arabic]

  On the occasion of the observance on 29 November of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we are pleased to reaffirm the positions of principle the Kingdom of Morocco has constantly maintained in support of the Palestinian people and its cause so that it may secure the full exercise of its rights and establish its independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

  It is to be regretted that, this year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People coincides with the painful events taking place in the Palestinian territories and the inhuman acts being committed by the Israeli occupation forces against defenceless Palestinian civilians that have caused scores of casualties at a time and have left hundreds of wounded and injured.

  The Palestinian people is experiencing a difficult period in its history, and all Palestinian citizens both at home and in the dispersion are consumed by sadness, grief and anger at the murders of its children and the desecration of the Islamic Holy Places at the Al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.

  In its belief that the Palestinian territories deserve to dwell in peace and concord, the Kingdom of Morocco has for more than two decades been striving for a just peace in the region. Morocco has convened many international meetings and held frequent international consultations in the framework of the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and of the decisions and recommendations it has adopted. It was on that basis that it participated in the Madrid conference, which endorsed the principle of land for peace and established the foundation on which the peace process in the Middle East was to have been built.

  The Kingdom of Morocco has also encouraged the agreements reached between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, and it has regarded them as a step on the road towards peace. It had come to hope that the peace process would continue until it achieved its objectives, anticipating that the fraternal Palestinian people would be accorded the right to establish its independent State in its own land with Jerusalem as its capital.

  However, the actions taken by Israel in recent times, and most recently its unilateral decision to halt the peace process and to disregard the desire of the international community for the achievement of peace, prompt us to believe that Israel is not serious in its proclaimed desire that the peace process should continue on the basis of the principles on which it was established at the Madrid conference and that it is unaware of the grave repercussions that this might have.

  In keeping with the positions it has taken and with its commitment to peace, coexistence and dialogue, the Kingdom of Morocco calls upon the international community and all those that cherish peace to meet their responsibility to protect the Palestinian people and to make greater efforts for the Palestinian people to secure its legitimate rights in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace, including its right to exercise self-determination and establish its independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

  The Kingdom of Morocco, together with the other parties involved, will spare no effort to ensure a climate that is necessary and sufficient to bring the desired peace to the region, to enable the Palestinian people to reclaim its legitimate rights and to allow all the peoples of the region to live in security, peace and understanding.

Mr. Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia

[Original: English]

  On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government and the people of the Republic of Namibia express their unflinching solidarity with the people of Palestine.

  The question of Palestine has been on the United Nations agenda since its inception. However, it is our earnest hope that the recent bloodletting and enmity will not derail the Middle East peace process, whose centrepiece must remain the full realization of the right of the self-determination of the Palestinian people led by the PLO.

  The historic breakthrough signified by mutual recognition and the Declaration of Principles signed between Israel and the PLO on Palestine self-rule in Gaza and the city of Jericho give hope for lasting peace in the Middle East.

  As we reiterate our solidarity with the Palestinian people, we continue to look forward to the early achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace leading to complete nationhood.

Mr. Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan

  [Original: English]

  Peace-loving people the world over are observing today as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The occasion is of special significance at the start of the new millennium. Unfortunately, the Middle East region is once again witnessing unprecedented tension and turmoil as a result of Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. Israeli violence against unarmed Palestinians has taken the lives of almost 200 innocent Palestinians and injured thousands over the last two months. Israel’s indiscriminate use of heavy weaponry and air strikes against Palestinian demonstrators, armed with nothing but stones, has made this Day of Solidarity all the more poignant for the Palestinian people and the international community.

  The latest Israeli provocations and the violence unleashed against Palestinians by the Israeli security forces have destabilized the entire region and derailed the peace process. The Government and people of Pakistan are greatly perturbed at the continued denial of national rights to our Palestinian brethren.

  Pakistan is deeply concerned over the use of excessive force by Israel against unarmed Palestinian protesters and demonstrators. We have denounced the brutal Israeli attacks against peaceful protests by Palestinians over the provocative visit of Ariel Sharon to the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque on 28 September 2000, which triggered the current wave of unrest. Pakistan has also called upon the international community to secure Israeli compliance with the United Nations resolutions and ensure the safety and sanctity of Al-Quds Al-Sharif. Israel must stop all violence and respond to the international calls for a resumption of the peace process and to reach a final status agreement.

  Pakistan joins the international community in its call on Israel to immediately end all atrocities against the Palestinian people and withdraw its forces from Palestinian-controlled areas.

  On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government and people of Pakistan reiterate their unqualified support for the people of Palestine in their struggle for the restitution of their national rights, including their right to establish an independent Palestinian State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Mr. Valentin Paniagua Corazao, President of the Republic of Peru 

[Original: Spanish]

  I have the honour to write to you in connection with the forthcoming observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November.

  On behalf of the Government and people of Peru, I should like to extend our sincerest expressions of friendship and solidarity to our brothers, the Palestinian people.

  I am also hoping for a successful conclusion to the Middle East process, which will make a reality of recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people and of the commitments to peaceful coexistence in that region.

Mr. Joseph Ejercito Estrada, President of the Republic of the Philippines

[Original: English]

  The Filipino people join me in congratulating the people of Palestine on the occasion of their celebration of their International Day of Solidarity.

  The commemoration of this event comes at a time when the Middle East peace process is in a fragile state.

  We share the concern of the international community over the upsurge of violence in Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories and the current stalemate in the peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

  We fervently hope that the parties concerned will be able to resolve their differences amicably so that the Middle East peace process may move forward and the goal of a lasting and genuine peace for all the peoples of the Middle East may eventually be achieved.

  We pray that peace will prevail in the Middle East region for the sake of future generations.

His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar

 [Original: Arabic]

  I am pleased to address to you this message on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It is regrettable that this observance should come at a time when, in the occupied Palestinian territories, the people in question is being subjected to the most extreme forms of aggression, coercion and mistreatment at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces. They have not hesitated to use their weapons against a defenceless people for the sole reason that it is demanding its right to live in freedom and dignity in its own land, to ensure respect for its Holy Places and to exercise self-determination and establish its independent State on its national soil in accordance with the resolutions that embody international legitimacy and the interim agreements that have been signed by the Palestinian Authority and Israel since the inception of the peace process.

  Since these incidents began, this proud people has lost hundreds of killed and thousands of wounded without the international community having stirred itself to action in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and international covenants in order to help it or halt the ordeal to which it is being subjected by the occupation forces.

  This observance is taking place at a time when the Palestinian cause and the entire Middle East peace process are at a delicate and critical stage. Although we had all rejoiced in the progress made in the peace negotiations, this recent setback threatens to destroy the substance of the process and reverse the achievements made within its framework in years past. Above and beyond these bloody events, it has become inevitable in the context of the final-status negotiations to address the basic issues for a lasting settlement. These are primarily Jerusalem, which is part of the occupied Palestinian territories, and the right of the Palestine refugees to return to their homes or to receive compensation. These matters have, in turn, led to a waning of the peace process because of Israel's refusal to comply with the resolutions adopted in their regard and to conform to the norms of international legitimacy.

  The Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority and our Arab peoples are all committed to peace as a strategic option on the understanding, as we have always stressed, that this will be a comprehensive and just peace based on the resolutions of the United Nations, international legitimacy and the principle of land for peace.

  There can be no doubt that the resolutions and principles in question apply to Jerusalem as part of the Palestinian territory that was occupied by Israel in 1967. We therefore affirm our categorical rejection of any modification of the city's geographical or demographic characteristics or of its legal status, and we call upon the international community to take action to safeguard and protect the Holy Places and ensure that Israel complies with the relevant United Nations resolutions in this regard.

  We further urge the international community to provide greater support to the Palestinian people and its National Authority, especially in the political, economic and financial fields, so as to enable it to cope with the critical situation in which it finds itself as a result of the arbitrary measures taken by the Israeli authorities.

  In this context, I should also like to emphasize the role of the United Nations and the duties and historical responsibilities it has vis-à-vis the Palestinian people and its just cause. I call upon Israel to halt its acts of violence and aggression, to discharge its obligations under the agreements it has concluded with the Palestinian Authority, to comply with the United Nations resolutions relating to the Middle East and to acknowledge that peace cannot be imposed by force of arms but only by respect for the rights and legitimate interests of neighbouring peoples.

  In closing, I should like to convey our great appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Its efforts deserve major credit for making solidarity with the Palestinian people a tangible reality throughout the world.

  I should also like to take the opportunity to commend the endeavours of Mr. Ibra Daguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee, and his tireless efforts to mobilize international support for assistance to the insurgent Palestinian people and the promotion of their human aspirations and legitimate hopes for justice, peace and prosperity.

Mr. Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation 

[Original: Russian]

[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine

Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian

Authority, Mr. Yasser Arafat]

  I heartily congratulate you, and through you all Palestinians, on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  As a co-sponsor of the peace process, the Russian Federation is firmly resolved to make the maximum effort to achieve a lasting and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the Madrid principles. Proceeding from that, we have invariably favoured and continue to favour a just solution of the question of Palestine and the implementation of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and to establish their own State.

  The persistence of the current crisis in the region could still further delay the attainment of these goals, which has already cost the Palestinians considerable sacrifice and effort. In order to prevent this, it is important to do everything necessary to end the bloodshed, normalize the situation and on this basis resume the negotiation process in the region. We are firmly convinced that there is no reasonable alternative to this path.

Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal

[Original: French]

  The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People gives me the agreeable opportunity to reaffirm my total support and that of my Government and of the entire Senegalese people for the just struggle of the Palestinian people for the exercise of its inalienable rights.

  It also gives me the opportunity to solemnly renew my friendship with President Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority. His high sense of responsibility, his readiness for dialogue and compromise and his clear-headedness in the struggle he is waging in the service of his people deserve all our admiration. I congratulate him and encourage him to pursue his peace initiatives and assure him of our total solidarity in this critical phase of the peace process.

  The recent events in occupied Palestine continue to arouse great anxiety in the international community because peace and stability in this region are seriously threatened.

  My Government believes that it is necessary to mobilize the international community with a view to stopping the escalation of the violence, putting an end to the massive loss of human life and creating a climate of trust between the parties in order to save the peace process under way since 1993.

  In this context, my country reaffirms the irreplaceable role of the United Nations and its unceasing responsibility in respect of the question of Palestine until a permanent settlement is reached in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the principles of international law.

  In addition, I wish to express my congratulations and encouragement to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, for his ceaseless personal efforts to help the parties to revive the peace process.

  My Government also welcomes the remarkable efforts of President Bill Clinton, President Jacques Chirac and President Hosni Mubarak with a view to the resumption of the peace talks.

  During this difficult period for the Palestinian people, it is important for the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States and other intergovernmental organizations – including financial institutions – and non-governmental organizations to strengthen their assistance to the Palestinian people.

  Before concluding, I wish to congratulate the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, over which my country has had the privilege to preside since its establishment in 1975.

  Through its initiatives and its determination, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has succeeded in mobilizing the international community around the question of Palestine.

  Lastly, I should like to renew Senegal’s commitment to pursuing its work in the United Nations and other international organizations for the attainment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, in the interests of the peoples of this vital region, located at the crossroads of the world’s great civilizations.

Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga,

President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 

  [Original: English]

  Sri Lanka has consistently extended its firm and unequivocal support for the Palestinian people's struggle, under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat, to realize their inalienable rights, including the right to statehood.

  The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People assumes a special significance and relevance this year, against the backdrop of the tragic and shocking events that have occurred in the Occupied Territories resulting in heavy loss of life and injury, as well as destruction of property. These events fill me with profound sorrow.

  I wish to convey my deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to all those families who have lost their loved ones.

  It is my fervent hope that violence will end immediately and that the peace process will resume forthwith.

  I take this opportunity to reaffirm, on behalf of the Government and people of Sri Lanka, our continuing solidarity with the Palestinian people at this crucial time and convey our sincere wishes for their well-being.

Lieutenant General Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir,

President of the Republic of the Sudan

[Original: Arabic]

  This year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People arrives as the Palestinian people is enduring the intimidation of the Israeli military machine, the murder of its children, the bombardment of its homes and institutions and the desecration of its Holy Places. This calls for active solidarity in condemning Israel's barbarous conduct and promoting action by all concerned parties to compel Israel to respect Palestinian human rights and comply with resolutions that have the force of international law and with the agreements it has signed. The international community, as represented by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, has determined that the Palestinian people must secure its legitimate rights as guaranteed by international conventions and covenants.

  The Sudan, both as a Government and as a people, takes this opportunity to reaffirm its complete solidarity with and full support for the Palestinian people so that it may regain all of its legitimate rights, exercise sovereignty over all of its national territory and establish its independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

  The Sudan, in its commitment to the relevant international covenants and its concern for the achievement of justice, peace and stability, will make all possible efforts in this connection, in cooperation with its brothers and friends and with the international community as a whole, to ensure that the Palestinian people secures all of its legitimate rights. Given the seriousness of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, the Sudan urgently calls upon the international community to meet in full and unstintingly its responsibility to halt the Israeli aggression and to protect and assist the Palestinian people until it can win back all of its occupied territory and declare its independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Mr. Chuan Leekpai, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand 

  [Original: English]

  On this occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like, on behalf of the Government and people of Thailand, to join the international community in extending our deep condolences to the families of the Palestinian people who lost their loved ones in the recent violence which started on 28 September 2000 in East Jerusalem and other parts of the occupied territory. It is unfortunate that, this year, we have to celebrate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on a somber note. Once again, intolerance and mistrust are causing unnecessary loss of life. The tragic event reaffirms once again that just and lasting peace can only be achieved through peaceful dialogue.

  Thailand firmly supports General Assembly resolution ES-10/7 adopted at the resumed tenth emergency special session on 20 October 2000, demanding, among other things, the immediate cessation of violence and use of force and strict observance of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949. We very much look forward to the full implementation of the understandings reached at Sharm el-Sheikh and the resumption of negotiations on the final status agreements based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the principle of land for peace.

  Finally, I wish to reaffirm Thailand's consistent and full support for the peaceful resolution of the question of Palestine and to express our earnest hope that the cause of peace will prevail and that everyone in the region will be able to live their lives not in fear, but in harmony with their neighbours.

Mr. Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of the Republic of Tunisia 

  [Original: Arabic]

  This year's observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People comes at a time of alarming developments in the occupied Palestinian territories owing to the escalation of Israel's bloody assaults on the defenceless Palestinian people and the casualties and destruction they have left behind them on a daily basis.

  In recent times, Israel has not hesitated to make use of all means of harassment, repression and violence against innocent citizens without heed for the relevant international covenants, in particular the fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Israeli repression has left a large number of casualties and has caused the martyrdom of many Palestinian civilians, including children, elderly persons and women, who had nothing save faith in the justice of their cause and simple stones as a token proof of their existence and an affirmation of their perseverance.

  Despite the fact that the Security Council has called upon Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide by its international obligations in this regard, the Israeli military machine is still using its might against unarmed Palestinian civilians. The oppression has indeed escalated, with use being made of sophisticated weapons of war and with attacks on the offices of the Palestinian National Authority and on its symbols.

  As it condemns in the strongest terms Israel's repressive practices, Tunisia affirms its full solidarity with the valiant struggle of the Palestinian people and its perseverance in defending its inalienable rights and resisting the policy of the fait accompli. Tunisia also affirms its unconditional support for the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to reclaim its territory and establish its independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

  The United Nations resolutions condemning Israel's arbitrary acts provide powerful support to the struggle of the Palestinian people. They also reflect the belief of all those in the international community who cherish peace that the cause of the Palestinian people is a just one and that it is essential for them to continue to support its steadfast course at a time when Israel has chosen the way of intransigence and escalation.

  The dispatch of a fact-finding committee is an essential step in order to clarify what happened in the occupied Palestinian territories and assign responsibility for the flagrant violations currently being committed against the Palestinian people.

  Given this situation, the United Nations must play a more active role in defending the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and must take concrete measures to ensure its protection and safeguard its security by dispatching an international force for this purpose.

  This year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People takes on special importance. It serves as an opportunity to urge all those that cherish truth, justice and peace to endeavour to induce Israel to desist from its disgraceful actions, to return to the logic of rationality, to recognize the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the legally binding international resolutions and to support that people's just cause and its steadfastness in pursuing the restoration of all its rights.

  We renew our call to the co-sponsors of the peace process and to the States members of the European Union to make a greater effort to save the peace process in the Middle East region from total collapse and to ensure the continued pursuit of the endeavours made since the Madrid conference to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), on the other relevant United Nations resolutions and on the principle of land for peace.

  In our concern for and commitment to the resumption of the peace process, which we have supported since its inception and to whose progress we have contributed, we stress that a return to the negotiating table in present circumstances requires that certain basic conditions be met. They are, primarily, Israel's cessation of its acts of repression and murder against the defenceless Palestinian people, its compliance with the requirements of international legitimacy, its complete and unconditional withdrawal from all the occupied Palestinian territories and other occupied Arab territories, and its recognition of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people.

Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Republic of Turkey 

  [Original: English]

  On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to reiterate our support to the just cause of the Palestinian people.

  The International Day of Solidarity testifies to the fact that the realization of the just cause of the people of Palestine is of vital importance for establishing a lasting and comprehensive peace as well as for ensuring prosperity and stability in the Middle East. Under your able leadership, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has made great contributions to the understanding of the importance of the problem for regional and global peace.

  The Turkish people share the pain of their Palestinian brothers and wish that it will be overcome as soon as possible. It is therefore our firm belief that the successful conclusion of the Middle East peace process will create new opportunities for all people in the region, including the Palestinians, in the economic, social and cultural fields. It is our collective duty to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity in which the next generations will be able to develop themselves in every field. Therefore, it is a prerequisite that the parties should act in a responsible manner and in cooperation to prevent clashes. A counter-approach is liable to cause large-scale and unpredictable regional conflicts.

  Turkey, for its part, wishes that the parties would return to the negotiating table in order to reach an agreement which will ensure the peaceful coexistence of the Palestinians and the Israelis and bring peace and prosperity to the region. In this regard, our material and moral support to our Palestinian brothers will continue.

  Taking this opportunity, I would like to convey to you on behalf of the Turkish nation and on my own behalf my most sincere wishes for the success of the just cause of the Palestinian people.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

 [Original: Arabic]

  On behalf of the Government and people of the United Arab Emirates, I am pleased to convey to you and to the distinguished members of the Committee my gratitude and appreciation for the positions you have maintained and the noble and worthy efforts you have made to encourage and promote the support of the international community for the Palestinian cause and the achievement by the Palestinian people of its legitimate, just and inalienable rights and of self-determination in its own national territory.

  The committed participation of the United Arab Emirates in this annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People gives concrete expression to its full support for this people in advancing its just and honourable struggle for freedom and independence and the right to exercise self-determination and establish an independent State on its national soil with Jerusalem as its capital.

  Our observance of this important occasion comes at a time when the Palestinian cause and the Middle East peace process are at an extremely delicate and sensitive stage. Although in the last 10 years we had all rejoiced in the progress made in the peace process, especially between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, we and the international community as a whole have suddenly been confronted with the Israeli Government's disclosure of its true and hostile intentions not only by its failure to abide by the commitments and undertakings it had taken upon itself under the relevant agreements but also by its resort to force and violence in order to impose its hegemony and its expansionist ambitions at the expense of the principles governing a just and definitive settlement of the Palestine issue.

  Despite the signs of genuine good faith and courage on the part of the Palestinian people and its political leadership, as represented by the Palestinian National Authority, and despite the confidence-building measures they have taken for the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, all of the political and diplomatic efforts have failed because of Israel's unlawful retractions of the commitments and undertakings it had given the Palestinian Authority and because of its contempt for the wishes of the international community as expressed in the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions calling for an immediate halt to the Israeli Government's murder of children, women and elderly persons and for an end to the closures, assaults, expulsions, arrests and disruptions of the food supply and further condemning the destruction of homes and property, the expropriation of land, the expansion of unlawful settlement activity and the desecration of Holy Places in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, especially in the City of Jerusalem. This is to be regarded as being in material, legal and political violation of the principles on which the peace process was founded, the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, international humanitarian law, the relevant United nations resolutions, specifically Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the principle of land for peace.

  As it observes with great concern all of these grievous Israeli violations and Israel's other attempts to empty the peace process of its political substance in order to advance its own expansionist goals and perpetuate the existing situation and the occupation, the United Arab Emirates holds the Israeli Government responsible for the dire consequences this will have. Such violations are incompatible in form and substance with the peaceful intentions of the countries of the region for the achievement of regional and international peace and security.

  On this historic occasion, we renew our call to the international community, and in particular to the co-sponsors of the peace process, to the States members of the European Union and to other countries actively involved, to take action to end these Israeli violations and to require the Israeli Government to meet its legal obligations. Given the situation, it is also essential that an international mechanism should be established to protect the Palestinian people from the violations being committed against it by the Israeli Government and that action should be taken to augment the political, financial, economic and technical assistance it receives in order to enable it to pursue its development and build its economic, social and human institutions.

  In closing, we reaffirm the commitments and firmly established principles in accordance with which we undertake to assist the Palestinian people in seeking to regain the exercise of its legitimate rights in the same manner as the other peoples of the world in an era in which freedom will be manifest and human rights enhanced.

Mr. Hugo Chavez Frias, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

[Original: Spanish]

  The Government of Venezuela is pleased to be celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 32/40, is observed on 29 November. The Government extends its congratulations and best wishes to the Palestinian people and to the Palestinian National Authority on this important occasion.

  The Venezuelan people deeply regret the violence that has taken place as a result of the visit of Mr. Ariel Sharon to Al-Haram al-Sharif on 28 September 2000, the loss of Palestinian lives resulting from the excessive use of force by the Israeli army and the systematic violation of human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. Venezuela supports the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1322 (2000), the resolution adopted at the fifth special session of the Commission on Human Rights and the provisions outlined in resolution A/ES-10/7 adopted at the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly.

  This violence is once again threatening the peace process and the advancement of final status negotiations between Palestine and the Israelis. Accordingly, Venezuela supports the efforts being made by the Secretary-General to stem the escalating violence during this crisis and the outcome of the meeting held at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, on 17 October 2000. The Government encourages the parties to pursue their efforts with a view to reaching a solution within the framework of the Middle East peace process. Only through dialogue and cooperation will it be possible to move forward towards the achievement of a just and lasting peace that will help strengthen stability, security and economic development in that region.

  With that in mind, Venezuela reaffirms its support for the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, which process should culminate in the creation of a Palestinian State. It also supports the right of States in the region to exist within secure and internationally recognized borders, and considers that a just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

Mr. Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam 

  [Original: English]

  On the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to extend to Your Excellencies, and through Your Excellencies, to the Palestinian People, my warmest greetings of solidarity.

  The Vietnamese Government and people would like to express their grave concern at the violence taking place in the Palestinian occupied territories and at the tragic events which have taken many lives and caused a lot of injuries to the Palestinian civilians. We strongly believe that resolution 1322 (2000) adopted by the United Nations Security Council on 7 October 2000 as well as the accords achieved at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit on 17 October 2000 should be implemented in order to put an immediate end to these acts of violence. The parties concerned should renew the dialogues and the peace process in the Middle East to work for a just and lasting solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the land-for-peace principle and the agreements reached by the concerned parties. Such a solution must ensure the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their rights to self-determination, the return of the refugees and to establishing an independent Palestinian State on their homeland, as well as the righteous interests of all the parties concerned.

 On this occasion, the Vietnamese Government and people reaffirm their consistent support for the just cause of the Palestinian people and their conviction that the struggle of the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization and with the support and solidarity from the peace-loving forces in the world, will achieve its full victory.

Lieutenant General Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen

[Original: Arabic]

  The President, Government and people of the Republic of Yemen have tirelessly provided unconditional support for the Palestinian people in its just struggle to liberate its land, exercise self-determination and establish an independent State on its own soil, and they have constantly expressed their active fraternal solidarity with that people.

  We in the Republic of Yemen have allowed no opportunity to pass, have spared no effort and have left no legitimate means untried for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations and the restoration of the usurped rights of the valiant Palestinian people, and we have done so in our belief in the justice of the Palestinian cause.

  We urge the United Nations and the international community to endeavour to devise a just and comprehensive solution. This can only be achieved through the continuation of the peace process, in the framework of the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Madrid agreement and on the basis of the principle of land for peace.

  Preoccupation with this deep-rooted issue has been of long duration, and we wish for a just end to it that will create relations of peace, cooperation and stability in the region.


B. Messages from Governments

Burkina Faso

[Original: French]

  The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is being observed this year on 29 November 2000 at an historically decisive moment in the heroic struggle of the fraternal Palestinian people to recover its inalienable rights to freedom, self-determination and independence.

  The international community has recently witnessed the eruption of violence in the Palestinian territories, where the Israeli forces bombard both residential areas and Palestinian Authority offices on a daily basis. Such acts of aggression gravely compromise the various Israeli-Palestinian peace accords and continue to cause a large number of casualties and serious material damage in the Palestinian community.

  The Government and people of Burkina Faso renew their sentiments of fraternity with the Palestinian people at this difficult time. They also express their condolences to the families that have been devastated by this aggression.

  The Government of Burkina Faso appeals to all States that care about peace and justice and to the institutions and bodies of the United Nations to put in place forthwith a mechanism that will halt the violence and re-establish the dialogue between the protagonists of the crisis.

  Burkina Faso reiterates its full support for the relevant United Nations resolutions and expresses the hope that they will indeed be implemented, thereby allowing peace to be re-established between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

  All our very best wishes go with them along the road to peace.

  Long live the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People!

Central African Republic

[Original: French]

  The commemoration today, 29 November, of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People gives us an opportunity to reaffirm our support for the relevant United Nations resolutions on the question of the Middle East in general and on Palestine in particular. The Government of the Central African Republic, like all countries that are committed to peace and justice, wishes to reaffirm its support for the Palestinian people in its struggle for a just cause, namely, the right to an independent State.

  The Government and people of the Central African Republic express their sympathy in the face of the tragedies and suffering currently being endured by the Palestinian people and their hope that the parties to the conflict will reach an early settlement based on the relevant resolutions of the Security Council. They also call upon the international community to work together to find a just and lasting solution to this question, which has been pending for too long and whose consequences in recent months have sorely tested and constantly interrupted the peace process.

Uruguay

  [Original: Spanish]

  On the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay reiterates its fervent hopes for the achievement of a just and lasting peace, the only way to ensure the well-being, development and respect for the rights of the Palestinian people.

  In view of recent events, I should like to express the Government’s grave concern at the interruption of the peace process and at the suffering now being endured and at the tragic loss of human life on both sides.

  Accordingly, the Government of Uruguay urges all parties involved in the conflict to make every effort to put an end to the confrontation and, once that is achieved, to resume the negotiation of an agreement so as to restore peace to the region once and for all.


C. Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs

Mr. Adalberto Rodriguez Giavarini, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

International Commerce and Worship of the Republic of Argentina

  [Original: Spanish]

  On the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Government of the Argentine Republic wishes to reaffirm, yet again, its support for this important observance.

  The Argentine Government also wishes to reiterate its firm conviction that peace in the Middle East must be achieved on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), the Madrid and Oslo accords, the Washington Declaration of Principles, the Wye River Memorandum and the recent agreements signed at Sharm el-Sheikh which contain the necessary elements for achieving a just and lasting peace in the region.

  Argentina views with grave concern the tragic events that are unfolding in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel. I should like to take this opportunity to extend my Government’s condolences once again to the families of the victims of the recent violence.

  Just one year ago, my Government was expressing its satisfaction and hope at the signing of the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum of 4 September 1999 and the resumption of final status negotiations on 13 September of that same year between the Palestinian Authority and Israel … which would make it possible to generate enough confidence in the region in order to find, on the basis of mutual compromise, a solution that would benefit all parties. The Argentine Government is convinced that, despite the current situation in the field, with a bit of effort and imagination, we can return to the level of trust of just a year ago.

  In these times of uncertainty and crisis I should like to underscore what my Government said recently regarding the need for all parties to exercise the utmost responsibility and self-control so as to put an end to the violence. Violence only leads to more violence. At the same time, I should like to point out that the Argentine people are convinced that peace between Palestinians and Israelis is possible and that the crisis situations must not cause one to lose sight of the shared goal of lasting peace in the Middle East.

  The Argentine Republic believes that economic and social development and improvement of the quality of life of the Palestinian people are elements that will help strengthen the peace process in the Middle East. For that reason the Argentine Government participated from 1996 to 1998, through the “White Helmets” initiative, in successful urban planning projects in the municipalities of Gaza, Rafah and Khan Younis. In addition, in the course of 1999, Argentina undertook to continue its contributions through the White Helmets for the period 1999-2004.

  I should also like to point out that, during the current year, through the White Helmets secretariat, we have collaborated actively with the Palestinian Authority and with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on town planning activities relating to the Bethlehem 2000 project. In that context, Argentine experts have participated in activities to improve the infrastructure, open up public spaces and renovate places of historical and cultural interest in the town of Bethlehem.

  The Argentine Republic fully supports all the efforts made by countries in the region to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. It also supports ongoing international efforts to put an end to the violence and return to the path of negotiations.

  The Argentine Government reiterates its support for the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in its own land, and for the right of its neighbours to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders in the context of the provisions of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

Mr. Guillermo Fernández de Soto, Minister for External Relations of the

Republic of Colombia 

  [Original: Spanish]

  More than half a century has elapsed since the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II), which provided for the creation of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State” in Palestine with Jerusalem under a special regime. And yet, the question of Palestine remains unresolved and the Palestinian people has still not been able to exercise its inalienable rights.

  On this occasion, on behalf of the President of the Republic, Andrés Pastrana Arango, on behalf of the people of Colombia and on my own behalf, I have the honour to extend to the Palestinian people, and to its distinguished leaders, our warmest greetings and sincere wishes for its well-being and progress.

  Colombia has seen with deep concern the latest events provoked by the escalation of violence in Gaza and on the West Bank, which have left many people, mostly Palestinians, dead or wounded. It has expressed its rejection of the excessive use of force and, accordingly, it has supported the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and by the Security Council.

  On this further observance of the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Colombia joins the international community in hoping that Palestinians and Israelis will return to the peace negotiations. It also reiterates its interest and willingness to continue developing and expanding the friendly relations between the two peoples.

Mr. János Martonyi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary 

[Original: English]

  On the occasion of the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to convey my greetings to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. We consider that the Hungarian membership in this committee is a part of our efforts in supporting all international initiatives and efforts contributing to the fulfilment of the above aim.

  We hope that, in spite of the recent tragic and painful developments in the region, the recognition of the fact that there is no real alternative to the peace process will finally prevail and the continuation of the talks will eventually gain further impetus. To this end, we consider that the cessation of the violence and the resumption of the dialogue are the most pressing tasks at this moment.

  In our view, the talks between the concerned parties must finally lead to a just and comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict, with the solution of the Palestinian question at its core. The final settlement should therefore result in the establishment of adequate conditions for the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination within the framework of a State the creation of which is based upon mutual acceptance and recognition by the negotiating parties.

  Guided by this aim, Hungary shall continue to lend all possible support, within the limits of its possibilities, to assist the Palestinian people in their quest.

Mr. Mohammed S. Al-Sahaf, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq

[Original: Arabic]

  We have received with the greatest appreciation your letter dated 17 October 2000 in which you indicate that your distinguished Committee will observe on 29 November 2000 the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People as part of the international efforts to promote and mobilize international support and assistance to the Palestinian people in its struggle against the odious Zionist colonialist occupation.

  We value these efforts highly, and we call upon the distinguished Committee on the observance of this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in the painful and critical circumstances in which the heroic people of the intifada finds itself to raise its voice yet higher and to stand by a people that has borne all manner of travail and oppression at the hands of the racist Zionist occupation authorities.

  The position taken by Iraq on the Palestinian issue has long been clear, and it is a fundamental position of principle from we derive all our other positions. This position, as conveyed by Mr. Saddam Hussein, President of the Republic of Iraq, in his letter addressed to the Arab Summit Conference held in Cairo on 21 and 22 October 2000, can be epitomized as a call for action to liberate Palestine by means of Jihad, because only Jihad can liberate Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River as well as the other Arab territories occupied by the Zionist entity.

  It has become unequivocally clear over the years that the practices of the Zionist occupying Power have always had the deliberate and unambiguous intention of violating public international law, international humanitarian law and the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

  The occupying Power has similarly failed to comply with any of the relevant international conventions and covenants or resolutions of the United Nations. The latter include the relevant Security Council resolutions, the most recent being resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000, as well as the resolution adopted by the General Assembly at its resumed tenth emergency special session on 20 October 2000. These resolutions followed the outburst of Palestinian anger against Zionist settler colonialism that reached its peak after the desecration of the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000, thus deliberately inflaming the feelings of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims in all parts of the world, and the subsequent use by the forces of Zionist settler colonialism of their mighty military machine against the defenceless Palestinian people, killing hundreds and wounding thousands of the civilian inhabitants.

  What the racist Zionist entity is now doing in the occupied Palestinian territories constitutes contempt for the entire world, States and institutions alike. All the practices and measures instituted by this racist entity confirm its usurping settler-colonialist character, a fact that poses a genuine and decisive challenge to the international community and all of its institutions. Thus when Iraq, through its leader, President Saddam Hussein, stresses the way of Jihad it is because this is the only means of ridding Palestine and its people of foreign Zionist occupation and because any substitute can only perpetuate the hateful Zionist settler occupation weighing on the Arab land of Palestine. There is no alternative to liberation by Jihad when the land is usurped, dignity is trodden under foot, the occupier and aggressor acts in a tyrannical manner and those things held sacred are held captive.

  As we join you in observing this great Day of Solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people, we call upon you and upon all free and honourable people in the world to expose the crimes of this racist settler-colonialist entity, to assist the oppressed and to seek retribution from the oppressor.

Mr. Yohei Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

[Original: Japanese]

  With the message I sent on this occasion last year, just after the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum and the successful meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in Tokyo, I conveyed my sense of optimism for the peace process. My message this year, regrettably, is filled with sorrow due to the clashes between the Palestinians and the Israelis over the past two months, which have claimed more than 250 lives, most of them Palestinian civilians. I am deeply saddened by this situation, and extend my deepest condolences and sincere sympathy to the bereaved families.

  Ever since this recent round of hostilities erupted, Japan has strongly condemned acts of provocation, violence and the excessive use of force. It has called upon the parties concerned to honour their commitment to quickly restore calm and to rebuild their mutual confidence as partners in the peace process, so that they can resume their talks. It is Japan's firm position that a negotiated settlement is the only realistic option for bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the region.

  On this occasion, I wish to recall that Japan has been a friend of the Palestinian people over the past decades, and to emphasize that it will continue to be a friend in the future. It is from this sense of friendship that Japan has extended more than 500 million dollars to the Palestinians, including emergency medical aid to alleviate the suffering they are enduring as a result of the recent clashes. At the same time, it has steadfastly supported the Palestinians' right of self-determination, including their inalienable right to establish an independent State. Japan will continue to strengthen the valuable ties of friendship that have been forged in the bilateral relationship over the course of many years.

  Finally, I would like as their friend to invite the Palestinian people to look ahead to the future of the region. The current vicious circle of violence and hatred must be put to an end and the peace process brought back on track as soon as possible so that present and future generations of Palestinians can live in a peaceful environment, free of all threats and distrust. Japan will spare no effort to help the Palestinians to achieve that objective. It is in this way that Japan can best demonstrate its solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Mrs. Lila Hanitra Ratsifandrihamanana, Minister for Foreign Affairs 

of the Republic of Madagascar

[Original: French]

  Madagascar joins with the other members of the international community in the observance on 29 November this year of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  It may be recalled that the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II) in 1947 and the fact that more than 50 years later the international community is still observing an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is a reminder that the question of Palestine has still not been resolved. In fact, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), some 3.6 million Palestinian refugees remain scattered throughout the Middle East.

  As a member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Madagascar wishes to express its deep solidarity with the families of the victims of violence, particularly the victims of the tragic incidents that took place at the Holy Sanctuary of the Haram al-Sharif last September. It is also an opportunity for the Government and people of Madagascar to remind the Palestinian people of its unshakeable support for the valiant people of Palestine who, with courage and tenacity, are enduring sacrifices to regain their legitimate and inalienable right to self-determination and independence. As they have in the past, the Government and people of Madagascar will continue to support the legitimate demands of Palestine, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, which affirms the right of Palestinian refugees to return home if they so wish and to recover their property.

  The international community has appropriate mechanisms for achieving a fair and lasting settlement of this question, and we urge the Government of Israel, which has a key role to play in the process, to comply with those mechanisms. Madagascar remains convinced that only by resolving the question of Palestine can the problem of peace and security in the region be permanently resolved, because only then will Israel attain peace and reconciliation with its Arab neighbours.

  In the face of the current eruption of passions on both sides, which risks spreading beyond the region, Madagascar urges the Government of Israel to:

–  Agree to put an end to the cycle of violence in Palestine;
–   Scrupulously honour its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable to all the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967;
–   Abide by the rules of international law and resume the peace process; and
–   Recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees to return home and to recover their property.

  Madagascar recognizes the continuing responsibility of the United Nations for all aspects of the question of Palestine and would be failing in its duty if it did not pay a heartfelt tribute to the sponsors of the peace process, including the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, who, as a true apostle of peace, is personally engaged and is doing everything in his power to bring the parties to the discussion table with a view to achieving a peace agreement to which both parties will scrupulously adhere.

  Lastly, Madagascar takes this opportunity to appeal to all peoples committed to peace and justice to demonstrate their solidarity with the Palestinian people and to spare no effort to support it in its legitimate struggle to regain its freedom and sovereignty so that it may finally be able to live in peace and complete security in its territory.

Mr. Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs

of the Sultanate of Oman 

  [Original: Arabic]

  We are pleased to convey to you once more our gratitude and appreciation for the sustained efforts made by your Committee to enable the Palestinian people to exercise all of the legitimate rights affirmed by the resolutions of the United Nations, primarily Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

  As you know, the Sultanate of Oman has spared no effort, at all levels and in all forums, to support and assist the Palestinian people in securing all of its legitimate rights and, first and foremost, its right to exercise self-determination and establish its independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. Since the inception at Madrid of a peace process based on the principle of land for peace, Oman has been anxious to make a most active and positive contribution by taking concrete measures to support the process and ensure that it will culminate in a just and comprehensive peace guaranteeing the security and stability of the region as a whole.

  In solidarity with the Palestinian people and in order to assist it in its ordeal and the harsh sufferings imposed upon it while in the clutches of the Israeli occupation forces by the acts of violence and murder perpetrated against unarmed children, youths and elders defending their land, those things they hold sacred and their legitimate rights, the Omani Charitable Board has inaugurated a large-scale media campaign to solicit contributions. It has opened accounts at all banks in the country to receive those contributions, and it has taken other measures, including the dispatch of drugs and medical equipment to the Palestinian territories.

  We have confidence in your ability to maintain and intensify your valuable efforts under the mandate entrusted to the Committee to support and assist the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people looks to the international community to support it by all possible means in its endeavour to halt the bloodshed and achieve all of its goals and legitimate aspirations to live in security and peace so that the entire region may enjoy stability and prosperity.

Mr. Petre Roman, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania

[Original: Romanian]

  On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I convey to you the warmest congratulations, wishes of health and success in your activity.

  I take this opportunity to express our hope that the efforts of the international community undertaken with a view to the resumption of the negotiations will lead to the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, thereby putting an end to the sufferings of the Palestinian people.

Mr. Farouk Al-Shara’, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic

 [Original: Arabic]

  I should like to convey to you my appreciation of the role played by your Committee in organizing this important international gathering. It also gives me pleasure to join you on an occasion that the United Nations has designated for the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  The Palestinian people has not surrendered to the occupation and has rejected the inequitable Israeli terms for the negotiating process. It has risen up in a valiant intifada that has now been under way for two months. It has suffered enormous casualties in struggling bravely against the brute force of the Israeli occupation in order to assert its sovereignty over its national soil, establish its independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital and exercise its right of return in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations and international law. The Syrian Arab Republic will continue its unfailing defence of the just cause and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, while the inhabitants of the Syrian Golan under Israeli occupation are also being subjected to grave violations of human rights as they struggle valiantly for the elimination of foreign occupation. It is Israel that is responsible for aborting the peace process because it still refuses to implement Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and has reneged on commitments and undertakings on which agreement had been reached in the course of arduous negotiations that had taken many years.

  From this international forum, we call upon the Security Council and the international community to meet their responsibilities with respect to the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on the implementation of the United Nations resolutions requiring Israel's full withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 and from the remaining occupied Lebanese territories, including the Shab`a farmlands, to the internationally recognized boundaries and on securing the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people.

  We alert you to the grave dangers of the situation in the Middle East created by the Israeli practices that have returned the region to a climate of tension and violence, by Israel's disregard for the resolutions of the United Nations and its violations of international covenants, especially the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and by Israel's threats of aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon.

 We applaud the efforts made by your distinguished Committee, which has tirelessly supported and assisted the just struggle and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. With the entire international community, we look forward to that day in the new millennium when occupation and the usurpation of rights will end and the region will rejoice in a just and comprehensive peace so that the security and stability of both the region and the world can be preserved.

Mr. Anatoliy Zlenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine 

  [Original: English]

  I am pleased to extend to you, Mr. Chairman, and through you to the people of Palestine my sincere greetings and best wishes on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  Over the past 12 months we have witnessed both progress and setbacks in the Middle East peace process, the core of which is the issue of Palestine. Hopes were rekindled when in March 2000 further redeployments were carried out, additional prisoners were released and the Palestinians and Israelis began talks on a permanent status agreement.

  At the Camp David summit, important and most complicated issues of refugees, borders, settlements and Jerusalem were for the first time raised and discussed directly by both parties, and solutions to many of them were found. The Palestinians and Israelis were one small step away from achieving an accord, which would have opened the way to ending their decades-long conflict and changed radically the life of their peoples, and the region as a whole.

  Despite these positive developments in the peace process, the sides failed to make yet another effort and to find a mutually acceptable compromise. Recent events have shown that violence can plunge the entire Middle East into the abyss of a wide-scale armed confrontation and political uncertainty.

  Ukraine remains deeply concerned over the further deterioration of the situation in the Middle East and condemns all acts of violence and terrorism.

  We are convinced that there is no alternative for the parties but to return to the negotiating table and to implement the Sharm el-Sheikh summit understandings. It is also our conviction that the solution to the issue of Palestine should be based on the full implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as well as on the Madrid Peace Conference formula and the Oslo accords.

  Ukraine supports the constructive engagement of the Secretary-General in the current crisis and strongly encourages him to continue to explore ways of stopping the violence and bringing the parties back to the negotiating table. We look forward to the earliest commencement of the Fact-Finding Committee activities.

  As one of the founders of the United Nations and an active member of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, chaired by Your Excellency, Ukraine has always attached great importance to the Palestine issue. The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for justice, freedom and dignity are understandable to Ukraine, which regained its independence nine years ago. Ukraine supports the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

  The settlement of the Middle East conflict and the process of resolving the Palestine issue have a long history. Ukraine has always supported all signs of progress achieved. As a member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2000-2001, Ukraine has actively contributed to the adoption of resolution 1322 (2000) on the situation in the Middle East. We share a growing perception that the Security Council should undertake further measures to normalize the situation and to ensure the implementation by the parties of resolution 1322 (2000).

  It is our hope that the Palestinian people will eventually see the realization of their long-sought aspirations, and that an independent Palestinian State will be created within the framework of a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict.

  Availing myself of this opportunity, I wish you, Mr. Chairman, every success in fulfilling your responsible duties, as well as peace and progress to the Palestinian people.


D.  Messages from Permanent Missions to the United Nations

Zimbabwe

[Original: English]

  The delegation of Zimbabwe commemorates with you the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We reaffirm our support for the Palestinian people's struggle for the exercise of their inalienable rights to self-determination and their wish for an independent state of Palestine.

  The Oslo peace process, which started seven years ago, has been seriously threatened by the violence that erupted two months ago in the occupied territories. We have seen youths demonstrating against Israeli occupation being killed, and other unarmed civilians maimed through the use of excessive force by Israelis. However, we know that no amount of force can ever silence a people's resolve for freedom and statehood, because theirs is a just cause.

  The delegation of Zimbabwe therefore extends to the Palestinian families of fallen heroes, the Palestinian Authority led by Chairman Arafat and, indeed, the people of Palestine as a whole our heart-felt condolences.

  Despite these impediments, the delegation of Zimbabwe continues to stand with the Palestinian people in their quest for statehood, national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We send our best wishes on this very important Day, so dear to the hearts of the Palestinian people.


E.  Messages from intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation

to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly

and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters

European Union

 [Original: French]

  This year the dramatic events unfolding in the Palestinian territories cast the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People into particularly tragic relief. The European Union expresses its pain and deep distress at the heavy casualties sustained and large numbers wounded in the clashes, and shares the grief of the cruelly bereaved families.

  The European Union strongly deplores the economic and social effects of the measures taken against the Palestinian population. It demands that the free movement of persons and goods in the Palestinian territories be promptly restored and all restrictions lifted, in particular those applied to the free passage of humanitarian assistance personnel and equipment. The European Union also calls for the financial sanctions imposed against the Palestinian Authority in contravention of the agreements signed between the parties to be lifted. Once again, it urges the parties to refrain from any action likely to provoke fresh encounters and to do all that is in their power to de-escalate the situation and resume dialogue.

  The European Union remains convinced that there is no alternative to negotiation in order to achieve a peace that will allow the Palestinian people to recover its faith in a better future, and reaffirms its commitment to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principles adopted at the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace, and the agreements concluded at Oslo and subsequent thereto. On the basis of its Declaration adopted at Berlin, the European Union confirms its desire to see both the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people recognized and upheld and its national aspirations realized, including its right to a State.

  The European Union calls for the committee of fact-finding on the events, established after the Sharm al-Sheikh summit, to begin its work on the ground without delay in order to help calm the situation. It supports the action taken by the Secretary-General of the United Nations with a view to examining with the parties the modalities for the deployment of an observer mission in the Palestinian territories, pursuant to the mandate entrusted to him by the Security Council.

  The European Union confirms its commitment to continue providing the Palestinian people with technical and economic assistance, and to work to strengthen the Palestinian institutions that represent a peaceful and democratic State under the rule of law. It expresses its desire to see the inauguration, with the new millennium, of a happier, more secure and more prosperous period for the Palestinian people, in which it is able to turn all its energies and talents to the realization of its national destiny.

Organization of African Unity: Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary-General

[Original: English]

  On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reiterate the support of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the just cause of the Palestinian people.

  It was in line with the principled position of the OAU that the Council of Ministers, during its 72nd Ordinary Session held in Lome, Togo, in July, 2000 reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to exercise their inalienable national rights, including their right to return to their homes, recover their property, self-determination and the establishment of an independent state on their national soil, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the principles of international law and other pertinent resolutions of the United Nations.

  Despite all positive steps taken at the beginning of this year to promote the peace process in the Middle East, it is regrettable that today we are witnessing an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  In view of the escalation of the conflict, I, on 3 October, 2000, issued a statement on behalf of the OAU in which I reiterated OAU's constant position. I also strongly appealed to the Israeli authorities to take all necessary steps to address the underlying factors that led to the latest escalation of violence in the West Bank and Gaza and to exercise restraint in order to avoid any further loss of lives on all sides.

  I appealed, in particular, to the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to create propitious conditions for ending the ongoing violence and resuming direct negotiations with a view to achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.

  At this critical stage in the Palestinian struggle, it is the responsibility of the international community to ensure a speedy conclusion of the peace process. As for the OAU, I wish to assure you, Mr. Chairman, that our Organization will spare no efforts to support the peace process in Palestine and in the Middle East until a just and final solution is found to the problem, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.

  In this regard, we are fully aware of the efforts your Committee has been exerting to sensitize world opinion and to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine to self-determination, including the creation of a Palestinian State and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland and property.

  I wish your Committee every success in its endeavours.

Organization of the Islamic Conference:

Mr. Azeddine Laraki, Secretary-General

 [Original: Arabic]

  Allow me on this occasion to extend my appreciation and gratitude on behalf of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations and its various organs and bodies for the efforts they are exerting to highlight and explain the ramifications of the Palestinian cause to the world and for the assistance they are lending to the Palestinian people in all arenas.

  This year, celebrations happen to come at a time when the Palestinian people and its just cause are going through the most difficult circumstances at the most critical point in its resistance. Its blessed intifada, or uprising, has now been going on for more than two months, to end the Israeli occupation of its territories, gain freedom and independence and protect its Islamic and Christian shrines and sanctuaries in the face of the Israeli occupation forces using their military machinery, helicopters, missiles, tanks and internationally banned ammunition to kill more than 300 martyrs and injure over 10,000 people, to destroy Palestinian infrastructure and demolish Palestinian centres, houses of worship, farms and homes atop their occupants, to bulldoze the soil, to uproot fruitful trees, to besiege all the Palestinian cities and villages, to close the airport and passageways to people, commodities, supplies and medicines, and to cut off the Palestinian people from the rest of the world.

  This brutal Israeli aggression as well as all the inhuman and illegitimate Israeli measures and practices, which are in flagrant violation of all the international covenants and conventions, particularly the 1949 Geneva Convention, have been seen on the TV screens of the world and covered by reports such as those of Amnesty International and Mrs. Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which have exposed the magnitude of the Israeli crimes being perpetrated every day against the defenceless Palestinian people.

  It is because of all that that there is a need for immediate action to compel the Israeli occupier to put an end to its aggression and pull back its military forces and machinery to their position before 28 September 2000 as well as a need to constitute an international commission of enquiry in accordance with Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) to give an urgent and comprehensive report on its findings.

  There is also a pressing need for the High Signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene in order to consider the continuous violations by the Israeli occupier of the provisions of the Convention.

  That is something that requires the international community to assume its responsibility to provide the necessary international protection for the Palestinian people until the Israeli occupation is evicted from its territories and the resolutions of international legitimacy on the cause of Palestine, Al-Quds and the Middle East, particularly Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III), are implemented and until the Palestinian people is able to exercise its imprescriptible and inalienable rights, including its right to return to its homes and properties and establish its independent Palestinian state on its national soil with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as capital.

  The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which has supported the peace processin the Middle East on the basis of the foundations it was built on, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the land-for-peace formula, is of the view that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East cannot be reached without the full Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, in accordance with Security Council resolution 242 (1967).

  It reaffirms its recognition of the State of Palestine as well as its total support of the State of Palestine and its right to full membership in the United Nations just like the other States of the world.

  We call upon you to work with us to achieve the aspirations and hopes of the Palestinian people to live in freedom and dignity under its independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital so as to ensure international peace and security.


F.  Messages from specialized agencies of the United Nations system 

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: 

Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General

  [Original: English]

  On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reiterate the steadfast commitment of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to contributing to the peaceful settlement of the Middle East crisis and to the emergence of a stable and prosperous Palestinian society.

  Peaceful coexistence is the only solution. A climate conducive to dialogue and reconciliation is the only way forward. UNESCO places education at the heart of peace-building: education for reciprocal knowledge and mutual understanding. The future must be safeguarded so that the open wounds in the minds of young people do not for ever prevent them from learning to live together.

  In this spirit, UNESCO will spare no effort through its action in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, and notably through its Programme for Palestine, towards the creation of conditions leading to the full development of all women and men, able to live together in a spirit of tolerance and shared respect for the values of peace, democracy and human rights.

  On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I recall with great emotion my visit to Bethlehem last December and all the people I met there. I sincerely hope that people of good will on all sides will succeed in achieving a just, global and lasting peace in the Middle East.


G. Messages from non-governmental organizations

Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue:

Mr. Latif Dori, Chairman

 [Original: Arabic]

  Together with hundreds of millions of human beings in all parts of the world, we greet the Palestinian Arab people on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with its valiant struggle over many decades to achieve its worthy goal of ending the odious occupation and establishing its independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

  We are always and for ever in solidarity with the Palestinian people that has been suffering hundreds of killed and thousands of wounded as a result of the brutal aggression being launched against it by the army of the Israeli occupation following the provocative visit made by General Sharon to the Haram al-Sharif in order to sabotage the peace process.

  We know that the will of the Palestinian people shall ultimately prevail over the helicopters and tanks of Ehud Barak, because there is no force in the world that can quell the Al-Aqsa Intifada being waged by a people that seeks freedom and independence.

  On this solemn day, we call upon the occupation Government to hold its fire, to withdraw its military forces to their previous positions, to lift the embargo on food supplies, to halt the vicious settlement activity and to return to the negotiating table without reservations or conditions in order to reach agreement on a just peace that will put an end to the shedding of innocent blood and bring stability and tranquillity to the peoples of the region.

European Coordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine:

Mr. Pierre Galand, Chairman

[Original: French]

  On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, proclaimed by the United Nations as 29 November, the European Coordinating Committee on the question of Palestine (ECCP) addresses this message to you, further to our meeting on coordination in Europe held in Marseilles, France, on Saturday, 11 November 2000.

  On 11 November, while the whole of Europe was commemorating the armistice which ended the First World War, we, the associations and committees of national European platforms for Palestine, met alongside the European Summit in Marseilles in the Euromed Civil Forum. This brought together more than 200 Euro-Mediterranean non-governmental organizations with a view to launching a solemn appeal to the representatives of the European Governments entitled “Palestine: act now” and ending the violence and war which has engulfed the Palestinian people.

  Today, we call upon the United Nations and the Security Council to take firm action to ensure that Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) is implemented and that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War is applied to the occupied territories.

  In common with all international non-governmental organizations, we staunchly support the establishment of an international committee of enquiry into human rights violations in the occupied territories and Israel itself and demand that proceedings against those guilty of war crimes be brought by an international criminal court. Similar proceedings must be prosecuted in order to prevent and condemn the use by Israel of biological weapons and depleted uranium.

  We call upon Europe and all members of the Security Council to promote the immediate deployment of an international force to protect the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.

  On 29 November we shall be mobilizing our fellow citizens to ensure that all negotiations for the resolution of the conflict are based on respect for the rights of the Palestinian people and, in particular, on General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

   We reaffirm our undertaking to obtain from our Governments and from the European Union a commitment to recognize unconditionally the sovereignty of the future Palestinian State on all the territories occupied in 1967 and the right of that State to have East Jerusalem/Al-Quds as its capital, and to take measures to assure the effectiveness and viability of that sovereignty.

  We are campaigning to ensure that Europe joins the United Nations in reaffirming the inalienable right of return of the Palestinian refugees: the principle of reparation for despoliation is non-negotiable.

  We are seeking from Europe the following:

–   An embargo on the export of arms and military supplies to Israel;
–   The suspension by the European Council of the application of the Association Agreement with Israel; and
–   The closure of the European market to any product manufactured in the settlements in order to discourage those illegal entities.

  Together with all the non-governmental organizations of the Euromed Civil Forum, ECCP has decided to send a mission of citizens from both shores of the Mediterranean to enquire into the situation in Palestine and work out with our Palestinian non-governmental organization partners an integrated plan of action.

Federación Palestina del Perú:

Dr. César A. Salomón Herrada, Secretary-General 

[Original: Spanish]

  We have the honour to address you – and through you the members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People – to thank you and to send you our fraternal greetings and our sincere message of solidarity as we again celebrate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as we do each year on 29 November.

  While the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, has demonstrated a lack of interest in reaching an agreement to end the hostilities, this is due, in part, to the fact that President Bill Clinton’s term of office is drawing to a close and he has therefore lost authority over the question of Palestine. As a result, despite the growing number of diplomatic initiatives to end the wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, on 23 November, a new series of attacks claimed victims on both sides and affected, in particular, the main symbol of the Oslo accords- the liaison offices. These offices, situated at border points between the Israeli and Palestinian zones, in the West Bank and in Gaza, in normal times coordinate security and humanitarian activities such as the transit of ambulances and the sick. Indeed, a project to reduce friction in the field, promoted by the United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, is based on security cooperation between Israel and Palestine.

  President Yasser Arafat said, at a political meeting in Moscow, that he wished to renew contact with Israel; Barak, for his part, at an extraordinary meeting of the Department of Defence, appealed to Ariel Sharon, leader of the Likud (the opposition of the right), to support the Government of national emergency.

  Enough of resolutions condemning the violence; what we need is to put an end to the violence. To do this we must have the goodwill of those involved, and the support of the international organizations responsible for security, order and world peace. We must resume the diplomatic process so as to avoid shedding any blood in the Holy Land; we must prevent the conflict from spreading and must seek to calm it by every lawful means. That is the challenge facing not only the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, but the world as a whole. We must respect the right of the Palestinian people – their unrestricted right to self-determination, including the option of having a State, so that they can achieve the necessary social, cultural and economic development and be assured of living forever in their own home.

  We must remember that the Holy Father, John Paul II, has said that the Holy Land must be a land of peace and brotherly love, and that all minds must turn to thoughts of mutual understanding and peace.

  It is this hope that prompts us to observe this Day of Solidarity, once again. The Committee has been working for the Palestinian cause for 52 years; these 52 years have not been, cannot have been spent in vain, since you are part of our history, the history of Palestine.

International Progress Organization:

Mr. Robert W. Thabit, Permanent Representative to the United Nations 

[Original: English]

  On this 29th day of November 2000, the International Progress Organization, an NGO based in Vienna, Austria, would like to indicate its continuing solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  The Oslo Accords have been intentionally and unnecessarily delayed by Israel in achieving peace. While Israel continues to delay the peace process, Israel continues to expand its occupation, expropriating Palestinian lands and increasing the size and number of settlements, which are impossible for them to defend and maintain within Arab Palestine. Israel's continued and increased use of deadly force this year against the Palestinian people has resulted in too many unnecessary deaths of Palestinians, mostly teenagers. The Palestinian people cry out for liberty, freedom and peace. Doesn't the Western world hear their cries? They cannot bear to suffer continuous repression and suppression.

  Their rights have been supported by numerous United Nations resolutions since 1948, but unfortunately they continue to be opposed by one of the Great Powers, a member of the Security Council and the champion of liberty, self-determination and the free world, but not for the Palestinians. The time has come for the United Nations to deliver freedom and independence to the Palestinians from their Israeli oppressors. We call upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Honourable Kofi A. Annan, to lend his moral support to Palestinian independence, freedom and liberty for the Palestinian people. This should be the first order of business for the United Nations in the New Millennium.

  This past year has been a historic one for the Palestinian people, who are beginning to assert their rights and confront their oppressors, not only in occupied East Jerusalem, but in the West Bank, Gaza and within Israel itself. After more than 50 years of occupation, the Palestinian people are entitled to proclaim the State of Palestine and hopefully the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, shall do so today, with East Jerusalem as their capital.

  There will be no peace in Israel and Palestine until there is "a just peace", which includes the removal of all Israelis in the settlements, who are encroaching on Palestinian territory and sovereignty. The State of Palestine must be free and independent and include all of Palestine that was occupied by Israel in the War of 1967.

Organización de Solidaridad de los Pueblos de Africa, Asia y América Latina:

Mr. Juan Carretero Ibañez, Secretary-General

[Original: Spanish]

Call for a solidarity intifada

  On 29 November, the world expressed its support for Palestine even though the rebels had not laid down their stones. The Al-Aqsa Intifada, which began more than two months ago in response to Israel’s brutal repression, has, in the space of less than eight weeks, claimed the lives of 306 Palestinians – mostly youths and even children – who, armed only with right and stones, stood up to soldiers who were armed to the teeth; fewer than 30 of the latter have died in this unequal fight.

  Friends from around the world, whether based in or just visiting Cuba, most of them having ties to OSPAAL, participated in a tricontinental round-table meeting of solidarity with Palestine and called for an intensive campaign to denounce Israel’s efforts to depict the aggression as a battle between equals.

  After listening to the sound analysis and information provided by the panellists, participants denounced the hypocritical manoeuvring of the United States which, as the super-Power of the unipolar age, purports to be acting as mediator of the conflict whereas, in fact, it is supplying the Israeli army with sophisticated weapons and is a major contributor to the aggressor’s annual budget of 9 billion dollars.

  Participants also decided to embark on an intensive worldwide solidarity campaign to expose the lies that Israel disseminates – together with its strategic partner, the United States – in an attempt to justify its crimes. Israel is opportunistically exploiting the long-standing sympathy of mankind for a people who in the past were persecuted and subjected to ethnic cleansing, known as the Jewish Holocaust, yet it is now trying to do precisely the same thing to the Palestinian people, whose land it has occupied with supreme arrogance.

  Participants proposed, inter alia: that the truth should be disseminated and that the four United Nations resolutions in favour of the Palestinian cause should be implemented; that the dual role of the United States should be denounced (the United States is acting as judge while at the same time supporting the aggressors); that people should be informed of the humiliating conditions in which the indigenous people of Palestine are being forced to live in the occupied territories and in the self-governing areas (which have been converted into Bantustans and surrounded by barbed-wire fences); and that an immediate cessation of the ethnic cleansing in this unequal battle should be demanded. These proposals won unanimous support. The major demand of the round-table meeting was that the peace process should be respected, for the Palestinian people can neither accept nor tolerate any further deadlines and provocations, nor can anyone with any sense of justice.

   That will be our solidarity intifada: the truth versus lies, right versus might, the battle of ideas as a tribute to the warriors who, armed with stones, fight tanks and rifles, causing the world to shudder each time a Palestinian child dies, a humble slingshot clutched in his hands.

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