SPECIAL BULLETIN ON

THE COMMEMORATION OF THE

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY

WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

2006

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, 2005

Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

4

Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa (Bahrain), President of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

7

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

                                                                                                  

9

Jorge Voto-Bernales (Peru), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2006

10

Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority, message delivered by Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations

12

Prasad Kariyawasam (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

15

Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, message delivered by Ileana B. Núñez Mordoche, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations

16

Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-third session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by Agshin Mehdiyev, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations

18

Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union, message delivered by Pascal Gayama, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Congo to the United Nations

19

Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, message delivered by Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States to the United Nations

20

Joshua Ruebner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator of the United States Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, on behalf of the international network of non-governmental organizations on the question of Palestine

23

Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization

25

Closing statement by Paul Badji, 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

Hâmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

27

Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria

27

King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain

28

Iajuddin Ahmed, President and Chief Adviser of the Caretaker

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

30

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil

30

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Yang D-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam

32

Michelle Bachelet Jeria, President of Chile

33

Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

33

Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s

Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

34

Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

34

General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea

35

Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana

36

Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

36

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

37

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

38

Choummaly Sayasone, President of the Lao People's Democratic

Republic

40

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia

40

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives

42

Ousmane Issoufi Maïga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali

42

Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

43

Vicente Fox Quesada, President of Mexico

43

King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco

44

Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia

45

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

46

Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation

48

Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal

48

Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic

of Sri Lanka

50

Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan

50

General Surayud Chulanont (Ret.), Prime Minister of Thailand

51

Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia

52

Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of Turkey

52

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

53

Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

55

     B.

Messages from Governments

South Africa

56

      C.

Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs

Viktar Gaisenak, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus

59

Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

59

Abdul Rahman M. Shalgam, Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

60

Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

60

Walid al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic

61

Borys Tarasyuk, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

62

      D.

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

64

Organization of the Islamic Conference: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu,

Secretary-General

65

E.

Message from a non-governmental organization

Caritas Internationalis

68


I.   COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

On 29 November 2006, 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 Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee; Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa (Bahrain), President of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly; Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; and Jorge Voto-Bernales (Peru), President of the Security Council for the month of November 2006.  The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, read out a message from Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority.   Also, Prasad Kariyawasam (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 Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United  Nations, Ileana B. Núñez Mordoche, delivered a message from Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations, Agshin Mahdiyev, read out a message from Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-third session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers; the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Congo  to  the  United  Nations, Pascal Gayama, read  out  a  message  from Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union; and Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, delivered a message from  Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.  Joshua Ruebner, a non-governmental organization (NGO) representative, also addressed the meeting.

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

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People received messages from  28  Heads  of   State, six   Heads  of  Government, and  one  Government, and  six  Foreign Ministers, as well as the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.  A message was also received from a non-governmental organization.

The solemn meeting was followed by the screening of a film entitled The Color of Olives in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library auditorium.
  
A Palestinian art exhibit “Contextualization: a Palestinian narrative” was presented under the auspices of the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.

  At the United Nations Office at Geneva, a special meeting was held on 29 November.  The meeting was chaired by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who opened the meeting by reading the statement of Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations.  The Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Saviour F. Borg, spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.  Moussa Bocar Ly, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.  Statements were also made by Saad Alfarargi, representative of the League of Arab States; Babacar Ba, representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, representative of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Kadija Rachida Masri, representative of the  African Union; and Natallia Aleksandrovich, an NGO representative.  Mohammad Abu-Koash, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva, made a statement.

At the United Nations Office at Vienna, a special meeting was also held on 29 November.  Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, Permanent Representative of Namibia 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.  The meeting observed a minute of silence in honour of all those who had given their lives for the Palestinian cause.  Kuniko Ozaki, Director for Treaty Affairs and representative of the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, delivered the statement of the Secretary-General.  Thomas Mayr-Harting, Director for Political Affairs at the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Austria, read a message on behalf of the host country. Other speakers included Norma Goicochea, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations Office at Vienna, on behalf of the Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; Hans Koechler, an NGO representative; Mikhail Wehbe, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations Office at Vienna; and Fuad Ismayilov, Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office at Vienna, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference.  Zuheir El-Wazer, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Vienna, read out a message of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the  Palestinian  Authority.  Representatives  from  60  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.

A film on the history and culture of Palestine was shown at the end of the meeting.
II.  TEXTS OF STATEMENTS MADE AND MESSAGES DELIVERED ON THE
OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, 2006
Statement by Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

[Original: French]

Today, the Committee is holding a solemn meeting to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

It is my honour and great pleasure to warmly welcome Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the General Assembly; Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Mr. Jorge Voto-Bernales, President of the Security Council; Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of the Democratic Socialist Republic 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; Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization and representative of Palestine; and Ms. Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

I also wish to convey the Committee’s great appreciation to the representatives of Member States, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations and all those who so readily accepted the Committee’s invitation to participate in this solemn meeting. In taking part in this commemorative ceremony, we wish to solemnly express here our full, complete solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people and pay glowing homage to all those who have dedicated their lives to bringing about peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

I would like now to make a statement on behalf of the Committee.

We have gathered here today, following a tradition that goes back to 1977, to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We are greatly honoured by the presence at this commemorative ceremony of many distinguished guests.

When, in 1977, the General Assembly decided to observe this Day of Solidarity, it was fully aware of the responsibility borne by the United Nations towards the Palestinian people and of the need to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question  of  Palestine. Today’s  observance  of  the  International  Day  of  Solidarity  is  a solemn occasion on which we reaffirm the ongoing commitment of the international community to achieve that goal.

The Palestinians have known almost 40 years of foreign occupation. Their daily suffering and humiliation stem from the fact that they do not have their own State. For a very long time, they have been denied the opportunity to exercise their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly, such as the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, the right to return to their homes and the right to recover their lands from which they have been uprooted. Above all, they have been denied the right to live a normal life, and to coexist peacefully with their Israeli neighbours.

Over the years, the occupation has been accompanied by an increasingly intense and disproportionate use of military force against the defenceless residents of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, a relentless drive to create new Israeli settlements, repeated acts of collective punishment and grave violations of international law.

It is frustrating to see that the question of Palestine and the plight of the Palestinian people have preoccupied the United Nations, indeed the entire international community, for decades. However, despite very many disappointments, there are still reasons to be hopeful. One of these is that we need to establish a sovereign, democratic, viable State of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security and that this imperative has become virtually universally acknowledged and accepted.

The Road Map has charted the way to a final, peaceful settlement. What has been sorely missing, however, is a determined, firm political action to bring the political process to completion.

Since we last marked the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, many significant events have taken place. Israeli military operations have continued unabated. We have seen the use of heavy weaponry in densely populated areas, which has led to numerous civilian casualties and the destruction of much infrastructure.

The Gaza Strip has been especially hard hit. The hope that was generated by Israeli disengagement a year ago has quickly dissipated, which has only underscored the failure of unilateral Israeli measures. The construction of new settlements and the building of the wall continue and intensify, particularly in and around East Jerusalem. The restrictions placed on the movement of Palestinians continue to stifle a Palestinian economy that is already significantly depressed.

Yet, on the positive side, I would mention the Palestinian parliamentary elections, which  were  a  major success, despite the  very  difficult conditions  of  occupation  under which they were conducted. For the first time, the major political Palestinian forces all took part in the elections, laying the groundwork for a future democratic State of Palestine with modern democratic institutions. Despite political rivalries inherent to any national electoral competition, the political process experienced by the Palestinians provided dazzling proof of the maturity of Palestinian society. The ongoing negotiations on a national unity government are an important step in resolving the current political and socio-economic crisis and, hopefully, in facilitating the resumption of the long-stalled peace process.

But blood continues to be spilled in the Middle East. International efforts aimed at encouraging dialogue and negotiations continue. In this respect, the recent peace initiative launched by some countries of Europe may be promising. We also note the emergence of a consensus on the need to convene an international conference on the Middle East, which will take as its main model the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference on the Middle East.

Our celebration of the International Day of Solidarity provides us with the opportunity to reiterate our resolve to advance the cause of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. This resolve manifests itself in the continuing efforts of the Quartet and of the entire international community: Governments, the United Nations family and intergovernmental and civil society organizations. On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, allow me to reiterate the Committee’s long-standing determination to work towards the achievement of this goal in perfect cooperation with Member States and all civil society actors.

I should like to take the opportunity afforded by this solemn ceremony to express our Committee’s profound gratitude to His Excellency Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to whom we pay a very special tribute. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Annan has demonstrated his perseverance, energy and exceptional wisdom as he has sought a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict. In an area that has been so long dominated by excessive passion and by discourse that has very often been destructive, his voice has been one of reason, measure and balance, as he has urged the parties to renounce violence and embark on the road of dialogue, which is the only road that can lead to peace.

I should also like to pay well-deserved tribute to Her Excellency Sheikha Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa, President of the General Assembly, for her wise leadership of the work of the General Assembly, particularly during the latest resumption of the tenth emergency special session of the Assembly; and to His Excellency Mr. Jorge Voto-Bernales, President of the Security Council, and through him, to all the members of the Council that he represents here. I express to him our deep thanks for the significant discussions that the Security Council held this month, November 2006, on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

On behalf of the Committee, I would like to thank all participants for having come together at this commemorative meeting and to have shown their will to look for a solution to what is undoubtedly one of the most complex, difficult and frustrating problems that the United Nations faces: the question of Palestine. I also especially thank the other members of the diplomatic corps who have joined us here as well as the heads of State or Government of Member States who have sent messages of support and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

It is also a great pleasure for me to welcome here the representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States. I thank them for their ongoing support and for their active participation in the work of our Committee, particularly on this, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
 
In stressing the permanent responsibility of the United Nations to resolve the question of Palestine, I would like to acknowledge with heartfelt gratitude the dedication, effectiveness and perseverance of the staff of United Nations agencies, bodies, funds and programmes, who work on the ground together with their colleagues from civil society organizations in difficult and often dangerous conditions. The daily lives of the Palestinians of the occupied territory would be even more difficult and hopeless without their support.

In conclusion, I would like once again to call on all the representatives of Member States and of intergovernmental and civil society organizations gathered here for this solemn occasion, to redouble their efforts to help the Palestinian people and to make progress in achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

Sheika Haya Rashed Al Khalifa (Bahrain), President of the sixty-first session
of the General Assembly of the United Nations
[Original: Arabic]
On behalf of the General Assembly, I thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and to its Chairman. The Committee plays an important role that enables the international community to closely examine the situation of the Palestinian people and simultaneously to support efforts to attain a just peace between the parties concerned.

I am honoured to open this meeting to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, who, this year, as in previous years, live in tragic circumstances that give rise to great losses on both sides. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to exacerbate the humanitarian, economic and security situation of the Palestinian people living in the occupied territories.

On this occasion, I would like to invite Israeli and Palestinian officials to redouble their efforts to bring about  conditions conducive  to dialogue.  Such dialogue is crucial for reaching a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the conflict, taking into account the interests of both peoples, despite the many impediments to the achievement of peace.

Of course, this situation requires the international community to fully support both parties and to follow up on the intensive past efforts, including those of the Quartet, which has proposed a Road Map calling for the establishment of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The Road Map offers the best and most beneficial solution yet.

In this extremely difficult and complex climate, we must foster the elements of agreement between the two sides to counteract the areas of disagreement that have deepened the crisis. Accordingly, the General Assembly has opposed the construction of the separation wall – a wall that not only serves to widen the gap between the Palestinian and Israeli communities, but also helps to create psychological barriers that discourage dialogue and further complicate peace efforts.

We cannot delay action to improve the social and economic situation of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. We should not wait for anticipated solutions before we begin helping them to address the growing challenges confronting them in their daily lives.

Everyone is aware of the great difficulties being endured by the Palestinian people. All indicators show that they are far from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has noted that the dire humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly in Gaza, has resulted in rising unemployment and poverty levels. According to the report of the Committee (A/61/35), the unemployment rate stands at 34 per cent in the occupied territories as a whole and at 44 per cent in the Gaza Strip, while the poverty rate stands at approximately 50 per cent overall and at approximately 70 per cent in the Gaza Strip. More than half of the Palestinian people are unable to meet their daily nutritional needs without assistance.

The report also notes the increased suffering endured by women as a result of the deteriorating security and economic situation. In addition, the World Health Organization has indicated that the acute shortage of water for drinking and other daily uses has had a negative impact on the health of the population, particularly children. There is also an inadequate supply of electricity, which is available for no more than six to eight hours a day. We must bear in mind that hospitals, other medical facilities and some medications require a constant energy supply.

That situation requires that we urgently seek a practical and serious solution. Here, I wish to commend the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations for their efforts to meet the vital and urgent needs of the Palestinian people. It is our moral duty to find a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to this conflict, which has continued for more than half a century.

We must not forget that the survival of millions of people around the world depends on the intervention and the resolutions of the United Nations. After all, the principal purpose of the Organization is to stand side by side in solidarity with the peoples of the world and to bring more peace, progress and prosperity to their lives.
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

[Original: English]
I am pleased to join the Committee in observing this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

I know I speak for all of us in expressing profound dismay that a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains so elusive.

In the past few days, with the announcement of a ceasefire in Gaza, we have had a glimmer of hope that the latest round of hostilities might give way to a period of calm. I call on both sides to adhere to that commitment and to avoid any actions that could jeopardize further progress. I also encourage them to extend the ceasefire to the West Bank.

Indeed, an end to violence is absolutely essential. The most recent military operations in the Gaza Strip resulted in a dramatic rise in civilian casualties and in the destruction of property and infrastructure. It remains crucial for Israel to exercise maximum restraint and to uphold its responsibility under international law to protect Palestinian civilians.

Israelis, too, live in insecurity. They have rightly demanded that the Palestinian Authority take credible action to prevent attacks against them and their territory. The constant rocket attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli civilians are unacceptable and should be stopped at once.

The Palestinian Authority itself faces a debilitating political and financial crisis. Palestinian institutions, hospitals and schools are in an alarmingly precarious state, exacerbating the acute suffering already being endured by the Palestinian people. Indeed, the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza demands immediate attention, and I hope the donor community will continue to be generous, as it should be.

The bloodshed of the past several months has been all the more tragic because we know that clear majorities of both Palestinians and Israelis want a negotiated, two-State solution – one that would end the occupation that began in 1967, establish an independent State of Palestine and ensure security for Israel. I also believe that the leaders of each side – President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert – are genuinely committed to lifting their peoples out of decades of pain and uncertainty.

The parties themselves continue to bear the primary responsibility for finding their way out of their predicament, by engaging in a viable political process that can lead to the peace that their peoples both yearn for and deserve. No one can make peace for them, impose peace on them – or want peace more than they do. At the same time, the international community has also played an important part in this conflict from its very beginnings and cannot escape its own responsibility to contribute to a solution.

The United Nations, of course, has always been in the forefront of that international role, deeply engaged in seeking peace and in efforts to relieve the suffering. We should not forget that this Day commemorates the General Assembly’s first proposal for a two-State solution, in 1947. Today, Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) remain the accepted guideposts for a just and lasting solution.

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process continues to work very closely with the parties and with representatives of the international community in the region, and our humanitarian and development agencies continue to provide a lifeline to millions of Palestinians in need. I commend the work being done by the men and women of those agencies, who are carrying out their mandates under increasingly difficult and dangerous conditions.

On this International Day, let us commit ourselves to breathing new life into the peace process so that the goals of statehood for Palestinians and security for the State of Israel can be realized before this tragedy takes too many more lives.
Jorge Voto-Bernales (Peru), President of the Security Council
 for the month of November 2006
[Original: English]

At the outset, I would like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for having invited me to address this meeting in my capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of November 2006.

Since the late 1970s, we have gathered every year on this day to commemorate the International   Day  of   Solidarity   with   the   Palestinian   People. This  is  an   important opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to the achievement of a lasting and sustainable peace in Palestine and the Middle East as a whole.

The Security Council continues to closely monitor the events in the region. Every month we listen to a briefing by the Secretary-General or his Personal Representative and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. When circumstances dictate – as was the case this year – the Council holds additional meetings devoted to this issue.

The Security Council is concerned about the deterioration of the situation on the ground as a result of the violence, which is affecting the civilian population and causing damage to infrastructure. That situation creates serious obstacles to progress and undermines efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.

The Security Council urges Israel to act with restraint when confronting individual acts of violence directed against its territory. It is undeniable that every State has a right to self-defence. But it is important that that right be exercised with restraint, bearing in mind the potential consequences. By the same token, the Palestinian Authority must take steps to ensure the rule of law and to halt acts of violence and terror against civilians.

During the past year, the Security Council has continued to address the Middle East peace process on the basis of its relevant resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace and agreements entered into by all parties involved. The Security Council has also continued to support the work of the Quartet and the implementation of the Road Map, which is the cornerstone of a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Council calls on the parties concerned to comply with their obligations under the Road Map and with the requirements of the Quartet. The Council appreciates the regional efforts of Arab States in the quest for peace and stability in the Middle East.

In conclusion, I would like to reassure the Committee that the Security Council supports efforts aimed at achieving a settlement in accordance with the two-State solution. The current situation in the Middle East underscores the need to implement the Road Map without delay with a view to achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions, so that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign, stable, democratic and viable State can be fulfilled.

Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee
of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, message delivered by Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer
of Palestine to the United Nations

[Original: Arabic]

In the name of the Palestinian people, I would like to extend to the Committee our warmest greetings on this day, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which was designated by the General Assembly in December 1977, 30 years after the Assembly’s resolution on the partition of Palestine. It was that resolution that marked the beginning of our people’s ongoing tragedy. Since that time, the majority of the Palestinian people have been living as refugees in their own homeland, in neighbouring countries or in the diaspora. The rest of the Palestinian people are still living under a colonial occupation that is continuing to devour Palestinian land by means of the construction of the apartheid wall and dozens of colonial settlements and isolating East Jerusalem and surrounding it with fences.

The General Assembly resolution designating 29 November each year as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is a forthright call for enabling them to attain their national right to self-determination and to establish an independent State of their own.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our profound appreciation for the efforts made by the Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, aimed at achieving a just and permanent peace in the Middle East. I would also like to extend our thanks to our dear friend, His Excellency Mr. Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and to all the other members of the Committee for their efforts, their solidarity and their numerous initiatives, undertaken at various levels.

In accordance with the Charter, the United Nations has endeavoured to enable peoples to exercise their right to self-determination and has entrusted the Security Council with the task of maintaining international peace and security. Those noble humanitarian principles protect every weak nation or State from those who are powerful and who seek domination. The United Nations is based on the rule that right is power, not vice versa. Accordingly, it is natural for a people like ours to continue to look to the United Nations for the attainment of its national rights. It is regrettable that the countless recommendations and resolutions of the United Nations have not been implemented. The obstacle has always been Israel’s refusal to comply with resolutions of international legitimacy, encouraged by the veto power, which prevents the Security Council from adopting resolutions, thereby sending a message of double standards at the international level.

This year, the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has greater significance than ever because of the progressive steps taken by our people to strengthen their political regime by adopting and exercising a democratic system, as manifested in presidential, legislative and municipal elections, which – although they were held under very difficult circumstances – were declared by the international community to be transparent and fair. This was the first time in history that a people under occupation and deprived of its freedom had exercised its democratic electoral rights.

In the light of the results of the legislative elections, I, acting within my constitutional power, have requested the majority party to form a new Government. I pointed out in my official statement at the inaugural session of the Legislative Council that the new Government must adhere to legitimacy and to the resolutions to which the Palestine Liberation Organization, as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, is committed. These Palestinian, Arab and international commitments and resolutions are prerequisites for the peace process and constitute the basis for a just peace. However, prior to the elections, the Israeli Government announced that it had 14 reservations regarding the Road Map, denied the existence of a Palestinian partner and chose what it called a unilateral solution.

Compounding their suffering, a financial and economic embargo has been imposed against the Palestinian people, which has exacerbated poverty, driving it to unprecedented levels. In addition, daily acts of aggression – killings, house demolitions and the bulldozing of agricultural lands – continue to be carried out by the Israeli occupying forces. I would like to recall that more than 4,300 Palestinians – approximately one third of them children – have been killed since September 2000.

This year has witnessed a large increase in the number of Palestinians killed. More than 510 people have been killed since June, the most recent killings taking place during the Beit Hanoun massacre of Wednesday, 8 November 2006, when 16 members of the same family were killed, including seven children, the youngest of whom was six months old.

Justice and logic dictate that all parties must make every possible effort to fulfil their obligations and commitments. For our part, we have done and are still doing our utmost to bring all forms of violence against Israel to an end, and we have agreed to a unilateral ceasefire. We call upon Israel, which has not committed itself to a ceasefire, to end all of its aggressive military actions with a view to reaching a comprehensive and mutual ceasefire. That will enable us to create the right atmosphere and lay the necessary groundwork for the resumption of negotiations and the attainment of a just solution on the basis of signed agreements, the two-State solution and the Road Map, internationally endorsed pursuant to Security Council resolution 1515 (2003).

As all members are aware, achieving that goal will require sincere efforts and honest intentions, as well as the strong will of the international community. The time has come for the convening of an international conference to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict on all tracks and for the members of the Quartet to play the role of honest brokers and guarantors of the implementation of the agreements, on the basis of resolutions of international legitimacy and the principle of land for peace, and to establish an appropriate mechanism to achieve that goal.

For our part, despite the oppression, killings and destruction to which we have been subjected, our hands are still outstretched for peace, which the Palestinian people have embraced, with full awareness and conviction, as a strategic choice. The Israeli Government’s plans, however, and the measures that it is taking to maintain control over large and significant parts of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, will undermine the two-State solution and force the entire region into further violence and chaos, whose consequences will not be limited to the Middle East region.

On the basis of our conviction that the conflict should be resolved through negotiation and of our responsibility in that regard, we believe that, given the obstruction of the work of the Security Council, if Israel continues to reject the idea of an international conference as well as any United Nations role, the adoption by the General Assembly of a resolution under the Uniting for Peace formula remains the right choice.

The occupation of our land cannot continue forever, and the time has come to put an end to the bloodshed and to decades of hatred and hostilities. Today, I once again reiterate what I have said at previous occasions, that we want to establish our independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, in our land occupied in the June 1967 war, and to find a just and agreed-upon solution to the issue of Palestine refugees on the basis of General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

Our Palestinian State shall be a peaceful State living in peace and security with its neighbours, including Israel, and shall strengthen and fortify regional and international security.

Finally, I would like to reiterate my profound gratitude to all who participated in commemorating this occasion, hoping that we shall celebrate it together next year with the establishment of our free and independent State of Palestine.

Peace be upon you.

Prasad Kariyawasam (Sri Lanka) 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]

On this solemn occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am honoured to address this meeting in my capacity as Chairman 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. I wish to convey to the Palestinian people, on behalf of the Special Committee, assurances of our sincere solidarity in the struggle to exercise their inalienable rights.

The land of Palestine is still under harsh military occupation – the longest occupation recorded in modern times, violating relevant provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law. The suspension by major donors of their financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, combined with Israel’s halting of the transfer of custom taxes and revenues collected, has triggered a major and unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories, leading to an increase in violations of several basic human rights.

Violence and human rights violations have reached unprecedented levels over the past six months in the Gaza Strip, with killings taking the lives of many innocent civilians, including women and children, and with the demolition of a large number of homes and properties and of public infrastructure. The destruction of the only power station in Gaza, which caused major electricity cuts and water restrictions for the population, an alarmingly expanding poverty rate and a severe deterioration of the health system have all contributed to a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The human rights situation is no better in the West Bank, as the territorial contiguity of the land is being increasingly challenged by the ongoing construction of the separation wall, which increasingly isolates Palestinian communities from one another. That situation is seriously compounded by the growth of Jewish settlements on confiscated land. It now takes an inordinately long time for Palestinians to reach school, work, health or social facilities. Many hours are spent driving through road closures or road blocks and waiting at gates – which are subject to erratic opening hours – to cross through the wall. Ambulances transporting sick patients, the elderly and pregnant women must also wait long hours before being allowed to cross through checkpoints and reach the nearest hospital or to release the patients to another ambulance. Several deaths and births at checkpoints have been reported.

The human rights situation in the occupied Syrian Golan remains as bad as reported in previous years. Split families continue to be separated. Only students in Damascus are allowed to visit their families  once  a year during  the  period of study.  The Judaization of Arabic culture and school curriculums goes unabated in the Syrian Golan. The population suffers from discrimination in job opportunities and from a deteriorating environment endangered by landmines.

During its annual visit to Egypt, Jordan and Syria, which took place this year from 11 to 22 November, the Special Committee had ample opportunity to see for itself and to record the testimonies of Palestinian and Arab witnesses. Although the visit had been initially scheduled in August, the situation in the region at that time compelled the Special Committee to reluctantly postpone its field visit to November. Nevertheless, the Committee submitted its report to the sixty-first session of the General Assembly in early November and will submit an updated report on the field visit in early 2007.

The Special Committee is convinced that the impunity enjoyed by Israel for decades must now be brought to an end by all legal means available. The time has come for the Palestinians to be empowered to request compensation for the deaths of their loved ones and for the damages caused to property and infrastructure. The Special Committee is also of the view that the Palestinian Authority has a particular responsibility to ensure, by all means at its disposal, that the rule of law is restored in the territories under its jurisdiction.

The Special Committee cannot conceal the fact that during its field visit, anger was at times expressed at the apparent inaction of the international community, including the United Nations, and that a number of Palestinians felt they had been neglected, if not abandoned, by the international community. There is no doubt that new peace initiatives to improve the dire humanitarian situation of Palestinians are urgently needed to reverse the consequences of the current human rights and humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories. In that regard, the Special Committee welcomes the ceasefire agreed in Gaza and sincerely hopes that that initiative will engender further action to establish sustainable peace in all the occupied territories and to protect the human rights of Palestinians and other Arabs in those territories.
Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba,
on behalf of the Chairmanship of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries,
message delivered by Ileana B. Núñez Mordoche, Deputy Permanent
Representative of Cuba to the United Nations
 

[Original: Spanish]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have the honour to convey, on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the people of Cuba, warmest greetings to our Palestinian brothers and sisters, and to reiterate to them once again our profound solidarity and support.

At the recently concluded Fourteenth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held at Havana, the heads of State or Government in attendance reviewed the continuing grave situation in the Palestinian occupied territory, including East Jerusalem. They expressed their deep regret that the Palestinian people continue to suffer under the prolonged and brutal Israeli military occupation of their land since 1967 and continue to be denied their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands and the right to full enjoyment of their own sovereign and independent State.

Nearly 60 years have passed since the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of its resolution 181 (II), which provided for the partition of Palestine and the creation of two independent States, which should coexist in peace and harmony. However, the just aspiration of the Palestinian people to create its own State has yet to be fulfilled.

The Fourteenth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement adopted an important Declaration on Palestine, in which member countries expressed their grave concern about the serious deterioration of the situation on the ground at the political, economic, social and humanitarian levels in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. Similarly, they firmly condemned Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and the ceaseless Israeli aggression, which has resulted in, inter alia, the continued killing and injury of Palestinian civilians by the excessive and indiscriminate use of force, targeted attacks and extrajudicial executions; the vast destruction of properties, infrastructure and agricultural lands; and the detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians.

Israel, the occupying Power, continues to disregard international law and to fail, systematically and with impunity, to comply with more than 100 resolutions of various United Nations organs, including more than 60 adopted by the Security Council.

In the aforementioned Declaration of the Fourteenth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, the heads of State or Government reiterated their condemnation of Israel for the deepening crisis and isolation in the Gaza Strip following the implementation of its unilateral disengagement plan. They also condemned Israel for its continued construction of the wall through occupied Palestinian territory, in defiance of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 and General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004.

I wish to reaffirm the steadfast commitment expressed by the Non-Aligned Movement to continue to support the Palestinian people and their leadership to put an end to the Israeli occupation, in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions, and to urgently provide economic and financial assistance to the Palestinian people in order to alleviate the current financial and humanitarian crisis that they are enduring. To that end, the support of the international community is essential.

I also reaffirm Cuba’s aspiration to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for all peoples of the Middle East, without exclusion, one that secures for the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and sovereignty in their own independent State, with the borders previous to 4 June 1967 as the basis, and with East Jerusalem as its capital. In their pursuit of peace, the Arab peoples will always be able to count on the full support of the Movement.

I should like to conclude by expressing our most sincere hope that, one day in the not-too-distant future, Palestine can become another sovereign State in this community of nations.
Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
in his capacity as Chairman of the thirty-third session of the Islamic
Conference of Foreign Ministers, message delivered by
Agshin Mehdiyev, Permanent Representative of the Republic
of Azerbaijan to the United Nations
[Original: English]

The cause of Palestine, as well as the situation in the Middle East at large, continues to be a central element of United Nations activities and remains a source of great concern for us. The economic and financial constraints imposed on the work of the Palestinian Government are counterproductive to the objective of bringing a just peace to that sacred land as soon as possible. Azerbaijan strongly condemns the Israeli military attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

We are faced with a war against our Palestinian brothers and sisters. We are profoundly concerned by the alarming escalation of hostilities, which threatens to cause massive destruction and bloodshed in the Palestinian areas. International humanitarian values and international law are being violated. We believe that the United Nations Security Council, proclaimed custodian of international peace and security, could be more effective and active in bringing an end to the ongoing human tragedy.

The situation developing in the region can be described as a catastrophe, and the current military activities are damaging the lives of our brothers and sisters. International law – namely, the Fourth Geneva Convention – calls for urgent international action to stop the losses of human life and the destruction of the environment.

Azerbaijan, both in its capacity as Chair of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and as a responsible member of the international community, supports the efforts by the Quartet and encourages all parties to return  to  implementation of  the  Road Map.  My country  hopes  that  resolution  of  the problems of the region will pave the way for the early establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State, living side by side with its neighbours.

Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo,
in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union, message delivered
by Pascal Gayama, Permanent Representative of the
Republic of the Congo to the United Nations

[Original: French]
It gives me particular pleasure, on this day of commemoration, to express Africa’s great solidarity with the Palestinian people, particularly because this event is taking place at a critical time in the struggle of those proud and worthy people to exercise their national rights.

The universal conscience is appalled at the injust fate too long imposed on the Palestinian people, victims of an occupation whose brutality contradicts the principles and norms of international law.

It is a matter of urgency to put an end to all acts of violence in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly the indiscriminate, disproportionate and excessive use of force, as well as to irresponsible acts of provocation.

This repeated violence can only take us further away from peace and cause tragic events such as the massacre of civilians that took place at Beit Hanoun, in the Gaza Strip, on 8 November 2006. We call on all parties to the conflict – both political leaders and those who are engaged in armed combat – to exercise restraint and responsibility.

Only the end of the occupation will lead to the full enjoyment by the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights, in particular the right to a State worthy of that name.

The international community has a responsibility to assist the Palestinian people in their quest for sovereignty, national independence and the recovery of the territorial integrity of Palestine.

For some days now, the ceasefire concluded between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has enabled one to foresee – for the first time in a very long time – real possibilities for action between the two parties and with the involvement of the international community. This positive atmosphere should be welcomed and given every chance to become a truly irreversible process.

In this respect, the peace process must be urgently relaunched to bring it out of the state of dormancy in which it has languished for too long. We support the idea of holding an international conference to breathe new life into the peace process through agreed initiatives and mechanisms pursuant to relevant United Nations resolutions.

The Road Map must be implemented, and the role of the Quartet for the Middle East is of crucial importance in this respect.

In view of the symbolic content of the question of Palestine, its resolution is vital, since to a large extent peace and security in the region and throughout the world depend on it.

The question of Palestine is basically a political question, and a political solution must be found to it. But the serious humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people also merits our utmost attention.

Like every other people in the world, the Palestinian people deserve every opportunity to emerge from the extremely precarious situation in which they are confined – a situation that, unfortunately, is of no concern to those who support the indefensible status quo.

In order to mitigate the serious humanitarian, social and economic crisis affecting Palestine, we call upon Israel to put an end to the closure of the occupied territories in conformity with the provisions of the Agreement on Movement and Access. Likewise, Israel must restore Palestinian assets generated by customs duties and taxes. The international community, in particular the major donors, must resume the provision of financial aid and emergency humanitarian assistance to Palestine.

In conclusion, we reaffirm our conviction that only a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East crisis can bring peace and security to this extremely troubled region. Such a settlement will depend upon the creation of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side with Israel and peace and security.

Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States,
message delivered by Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer
of the League of Arab States to the United Nations
[Original: Arabic]

The commemoration today of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people is taking place against the backdrop of an unprecedented deterioration of the political, security, economic and humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people. Indeed, Israel, the  occupying  Power, is  continuing  to  carry  out acts  of  aggression  against  the Palestinian people in flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The most recent of those aggressions – what Israel called the “Autumn Clouds” operation and the brutal crime which it perpetrated against Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanoun – elicited anger, denunciation and condemnation from various States and regional and international organizations. Such Israeli aggressions and violations in the past few months have caused hundreds of deaths and injuries among Palestinian civilians, most of them women and children. In addition, Palestinian infrastructure has been systematically destroyed; a blockade has been imposed; crossing points have been closed; and collective sanctions have been imposed against Palestinian towns and villages. This has transformed the occupied Palestinian territories into a large prison guarded by the Israeli military machine.

The Palestinian people have been denied their basic right to live in dignity, stability and security. During that period, Israel has kidnapped and detained a large number of Palestinian officials and members of Cabinet and the Legislative Council in order to paralyse the democratically elected Palestinian Government, which intensified the cycle of violence and destroyed the hope of resolving the question of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners and detainees held in Israeli jails.

Despite the Arab funds that were set up to help the Palestinian people deal with the blockade and its impact, and despite the positive impact – no matter how limited it was – of the temporary mechanism established by the European Union to alleviate the suffering of people in the occupied Palestinian territories, the situation has been exacerbated by the economic blockade imposed on the Palestinian National Authority, and Israel’s refusal to transfer tax revenues to it. That means that more than 160,000 employees of the Palestinian Authority have not received their salaries for more than eight months and, as a result, that their most basic daily needs were not being met.

This situation has aggravated the humanitarian crisis and led to a grave drop in the quality of services provided by the Palestinian National Authority, in particular in the areas of health care and education.

Israel’s persistent claim that there is no Palestinian partner in the peace process, and its attempt to impose the Israeli peace through unilateral and partial solutions, create new realities on the ground, and expand its settlement activities. That, along with the construction of the racist separation wall, has impeded all Arab as well as international efforts to relaunch the peace process, including the efforts of the Quartet. That has obliterated any hope of relaunching direct negotiations aimed at establishing a viable Palestinian State living side by side with Israel in peace and security, which would realize the two-State vision and implement the Road Map adopted by the Quartet.

The ever-deepening crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories is having a grave impact on the prospects for peace and security in the region. The Arab States spoke out with one voice in the Security Council on 21 September 2006 (see S/PV.5530) to mobilize international and regional efforts to revive the peace process under the direct auspices of the Council, as the international body responsible for maintaining peace and security in the region and for providing international moral and legal leadership in protecting the Palestinian people.

The resolution adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States, meeting at the ministerial level in extraordinary session on 12 November 2006, expressed profound indignation at the exercise of the veto by the United States in the Security Council against the Arab draft resolution, which prevented the Council from playing its role and assuming its responsibilities in the face of Israel’s aggression, which continues unabated in the Gaza Strip. It called for the convening of an international peace conference to be attended by the Arab parties, Israel and the permanent members of the Security Council in order to revive the Middle East peace process and thus arrive at a just and comprehensive solution on all tracks of the Arab-Israeli conflict in accordance with relevant international resolutions and the principle of land for peace. The League of Arab States once again emphasizes the urgency of this issue and calls upon the international community to provide all necessary assistance to save peace and stability in the region.

In that context, the Arab States reaffirm their commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative, adopted at the 2002 Beirut Summit. We call upon Israel to respond in a positive manner to that historic and unprecedented initiative, which seeks to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. We also call upon Israel not to seek to obtain peace without withdrawing from the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied in 1967. Israel cannot maintain its security at the expense of the security of the Palestinian people. It must be aware that peace, coexistence and stability can be achieved in the region only by establishing a viable Palestinian State and finding a just solution to the question of Palestinian refugees, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

The peace process must not be held hostage to Israel’s intentions and policies. We believe it is high time that the international community, represented by the United Nations and particularly the Security Council, shoulder its direct responsibility for reviving and guiding the peace process, in order to achieve peace and stability for all peoples and countries in the Middle East.
Joshua Ruebner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator of the United States
Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, on behalf of the international
network of non-governmental  organizations
on the question of Palestine
[Original: English]

I would like to express my appreciation to the General Assembly’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for sponsoring this solemn meeting on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It is a tribute to the long-standing commitment of the Committee – especially its Chairman, Ambassador Paul Badji, as well as of Ambassador Riyad Mansour and the rest of the Committee’s leadership – that the Assembly continues to link its work with civil society partners to remind the international community of the catastrophic situation facing Palestinians and of the urgent need to end Israel’s occupation and to provide Palestinians with all the rights guaranteed to them under international law and United Nations resolutions.

I am honoured that the Committee selected me to deliver this year’s message from the International Coordinating Network on Palestine and from international civil society as a whole. I work with the United States Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of more than 200 organizations working to change United States policy towards Israel/Palestine to support a just peace based on human rights and international law, rather than on military occupation. I am also a member of the Steering Committee of United for Peace and Justice, the country’s largest peace coalition, composed of more than 1,400 organizations, which also shares that goal.

Although all components of global civil society have an important role to play in working for the realization of Palestinian human rights, United States civil society has an especially integral role. That is because the United States provides Israel with the uncritical military, economic, diplomatic and corporate support that enables it to violate with impunity international law and Palestinian human rights on a massive scale. Therefore, people in the United States who believe in peace and justice have an obligation to change those policies if we ever hope to make progress towards the realization of Palestinian human rights.

However, neither United States civil society nor the Palestinian people can afford to wait until the United States Government changes its policies of its own volition; United States civil society must force such changes upon our Government. That is why the United States Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has adopted the July 2005 call from Palestinian civil society for campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it ends its occupation of all Palestinian territory, grants full equality to Palestinian citizens of Israel and honours the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, as stipulated in General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

That is why we are reframing our work in an anti-apartheid context, working to oppose what General Assembly resolution 3068 (XXIII) defines as the international crime of apartheid – an apt description of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians, whether they live under military occupation as unequal citizens of Israel or as refugees. That is why we are heeding the call from Palestinian civil society and from the International Coordinating Network on Palestine for a global day of action to mark the fortieth anniversary of Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Under the banner “The World Says No to Israeli Occupation”, we are organizing what we anticipate will be the largest protest ever held in the United States in favour of Palestinian human rights, in Washington, D.C., during the weekend of 9 June 2007.

We believe that this work is urgent, because the United States is stymieing effective action by the international community in general and the United Nations in particular towards a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis and the realization of Palestinian human rights. The most recent example of United States obstructionism at the United Nations occurred on 11 November 2006, when the United States vetoed an already-weakened Security Council draft resolution calling for the establishment of a fact-finding mission to investigate Israel’s 8 November 2006 artillery barrage of a home in Beit Hanoun, which killed 19 civilians, including many children.

Despite the fact that the resolution called upon the Palestinian Authority to work to halt the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, described the draft resolution as “biased against Israel and politically motivated” (S/PV.5565, p. 2). United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated, “We do not believe the resolution was designed to contribute to the cause of peace”, even though an initial draft of the text called for United Nations observers on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip and the final draft called for the possible establishment of an international mechanism for the protection of the civilian populations.

Since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada against Israeli military occupation, the United States has vetoed nine Security Council draft resolutions dealing with Israel/Palestine – draft resolutions which called for United Nations observers to be sent to the occupied Palestinian territories; for Israel to end construction of its apartheid wall in the West Bank, which was declared to be illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004; and for related actions. This consistent obstructionism by the United States provides Israel with impunity for its actions in violation of international law and human rights standards.

Because the Security Council is prevented from taking any effective action towards a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis due to the consistent vetoes of the United States, it is imperative that the more democratic General Assembly take up this matter so as to break the Security Council deadlock, including through use of the Uniting for Peace precedent.  Only  the  General  Assembly  can move forward on the basis of that precedent and take steps to put an international peacekeeping force in the occupied Palestinian territories; compel Israel to fulfil its requirements under United Nations resolutions that have already been adopted; and convene a truly international peace conference to establish a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

If the General Assembly were to do that, it would find much support for its actions among global civil society in general and, in particular, among the growing segment of United States civil society that is increasingly alarmed by our country’s uncritical support for Israel’s violations of Palestinians’ human rights.

Again, I thank the Committee for having given me this opportunity to represent international civil society today in commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Departmet of the
Palestine Liberation Organization

[Original: English]

I have the pleasure to begin my short statement by expressing to you, Mr. Chairman, my gratitude for your continuous and unflagging efforts to serve the cause of Palestine and the struggle of our people to attain their inalienable right to return to their homes and properties and to establish an independent State of their own. I also wish to thank His Excellency Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam for his report on Israeli practices affecting human rights in the occupied territories.
 
At the same time, I wish to express my gratitude to all the heads of State, Ministers for Foreign Affairs and members of international organizations who have shown their support for our people. Once again, I express my thanks to all the friends of Palestine who have participated in this event, either by attending in person or by sending a letter of solidarity. I thank all of them for their participation and for their support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to recover their lost rights. I hope to see them in Palestine soon – next year.
Closing statement by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
[Original: French]

I should like to express to Mr. Kaddoumi the Committee’s thanks for his faithful presence at the commemorations held in the past few years. He has been the most faithful of the faithful, and we are immensely grateful to him for that.

Before adjourning this solemn meeting, I wish to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of this event. I should like to mention in particular the personnel of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department of Public Information and the Office of Central Support Services and all those who work quietly and effectively behind the scenes.
 
I wish to remind participants that a Palestinian art exhibit, organized by the Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, will open at 6 p.m. today in the visitors’ lobby of the General Assembly building. This year’s exhibit is entitled “Contextualization: a Palestinian narrative”. The opening will be followed by a reception, to which everyone is cordially invited.
 
Following this meeting, at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, everyone is invited to attend the screening of a film entitled The Colour of Olives.

I thank everyone very much for their presence and their participation.

III.   MESSAGES RECEIVED ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

A.  Messages from Heads of State or Government

Hâmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

[Original: English]

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I declare the firm solidarity of the Afghan nation and Government and the vigorous support for their inalienable right to independence and to a State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria

[Original: French]
On the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to express the unwavering solidarity of the Algerian people and Government with their brothers the Palestinian people and to renew our commitment to respect for their inalienable right to self-determination, independence and national sovereignty as well as the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and recover their property.

Unfortunately, 2006 is a time not for celebration but rather for reflection about the international community’s failure and inability to find a permanent solution to the Palestinian problem. The hopes raised by the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four small settlements in the northern West Bank have once again been disappointed and destroyed by the repeated attacks of the Israeli troops, which, indiscriminately and without restraint, continue to make abusive and disproportionate use of sophisticated military weaponry in their attacks against a defenceless civilian population. Their acts spare neither the democratically elected Palestinian institutions nor the basic infrastructure that is vital to the occupied Palestinian territory. The massacre in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006 is a clear example of the futility and barbarity of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

Algeria remains convinced that the use of force will not prevail against the will of peoples to break free from the yoke of occupation, and that the humiliations inflicted on a daily basis by Israel, rather than intimidating the Palestinians, will simply strengthen their determination to achieve their ultimate objective of living in peace in an independent State with full sovereignty, within secure and recognized borders.

The occupying Power’s continued illegal activities of settlement expansion and construction of a separation wall run counter to the healing sought by the international community and simply nurture hatred and create frustrations that in turn create more tension.

Algeria remains convinced that a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian problem must be compatible with international law, Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) and the other relevant United Nations resolutions. More active involvement by the Quartet in order to revitalize the road map and facilitate dialogue is the best chance for the parties to honour their commitments and achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the conflict, based on a solution of two States living side by side in peace and security, as envisaged in the Arab Peace Initiative adopted in Beirut in March 2002.

The United Nations has ongoing responsibility for the Palestinian question until such time as it is settled in all its aspects, in accordance with international law.

In conclusion, I wish to pay a tribute to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which, since its establishment, has spared no effort in accomplishing its work of promoting the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, supporting the Middle East peace process and mobilizing the aid and support of the international community on behalf of the Palestinian people.

I would also like to commend the other United Nations agencies and bodies for the considerable aid they provide the Palestinian people and for their work in mobilizing international solidarity with the Palestinian people, and, finally, civil society, for mobilizing and raising the awareness of international public opinion regarding respect for international law on the Palestinian question.
King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain

[Original: Arabic]
Year after year, on 29 November, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed by the international community. The peace-loving peoples of the world, above all the Arab peoples, once again affirm the justice of the Palestinian cause and the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to a free land and an independent State enjoying security and stability under the protection of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

Time after time, on this day, our Arab States have affirmed that the peace process is their strategic choice and called for the implementation of all resolutions calling for the establishment of an independent sovereign Palestinian State and the withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from all occupied Arab and Palestinian territory.

The practices and violations of the Israeli occupation forces in occupied Palestinian territory have brought about the suspension of the peace process that we had hoped would lead to a solution to the question of Palestine. Despite the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip announced by Israel in August 2005, which we welcomed as a first step and a ray of hope for the Palestinian people, the continuation of Israeli practices against the Palestinian people and the stalled peace process have prevented any progress towards peace that remains but a dream for the Palestinian people.

We firmly believe that a policy involving the use of armed force, repression, siege and apartheid is counterproductive and is likely to have dire consequences. It destroys any chances of peace, fuels the forces of extremism and undermines the confidence of the Palestinian and other Arab peoples in the international community’s ability to protect them and guarantee a free and secure future through peaceful legitimate means.

Perhaps the repeated humanitarian crises that the Palestinian people, including children, women and the elderly, have gone through, the most recent occurring a few weeks ago this year during the Israeli military aggression at Beit Hanoun, will force the United Nations, the Human Rights Council and peacebuilding mechanisms to seriously consider, in the light of the magnitude of the human and material losses, providing guarantees for the protection of the Palestinian people from the series of incessant aggressions over the past few decades, reconstructing what the Israeli war machine has destroyed, and reviving the shattered Palestinian economy, which affects all aspects of the Palestinian people’s daily life.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has spared no effort in its humanitarian or material support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, particularly under the shadow of the dark days through which they are now living, and it contributes through United Nations activities and international support channels. It expects the United Nations – not only the Security Council and the General Assembly, but all branches of the Organization – to live up to its responsibilities, goals, purposes and lofty principles that call for the liberation of peoples and the upholding of human rights, and to come to the aid of the Palestinian people and enable it to chart a course towards a brighter future – well along the road to independence and peace – and free from the spectre of occupation and siege. It is time that the United Nations opened a new chapter, responded to legitimate Palestinian aspirations, renewed hope and honoured the right to life, security, independence and sovereignty.

Finally, we would be remiss on this occasion if we did not repeat our heartfelt calls on the international community to settle the long-standing conflict in the Middle East, which has plunged the entire region into a cycle of pointless wars and instability for decades. We believe that ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and establishing a Palestinian State on all Palestinian lands occupied since 1967, as well as ending the occupation of the occupied Syrian Golan and remaining occupied Lebanese land, is the only guarantee for ending this Israeli-Arab conflict, which has depleted much of the bounties and resources of the region that could have been used for the development and the advancement of our peoples. Furthermore, a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East can only be achieved on the basis of internationally recognized resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, the return of all Palestinian refugees, and the establishment of the long-awaited Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of God.

Iajuddin Ahmed, President and Chief Adviser of the Caretaker
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

[Original: English]
The Government and the people of Bangladesh take great pride in joining the international community in observing the International Day of Solidarity with the brotherly people of Palestine in their just and legitimate struggle for self-determination and statehood.

The occupation of Palestine must come to an immediate end and persecution of the Palestinian people and killing of innocent civilians must stop forthright.  The observance of the Day is a reiteration of the international community’s resolve to work towards that end.

Bangladesh strongly believes that there is no alternative to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement and the exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable right to self-determination to achieve the independent and sovereign State of Palestine.  The relevant United Nations resolutions, the Arab peace plan and the Middle East road map are before us as guiding principles.

We were happy to see that the people of Palestine were able to exercise their democratic rights in the parliamentary election held in January 2006 and that a new Palestinian Government was formed in March 2006.  We also call for an end to the hardships being faced by the Palestinian people as a result of the increasing financial and economic restrictions and political isolation that has been imposed on the Palestinian Authority.

On this auspicious day, I reiterate full support of my Government and the people of Bangladesh to the Palestinian people and I call upon the international community to do whatever is necessary to revive the Middle East peace process back on track without any further delay.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil
[Original: English]
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Brazilian Government reiterates its firm commitment and support for the rightful endeavour of the Palestinian people to fulfill their legitimate aspiration to self-determination.
 
         The further deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, against the backdrop of a stalemate in the peace  process, is deplorable. The  situation  of  virtual  diplomatic paralysis fosters the escalation of tensions and hostilities in the Middle East as a whole and poses a renewed challenge to the United Nations.
 
         Brazil has expressed its condemnation of all acts of violence, particularly all forms of terrorism, which have already claimed too many innocent lives. We have also called upon the Israeli Government to cease all military operations in the Gaza Strip, without delay. We have also called for a full investigation of the incident in Beit Hanoun, which, through the constant use of disproportionate force, caused loss of civilian life as well as extensive destruction of Palestinian property and vital infrastructure.

        Brazil welcomes the reported agreement by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas to establish a mutual ceasefire in Gaza. We hope that this important step will contribute to facilitating an early resumption of the peace process. The Brazilian Government calls upon both parties to adhere strictly to the ceasefire and hopes that this agreement will be extended, as soon as possible, to the West Bank.
 
        The Brazilian Government supports the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice concerning the illegality of the construction of the separation wall by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. We oppose all actions intended to jeopardize the results of the negotiations on the final status of the international borders between Israel and the future State of Palestine.

         As a developing nation, and the home of millions of Arab immigrants, Brazil has offered its contribution to mitigate the Palestinian people’s suffering through direct humanitarian assistance. Brazil is also engaged in the prompt normalization of the international community’s humanitarian activities in the occupied territories. We intend to further increase our cooperation with the Palestinian people in various areas with long-term objectives.

         Brazil is fully committed to the creation of a free, democratic and economically viable Palestinian State, according to the legitimate aspirations of its people, living side by side in peace and security, with the State of Israel, as established in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), and within international recognized borders.
 
        We believe that a negotiated two-State solution can be achieved only by urgently addressing the underlying causes of the conflict through the establishment of negotiations among all interested parties, as the only way for a just and comprehensive agreement capable of leading to a lasting peace in the Middle East.

         Brazil stresses the need to put in motion a political process for the development of a strategy which would enable the fulfillment of the aspirations of the Palestinian people for peace and statehood. Such a strategy should take into account the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Quartet road map; the Madrid terms of reference, the principle of land for peace and the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the League of Arab States summit in March 2002 in Beirut.

         In this regard, I would like to reiterate my proposal made at the beginning of the current session of the General Assembly to call a broad, United Nations-sponsored conference, with the participation of countries of the region and others, which could contribute, through their capacities and successful experiences, to assist the Middle East countries and peoples to find ways to living peacefully despite their differences.
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Yang D-Pertuan
of Brunei Darussalam

[Original: English]
        On this occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to express my sincere greetings to all Palestinians on behalf of the Government and people of Brunei Darussalam.
 
        The people of Brunei Darussalam continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their national aspiration and hopes for peace, self-determination and statehood.
 
        On this important day, the international community is reminded of the plight and long struggle of the Palestinian people, and the urgent need to a lasting solution to this issue.

         This year we saw increasing violence being perpetuated against innocent Palestinian civilians. The continuing violence can only lead to further despair and pessimism. The international community must do all that it can to bring hope to the Palestinian people.

         I am convinced that a just and lasting peace is possible through peaceful negotiation based on the implementation of the road map as well as previous agreements and relevant United Nations resolutions.

         I look forward to the day when Palestine can join the United Nations as a sovereign member.

        Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Chairman and members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for their valuable and tireless efforts towards bringing about a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine.
Michelle Bachelet Jeria, President of Chile

[Original: Spanish]
On the occasion of the upcoming commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am pleased to convey to you and the people of Palestine warm greetings on behalf of the people and Government of Chile.

As you are aware, Chile has received a large number of Palestinian immigrants, who have made a significant contribution to the social, economic and cultural development of my country and who form a community that is well integrated into the life of the nation. On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to thank you on behalf of the people of Chile for that generous contribution to the prosperity of my country and to express my hope that, in full respect for the principles that govern peaceful coexistence among nations, it will be possible to achieve in the near future a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East that will allow your nation to occupy the place it deserves in the international community.
Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

[Original: Chinese]
(Unofficial translation)

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, our warm congratulations on the convocation of the Conference.
 
         The question of Palestine is at the core of the Middle East issue. China supports the early resumption of the Middle East peace process and political negotiations with the aim to establishing an independent State of Palestine that coexists peacefully with Israel in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of “land for peace”.

         It requires not only the political will and courage of the Palestinians and Israel, but also the support and assistance of the international community. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China will continue to support the United Nations in playing a bigger role in resolving the Middle East issue. We are ready to work together with other members of the international community to make unremitting efforts for a comprehensive and fair solution to the Palestinian question and an early realization of peace and stability in the Middle East.

Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s
Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

[Original: Korean]
(Unofficial translation)
[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, Mahmoud Abbas]

I extend firm solidarity to you and the friendly people of Palestine on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
 
        Today Palestinian people are waging continuous struggle to foil the reckless moves of Israel for permanent occupation and to seek a fair solution to the Palestinian issue.
 
         I take this opportunity to reiterate our firm solidarity with you and your people in your efforts to regain national self-determination, the right to repatriation, the right to a sovereign State with Al-Quds as its capital and all other legitimate national rights, and reaffirm the unwavering stand of the Government and people of our Republic for the cause of justice of the Palestinian people.
 
Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

[Original: Arabic]
It gives me pleasure, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to send you this message on behalf of the people and Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, renewing our complete solidarity with and support for the brotherly Palestinian people in their effort to regain their inalienable rights, above all their right to independence, self-determination and the establishment of an independent sovereign State with Jerusalem as its capital; we also affirm our support for all international and regional efforts aimed at restoring those rights and realizing legitimate Palestinian hopes and aspirations.

I would also like to affirm Egypt’s continued commitment to support the choice for peace in the Middle East and work towards a comprehensive and just solution to the question of Palestine in all its dimensions through sincere and balanced implementation of all relevant United Nations resolutions, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the road map, a solution that ensures the establishment of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in security, peace and stability.

I am confident that the brotherly Palestinian people will be able, through the support you have provided, to regain all their legitimate rights  through negotiations and on  the basis of  land for peace and the key principles of the peace process and internationally recognized resolutions issued by the Security Council and the General Assembly.

In this context, I wish to reiterate to you and to the Members of the Committee the commitment of the Arab Republic of Egypt to make every effort to ensure that direct negotiations aimed at reaching a final settlement and establishing a Palestinian State are initiated between the Palestinian Authority and Israel at the earliest possible opportunity and to provide all necessary facilities to your Committee to enable it to carry out its tasks with maximum effectiveness.

It also gives me pleasure to express to you our utmost appreciation for the intensive efforts made by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to enable the Palestinians to exercise their usurped rights, as well as our support for the leading role played by the Committee in garnering international support for the efforts of the Palestinian people to establish an independent, viable State and to enjoy their usurped rights to security, peace and stability.
General Lansana Conté, President of the Republic of Guinea
[Original: French]
[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, Mahmoud Abbas]
The celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November affords me the pleasure of reaffirming to you the commitment of the Guinean people and Government to the protection and promotion of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

My Government, which follows developments in the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories closely, is deeply concerned at the disproportionate use of force by Israel, which is leading to significant loss of human life. I call for respect for international humanitarian law and the relevant United Nations resolutions.

I also urge all the parties to the conflict in Palestine to honour their commitments under the Quartet road map to guarantee the establishment of two States living side by side in peace and security.

On the eve not only of this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, but also of remembrance and recollection, I invite the Palestinian political leaders to spare no effort in seeking a negotiated political solution to their dispute so that they can better respond to the Israeli occupation.

I hope that the inter-Palestinian negotiations will have a successful outcome and will contribute to the promotion of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.

I am grateful to you for your invaluable contribution to this process.
Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana

[Original: English]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Government and people of Guyana reaffirm their solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for the exercise of their inalienable rights, primarily the right to self-determination.
 
         This year the observance comes at a time when there has been an alarming increase in violence and bloodshed in the Gaza strip. Guyana calls for restraint on all sides and a return to dialogue and negotiation towards reaching a solution that would be just and satisfactory to all.
 
         As a member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Guyana remains fully committed to the cause of the Palestinian people and to the attainment of peace and security in the Middle East.
Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

[Original: English]
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People gives us an opportunity to salute the indomitable spirit of the Palestinian people and to reaffirm our support for their just struggle for a sovereign, independent State of Palestine.
 
         India welcomed the holding of peaceful, free and fair elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council in January this year, which underlined the aspirations of the Palestinian people to govern themselves in a manner that would enable them to attain their socio-economic goals. Unfortunately, recent events in which many innocent lives have been lost have affected not only the peace process but have also come in the way of the Palestinian people achieving their legitimate developmental goals.
 
        We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis being faced by the people of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As a mark of India’s deep commitment to helping the Palestinian people overcome these difficulties, we have extended humanitarian assistance in the form of medicines valued at US$ 2.5 million this year.

         India is convinced that the tragic situation of the Palestinian people cannot be resolved by force but only through negotiations and dialogue.

        I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm India’s consistent and unwavering support to the Palestinian people’s struggle to achieve their legitimate rights and to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region to be achieved through implementation of the Quartet road map, which envisages a sovereign, independent, viable State of Palestine living side-by-side in peace  with the State of Israel.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
[Original: English]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

0, Almighty God, bestow upon humanity the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers.
 
         Commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People provides us with an opportunity to sympathize with the oppressed people of Palestine, support their aspiration and pay tribute to their resistance and struggle aimed at realization of their inalienable rights. For many years, the Palestinian people have been under the most brutal and inhumane practices of the occupying Zionist regime, and, in spite of more than five decades of struggle, they have not been able to attain their rights, which have been trampled.
 
         The living condition of Palestinians in the occupied territories is deeply saddening. The different reports and documents of the United Nations reveal the depth of the catastrophe that the Palestinian people endure. Women and children are killed daily in alleys, streets and even their homes by Israeli bombardments. Regrettably, no international authority, including the Security Council, is able to protect them. The Zionist regime, with the support of a permanent member of the Security Council and through the exercise of the veto right, continues to commit its crimes, and, by taking inhumane actions such as constructing the separation wall, has rendered the Palestinian people captive. Nevertheless, the Palestinian youths have demonstrated their resolve to continue resisting the savagery of this regime.
 
        While the supporters of the Zionist regime commended it for its withdrawal from a small part of Palestinian lands – which is in fact the result of Palestinians’ resistance and struggle against the foreign occupation – and considered the withdrawal as an important peace-seeking step, and therefore have demanded and continue to demand an exorbitant return from the Palestinian people as well as from Arab and Islamic countries, the Israeli regime, since a few months ago, has been attacking the Gaza Strip on a daily basis, destroying the economic infrastructure and civil installations, and killing civilians, disregarding all international laws and principles, including the Geneva Conventions. The Israeli regime has imposed a harsh economic embargo and severe political, security and military pressure on the elected Palestinian Government, which took office in a democratic and free process confirmed by international observers, and   imprisoned  Palestinian   Ministers  and  members  of  Parliament, and  has  been punishing the Palestinian people collectively for their democratic choice. It is even more regrettable that the United Nations and international bodies have failed to take even the minimum measure to deter the Israeli regime from committing more inhumane actions and State terrorism. That is the reason why we are witnessing daily increasing terrorist actions by the Zionist regime against the people and the Government of Palestine.
 
       The international community should spare no effort to find a solution to this crisis that would ensure the unconditional return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland, as well as the holding of elections with the participation of all people who originally resided in Palestine, including Muslims, Jews and Christians, in order to determine the future political system of Palestine. In this context, it is imperative that the United Nations, while recognizing the legitimate right of resistance of the Palestinian people, take necessary steps to induce the Zionist regime to abide by international law and put an end to all its inhumane and racial policies towards the Palestinian people.
 
        The Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and believes that the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the core of any solution to the crisis in Palestine and the Middle East.
 
        We look forward to the day when all Palestinian refugees return to their main homeland and live with their compatriots in peace and tranquility.
King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
[Original: Arabic]

It gives me great pleasure on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to convey the utmost gratitude and appreciation to you personally and to your Committee for your valuable efforts over the decades to protect the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and support them in their efforts to preserve their inalienable rights, in particular, their right to determine their fate and establish an independent sovereign State on their national soil.

Your Committee’s initiatives and efforts have greatly enhanced the international community’s awareness of and concern for the cause and suffering of the Palestinian people. Indeed, the international community must find a just, permanent and comprehensive solution to that continuing source of concern. Such a solution would, undoubtedly, put an end to the state of conflict and instability in the Middle East, which has adverse regional and international repercussions.

As you know, the Middle East has seen many wars and crises, of which the most recent was the Israeli war against brotherly Lebanon. The killing and displacement of innocent civilians and the resultant destruction of homes, bridges and infrastructure have increased and prolonged suffering  in  the  region. That  war  proved  yet again that there is no choice other than peace and that recourse to military solutions and unilateral measures serves only those who pursue private agendas at the expense of the peoples of the region and their interests.

As I indicated in my speech before the current session of the United Nations General Assembly, what happened was a crisis facing the international community, and demonstrated that justice cannot be achieved through aggression and occupation; it can only be achieved by applying international law and addressing the issue at the core of the Middle East conflict – the Israeli occupation and Israel’s refusal to grant the Palestinian people their legitimate rights.

Israel’s continuing practices of arbitrary murder and arrest of defenceless civilians, construction and expansion of settlements, ongoing construction of the separation wall and its pursuit of a policy of unilateralism, in clear violation of the principles of international humanitarian law, will only exacerbate the situation, allow extremism and narrow-mindedness to thrive and increase the people’s despair and frustration. This in turn will create opportunities for the spread of strategies other than those advocating peace and plunge the region into new crises.

In view of this critical situation and the harsh conditions under which our brothers in Palestine are living, it is imperative that the international community provide urgent support to the Palestinian people. We in Jordan continue to give our fullest support to the Palestinian people.

The international community must also deal immediately with the Palestinian problem, the core issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, by intensifying and supporting, in a serious and effective way, efforts aimed at reviving the peace process in accordance with the agreed framework and relevant resolutions, most notably Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002), General Assembly resolution 194 (III), the Arab Peace Initiative and the basic principles of the road map, in order to achieve a peace based on the principle of land for peace and the establishment within a set timetable of a Palestinian State living side by side with Israel, with good-neighbourly relations prevailing between the two and both enjoying security and peace.

In this context, Jordan welcomes the move to expand membership in the Quartet to include more international and regional actors, and stands ready to participate actively in any effort designed to bring about a just and permanent peace.

Finally, I hail your efforts and the continuing work of your Committee to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and I call on you to step up your positive efforts to bring about the justice to which we all aspire.

Peace be upon you and may the mercy and blessings of God be with you.

Choummaly Sayasone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
[Original: English]
On the occasion of the commemoration of the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 29 November 2006, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic takes this opportunity to express its full support to and solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have been waging a resolute struggle to achieve their inalienable rights, including the right to statehood and return to their homeland.

The situation on the ground today remains worrisome.  The Palestinian people continue to be deprived of their land, homes and properties and to be forced to live as refugees.  The wilful and indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians, and the destruction of homes and infrastructure, resulting in the socioeconomic debilitation of the Palestinian people, are cause of concern to the international community.

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic reaffirms its full solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to exercise their right to self-determination, including the right to create an independent State, in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) and the principle of land for peace.

As the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestine question deserves the full attention of the international community.  We are hopeful that the international community will undertake all possible efforts at this critical juncture to revive the peace process, salvage the road map and further its implementation in order to put an end to the occupation of the Palestinian territory since June 1967, including East Jerusalem, hence achieving a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and guaranteeing the right of all States and peoples of the region to live in peace and security.

Finally, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic would like to seize this opportunity to extend its warmest regards and best wishes to all members of this august community for their devotion and hard work in accomplishing their tasks in the service of the suffering Palestinian people.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia
[Original: English]
On behalf of the Government and people of Malaysia and in my capacity as Chairman of the Tenth Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, I wish to extend on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People my sincere greetings to His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, and to the people of Palestine, who are today still struggling and fighting for the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State.

         We fully sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians, who have suffered enormously under Israeli occupation and the continued military operations carried out by Israeli forces. I wish to especially honour Palestinian families who have lost their loved ones, as well as Palestinians who have suffered injuries, become political prisoners and personally suffered in the cause of their rightful struggle to establish an independent and sovereign State for all Palestinians. Extensive damage and destruction continue to be inflicted upon Palestinian infrastructure, homes and private properties. The illegal confiscation of land belonging to the Palestinians and the indiscriminate killings of Palestinians by Israel continue unabated, the most recent being in Beit Hanoun. Malaysia and the Organization of the Islamic Conference condemn all these inhumane and brutal actions and demand an immediate cessation to such gross violation of human rights and systematic oppression of the Palestinian people, who are exercising their legitimate right to an independent homeland.

         To demonstrate Malaysia’s solidarity and support for the Palestinian struggle, Malaysia will host the United Nations Asian Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on 15 and 16 December 2006. This will be followed by a public forum on the same issue on 17 December 2006, in Kuala Lumpur.

         As Chairman of the tenth OIC summit, Malaysia would work closely with the international community, in particular the United Nations, to urge all parties, in particular Israel, to return to the peace process and ensure the implementation of the Quartet performance-based road map towards the establishment of a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as outlined in the resolution of the United Nations Security Council 1515 (2003) and other relevant United Nations resolutions.

         Malaysia remains fully supportive of and in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The Government of Malaysia has pledged to make a financial contribution of US$ 16 million to supplement the budgetary expenses of the 16 Palestinian governorates. Part of this pledged amount has already been disbursed. Malaysia calls on all donor countries to fulfil their financial pledges to Palestine and provide the necessary assistance to the Palestinian people.

         Malaysia remains steadfast in its support of the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to choose their leaders and Government, and their right should be fully respected by the international community. In this regard, we welcome the efforts of Palestinian leaders to achieve agreement on the establishment of a government of national unity which would receive the support and confidence of the Palestinians. We urge the international community to support these efforts.

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives

[Original: English]
As we mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I wish to reiterate, on behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Maldives, the unwavering commitment of the Maldives to the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
 
         I would also like to note the important contribution being made by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights to advance the just cause of the Palestinian people.

         The continued violation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and the flagrant disregard by Israel of various resolutions of the United Nations Security Council in defiance of international opinion, pose a serious threat to international peace and security.

         The Maldives supports the Middle East peace process and calls on all parties to return to that process in pursuit of a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute.

         Lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved within the framework of a comprehensive settlement of the outstanding issues, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council calling for the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and bringing justice, dignity and security to all communities.

Ousmane Issoufi Maïga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali

[Original: French]
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I have particular pleasure in addressing to you and to the people of Palestine, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Mali and on my own behalf, my warm congratulations. Mali, convinced that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace cannot be achieved unless the Palestinian people are able to exercise their inalienable rights, will continue to work together with the international community to ensure that justice and the principles of internal law triumph.

Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

[Original: English]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am pleased to convey to you and to the people of Palestine the best wishes of the Government and people of Mauritius, as well as our long-standing solidarity with your quest for a sovereign and independent State of Palestine.

         As we commemorate this special day, we continue to witness with much sympathy the suffering of the oppressed population of the occupied territories. Since June, the upsurge of violence in the Gaza Strip, compounded by Israel’s use of military force, has claimed hundreds of lives, mostly innocent civilians. The dire situation on the ground should nevertheless not be allowed to impede the peace process and undermine prospects for a permanent and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
 
         The recent Beit Hanoun tragedy, which caused the death of innocent children and women, is a grim reminder that there can be no military solution to the conflict. We have unreservedly condemned this wanton act of aggression by Israel.

         We strongly believe that the road map leading to the establishment of two States, living side by side, within recognized and secure borders, remains the most viable path to peace in the Middle East, and we urge both Israel and Palestine to take concrete steps to meet their road map obligations. Mauritius will extend its full support to the international community in its renewed efforts to ensure the early and full implementation of the road map.

Vicente Fox Quesada, President of Mexico

[Original: Spanish]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People I have the honour to convey to you and the Palestinian people a message of appreciation and friendship on behalf of the people and Government of Mexico.

Mexico is convinced that political dialogue, compliance with international law and the implementation of United Nations resolutions are indispensable tools in the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Based on this belief, Mexico expresses its earnest hopes that all parties to the conflict in the Middle East will resume negotiations with a view to establishing a just and lasting peace for all the peoples of the region, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1397 (2002), recognizing  the  State  of  Israel’s  right  to exist  and  the  right of a politically and economically viable Palestinian State to exist, the two living side by side in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders.

Mexico believes that the role of the international community is to support the work of the Quartet, with a view to implementing the Road Map as soon as possible or assisting the parties in identifying new mechanisms for achieving the goal of peace.

Mexico conveys its best wishes for the success of the activities to be carried out in connection with the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco

[Original: Arabic]
Praise be to God, and prayers and peace upon our master the Messenger of God, his family and his companions

It gives us pleasure to convey greetings, appreciation, gratitude and commendation to all who share in the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and the faith that it signifies in the necessity of preserving the legitimate rights of that noble struggling people, above all its right to establish an independent State living in security and safety, harmony and peace, side by side with the State of Israel.

Because the Palestinian cause is one of the Kingdom of Morocco’s principal concerns, we have always looked forward to delivering this speech of ours to your Committee, affirming our firm position and the support that we continue to devote to it, as well as our deep appreciation for the far-reaching significance represented by this occasion and the lofty values it reflects, of which the most important are solidarity with and commitment to the need for justice for a people that yearns for peace, security and stability.

The urgent ongoing work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People since its establishment has made it deserving of the appreciation and respect of all forces that love justice and peace, because of the superb services it provides in support of that people’s aspirations for freedom and independence.

The continued observance of this day celebrated by your Committee with the support of all the world’s nations truly highlights the sympathy harboured by all towards the Palestinian people. It is also an occasion for renewing the resolve to move forward towards finding a just, permanent and comprehensive solution to their just cause.

We feel that the choice of peace and a return to the negotiating table while extending bridges of communication and dialogue, implementing internationally recognized resolutions and supporting all worthwhile initiatives and good-faith efforts aimed at finding a final, comprehensive and permanent solution to the Middle East question, remains the only way to ensure that the page is turned on this difficult conflict.

As we survey the prospects for peace in the region, we can only express our utmost anxiety and concern about the dangerous developments and tragic circumstances in Palestinian territory due to the blockade imposed on the Palestinian people and the continued attacks and violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces against its cities and towns, which have left dozens of deaths, injuries and displaced persons in their wake. That is what is in reality hindering the return to a climate that would allow progress to be made in the peace process.

On the occasion of this International Day, the Kingdom of Morocco again expresses, as always, its commitment to a settlement process aimed at establishing peace, stability and a just, comprehensive and final peace in the region within the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative, the implementation of the road map and the implementation of internationally recognized resolutions on this matter.

In our capacity as Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, we shall continue to make great efforts to support all initiatives to ensure the preservation of the Islamic Arab identity and historical and cultural characteristics of the city of Jerusalem and restore it to its rightful place as a capital of civilizational and cultural cooperation and a space of mutual tolerance and coexistence among the three revealed religions.

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not commend the international community and donor States for their continuing efforts in various areas of support and assistance to the Palestinian people to enable them to obtain freedom and independence, build their national institutions, and create propitious conditions for their citizens to live in dignity.

Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of God.
Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia
[Original: English]
On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Namibia, I would like to express our appreciation to you, and through you, to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for organizing this important Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

         The people of Namibia have followed with grave concern the ever deteriorating political and security situation in Palestine. In this connection, I wish to reiterate Namibia’s unwavering support and solidarity with the people of Palestine. We encourage the Palestinian people to persevere   and  carry   on   with    the   liberation  struggle  until  their  inalienable  right  to  self-determination has been realized, in keeping with relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly.
 
        As we reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Palestine, we reiterate our call for the full and unconditional implementation of the road map and the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar

[Original: Arabic]
In the name of God the merciful and compassionate

I deliver this speech to you on the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which expresses the international community’s desire to champion the Palestinian cause and support the Palestinian people in obtaining their inalienable national rights, including the right to return to their homeland, determine their fate and establish an independent State on their national soil.

All the peoples of the world have become fully aware of what is going on in the occupied Palestinian territories, and realize that the suspension of the peace process, including the Quartet initiative, is the inevitable result of the Israeli Government’s stubbornness and its failure to fulfil its pledges and commitments, which attests to its lack of credibility in implementing peaceful solutions in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 425 (1978), 1515 (2003) and 1544 (2004).

In its resolution 1515 (2003), the Security Council expressed its concern at the continuation of the tragic and violent events in the Middle East, reiterated its demand for an immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction, reaffirmed its vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders, emphasized the need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks, welcomed the diplomatic efforts of the international Quartet and others, and endorsed the Quartet performance-based road map to a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For its part, the General Assembly has affirmed in its resolutions the need to bring about a peaceful settlement to the Palestinian problem, which is at the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict, emphasized the need for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 and to respect the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The General Assembly also affirmed in its resolution 194 (III) the need to resolve the Palestine refugee problem. Regrettably, these Security Council and General Assembly resolutions have up to this point not been implemented.

This Day of Solidarity reminds us that a final solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict can only be achieved by the Palestinian people obtaining their inalienable rights; that is, the right to determine their fate without outside interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty and the right of return to the homes and lands from which they were displaced and uprooted.

The continued occupation of Palestinian territory and the absolute refusal by the occupation force to relinquish any control over it, including Jerusalem, and the ongoing construction of settlements and the separation wall, exacerbate the situation facing the international community and hinder its efforts to work towards a just solution to the conflict.

Humankind continues to suffer from violence and terrorism, and no people in the world has been immune to the destruction and casualties that war produces. We see this in the Arab world in particular.

We regret that Israel continues to commit violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, impose on the Palestinian people an economic blockade that compounds their suffering, commit acts of collective murder and escalate the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories in a way that causes a horrifying degree of destruction and a large number of civilian casualties due to the use of excessive, deliberate and indiscriminate force, as occurred in the despicable massacre recently perpetrated by Israeli forces in the town of Beit Hanoun.

These acts violate the principles of international humanitarian law, including those enshrined in the Geneva Conventions. For our part, we stress the need for the international community, represented by the Security Council and influential global forces, to condemn these inhumane acts and focus on working towards stopping them, putting an end to the cycle of violence, making every effort to halt military operations and ending Palestinian suffering. It must shoulder its responsibility for maintaining security and peace and put the peace process back on track. We also stress that the Arab world cannot abandon the Palestinian cause any more than the Palestinian cause can abandon the Arab world, and that a true peace is one based on internationally recognized resolutions.

Peace be upon you and may the mercy and blessings of God be with you.

Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation
[Original: Russian]
(Unofficial translation)
[Addressed to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian
Authority, Mahmoud Abbas]
Accept my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

          I would like to seize this opportunity to confirm the consistent and firm support of Russia for the friendly Palestinian people and its legitimate claims, including the right to create an independent Palestinian State, which would coexist with Israel in peace and security. We shall continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian National Authority in establishing its statehood, strengthening power structures and solving socio-economic issues.

         I am convinced that the Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement is a key to a durable stabilization in the Middle East. In this regard, I fully support your efforts to reach an inter-Palestinian consensus in the light of the demands of the international community to resume direct talks with Israel on an internationally acknowledged basis.
 
         Russia intends henceforth to contribute to a comprehensive settlement in the region, taking into account the legitimate rights and interests of the peoples inhabiting it.
 
        Allow me to wish you, dear Mr. Abbas, strong health and happiness and to the Palestinian people well-being and prosperity.
Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal

[Original: French]
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I extend to the Palestinian people and their leadership my sincere congratulations and my best wishes.

I would like also to reaffirm the unwavering loyalty and continued support of our Committee for the just and legitimate struggle they are waging to recover their inalienable rights over the land of Palestine.

The deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territory continues to be a source of deep concern owing to its harmful effects on the Palestinian people and its negative implications for peace prospects in the subregion.

The recent tragic events in Beit Hanoun, in which an Israeli incursion resulted in the massacre of several Palestinian civilians by the Israeli armed forces, have been widely denounced and condemned by the States Members of the United Nations General Assembly, following the Security Council’s inaction.

The responsibility of the occupying Power in this unjustifiable massacre has been clearly established. Today, the international community bears impotent witness to Israel’s continued and systematic violation, with complete impunity, of the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

The Security Council, guarantor of international peace and security, must take appropriate and urgent steps to fulfil its responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations.

The Council should, in particular, step up its efforts towards the resumption of dialogue between the two parties in order that each may honour its commitments under the road map.

In this connection, I urge the Government of Israel to desist from the expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory and to comply with the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, to the effect that the construction of the separation wall was illegal.
.
There is no doubt that the building of the wall, the expansion of the settlements and the policies aimed at changing the demographic structure of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians’ detriment constitute definite obstacles to the establishment of a viable Palestinian State.

I extend a solemn appeal to the international community for the immediate implementation of the recommendations made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in his report on the establishment of a register of damage caused to the Palestinian people by the construction of the separation wall.

I also invite the donor community to provide the financial support needed by the Government and people of Palestine in order to put an end to the suffering they are experiencing due to the interruption of basic social services.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved by military force or any other form of violence. For this reason, on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I urge the international community, in particular the members of the Quartet, to pursue the efforts necessary to relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process through peaceful means of negotiation with a view towards achieving a just and lasting solution to the conflict.

Such is the irremediable sense of history and such is the essential requirement of the natural right of peoples to self-determination.

In reaffirming the constant support of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the building of a free and independent Palestinian State, I strongly hope that the occupying Power will finally understand this self-evident truth, so that the peoples of this subregion, shattered by so many years of violence, can live in peace and security.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic
of Sri Lanka
[Original: English]
         Sri Lanka has been a consistent advocate for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. We have extended our firm and unequivocal support to the just struggle in obtaining their rights, including the right to statehood.
 
         For over 30 years, I have associated myself with the cause of Palestine and supported activities aimed at promoting the rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people.

         Reports of the continued hardships and deprivations suffered by the people in the occupied territories almost on a daily basis fill me with profound sorrow. It is my most sincere hope that efforts to pursue an end to violence will soon succeed in the emergence of peace in the Middle East.
 
        On behalf of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, I take this opportunity to reaffirm our continuing solidarity with the Palestinian people. We share their hopes and aspirations of seeing an end to foreign occupation, the achievement of a lasting solution for the realization of a Palestinian State and a durable peace.
Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan

[Original: Arabic]
In the name of God the merciful and compassionate

The people and Government of the Republic of the Sudan are pleased and honoured, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to reaffirm their solidarity with and support for their Palestinian brothers in their just struggle to achieve their legitimate aspiration to establish an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

We also affirm our solidarity with and support for the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people in its efforts to unify Palestinian ranks and continue to defend the rights and gains of their people in accordance with internationally recognized resolutions.

The international community, as it pauses today to appreciate and honour the sacrifices of this great people for their freedom and independence, must raise its voice in condemnation of all forms of Israeli escalation and practices of the Israeli Government and military apparatus that target innocent civilians, wipe out infrastructure and destroy the institutions of the Palestinian Authority.

The Sudan reiterates on this occasion its call on the international community, the United Nations and its various bodies, in particular the Security Council, to shoulder their responsibilities and take measures to compel Israel to cease its criminal aggression against the Palestinian people, withdraw from occupied Palestinian territory and implement all relevant international resolutions.
General Surayud Chulanont (Ret.), Prime Minister of Thailand

[Original: English]

On behalf of the Government and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand, I wish to join the international community on this commemorative occasion in expressing our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and their inalienable rights.  Each year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People provides, on the one hand, an opportunity for members of the international community to jointly express our concern over the plight of the Palestinian people.  It is, on the other hand, a sober reminder that further efforts and initiatives must be pursued to address the question of Palestine.

In this connection, Thailand would like to express its concern over the escalation of violence, the continued loss of innocent lives and the widespread destruction of infrastructure in Palestine.  We believe that peaceful negotiations and comprehensive efforts by all parties concerned are vital to achieving a truly sustainable solution to the question of Palestine.  Thailand, therefore, renders its support for the realization of a viable and independent Palestine based on the Quartet’s road map to peace and all relevant resolutions of the United Nations.

On this occasion, I wish to reiterate once again Thailand’s denunciation of terrorism and use of violence in any form.  Allow me also to reaffirm Thailand’s support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, as well as for the restoration of durable peace and stability in the region.
Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia
[Original: Arabic]

Today Tunisia observes, along with the rest of the peace-loving international community, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It affirms on this occasion its faith in the values of truth and justice and its confidence in the foundations of international legitimacy and the principles of international law, and declares again that it will support the noble struggle of the Palestinian people and stand steadfastly by them until they regain their legitimate rights, establish an independent State and achieve their aspiration to live in security, peace and stability.

In the face of deteriorating conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory due to repeated daily Israeli aggressions and the resulting casualties and destruction in violation of international law and defiance of humanitarian values, Tunisia once again salutes with great admiration and esteem the heroic steadfastness of the Palestinian people and expresses its deep concern at the Israeli escalation. It renews, at this critical and dangerous juncture, its call for increased international protection for the Palestinian people. It also calls on international actors, especially the Quartet, the Security Council and world opinion, to shoulder their responsibilities and urge Israel to respond to the peace process on the basis of relevant international resolutions and in coordination with tireless Arab efforts to enable the Palestinian people to achieve their legitimate aspirations for freedom and dignity and lay the foundations of peace and security in the region.

Tunisia, which is firmly committed to peace as a strategic choice and is unflinching in its support for the just Palestinian cause, calls on the United Nations, in particular the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to continue and intensify its efforts to achieve and implement those rights on the ground in accordance with international resolutions, so as to enable the Palestinian people to enjoy a free and dignified life and lay the foundations for enhanced security and stability in the region and the world.
Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of Turkey
[Original: Turkish]
(Unofficial translation)
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to reaffirm the support of the Turkish nation for the just cause and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people. We commend and support the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People towards this aim.

         Recent developments in the Middle East have revealed, once again, that in order to attain the long-awaited peace and prosperity in the region, the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be given priority and the Palestinian people must be granted their inalienable rights.
 
         Turkey has long supported the efforts towards a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Our country is of the view that the only viable way to a lasting peace is to keep the channels of dialogue between the parties open and to revitalize the peace process based on two States living side-by-side in peace and within secure and recognized borders, as stipulated in the road map and the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
 
         In the coming period, Turkey is determined to maintain her material, moral and political support for the just cause of Palestine and to help her Palestinian brothers overcome the dire conditions they currently face. The focus of our efforts in political and security areas will be on the creation of a favorable environment where the dynamics of peace and stability could be put into motion.

         In the light of your Committee’s invaluable work, while emphasizing our support for the just cause of Palestine and our determination to continue our solidarity with the Palestinian people, I would like to reiterate, on behalf of the Turkish nation and on my own behalf, my sincere wishes for the well-being and prosperity of the Palestinian people.

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

[Original: Arabic]
In the name of God the merciful and compassionate
Peace and the mercy and blessings of God be upon you

It gives me pleasure, on behalf of the Government and people of the United Arab Emirates, to convey to you and the members of the Committee the most sincere expressions of gratitude and appreciation for your genuine and constructive efforts to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We also express our great appreciation for your lofty positions and your untiring efforts to expose [the facts about] the series of violations of the Palestinian people’s human rights committed by Israel, the occupying Power, and to heighten the international community’s awareness of the nature of developments in their just cause.

The Palestinian people are currently going through the most difficult stage of their historical existence, as a result of Israel’s recent unrelenting destructive and escalating military aggression throughout the occupied territories, in particular in the Gaza Strip, whose residents continue to face the most serious violations of international humanitarian law as the whole world looks on. The most notable of these violations are the extremely horrendous military incursions carried out by Israel, and its systematic resort to oppression, blockade, starvation and indiscriminate and excessive violence, which led to the Beit Hanoun massacre and the killing and mutilation of hundreds of [other] defenceless civilians, most of whom were children and women. This is in addition to Israel’s inhumane practice of various kinds of collective arbitrary detention of thousands of innocent citizens, including members of the Palestinian Government, and  its  wide-ranging destruction of  homes, property  and  vital  installations, is  one of the most serious forms of collective punishment that can be equated with State terrorism and war crimes punishable by international law, which are unjustifiable under any pretext.

We in the United Arab Emirates wish to express our disappointment at the international community’s continued silence until now and its failure to put an immediate end to this continued shameful Israeli violation of all its international commitments under international law, above all, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. We consider that Israel cannot justify these practices by what it calls “the struggle against terrorism”. They are designed to wipe out the Palestinian people and divert the world’s gaze from Israel’s project of continued illegal seizure of more Palestinian land and natural resources, including in the cities of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, with a view to expanding its settlements and unilaterally establishing its borders deep inside the Palestinian territory that it occupied in 1967. We therefore demand that the international community take urgent measures to deter these illegal Israeli measures, including the construction of the separation wall, which the International Court of Justice has declared illegal and has called for its immediate dismantling in order to eliminate the obstacle it poses to the foundations of an independent Palestinian State.

We also renew our call for the Security Council, the Quartet and other relevant parties to take urgent action devoid of double standards to establish an effective mechanism to ensure the provision of necessary protection to the Palestinian people, and to allow them to exercise their most basic human rights as guaranteed by international humanitarian law, including the cessation of the occupation of their national territory. We stress that continued international disregard of and cooperation with this reprehensible Israeli aggression, instead of deterring or penalizing it, will undermine efforts to establish international peace and security in the region. It will only lead to Israel continuing to perpetrate fresh massacres against the Palestinian people and causing them more suffering and loss. This will reinforce their sense of frustration and despair and widen the scope of violence and the locus of instability, tension and insecurity not only in Palestinian territory but in the entire region.

We in the United Arab Emirates seize this annual occasion to renew our complete and continuing solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people to secure all their national rights, including the right to determine their fate and extend their full sovereignty over the soil of their homeland, Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We emphasize that self-defence and the establishment of security that Israel from time to time claims to be seeking will not be achieved by continuing to implement a policy of occupation and starvation of the Palestinian people and repeated aggression against certain States in the region. It will come about only through Israel’s full and unconditional withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab lands that it has occupied since 1967, the dismantling of all settlements and sections of the separation wall, and a return to the table of direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to ensure the achievement of a just, permanent and comprehensive settlement of all aspects of the question of Palestine, including the refugee issue, borders and the final status of Jerusalem. This should be done in accordance with the firm principles for a settlement provided for by United Nations resolutions, the  series of  agreements concluded by Israel with the Palestinian Authority since the Oslo Peace Conference, and the Arab Peace Initiative, with its vision of mutual coexistence of the States of Palestine and Israel in the region.

Finally, we call on the international community, in particular international actors and donor States, to resume providing the various essential types of political, development, economic and relief assistance to the Palestinian people and its National Authority to enable it to rebuild its institutions and the economic, social and security structures that were destroyed by the escalation of Israeli aggression against them, to alleviate their worsening suffering and allow Palestinians to exercise all their basic rights, including opportunities for a dignified life, at a time when freedom and independence are emerging among peoples and human rights are being strengthened.

Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
[Original: English)
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I would like to extend to you and through you to the Palestinian people our warmest congratulations and greetings of solidarity.

         Viet Nam has consistently supported the Palestinian people’s just cause for their inalienable rights. Viet Nam is of the view that the issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, of which the Palestinian question is the nucleus, can only be solved through peaceful negotiations aimed at a comprehensive and fair solution on the basis of respecting the legitimate interests of all concerned parties, especially the basic rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish a State of Palestine in their homeland. Viet Nam supports all regional and international efforts aimed at promoting the Middle East peace process and calls upon all the parties directly involved in the peace process to step up efforts and cooperation for an early revitalization of the implementation of the road map, thus contributing to peace and stability in the region.
 
         On this occasion, Viet Nam reaffirms its strong support for the just cause and the basic rights of the Palestinian people. We firmly believe that the Palestinian people, with the support of the international community, will achieve full victory in their struggle.
B. Messages from Governments

     South Africa

[Original: English]
“Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It is the product of faith, strength, energy, will, sympathy, justice, imagination and the triumph of principle. It will never be achieved by passivity and quietism”.

         I have used this quote by Dorothy Thompson, a prominent journalist, political commentator and a leading opponent of Hitler and 1930’s fascism, to illustrate the point that peace requires people of courage to reach out and engage with those whom they consider their enemy. This was especially applicable to our country when we made the historic decision to engage with the apartheid regime, which culminated in the peaceful transition to democracy in South Africa.

         Peace has become an illusive concept in today’s world. Wherever we look on our planet, we see conflict and we wish to find a way to stop it, but we struggle to find the means to do so. This is no more apparent than in the conflict in the Middle East, between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. It pains us to see the unrewarded quest for peace of both the Israeli and Palestinian people, given our own recent history of conflict.
 
        Our heartfelt sympathy especially goes out to the Palestinian people, who are currently living in such difficult circumstances. We recognize that the Palestinian people have been displaced from and dispossessed of their historic homeland. Our people understand that there is no greater yearning than the wish to return to the land of one’s origin.

         The South African people have stood steadfast in support of the rights of the Palestinian people to a State and homeland of their own. Our Government has consistently supported the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with the will of the international community, such as United Nations resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 465 (1980), 681 (1990), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003).
 
         During President Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to our country earlier this year, we emphasized to him the close and historic relationship between the South African and Palestinian people. The warm reception that President Abbas received from the South African people was a further indication of the deep support of the South African people for the just struggle of the Palestinian people, their liberation and the attainment of their own freedom and self-determination. During his address to our National Assembly, President Abbas expressed his thanks for our Government’s unwavering support for the Palestinian national struggle and our efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East.

         President Abbas said: “The Palestinian people are proud of the historic and strong bonds of relations  with  the  people  of  South Africa and look to your country as a model, from which we draw lessons and inspirations to continue our march to achieve a just and comprehensive peace, and regain our rights of self-determination, and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital. I would like to reaffirm our deep pride in the historic relations between our two peoples, which were established many years ago during our common struggle for justice and freedom, which gave birth to the new South Africa.”

         South Africa has welcomed President Abbas’ position since he assumed power in the presidential elections in January 2005, namely that he was willing to engage in final status negotiations without preconditions with Israel. We have also opposed the international boycott of the Hamas Government that came to power in the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006. The position of the South African Government has been that Hamas is the democratically elected Government of the Palestinian people and that the democratic will of the Palestinian people must be respected. We will continue to engage with the Palestinian National Authority guided by this principle. At the same time, we call on the Hamas Government to comply with international agreements entered into by the previous Palestinian government, including the Oslo process and the road map.

         As a Government, we remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories. The continuing isolation of the Hamas Government has led to the non-payment of salaries for civil servants since Hamas assumed power in January. The Palestinian economy continues to shrink in the West Bank as a result of the closures, checkpoints, and the ongoing construction of the separation wall. The deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, with more than 70 per cent of the population living below the poverty line, is deeply distressing, particularly the suffering endured by women and children.
 
         The South African Government consequently notes with concern the route of the separation wall, which runs deep into the West Bank. In its completed form it could leave large areas of the West Bank on the Israeli side of the barrier. South Africa presented a written argument to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and also participated in the oral deliberations in The Hague on 23 February 2004 on the issue of the wall. We also condemn the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which continue to jeopardize prospects for the attainment of a viable Palestinian State existing alongside Israel. Our stance has consistently been that Israel’s settlement expansion is a direct contravention of the obligations set out in the road map and works against the trust and goodwill needed to bring about a negotiated solution.
 
         The position of the South African Government has been that there is an urgent need for both Palestinians and Israelis to resume dialogue. We have maintained that the assumption of power by Hamas should not be used as a pretext by Israel to argue that there is no Palestinian partner to talk to. Unilateral actions will not create conditions for a lasting solution.

         The South African Government is also concerned about the factional fighting between Fatah and Hamas, which will only heighten the already volatile situation in the Palestinian territories. We welcomed the attempts by President Abbas to form a Government of National Unity in Palestine  between Fatah and Hamas. The South African Government has called on both Fatah and Hamas to end the rivalry between them and seek a means of governing the Palestinian people that will address the Palestinian national interests.

         South Africa also calls on the international community to act more decisively to address and resolve the conflict, and to do more to ensure that the humanitarian plight of the Palestinian people is effectively addressed.

         South Africa will continue to engage with both the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, in terms of experience sharing in our own transition from conflict to democratic rule. We believe that we do have a role to play in creating suitable conditions in Palestine and Israel for a resumption of the Middle East peace process.

         In ending, I would like to quote Martin Luther King, Jr., who said: “One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means”.

C.  Messages from Ministers for Foreign Affairs

Viktar Gaisenak, Minister  for Foreign Affairs of the Republic
of Belarus
[Original: English]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I am honoured to extend to you my most sincere assurances of friendship and solidarity.

         Being a long-standing member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Republic of Belarus is a convinced advocate of a peaceful and just solution of the Middle East conflict and comprehensive exercise of the rights of the Palestinian people.

         I avail myself of this opportunity to commend your dedicated and skilful guidance of the Committee’s activity.
Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

[Original: Japanese]
(Unofficial translation)
On behalf of the Government of Japan, I wish to express our sincere respect in observance of the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

         The deteriorating situation on the ground and the political impasse, despite the efforts both by the parties and by the international community, still continue to be a source of great concern. Yet we believe those difficulties can be overcome with concerted and consistent efforts and a strong will for peace. The two-State solution is the only way to achieve peace and prosperity in the region. Hence we must all work towards the goals of coexistence and mutual prosperity between Israel and Palestine living peacefully side by side.
 
         To this end, Japan will continue to support every peace effort by both parties. Japan has long been a major donor to the Palestinian people and has been steadily implementing its pledged assistance, including the emergency humanitarian assistance of US$ 25 million announced in July.  Japan is also working on the “Corridor of peace and prosperity”, a concept to help the Palestinian people to develop a viable economy of their own through regional cooperation in the Jordan Valley from a long-term perspective.
 
         Japan intends to continue its active engagement in the international efforts to alleviate tensions, restore stability and nurture a spirit of cooperation in the region, in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Abdul Rahman M. Shalgam, Secretary of the General People’s
Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation
of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
[Original: English]
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, today, Wednesday, 29 November 2006, I address this letter to you to express the solidarity of my country with the Palestinian people, who are facing brutal massacres, as well as acts of assassination, starvation and detention, be they at check points, inside the prisons or through having the Palestinian people besieged in their cities and villages by erecting barricades, over and above the shameful separation wall that the occupation Power is building despite a decision by the International Court of Justice and a General Assembly resolution in this regard.

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya strongly believes that there is a special responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the international community to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, and put an end to the Zionist occupation.  The international community, represented by the United Nations, is required more than ever before to assume its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and end their tragedy.

On this occasion we renew the solidarity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people and their resistance to their occupiers.  We also confirm the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, just like the rest of the people of the world.

Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

[Original: Arabic]

 In the name of God the merciful and compassionate

On the occasion of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it gives me pleasure to send you this message stemming from the firm and long-standing positions of the Kingdom’s Government and people of Saudi Arabia in support of the Palestinian cause at all levels and in all international venues. I also wish to assure Your Excellency of my Government’s support for your Committee’s work and its positive positions in support of the exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights.

Based on internationally recognized resolutions, the Kingdom has, from the beginning of the plight of the Palestinian people, taken the lead in alleviating their suffering and called on Israel to implement international resolutions adopted on the Arab-Israeli conflict. It has done so out of its desire to see peace and security replace destruction in the region and attention focused on  development  and  peaceful  coexistence  through  recognition of  the rights of the Palestinian people, including the return to the 1967 borders, the guarantee of the right of return of refugees and the establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Confident of its leading role, the Kingdom put forward the Beirut Summit initiative, which was adopted by the Arab States and subsequently became known as the Arab Initiative to Establish Peace and Security in the Middle East. It reflects the genuine desire for peaceful coexistence, an end to the harsh daily suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli occupation of their land and appropriation of their property, and a peaceful resolution of the problem based on international legitimacy and relevant Security Council resolutions.

Along with its supportive economic and political positions, the Kingdom has provided considerable material and moral assistance to the Palestinian people because it understands the injustice and oppression they suffer daily and the fact that they are denied the most basic human rights of being allowed to live on their land and determine their own destiny.
         
Walid Al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic
[Original: Arabic]

It gives me pleasure on the occasion of observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to express to you and your Committee our utmost appreciation for your role in organizing this important annual international meeting to remind the international community of the tragedy of a captive people that has been suffering from continuing injustice, violence, terrorism and systematic murder and destruction for over 50 years at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities.

We also value highly your sincere efforts to promote solidarity with and support for the Palestinian people in its struggle to regain its legitimate national rights, including the right to self-determination on its national soil and also the right of return based on international legitimacy as embodied in United Nations resolutions.

This year your meeting convenes as the Israeli occupation authorities continue their unprecedented military campaign that has desecrated houses of worship and safehouses, confiscating and levelling land, murdering hundreds of Palestinians, including women, the elderly and children, and destroying infrastructure. The most recent example was the barbarous campaign targeting all infrastructural facilities in the Gaza Strip, including its only electric power station. Israel’s barbarous practices have included the murder and arrest of elected representatives of the Palestinian people without the slightest regard for international laws and norms.

These Israeli practices, which benefit from the support of certain parties and from international complacency and are based on flimsy pretexts such as self-defence and contributing to the struggle against global terrorism, are ongoing and increasing in violence. Israel has flagrantly  disregarded  over  600  United  Nations  resolutions  demanding  its  withdrawal  from occupied Arab territories in order to establish a just and comprehensive peace in the region. Israel persists in building settlements and the racist separation wall and seizing other people’s land with the goal of reinforcing its policy of fait accompli in disregard of internationally recognized resolutions. As a consequence of these policies, both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have become giant prisons devoid of the most basic necessities of daily life and dignified existence.

The Syrian Arab Republic has believed, and continues to believe, that a just and comprehensive peace can be achieved through implementation by Israel of United Nations resolutions, above all Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and resolution 497 (1981) pertaining to the Syrian Golan, and revival of the peace process initiated in Madrid in 1990, which Israel has conspired to destroy, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative approved by the 2002 Beirut Summit and subsequent Arab summits. This would make it possible to end the cycle of violence and bloodshed that threatens not only the security and stability of the region, but international peace and security as well.

Permit us, once again, to call upon the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and the peace-loving peoples of the world, and to work earnestly to stop the Israeli machine of repression, destruction and terrorism that violates all international treaties and norms.

We highly appreciate your Committee’s efforts and urge you to continue your support and assistance to the Palestinian people in their struggle to liberate their land and restore their full rights, including the right of return.

Borys Tarasyuk, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

[Original: English]

Allow me to extend my sincere greetings to the people of Palestine on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
 
         As one of the founders of the United Nations, Ukraine has always attached great importance to the Palestinian issue and fully recognized the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for justice, freedom and dignity, as well as their inalienable right for self-determination and statehood.
 
         Expressing today our solidarity with and support for the Palestinian people, I would also like to reiterate the commitment of Ukraine to the goal of achieving
comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the issue of Palestine, which is the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

         The dramatic developments that we witnessed during the last months have again demonstrated the urgent need to move from violence and hatred to peace and confidence.
 
        Today we must all work to solve these pressing issues. We must bear firmly in our minds the overriding goal, an early resumption of dialogue between the two parties with a view to re-launching negotiations on the basis of the road map. As long as this conflict is not resolved, peace will not be secured anywhere in the region.

         The United Nations should continue to maintain its permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until it is resolved in conformity with the relevant resolutions. This Organization should remain a principal guarantor of the international legitimacy with respect to the question of Palestine, a major headquarters of the international support of and assistance to the Palestinian people.
 
         Ukraine will continue to support the efforts of the international community aimed at advancing the peace process and the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

D.  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: English]
The acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania, the candidate countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,* the countries of the stabilization and association process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, align themselves with this declaration.
 
         On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the European Union  (EU) would like to reaffirm its commitment to the two-State solution, as laid out in the road map and agreed between the parties resulting in a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State existing side-by-side with Israel in peace and security.
 
         The European Union reiterates its intention to actively contribute to the work of the Quartet to get the Middle East peace process urgently back on track in order to make progress towards a comprehensive settlement on the basis of the road map, relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and the commitments made at Sharm el-Sheikh in 2005. This should be done in close
cooperation with Arab partners. The international community must provide its full support to the parties in this respect.

         The European Union underlines the necessity of a political perspective and reinvigorating the peace process through a re-launch of negotiations. To support the objective of a future, independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State based on the rule of law, the EU underlines the importance of preserving and strengthening the capacity of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. We recall the established EU position that the Union will not recognize any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by both parties.
 
         The European Union expresses its support to President Abbas and calls on the Palestinians to join his efforts towards national unity and the formation a government with a platform reflecting the Quartet principles and allowing for early engagement. Such a government of national unity would also be a partner for the international community to support the re-launch of the peace process.

         The European Union recalls the utmost importance of the full implementation of the Agreement of Movement and Access, and calls on Israel to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, in particular in Gaza. The permanent reopening of the Rafah crossing, which has to be followed by the opening of the Karni and other crossings, has a particular priority in this respect. It is imperative that the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people be urgently alleviated.

         The European Union welcomes the Palestinian truce initiative and its acceptance by Israel that came into effect on 26 November 2006, and urges both parties to maintain this truce, which could pave the way for genuine negotiations towards a just resolution to the conflict.

         The European Union reiterates once more its continuing support to advance the peace process. Let us all work hard to help the Palestinian people realize their aspiration to live in peace and prosperity in a sovereign and independent State of Palestine.

_________
* Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the stabilization and association process.

Organization of the Islamic Conference: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General
[Original: French]
(Unofficial translation)

In the Name of god, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
The twenty-ninth of November of every year is an occasion to reaffirm the solidarity of the international community with the Palestinian people in application of United Nations General Assembly resolution 32/40 of 1977 and the expression of its support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people to regain their inalienable rights.
 
         On this occasion, I am pleased to express the deep appreciation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and its member States for the role undertaken by the United Nations and its agencies and Committees in promoting the Palestinian question and for
ongoing support and backing provided by them to the Palestinian people in their just struggle to regain their inalienable rights. I would like to make special mention of the role assumed by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, as well as the efforts exerted by the Chairman in this regard.

         Since we met last year, important developments have occurred in Palestine. Such developments include particularly the organization of the Palestinian legislative elections, whose transparency and integrity were witnessed by the whole world. Even so, the blockade and the ceasing of international assistance extended to the Palestinian people, which followed hard on the heels of these elections, inflicted serious damage and heavy losses in all walks of Palestinian life. On more than one occasion, the OIC has expressed its rejection and condemnation of the unjust  blockade  imposed  on  the  Palestinian  people  and  called  on  the  world  to  respect  the democratic choice made by the Palestinian people, and to therefore lift the blockade and resume the provision of assistance to them.
 
         This year the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People comes in the aftermath of Israel’s perpetration of the Beit Hanoun massacre, which claimed the lives of scores of helpless children and women. Such massacres call for a serious international action in order to put an end to Israel’s persistent practices and violations. In this context, we welcome the resolutions adopted by United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Beit Hanoun massacre, and we call for their immediate implementation. Similarly, the dispatch of the fact-finding mission to investigate this massacre must be accelerated and Israeli officials who are responsible for it must be prosecuted as war criminals.

         This year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People also falls against the backdrop of Israel’s persistent and escalating aggression against the defenceless Palestinian people. Since last June, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands have been wounded, in addition to Israel’s continued practice of detaining thousands, including ministers and parliamentarians, in harsh conditions inconsistent with the most basic human rights, in contravention of international law and conventions. Moreover, Israel has been perpetrating daily violations of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, as Israel continues to wage military campaigns and reoccupy various towns and areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in addition to Israel’s application of its policy of collective punishments and perpetration of premeditated extrajudicial killings of Palestinians. Similarly, Israel continues to build the racist separation wall to isolate hundreds of Palestinian towns, thereby creating new “faits accomplis” on the ground to obstruct the establishment of a future Palestinian State.
 
         Moreover, Israel has continued isolating the occupied city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), through scores of military barricades and trenches that prevent worshippers from reaching their mosques and churches. These places of worship themselves have not been spared the daily ordeal of violations, desecrations, and interference in their affairs.

        It should be recalled that the cause of Palestine is the raison d’être of the OIC. Therefore, supporting Palestinian rights has been a top agenda item of all OIC meetings. Reacting to the Israeli aggression against Lebanon, the OIC Executive Committee held an extraordinary meeting at the summit level in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on 3 August 2006, and adopted important resolutions in support of Palestinian national rights.

        Likewise, and in quick reaction to the Beit Hanoun massacre and other Israeli violations, the OIC Executive Committee met at the ministerial level, with the participation of 30 member States, at the headquarters of the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The meeting held Israel accountable for its crimes and called for Israeli officials responsible for the massacre to be prosecuted as war criminals, under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The OIC Executive Committee meeting decided to break the blockade imposed on the Palestinian people. I avail myself of  this opportunity to renew our call for the international community to lift the inhumane siege that is affecting negatively all aspects of life of the Palestinians. Similarly, the international community is invited to exert serious efforts to launch a purposeful peace process that will lead to Israel’s full withdrawal from all Arab and Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

         The lack of serious endeavours to find a just solution to the Palestinian question as the essential core of the Middle East dispute has become the perpetual spark that continues to fuel the various conflicts that are not only jeopardizing the security of the region, but are also threatening to overtake international peace and security. Now more than ever before, the international community must come to realize that its interests and those of its peoples can be better served by establishing just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Recent indicators have shown that many international parties have become convinced of the necessity of achieving stability in the region and solving its problems, starting with the Palestinian cause. This would create a climate that is conducive to the launching of a serious and purposeful peace process leading to a just and comprehensive solution to the Middle East conflict and ending the Israeli occupation of all the territories that it has occupied since 1967.

         In this regard, we renew our call to convene an international conference aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East on the basis of resolutions of international legitimacy, the principle of land for peace and the Arab Peace Initiative.  I reiterate the OIC’s readiness to play an active role in this regard, especially since the 10-year programme of action adopted by the third extraordinary session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has called for an effective role for the OIC in restoring peace to the Middle East.

         In conclusion, I reaffirm to the Palestinian people the solidarity of the OIC with them and renew our support for their just struggle to end the aggression and regain their national inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination, freedom, return and the establishment of their independent Pa1estinian State on their national soil, with East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) as its capital.
 

E. Message from a non-governmental organization

          Caritas Internationalis

[Original: English]

         On this solemn day of commemoration, our global Caritas Confederation seizes this opportunity to express again our solidarity with the Palestinian people. We offer our thoughts and prayers for a just and durable peace for all those in the Holy Land – Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
 
         On this International Day of Solidarity, organized annually for decades under the auspices of the United Nations, our Confederation of 162 member organizations working in 200 countries and territories, firmly believes that “Peace is Possible” wherever there is responsible, determined will to communicate, face the facts and work together towards reconciliation.
 
         We cannot overemphasize the urgency we share with countless others that justice be done, that the occupation come to an end, and that the fundamental root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be put squarely at the heart of fair negotiations. We condemn all forms of violence by any party under any circumstance, especially the killing of innocent lives. We plead for comprehensive rapprochement where the needs of the poor and most vulnerable are placed at the centre of dialogue. Instead of more resolutions or politicized rhetoric, we need more definitive, strategic actions based on the fundamental realization that every life is sacred.
 
         We hope that observance of this day will help to mobilize Governments, diplomats, international civil society, and religious leaders to take action to contribute to a lasting peace. From our side, we reaffirm our readiness to work towards justice, reconciliation, and peacebuilding.

         We offer our faith, hope, and charity as we walk daily with our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land – and with all those in the ever fragile Middle East region. We admire the courage of the local Church and Caritas in their efforts to build bridges and heal wounds, and we stand behind them.

         Knowing that peace is possible, we share Pope Benedict’s prayer: “That God will enlighten the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as those nations that have a particular responsibility in the region, so that they may do all they can to put an end to bloodshed, increase humanitarian aid initiatives and encourage the immediate resumption of serious and concrete negotiations”.

         Finally, we call on the United Nations and the Quartet members (the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and the Russian Federation) to remove every perceived obstacle  that  impedes  negotiations. We  call  on  all  those  responsible to act with boldness and determination, to bring the parties face-to-face, before more lives are tragically lost in the absence of a more vigorous and comprehensive vision for peace. Together we must be more robust in our resolve. Together we can and must lift up this land and its people.

_______