Madam Chairman:

The lethal Israeli operations against the defenseless Palestinian people have engendered profound misgivings concerning any initiative on the part of the Government of Israel, which has officially declared that it is seeking an Israeli peace that reflects the supremacy of Israel's overwhelming power as compared with that of the Palestinian people.

I fear that the Israeli people, who support this policy whenever their government embarks on acts of carnage, will find it extremely difficult to coexist with the Arab peoples who are observing these events in shocked dismay and drawing their conclusions concerning the attitude of the Israeli people and what Israel's presence in the region really implies. The time has come for us to redefine and rectify the terminology used. It is unfair to the Palestinian people to refer to what they are experiencing as "reciprocal violence" of "the Palestinian-Israeli conflict". It would be more correct to say that what is happening is systemic Israeli acts of carnage exemplified by the most odious forms of violations condemned under the international humanitarian law and human rights instruments.

 

Madam Chairman:

Israel might claim that the lethal operations in which it engages - in contemptuous breach of the rules of international law and human rights - are a reaction to resistance by the valiant Palestinian people. However, this assertion is totally contradicted by the self-evident truths concerning the present situation, namely that the occupation and its policies should have ended even without negotiations with the Palestinian people and that resistance to this occupation, which has thwarted every attempt to end it peacefully, is a legitimate right. Promotion of this Israeli logic disregards legality and threatens to restore the predominance of the law of the jungle, from which mankind has suffered in past ages. It also takes no account of the fact that resistance, regardless of its form and extent, merely expresses rejection of the occupation.

The message was clear throughout the early months of the intifada and consequently, Israel should have realized that, since the fundamental problem lay in the occupation, the intifada was merely an affirmation that any decision to perpetuate the occupation was not only fraught with dangers from the political and security standpoints but also constituted a violation of international conventions and customary practices. In this connection, I welcome the report submitted to the Commission by Mr. John Dugard, the Special Rapporteur on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as his previous reports which , on the whole, reflect the true state of affairs.

Madam Chairman:

Israel will never enjoy security and stability as long as its continues to deny basic rights and engage in violations and practices that constitute a flagrant and manifest breach of the principles of human rights, international humanitarian law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and United Nations resolutions, such as resolutions 194, 242, 338, and 1397. Accordingly, my delegation calls upon the international community - and especially the States sponsoring the peace process - to assume their responsibilities and take all the measures required under the provision of the Charter of the United Nations, including Chapter VII thereof.

Although there is a glimmer of hope in the recent declarations concerning a resumption of the peace process, the ultimate responsibility still lies with Israel, which is evidently paying no heed to United Nations resolutions, including the resolutions of this Commission, or to the pacts and agreements that it has concluded with the Palestinians. For their part, the Arab States, wishing to restore security and stability and ensure that the Palestinian people recover their rights in the occupied Arab territories, adopted the initiative of HRH Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, proposed at the Beirut Summit, which affirmed that the peace chosen by the Arabs and Palestine was irrevocable strategic option that provided a means to break the deadlock reached in the peace process.

Madam Chairman:

The policy of double standards in dealing with the question of Palestine has led to a proliferation of extremist movements and has exacerbated the feelings of resentment, hatred, indignation and injustice. This will inevitably have an adverse impact on the nature of relations between members of the international community. Disregard for the humanitarian dimension, combined with an inequitable approach by the international community, and particularly by the sponsors and guarantors of the peace process, will further intensify this hostile tendency and abort any attempts to reach a peaceful solution.

Madam Chairman:

While reviewing some aspects of the Israeli violations, we should not forget that, far from being confined to the defenseless Palestinian people, these violations also extend to the Syrian people living under the yoke of Israeli occupation in the Golan Heights who are denied their basic rights to freedom of movement, education and health. This Commission should call upon the Government of Israel to comply fully with the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly concerning the need to terminate the occupation and put an end to the sufferings of the Syrian population of the Golan Heights.

The series of Israeli violations extends even further. Israel has retrained its control over the Lebanese Shabaa farms; and its practices, including humiliation and torture, against the Lebanese citizens whom it is detaining without trial constitute violations of human rights, as does its deliberate withholding of maps showing the location of mines. Accordingly, this Commission should once again call upon the Government of Israel to release the Lebanese detainees whom it is holding and permit the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations to visit the detainees and ascertain their situation.

Madam Chairman:

Peace cannot be established by treaties or agreements that fail to take into consideration the experiences and wishes of the peoples concerned. Moreover, there is a danger that, if silence on the part of the international community, including this Commission, in the face of the sufferings of the Palestinian people were interpreted as impotence or acquiescence, we could lose our credibility at a time when we are all aware of the importance of enhancing the effectiveness of the Commission's role and ensuring that its recommendations and resolutions are respected. Thank you, Madam Chairman.