CLAUDINE MTSHALI (South Africa) said South Africa supported the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and reiterated support for their right to a homeland based on the two-State solution. Unfortunately, the status quo in the Middle East remained antithetical to the two-State principle. Israeli domination and occupation of Palestinian territory served not just to deny the Palestinians their right to self-determination, but also to deny their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Israel’s refusal to abide by Security Council, General Assembly, and Commission on Human Rights resolutions was unacceptable. Similarly, the subjugation and repression daily visited upon the Palestinian people, and which took the form of land confiscation, demolitions of houses, uprooting of trees, curfews, checkpoints and the continued construction of the wall in the West Bank, were also unacceptable.
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People had met only a few weeks ago, she recalled, to review the question of Palestine, especially relating the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on construction of the wall. The Committee had called on the international community to renew its commitment to see Israel abide by the advisory opinion. That position was welcomed as being in line with the fostering of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Peace in the Middle East could only be achieved through negotiations, while only a political solution to the conflict could guarantee a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region. It was to be hoped that the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting would unlock the current stalemate and create a favourable environment for the full implementation of the Road Map.
RUDY BOSCHWITZ (United States) said the United States and its Quartet partners were committed to advancing progress towards the goal of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The focus now of the international community should be on a successful Israeli disengagement from Gaza and several settlements in the West Bank, and on supporting the Palestinian Authority’s political, economic, and security reform efforts. In working toward peace, the Commission should not choose the moment to single out one group for censure. The United States strongly believed that the one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions would undermine the credibility of the United Nations and the Commission in particular. The resolutions, introduced under agenda item 8, focused entirely on castigating one country and served only to perpetuate acrimony, instead of advancing a peace process that was underway and making progress. A balanced approach would take into account other important issues in the Middle East.
More than ever before, there were hopeful signs of change in the Middle East. The emergence of a newly elected Palestinian leadership committed to reform, continued responsiveness by Israel on its disengagement plan, and reviewed dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians. The United States asked the Commission to lower the decibel level of the item 8 debate.
JUAN ANTONIO FERNANDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba) said the cause of the Palestinian people stood out among those which had aroused the most solidarity and sympathies in the whole world. The international community had been unequivocal in recognising the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, the rejection of the illegal occupation of Arab territories by Israel, and condemnation of mass and flagrant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the occupying power. However, Israel and the United States of America ignored the will of the international community and blocked the United Nations actions. The violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people was the most flagrant, massive and systematic violation committed on the planet. The most recent report by the Special Rapporteur provided once again detailed information on Israeli acts in the occupied territories.
The construction of the racist wall being built by the Israeli regime around the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as the expansion and illegal increase in settlements were the most recent and deliberate attempts by Israel to plunder and annex Palestinian lands, block any negotiation and render even more difficult and unbearable the life of an oppressed and humiliated people. The wall was responsible for most of the suffering. The International Court of Justice had stated that Israel had the obligation to stop its construction and bring it down immediately. Israel had not complied, on the contrary, it continued to bring the wall. Cuba, which for over 45 years had endured a tightened and genocidal blockade by the United States of America, was firmly convinced that no wall, or fence, or the most violent and ruthless atrocities would be able to break the resilience and longing for freedom of the Palestinian people.
GEOFF SHAW (Australia) said Australia opposed the maintenance of the present agenda item (8), which allowed for unbalanced criticism of Israel. Singling out one country for unique criticism was anomalous given the existence of another item under which the situation should be considered. Notwithstanding that position, Australia welcomed the progress witnessed recently with regard to the Middle East peace process, including the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to stop acts of terror and incitement to further bloodshed. Australia upheld Israel’s right to defend itself, and said the Palestinian Authority must stamp out terror. He also welcomed the Israeli decision to withdraw from Jericho, and the commitment further to withdraw from Gaza and other parts of the West Bank. All steps taken must be consistent with the Roadmap.
OMER DAHAB MOHAMED (Sudan) said the noble objectives of Yasser Arafat to liberate the Palestinians and to establish a sovereign State were now being pursued by President Mahmoud Abbas. In order to establish peace and stability in the Middle East, Israel should free all Palestinian prisoners it was holding in its various prisons. It should also stop the repressive and inhumane activities it was carrying out against the Palestinians in the occupied territories. The occupation of the Syrian Golan was also a blatant act against international norms. Israel had not heeded the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice with regard to the wall of separation.
The barbaric acts, extrajudical killings, torture and demolition of houses were acts which amounted to acts of genocide. This was not the time to appease by the international community. Every effort should be made to allow Palestinians to recover their land and start living a peaceful life. The Palestinians should be able to establish their State with East Jerusalem as its capital.
CHITSAKA CHIPAZIWA (Zimbabwe) said the plight of the Palestinians had been before the world for so long that one was tempted to conclude that their lot was one of suffering in perpetuity. However, it should not be accepted as a fait accompli. The opportunities offered by the new tide for peace in the Middle East should be seized, and this despite the situation there as demonstrated by the Special Rapporteur. President Abbas deserved the support of the international community to negotiate a lasting peace and permanent borders with the State of Israel. Palestinians should soon realise their inalienable right to full statehood and all that that entailed. The so-called security wall had brought untold misery to the daily lives of the people of Palestine.
It was hoped and expected that Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank and the manipulation of access into and exit from East Jerusalem would be stopped, so that Palestinians were not further inconvenienced and their future was not further compromised. The stance of those who called for non-interference in certain countries’ affairs whilst creating thereby opportunities for themselves to similarly meddle in the Arab countries’ affairs was deplored. The people of the region should be left alone to forge their own internal political alignments and to express their sovereign right to build international alliances as they desired.
SEYED MOHAMMAD KAZEM SAJJADPOUR (Iran
) said that although the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories had often been on the agenda of the Commission on Human Rights, the numerous resolutions and decision adopted by it had been ignored by Israel. The past year had witnessed the worst violence in the occupied Palestinian territories since the start of the second Intifada in September 2000. Successive incursions by the Israeli Defense Forces into Gaza had resulted in heavy loss of life and personal injury, and in the wanton and large-scale destruction of homes. Furthermore, systematic violations of human rights and breaches of international law and international humanitarian law had continued. Israel had persisted in unlawful policies and practices leading to the killing and wounding of Palestinian people and the further devastation of Palestinian cities, communities, infrastructure, and civilian properties. Its increased military presence in the Gaza Strip, and indiscriminate use of force, practices of collective punishment, extrajudicial killings, targeted assassinations and expansion of the settlements prevented the Palestinian people from fully enjoying their human rights.
The continued construction of the wall, even in the wake of the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion, constituted an act of disrespect to international law and to the will of the international community, he said. The assassination of Palestinians by Israel had also been intensified; since October 2000, the Israeli army had killed many Palestinians, including children, women and innocent bystanders. Hundreds of Palestinians had been subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment by the Israeli Security Services. The fundamental cause of the grave and systematic human rights violations, which prevailed in occupied Palestine, remained the occupation itself, and the denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. The Commission on Human Rights should take more effective measures to bring the crimes of the Israeli forces to the attention of the international community, and to provide much needed protection to the defenseless people of Palestine.
SADIQ M.S. MARAFI (Kuwait) said the occupying Israeli power had continued to perpetrate human rights violations against the Palestinians people, as witnessed by the report of the Special Rapporteur. The international community was aspiring that a state of comprehensive and stable peace and security could be established in the Middle East. The relevant United Nations resolution had invited Israel to free all prisoners it detained and to clarify the conditions of those disappeared Palestinians. Israel was also requested to respect the human rights of the Palestinians under its occupation.
The Palestinians should enjoy their legitimate rights and be free from any occupation. The occupying power should be urged to abide by all international laws and most particularly by the relevant Security Council resolutions aimed at ending the conflicts and the occupation. The international community should strongly urge Israel to abide by international norms and United Nations resolutions, and end its occupation and allow the Palestinians to create their State with East Jerusalem as their capital. Israel should also stop making fun of the international law
MOHAMMAD ABU-KOASH (Palestine) said Palestine wished to express its gratitude to all the distinguished delegates and the international community for the aid extended to help ensure the national rights of the Palestinian people, and it extended a hand to the Israeli neighbour in order to live side-by-side in peace, harmony and cooperation.
AMEEN AL-MAQTARY (Yemen) said he wished to express solidarity with the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, who had been struggling for more than half a century to achieve their legitimate rights. The Palestinian people had given much to attain their desired liberation. Moreover, all national and international efforts to settle the question of Palestine were supported, as far back as the Madrid Conference. Yemen condemned all illegal Israeli practices, including the use of excessive military force to invade Palestinian territories and the continued construction of the separation wall. The Israeli occupation of the occupied territories, and its practices of extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions, must be brought to an end. There must a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to this question.
AHMED MOHAMED MASOUD AL-RIYAMI (Oman) said the Commission had repeatedly called on Israel to abide by international norms and to implement the resolutions of the Commission and the United Nations. However, Israel had turned its back on all calls of the international community, including those of the Commission and the Security Council. It was evident that the only way towards peace and security was through negotiations. Israel had to withdraw all its forces from the territories and stop its settlement programmes as a sign of its willingness to embark on a serious peace process. Palestinians had the right to live in peace and security. The building of the wall of separation had been a violation of international law; and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice had confirmed this.
Oman had expressed its satisfaction at the outcome of the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit. The international community should provide assistance to the Palestinians to build their nation. Palestinians should have their State with East Jerusalem as their Capital. Israel should also end its practices, which had badly affected the people of Palestinians since 1967.
JEAN-DANIEL VIGNY (Switzerland) said since the Sharm El Sheikh summit, several encouraging developments had been observed. The most encouraging signs, in terms of the peace process, lay in the resumption of the dialogue between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority and in the truce agreed by the Palestinian factions in Cairo with the aim of putting an end to violence. This recent tendency, although still fragile, contrasted significantly with the multiple violations observed during the previous year. The Israeli decision to proceed to a coordinated withdrawal from the Gaza Strip opened new perspectives. The international community had as a goal the realisation of the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The respective obligations of the two parties as elaborated in the Roadmap needed to be implemented simultaneously.
The international community, justly mobilised in order to ensure the success of the disengagement and the restart of the political process, should give particular attention to the developments taking place in Israel, including in East Jerusalem. The building of the separation barrier, despite the recent modifications to its path, continued to be in contradiction of international law. The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories did not have any chance of improving if the true causes of the economic and social degradation and the humanitarian crisis were not treated. Respect for international law was an essential means in order to re-establish trust and the conditions necessary for the emergence of a global and negotiated solution to the conflict.
SAAD ALFARARGI, of League of Arab States, said the human rights situation in Palestine, the Syrian Golan, and the Shaaba region of southern Lebanon had not reflected any improvement in the past year, as emphasized in the report of the Special Rapporteur. The Special Rapporteur had concluded that the Fourth Geneva Convention was not being upheld. It had been seen that Israel had committed war crimes, and the Commission on Human Rights must look into that situation. Noting that Israel had decided to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip, he said that area had been turned into a large prison. Moreover, Israel also continued to construct the wall, and its many settlements had been created to put an end to what remained of the Palestinian territory. Israeli actions also betrayed a desire to lay hands on East Jerusalem. It was to be hoped that the Commission would take a clear position in regard of these violations in Gaza, the West Bank, and other areas.
WEGER STROMMEN (Norway) said that although the political climate had improved, there were few visible signs on the ground. There were daily incidents in the occupied territories which did not make the headlines. The number of causalities had decreased, but the psychological scars ran just as deep. Checkpoints, closures and settlers provided constant reminder of occupation and humiliation. The security barrier dived neighbourhoods and families, separated children from their schools and prevented farmers from working on their land. Large-scale harassment of civilians continued. The current state of lawlessness experienced by Palestinians in the occupied territories was unacceptable.
A peaceful settlement of the conflict could only be found if the fundamental rights of both Palestinians and Israelis were respected. Palestinians had the right to demand an end to the occupation. They had the right to demand the establishment of an independent and democratic State. Israelis had the same right to live in peace and security with internationally recognized borders.
SAEED MOHAMED AL-FAIHANI (Bahrain) said the report of the Special Rapporteur drew a gloomy picture for the situation of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories. The continuation of the living conditions in Palestine despite the recent positive developments would not make the desired peace possible. On the contrary, it would strengthen violence and extremist phenomena in the society which lacked the basic standards of human rights. Actually, the desired peace would not be achieved unless the rights of the Palestinian people were respected by the Israeli occupation authorities. The Israelis should promote the rights of the Palestinian people through halting the inhuman practices which the Special Rapporteur mentioned, and through the immediate withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, and enabling the Palestinian people to establish their own independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Commission had the responsibility to deplore the practices which the Palestinian people were subjected to. It had the duty to take the necessary measures to stop such practices and guarantee that the occupation authorities would respect the rights of the Palestinian people. The flexibility, wisdom, responsible attitude and the positive reactions of the Palestinian people and the leadership were commended, and it was hoped that the chance would continue to revive the negotiations of the peace process.
BASHAR JAAFARI (Syria) recalled that on 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice had issued its advisory opinion confirming that the wall being built by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories stood in contradiction to international law and international humanitarian law. Israel was bound to cease its construction, and to dismantle what had already been built. The Court had also found that the Fourth Geneva Convention was applicable to the situation, and that Israeli settlements violated international law. Yet Israel had disregarded these findings; just a few days ago, the Prime Minister had given the green light to building further housing on one settlement, which he had said would never be given back to the Palestinian Authority. Despite Israel’s denial that it did not intend to impose a final border unilaterally, the State’s actions on the ground showed that the Government was procrastinating, and that its intention was effectively and practically to deny the Palestinians a viable State, and to annex East Jerusalem. Only last Friday, Israel’s Representative at the Commission had called upon the international community to observe Israel’s right to self-determination, as if it was not Israel imposing the occupation. That Representative should read the report of the Special Rapporteur.
The record of Israeli practices in the Syrian Golan did not much differ, he said. Construction of the first settlements had begun only two months after the occupation. Israel had exiled Syrian citizens from their villages and homeland, and, not being satisfied with these steps, had announced the annexation of the Syrian Golan. That step had led the United Nations to proclaim that all efforts to change the demographic situation of the Golan were null and void. The Security Council had confirmed the non-permissibility of acquisition of land by force, which applied to the Syrian Golan. The Arab side’s commitment to a peaceful solution had been confirmed by the 2002 Arab peace initiative, and by yesterday’s Arab League meeting, but Israel seemed to be determined on war and the continued occupation by force of the occupied territories.
MOUSA BURAYZAT (Jordan) said the Special Rapporteur had drawn a very bleak picture of the situation in the Middle East. Israel had used its awesome and superior military might against the Palestinians in a brutal fashion. Further, his objective reports put Israeli practices in legal and political context; thus revealing, the ultimate objectives of the occupying power for using indiscriminate and excessive force against Palestinian targets. Such objectives included “incorporating large number of Israeli settlers into Israel without evacuating most settlements in the West Bank, annexing the largest possible areas of Palestinian territory, and forcing Palestinians to flee their homeland by making life for them intolerable and unbearable”.
Challenging that grim picture were the undersigns reached at Sharm el-Sheikh, which one hoped had opened a new page in the Palestinian-Israeli strife. One wanted to be optimistic and was encouraged by initial moves taken by the parties. The two sides had resumed security cooperation. Israel had begun evacuating Palestinian cities and displayed, though momentarily, self-restraint. The Commission should send a clear message to Israel by stating that the international community was expecting it to resist the temptation of power and expansion and to draw the right lesson from the past.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories continued to cause grave concern for the international community due to the particularly disastrous effects of the conflict on the Palestinian people, notably women and children. The construction of the separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territories imposed living conditions that were extremely grave and caused negative influence on the enjoyment of human rights, notably the access to healthcare, education, the right to food and the freedom of movement. The General Assembly had asked for the full halt of all activities related to the wall and also those relative to the implantation of settlement colonies in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
Morocco exhorted the influential powers as well as the United Nations to take full advantage of the new situation, which gave hope and optimism for the peaceful and permanent resolution of a conflict that was dominated by a logic of violence and counter-violence and which had sadly closed the mouth of dialogue, comprehension and wisdom for many years. Morocco was engaged with the international community to hunt for a just and durable solution to the conflict and to guarantee the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Palestinian territories and to establish a Palestinian State that was independent and viable with Jerusalem as the capital, and living side by side with the State of Israel in peace and security.
ITZHAK LEVANON (Israel) said that dramatic changes were taking place in the real world, perhaps nowhere more so than in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israelis and Palestinians had sat down to coordinate the transfer of more West Bank cities to Palestinian control, and the Palestinian leadership had taken its first steps in the long battle to confront terrorism, while Israel had prepared to evacuate all Israelis from the Gaza Strip. These undertakings, agreed at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, as well as the renewed commitment to the Roadmap, had created a new reality of shared responsibility.
However, within the Commission, little had changed, he stressed. It was little wonder that the Commission’s credibility on issues related to Israel and the Middle East stood at an all-time low, and that the Secretary-General had reiterated the damning criticism of the High-level Panel in speaking of the Commission’s “credibility deficit”. There was no clearer example of that credibility deficit than the present agenda item. The situation in every country in the world, except Israel, was treated under agenda item 9, while one country was singled out with a unique agenda item. Moreover, the Special Rapporteur had been appointed to examine one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but not the other. The deficit was also strikingly represented by the resolutions submitted under this, and other, items; in them, the Palestinians had only rights, the Israelis only obligations. Moreover, no mention was made of suicide bombers, which had made it necessary for Israel to construct its security fence, nor of the terrorist groups who sent children and pregnant women to smuggle arms and bombs, which made checkpoints necessary.
SAMIR LABIDI (Tunisia) commended the recent positive developments in the Middle East and hoped they would contribute to the peace process. As it was indicated in the Special Rapporteur’s report, the violation of the human rights of Palestinians had continued. The construction of the wall, the blockade and the restriction of the right to movement had exacerbated the life of the Palestinians. Even pregnant women could not be rushed to nearby clinics due to checkpoints and the blockade put in place by the Israeli forces. The International Court of Justice had given its advisory opinion that the construction of the wall violated international law and that the Geneva Convention was applicable to the occupied Palestinian territory.
A viable peace and security could only be established in the region through the implementation of the various international norms and the United Nations resolutions be Israel. Tunisia continued to be concerned by the Israeli practices that affected the Palestinian people, who had been suffering from the occupation since 1967.
IDRISS JAZAIRY (Algeria
) said the tragedy of the martyred Palestinian people had been taking place daily since the last century. The inability of the international community to put an end to it authorised the occupying power to commit acts and practices that were condemned by law and that morality rejected. But the occupying power acted in full impunity, encouraged by the silence of some and the complicity of others, interpreting these signals as an approval for its policies. The oppressive and humiliating acts in the occupied Palestinian territories were the acts of an administration that had almost completely ignored the United Nations resolutions. All countries without exception could give accounts at the Commission regarding human rights, even if it was an aggressor who claimed to be the aggressed. Any indulgence by the Commission with regard to the practices having effect on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories would strike a blow at the credibility of the institution.
The massive and unjustified demolitions of goods and houses, the construction of settlement colonies, the building of the separation wall that was continuing despite being declared contrary to international law by the International Court of Justice, all showed the precarious situation in which the Palestinian people were living. The recent announcements of the resumption of the peace process would, it was hoped, signal an advance in the promotion of the human rights of an ignored, humiliated and slowly-killed people; but it would be judged upon results, and a new failure would only increase the resentment and feed the extremists.
ABDEL ESSA AL MAHRI (United Arab Emirates) said he wished to draw attention to the deplorable violations of human rights in the occupied territories, particularly in Palestine. As noted by the Special Rapporteur, serious human rights violations, including assassination and murder of civilians and destruction of homes, continued. These could be considered war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Moreover, Israel’s settlement policy remained contrary to international law. Despite numerous resolutions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights, Security Council and General Assembly, Israel continued to defy the international community in failing to comply with them. Israel had also ignored the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and had continued to build the wall and to construct settlements. The international community bore extensive responsibility to urge Israel to comply with international law. Peace was a strategic objective adopted by the Arab countries at Beirut in 2002.
ANNE MASSAGEE, of Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man, speaking on behalf of International Federation of Human Rights Leagues and World Organisation against Torture, said reality on the ground in the Middle East showed that principles of international law were being compromised during efforts to find a political solution through negotiations. Since January 2005, Israeli authorities had continued to unjustifiably detain Palestinians, demolish their homes on the basis of administrative law, deny their families the right to live together, impose numerous forms of collective punishment, and they kept in place the devastating system of checkpoints and other movement restrictions. The group was concerned that while political discussions were ongoing, Israel was confiscating Palestinian lands, continued the construction of the wall of annexation, and expanding the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
HANAN SHARAFEDDIN, of International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, speaking on behalf of Arab Lawyers Union, said it was not violence or terrorism that created occupation, it was the occupation which produced violence and terrorism. Nor was it the Israelis who needed a partner for peace, it was the Palestinians who needed such a partner. The Palestinian people suffered war crimes and the most serious human rights violations as a result of a systematic State policy of Israel on every Palestinian territory. The Arabs and the Palestinians had accepted the decisions of the international community, offered peace in their summits, a peace based on international legality and international law principles. Their good faith had always been faced by more Israeli aggressions. The Palestinian people today were vulnerable more than ever and needed help. All should work together to help them recover their most basic and legitimate rights.
HILLEL C. NEUER, of United Nations Watch, delivering a joint statement, said that freedom’s ring had echoed from the cedar mountains of Lebanon, inspiring the world with faith that Lebanon’s day of glory as a beacon of liberty in the Arab world could once again become reality. It had inspired a moment of unprecedented international unity, with the nations of the world joining to tell Syria to put an end to its 30-year occupation, to respect international law, and to implement Security Council resolution 1559. Today, those who stood for freedom in Lebanon were empowered by the knowledge that they were not alone — the whole world stood with them. Lebanese freedom under resolution 1559 required not just Syria’s withdrawal, but also required the Government of Iran to withdraw its Revolutionary Guards, who had illegally occupied Lebanon and had units operating openly in the Bekaa Valley and along the southern border. It also required the disarming of Hezbollah, which stood for foreign occupation and could not be accepted as a political party while it possessed 12,000 missiles.
IAN SEIDERMAN, of International Commission of Jurists, said Israel had continued to undertake sweeping measures in the name of national security which carried dire consequences for the human rights of Palestinians. Those practices, which had been denounced by the Special Rapporteur and other human rights bodies, included enactment of the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law, excessive use of force, indiscriminate killing of civilians, demolition of houses and the continuing construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinians territory.
LOUIS BOTHE, of Franciscans International, said the main causes for the construction of the wall were to incorporate settlers within Israel; to seize Palestinian land; and to encourage an exodus of Palestinians by denying them the access to their land and water resources and by restricting their freedom of movement. Blocking the perspective of a dignified future created violence. The Israeli Government should honour the opinion of the International Court of Justice by dismantling the wall and compensating Palestinians for the losses caused, fully respecting and implementing the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose residence, evacuating all settlements in Palestinian territory, and cooperating fully with the Special Rapporteur and other thematic procedures as a concrete way of showing the Government’s commitment to internationally recognised human rights standards.
DAN MARIASHIN, of B’nai B’rith International, speaking on behalf of Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, said that the Commission on Human Rights continued to undermine progress toward peace by accepting biased, one-side reports. Israeli-Palestinian agreements provided that the most difficult issues — including borders, security, settlements, Jerusalem and refugees — would be addressed as final status issues, which would allow earlier incremental steps to build confidence in both the process and each other, thus building an atmosphere of trust. The international community had joined together to facilitate movement towards peace through the Roadmap and, as a member of the Quartet, the United Nations must uphold previous agreements and encourage direct negotiations for peace. Unfortunately, the Special Rapporteur contradicted both these responsibilities, and had once again acted as an advocate for one side instead of an impartial observer. The Special Rapporteur gave no serious weight to Israel’s reasons for constructing the security barrier, and minimized the import of “permanent status talks” and Israel’s confidence-building measures. He placed most of the onus on Israel, ignoring the culture of terror and hatred that the Palestinian Authority had promoted through its schools, media, summer camps, and political and religious rhetoric. He sought to recreate a hierarchy of rights, with those of the Palestinians outweighing those of the Jewish people.