H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia
The Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly
Agenda item 33: “The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories”
New York, 12 November 2007
Last year on this same agenda item, this august assembly, in resolution A/61/116, expressed grave concern about the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000, as a result of unlawful Israeli practices and measures.
It especially condemned all Israeli settlement activities and the construction of the wall, as well as the excessive and indiscriminate use of force against the civilian population, including extrajudicial executions. Yet, as has been her tradition towards countless resolutions of the United Nations relating to the Middle East, Israel has continued to disregard its obligations under international law. This is both regrettable and condemnable.
The construction of the wall—along with its associated restriction of movement, unemployment, closures, and seizure of land—continues to destroy Palestinian culture and livelihood. All of these illegal acts create an unprecedented degree of human suffering and insecurity in the occupied Palestinian territory. And the report of the Special Committee (A/62/360) before us provides the most credible reflection of the daily plight of the Palestinian people.
This cannot continue. Without visible improvement in the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinians on the ground, optimism for peace may turn into disillusionment and fuel the hatred which extremist forces would be happy to take advantage of.
The first step forward is for Israel to honor its obligations under relevant resolutions of the United Nations. Israel must also honor the advisory opinion of the ICJ to dismantle the existing walls and its associate regimes, as well as the 1949 of the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians. The noncompliance of Israel with countless resolutions of the United Nations certainly does not help to revive the peace process in the region. It does not nurture mutual trust.
Second, we continue to believe that peace will prevail in the region if Israel withdraws its forces from all of the occupied Palestinian territory and that of Syrian, and allows the Palestinian refugees to return to their land. The land-for-peace formula is the principle which international community believes to be the cardinal prerequisite for peace in the Middle East.
Third, both sides should commit themselves to renouncing violence. That is because violence can only invite more violence; thereby creating a vicious circle of endless violence. My delegation would like to reiterate that the conflict between Palestine and Israel can only be resolved through a comprehensive negotiated political solution. And we deplore the continued violence as it provides only further obstacles on the road to a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine.
We are pleased to note the efforts to further the peace process in the region, not only on the part of the parties, but also of the Quartet. We believe that regular meetings between both Palestinians and Israelis are of the utmost importance towards building bridges of confidence between both sides in preparation for the meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.
There is no doubt that obstacles will arise. And that is to be expected. It is the response to those obstacles that will determine how zealous and determined both sides are for the fruits of peace. In this regard, it is critical for the Palestinians to close ranks and solve their internal problems; thus strengthening their position in the peace process.
We encourage both sides to recognize the importance of this opportunity in reviving the peace process. They must accept this historic responsibility, and refuse to be discouraged about achieving the objective of the two-state solution as a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This path is crystal clear. It was envisioned in the Arab Peace Initiative (2002), which is a home-grown formula for ensuring sustainable peace in the region.
Of equal importance is to keep in mind that we are lagging behind in meeting this objective, as the two-state target was originally set for 2005.
But it is not the date that is matter. What is important is for both sides to seize the emerging new opportunity for the prize of peace. It is in the form of two independent states living side by side in peace and security.
In order to give this a chance, it is essential that both sides avoid any utterances or actions capable of endangering negotiations or expectations. And in this regard, we urge Israel, to comply fully, and in good faith, with the relevant resolutions and the recommendations of the Special Committee.
I thank you.
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