UN solemnly marks International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People

29 November 2002

The United Nations today solemnly marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People amid widespread calls for efforts to achieve a two-State solution to the Middle East conflict.

The United Nations today solemnly marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People amid widespread calls for efforts to achieve a two-State solution to the Middle East conflict.

“This Day of Solidarity is a day of mourning and a day of grief,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a commemorative meeting in a message delivered on his behalf by Chef de Cabinet S. Iqbal Riza. Deploring the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he noted that the human and material losses suffered by the Palestinians over the past two years have been “nothing short of catastrophic.”

The Secretary-General pointed out that Israel’s “excessive and disproportionate” use of force only serves to intensify rage, desperation and a desire for revenge. At the same time, “cruel and devastating” terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, including suicide bombings, have claimed large numbers of innocent lives while setting back the Palestinian cause. “The result of these actions has been the near-total destruction of the belief on either side that there is genuine partner for a just peace,” he observed.

Despite this grim picture, Mr. Annan underscored the importance of efforts to tackle the problem by achieving a two-State solution. Members of the diplomatic Quartet – the UN, United States, European Union and Russian Federation – have been working with the parties on a road map to achieve a final settlement within three years. “With the intensified efforts of all of us, the day will come sooner rather than later, when the Palestinian people will be finally able to enjoy their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and to a sovereign State called Palestine,” he said.

Also addressing the meeting, General Assembly President Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic called for the prompt resumption of Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations. He noted that the international community has come out strongly against the extrajudicial assassinations of suspected Palestinian militants, and against terrorist acts of Palestinian extremists.

The anguish, frustration and anger of the Palestinians is understandable, the President said, but tactics of terror and suicide bombing are counterproductive. The recent terrorist attack in Mombasa “will be justifiably condemned the world over but the Palestinian cause will not be advanced a single inch forward – just the contrary,” he said.

Mr. Kavan stressed that the UN should continue to maintain a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until two independent States – Israel and Palestine –live in peace side by side within secure, recognized and respected borders.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Papa Louis Fall of Senegal, said the root cause of the prevailing violence remains the occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel and its perpetuation of illegal actions, including curfews, arrests, detentions, the demolition of houses, the devastation of farmlands, the deliberate pursuit of the settlements policy and extrajudicial executions.

Noting efforts by the Quartet to develop a plan for a sovereign Palestinian State by 2005, he called on the leaders of the two parties, and the wider international community, to take bold and difficult decisions to achieve this end.

 

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