STATEMENT BY

AMBASSADOR RASTAM MOHD ISA
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON BEHALF OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT

ON ILLEGAL ISRAELI ACTIONS IN OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM AND THE
REST OF THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

AT 

THE RESUMED TENTH EMERGENCY SPECIAL SESSION
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

MONDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2003

Mr. President, 

On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), I wish to thank you, for having resumed the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly.  The Non-Aligned Movement has fully supported the request of the Arab Group for the resumption of this emergency special session.  We regard this meeting as necessary to enable a more representative membership of the United Nations to take decisive action to address an extremely pressing issue concerning illegal Israeli actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, specifically, the construction of the Israeli expansionist wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 

2.         We regret that it has been necessary to resume this session so soon after the last time in September due to a further failure of the Security Council on 14 October 2003 to adopt another important resolution concerning Palestine.  The Non-Aligned Movement is deeply disappointed that the Security Council had been prevented from declaring the illegality of the Israeli expansionist wall and demanding its destruction as well as the immediate cessation of its construction.  It is unfortunate that a veto once again had been exercised in the Security Council.  This was the twenty-seventh veto on a draft resolution pertaining to the question of Palestine. This latest veto does not bode well for future progress towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution to end the suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis. Unfortunately, non-action by the Security Council would be perceived by many as the Councilís approval of Israelís inhumane and repressive policies and practices, allowing the situation to slide further away from the two States solution envision in the Road Map. 

Mr. President, 

3.         The Non-Aligned Movement has often reiterated its condemnation of violence and terrorism.  We condemn the killing and maiming of innocent civilians, including in the recent attacks in Haifa and Gaza.  Equally, we are outraged at and condemn the intensification of Israeli military operations against the Palestinians, including recently in Rafah, that has resulted in the killing and injury of innocent civilians and the destruction of numerous Palestinian homes, infrastructure and facilities. We wish to express our condolences to the families and victims of these senseless acts, be they Palestinians, Israelis or Americans. 

4.         We find it necessary again to remind the General Assembly that the crux of this ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict is not terrorism.  It is the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel.  Israelís actions must be seen for what they are.  Currently, Israeli actions somehow points to only one conclusion; they are for the perpetuation of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.  The General Assembly must not lose sight of this.  The Israeli expansionist wall has been and continues to be constructed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and it cannot be justified as a measure to prevent terrorist attacks targeted at Israeli citizens.  Israel must not be allowed to use security as a pretext to annex Palestinian territory. 

Mr. President, 

5.         The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirms its position on the Israeli expansionist wall as clearly expressed during the debate in the Security Council on 14 October 2003.  In brief, we reiterate that the Israeli expansionist wall constructed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is illegal, must be dismantled and its further construction immediately discontinued, for the following reasons:  

i)                   The wall, sections of which are constructed deep inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, departs from the Armistice Line of 1949 and therefore is illegal under international law; 

ii)                 The wall gravely violates the Fourth Geneva Convention in that it involves the illegal, de facto annexation of massive areas of Palestinian land and resources; the transfer of a large number of Palestinian civilians; and further deprivation of human rights among the Palestinians, resulting in further dire humanitarian consequences among an already deprived people; 

iii)               The wall presents a major obstacle to the implementation of the Road Map as it undermines the creation of a viable contiguous Palestinian State and thereby diminishing the realization of the two States solution; and 

iv)                The wall could trigger the end of the Middle East peace process since it possesses the potential of provoking further unprecedented violence among the severely oppressed Palestinians in their desperate effort to survive under the brutal oppression of the Israeli Government. 

6.         The Non-Aligned Movement calls on this august body to support the two draft resolutions tabled before us. We believe that an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israelís legal obligation to cease construction of the wall would provide an independent and impartial pronouncement on the status of the legality of the wall based on international law and taking into account relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.  As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations that has undoubtedly played an important role in the promotion of peace and harmony through the upholding of the rule of law, the Court would be the most suitable forum to present a just answer to this issue to reinforce the diplomatic efforts that have been undertaken and exhausted. 

Mr. President, 

7.         We call on this General Assembly to muster the necessary political will, wisdom and courage to do what is right and just for the peoples of the region.  It must do all it can to prevent the further deterioration of the situation on the ground. We fear for the inevitable consequences if the wall were to continue along its planned path.  The Non-Aligned Movement firmly believes that the passage of the resolutions concerning the wall would send a powerful message to Israel. It would be a message declaring the strong opposition of the international community to the construction of the expansionist wall that deviates from the Armistice Line of 1949. It would also demonstrate in a tangible way, the General Assemblyís concern and sympathy for the dire plight of the Palestinians who have been severely disadvantaged by the existence and construction of the wall; the plight of the people of Qalqilya and thousands of others in Palestinian towns, villages and farms who will virtually become prisoners behind the wall, its fences, trenches and security roads. 

8.         It would be most unfortunate and tragic indeed, if the General Assembly were to fail in its responsibility to uphold justice and promote peace and in preventing further victimization of the Palestinian people. 

Mr. President, 

9.            Justice must be done in Palestine.  We must be serious in ensuring the success of the Road Map. 

            Thank you, Mr. President.


Back to Homepage