STATEMENT BY

H.E. AMBASSADOR RASTAM MOHD ISA
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON BEHALF OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT
ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST, INCLUDING
THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

MONDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER 2003

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), I wish to thank you and the Council members for convening this urgent meeting to consider the grave situation in Palestine. We thank Mr. Terje Roed-Larsen, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process for his briefing this morning on the current situation in Palestine.  We congratulate the United Kingdom for the Presidency this month and Syria for the Presidency last month.

Mr. President,

2.         The Non-Aligned Movement had noted some encouraging developments in the peace process with the beginning of the implementation of the Road Map.  However, we are now deeply concerned over the recent turn of events.  In the last month, we have seen a sharp increase in violence with repeated Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities; the willful killing of Palestinian civilians, including extra-judicial executions; excessive and indiscriminate use of force and the deadly suicide bombings against Israelis.  We are indeed dismayed that both innocent Palestinian and Israeli civilians have been killed.   Regrettably, many more would continue to die in the worsening spiral of violence.  The Movement condemns these acts of violence and deeply regrets the loss of innocent lives on both sides of the conflict.   Peace will recede further into the horizon if the current cycle of violence is allowed to escalate.

Mr. President,

3.         The Non-Aligned Movement is committed to a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  The Movement firmly supports the two States solution, based on the 1967 line.  We believe that peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination and national independence and the exercise of sovereignty in their State, Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.  We call on Israel to come to its senses and accept the two States solution, as envisaged by Security Council Resolution 1397 and promoted by the Road Map.  Israelís acceptance of and commitment to the State of Palestine is the only way towards ensuring Israelís security.  Continued Israeli occupation and harsh military action cannot be a viable solution.  In this regard, we would continue to call for the revival of the Road Map and further intensive efforts by the Quartet and the parties concerned.   We welcome the meeting of the Quartet in New York next week. 

Mr. President,

4.           We believe that the Security Council has the responsibility to put a stop to Israelís continued policies and practices, which dehumanizes the Palestinian people.  The international community cannot stand by while Israeli occupation and the domination of the Palestinian people continues.  All of us know of the most difficult conditions which Palestinians in the occupied territories have to live under. It would be inhumane for us to ignore this and not speak against it.

5.         The recent decision of the Israeli Security Cabinet to expel President Yasser Arafat, a democratically elected leader of Palestine is yet again a prime example of Israelís willful attempts to intimidate and dominate the Palestinian people, disregard for international opinion and contempt for international law.  We are shocked at the extent of Israelís intentions as clearly reflected by Vice-Prime Minister Ehud Olmertís statement that killing President Arafat was definitely an option.  We wish to remind the Council that such a measure by Israel would be a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  For Israel to even consider such a measure at this critical stage in the peace process is more than irresponsible.  This provocative decision would only worsen the situation and spark a greater cycle of violence.  It would only serve to undermine any progress in the fragile peace process.  The international community and the Security Council must not be paralyzed in the face of this Israeli decision.  The Council must prevent the execution of the threat against President Arafat and uphold the rule of law.  

Mr. President, 

6.         The problem of Israelís continued settlement policies, and construction of the Separation Wall in Gaza also cannot be ignored.  Israelís settler colonialism activities impact gravely on the Palestinian people.  It remains a major impediment to progress in the peace process.  It severely undermines the creation of a viable contiguous Palestinian State.  The Separation Wall involves the massive confiscation of lands and annexation of settlements.  It separates Palestinians from their farms and imprisons Palestinian communities within walled areas or as some say, in cages.  It isolates primary resources of the West Bank which the future Palestinian State would depend on.  We call on the Security Council to act decisively towards the destruction of the wall and preventing its completion.   Pressure must be made to bear on Israel to cease the construction of the wall.  As envisaged by the Road Map, Israel indeed must dismantle settlement outposts and freeze all settlement activity.   

Mr. President, 

7.         The humanitarian situation of the Palestinian population living under Israeli occupation is a cause of grave concern.  Palestinians have to live in debilitating conditions.  They are unable to move freely and to seek medical care.  They are prevented from earning their livelihood. Their children are deprived of proper education.  Poverty and malnutrition is predictably on the increase.  The population is faced with psychological trauma and utter despair.   

8.         The Non-Aligned Movement calls on Israel to cease this humiliation of the Palestinian people.  If Israel is serious in wanting a just and lasting solution to the conflict, it must know that the Palestinian people need to see real and tangible benefits in their lives for peace to be achieved.  The solution for both sides is to return to the negotiating table and not through increasing violence and oppression. 

Mr. President, 

9.                  We urge the Security Council to take a clear and definite position today by adopting a resolution, which should send a strong message from the Council against Israelís decision to remove President Arafat. 

Thank you, Mr. President.


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