Seventy-eighth Session,
20th Meeting (AM)

Delegates Condemn Hamas Terrorist Attacks, Israeli Strikes, as Second Committee Concludes Debate on Sovereignty of Palestinians over Their Natural Resources

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today concluded its debate on “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”, with speakers disagreeing over the context of the current situation in Gaza.

Boris A. Meschchanov (Russian Federation) condemned the policy of Israel in continuing illicit settlement activity, as the lack of access to sovereign territory “needs to be in the focus” of the United Nations and the donor community.  The current tragic events in the region were the result of systematic violations by Israel of Security Council and General Assembly decisions, leading to massive civilian casualties among Israelis and Palestinians — and the desire of the United States to monopolize the Middle East settlement process.  He called for the end of indiscriminate bombings killing civilians in the Gaza Strip, unobstructed humanitarian access to those in need in the Palestinian enclave, freeing hostages and opening humanitarian corridors to assist the civilian population.

Richard Arbeiter (Canada) voiced concern over the continued use of this agenda item and other discussions in the United Nations that do not reflect the full range of threats to Israelis and Palestinians.  Underlining Canada’s unequivocal condemnation of the brutal terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas against Israel, he noted they saw more Israeli deaths in one day than any since the country was founded — while more Palestinians have been killed in 10 days than in any other conflict since that same time.  He affirmed that the unbalanced focus on Israel in Assembly resolutions does not help the cause of peace, with no consideration taken of the negative impact of Hamas’ actions on the natural resources of the West Bank and Gaza, or the loss of life they have instigated.

Islam Abdullah Hassan Al-amri, speaking for the League of Arab States, said that after 75 years of Israel’s occupation, the situation is worsening, with the occupying Power still confiscating land and unlawfully continuing to build settlements — adding that Israel has confiscated over one third of the West Bank since 1967 and violates the sacred nature of Christian and Muslim holy sites.  Further, the occupying Power pumps water from Palestinian and Syrian land and sells the excess back to its owners, a stark violation of their rights.  He called on Israel to stop the campaign of genocide against Gaza, and for the international community to establish an independent Palestinian State and compensate people for what happened during the occupation.

After the conclusion of the debate, the observer for the State of Palestine, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the Israeli delegate on 16 October failed once again to recognize the root cause of the conflict — denying the reality of the brutal occupation and crimes on a daily basis against the entire Palestinian population for more than 56 years. Through 11 days of Israeli strikes, 3,000 overwhelmingly civilian Palestinians have been killed, including 1,000 children, as well as medical and UN personnel and journalists.  “No one is spared,” she stressed, with the UN describing it as an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.  “What is the right to self-defence that allows massacre of civilians?” she asked, insisting that Palestinians are not lesser human beings and calling for rejection of collective punishment and war crimes against her people.

The representative of Israel said that for the observer to criticize Israel without condemning Hamas means that they support armed terrorists breaking into innocent people’s homes, massacring them in their beds, and abducting children and mothers into Gaza.  “I did not hear her mention Hamas once,” he stated; “where was her cry when my people were butchered?” he continued, adding that he has not heard any condemnation of Hamas which had taken hostage over 190 innocent civilians.  “Israel is subject to international law and is unique — unique — in the emphasis it places on warning civilians to evacuate before an attack,” he stressed.  Gazan civilians do have places to go which aren’t targeted, while “it is Hamas who blocks roads, prevents civilians from moving to safe places and uses them as human shields,” he said.

The Committee then adjourned for its scheduled series of informal consultations.

The Committee will meet again at a date and time to be announced.

For information media. Not an official record.