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Cablegate: Un Fourth Committee Debate On Israeli Practices In

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P 171543Z NOV 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5375
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 001074

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAL IS
SUBJECT: UN FOURTH COMMITTEE DEBATE ON ISRAELI PRACTICES IN
THE WEST BANK, GAZA, AND GOLAN.

1. Summary: The UN General Assembly's Fourth Committee met
November 4 - 6 to debate the annual "Report of the Special
Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human
Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the
Occupied Territories" (the Special Committee). The debate
included statements from 29 states (mainly Arab and Muslim)
and the Palestinian Observer Mission. Most condemned
Israel's "occupation," separation barrier and settlements
construction, "collective punishment" against Palestinians,
targeted killings, and obstruction of the free movement of
Palestinians. Israel deemed the report biased and stated
that such rhetoric would not improve the Palestinian
situation. The Israeli delegate questioned Sudan, Syria,
Iran, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK)
ability to speak on democracy and human rights, which they
refuted in rights of reply. Some states, such as Algeria,
accused Israel of undermining the Annapolis process, while
others, such as France on behalf of the EU, encouraged the
parties to bolster negotiations. End Summary.

Report of the Special Committee
-------------------------------

2. Chairperson of the Special Committee, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara
of Sri Lanka, said that despite the continuation of the
Annapolis process, the human rights situation in Gaza and the
West Bank had deteriorated. As with past reports, the
Chairperson condemned Israeli military incursions, continued
restrictions on goods and people, and construction of the
separation barrier and expansion of settlements. The report
alleged that Israel once again denied the Committee access to
"the occupied territories."

General Debate
--------------

3. Palestinian Observer Mission: The Palestinian
representative accused Israel of conducting extrajudicial
killings, violent military attacks, and destruction of homes.
In Gaza, the representative said that 80 percent of the
population relies on food aid; over 90 percent of industry,
business, and workshops are closed; and 50 percent of the
workforce is unemployed. In the West Bank, she said that
Israel continues imposing restrictions on movement, noting
the "permit regime" and military checkpoints. On the peace
process, the representative stated that while they were
engaged with "the Israeli side," the aforementioned
violations continue.

4. Israel: The Israeli delegate stated that 2007 had
witnessed the most substantial negotiations since 2000.
However, the delegate lamented the biased nature of the
report, stating that it did not take into account the
well-being of Israeli citizens, among other issues. He also
stated that such rhetoric would have no bearing on the
Palestinian situation. He highlighted that Israel does not
seek to hide its human rights record, but rather welcomes the
U.S. Department of State, the EU, UN bodies, and NGOs to
examine its record. The delegate said that it was absurd
that "bastions of democracy, including Sudan, North Korea,
Iran, and Syria, lecture the open and free state of Israel."

5. Syria and Iran: The Syrian delegate accused Israel of
deliberately and methodically altering the Golan and called
its "occupation" "a crime against humanity." He added that
Israel refused to de-mine territory, stating that its mines
had killed over 200 people. The Iranian delegate accused
Israel of several alleged crimes, including collective
punishment, executions, and torture. He urged organizations
and the media to publicize the situation in the West Bank and
Gaza. Both delegations also responded to Israel's statement
during their right of reply.

6. DPRK: The North Korean delegate accused Israel of
committing human rights atrocities, stating that thousands of
Palestinians were "groaning" in Israeli prisons. He argued
that measures to end the "Middle East conflict" had been
compromised by "certain countries" that tolerate Israel's
"occupation" and human rights violations, and supported
Israel politically, militarily, and economically.

Comments on the Annapolis Process
---------------------------------

7. France on behalf of the EU and Uganda: The French
delegate welcomed the Israeli and Palestinian parties'
efforts to continue negotiations and encouraged them to "take
bold steps" within the Annapolis process. The Ugandan

USUN NEW Y 00001074 002 OF 002


delegate reiterated support for resuming direct negotiations
and called for the Quartet (i.e., U.S., EU, Russia, UN) to
renew efforts to bolster the peace process.

8. Algeria, Pakistan, and Sudan: The Algerian delegate said
that while the Annapolis Conference had tried to renew the
peace process, Israel's "genocidal policy" continues. The
delegate accused "certain Security Council members" of
encouraging Israel's "attitude." The Pakistani delegate
stated that the Annapolis Conference required immediate
confidence-building measures and criticized Israel for
undermining the process. The Sudanese delegate called on
Israel to uphold its commitment, consistent with the
Annapolis Conference and the Road Map, to creating a
Palestinian state.
Khalilzad

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