I.P.O. Information Service


United Nations: International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People


Vienna, 29 November 2002/P/RE/18015c-is

The President of the International Progress Organization, Professor Hans Koechler, today reiterated his organization's call for the immediate dispatch of a United Nations Protection Force to the occupied Palestinian territories. Professor Koechler made the statement at a solemn meeting held at the United Nations Office in Vienna in commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Representing the non-governmental organizations on the question of Palestine, the President of the I.P.O. strongly criticized the grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention committed by the Israeli occupation army. He referred to the war crimes committed in the course of the repeated incursions into and reoccupation of Palestinian towns and villages and urged the United Nations Organization to undertake effective measures for the protection of Palestinian civilians. He further said that the cycle of violence will only end when the illegal occupation will have been terminated and all Jewish settlements on occupied  Palestinian territory will have been eradicated. The President of the I.P.O. emphasized that the international community should deal not only with the symptoms, but with the causes of violence and that the United Nations Security Council should adopt its resolutions dealing with the question of Palestine on the basis of Chapter VII of the Charter. Only this would make those resolutions enforceable and binding upon all member states. In his statement at the United Nations, Professor Koechler deplored the lack of resolve on the part of the international community and in particular the paralysis of the Security Council in all matters related to Palestine. He suggested urgent action by the United Nations General Assembly on the basis of the provisions of the Uniting for Peace Resolution (377A [V]).

The President of the I.P.O. concluded his remarks with a reference to what is at stake - for the future of the international system - over the issue of Palestine:

"In all fairness, it must be said in this forum that the handling of the Palestinian question will be first and foremost the litmus test regional organizations such as the League of Arab States cannot evade forever. But the adoption of decisive measures in Palestine will also be a defining moment for the United Nations, demonstrating its raison d’ętre in the post-Cold War international system – lest its responsibility for global order and for the international rule of law will be unilaterally arrogated by the most powerful actors on the international scene. The United Nations must not suffer the fate of the League of Nations! The credibility of the world organization as such, and its very future as universal organization representing the aspirations of the peoples of the world,  are at stake in its dealing with the issue of Palestine."

The solemn meeting to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was held in the presence of the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Kurt Waldheim. The meeting was opened by the representative of the UN General Assembly's Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Messages were delivered on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, the President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, and by the representative of the Republic of Austria. The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Zhu Rongji, sent a special congratulatory message. The Chinese Prime Minister affirmed China's readiness "to work with the international community to play a constructive role in bringing about an early peaceful settlement of the Middle East question, including the Palestinian question."

Text of the statement of the I.P.O.

END/United Nations: International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People/2002-11-29/P/RE/18015c-is