INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE -- UNITED NATIONS

Vienna, 29 November 2000/P/RE/16975c-is

The President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, today called for the immediate dispatch of United Nations troops to occupied Palestine. He strongly condemned the war waged by the Israeli occupation army against unarmed Palestinian youth and stated that the continued Israeli aggression against the Arab people of Palestine constitutes a serious threat to the stability of the whole region of the Middle East and to international peace.

Dr. Koechler spoke at a solemn meeting at the United Nations Office in Vienna. The meeting was convened by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The President of the I.P.O. confirmed the Palestinian people's right of resistance against foreign occupation and explained the basic elements of a just and lasting settlement of the Palestine problem. He said that the Al-Quds Intifadah is the legitimate expression of the Palestinian people's will to resist continued subjugation and humiliation by the occupying power. He further stated:  

"What we witness today is not simply the repetition of the Palestinian Intifadah of the eighties. The Al-Quds Intifadah marks a decisive new step in the liberation struggle of the Arab people of Palestine in the context of a general awakening of the popular masses in the Arab and Muslim world after years of political agony and disunity.
If a larger conflict threatening peace and security in the whole Middle Eastern region and beyond is to be avoided, the Palestinian people must be entitled to regain sovereignty over its land and resources. Concepts of 'limited sovereignty' or 'autonomy,' based on the logic of colonial tutelage and domination, are not anymore acceptable to a people who over decades has been humiliated and subjected to all forms of domination and denial of its basic rights.
A lasting settlement in Palestine has to include a complete withdrawal from all occupied territories including Jerusalem, the acknowledgment of the right of return for the Palestinians who were forced to leave their land since 1948, and adequate compensation for the losses of land and property. The confiscation of Palestinian land and the building of settlements have to be stopped immediately and all existing settlements have to be evacuated without exception.
These are not unjustified or unreasonable demands but necessary requirements of peace which are clearly derived from United Nations resolutions and general principles of international law. A future sovereign State of Palestine cannot be based on the concept of limited sovereignty or on continued interference by the present occupying power in its internal affairs. The State must have full control over natural resources and international affairs.
We call upon the international community to exercise pressure upon the occupying power and to use all necessary means to stop the Israeli army from killing stone-throwing Palestinian youth. The Israeli army has no legal right whatsoever to be present in the Palestinian territories. It must immediately stop the excessive and disproportionate use of force against Palestinian civilians and its brutal military attacks on the Palestinian infrastructure. Such large-scale attacks escalate the conflict in a dangerous manner. De-escalation will only be possible on the basis of the army's speedy and complete withdrawal from the occupied territories. International civil society in particular non-governmental organizations can play a vital role in influencing organizations such as the United Nations or the European Union to use adequate pressure vis--vis the occupier."

The solemn meeting to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was opened by the representative of the UN General Assembly's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Luis Garcia Peraza. Special messages were delivered on behalf of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and of the President of the Palestine National Authority, Mr. Yaser Arafat. Statements were made by the Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, Ambassador Ali Safwat Soliman, and by Austria's Deputy Foreign Secretary, Mr. Christian Prosl.

END/PALESTINE/29-11-2000/P/RE/16975c-is

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