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Address by Yasser Arafat at the U.N. General Assembly Session in New York

November 11, 2001
President of the State of Palestine
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization – P.L.O.
President of the Palestinian National Authority
Mr. President:
Secretary General of the U.N.

I would like to begin by extending my congratulations to you Mr. President, for your election as President of this U.N. General Assembly Session. I would like also to extend my congratulations to his Excellency Mr. Kofi Anan for being elected for a second term as Secretary General, and for him and the U.N. for being a warded the Noble peace prize.

It is crucial to be with you today at this session, which is being held at a very critical and important circumstances, for we meet in the aftermath of the terrorist, horrific, criminal and ugly acts of September 11,2001, against New York and Washington D.C., which we strongly condemned. In this context I would like once more to extend our deepest and warmest sympathy to President George Bush, the American people and Government and to the families of the victims.

The Palestinian people have expressed their readiness to confront all forms of international terrorism including state organized terror, in order to build a new world that will guarantee justice, peace, security and freedom to all people, a new world based on human rights, international legality. We call upon all nations to coordinate their efforts within the framework of the U.N. and international legality, in order to avoid a clash of civilizations and to encourage dialogue between all nations.

Mr. President:

I had the honor last year to address the U.N. millennium summit, here I am, once again, addressing you, with the Palestinian people pains and their just cause, which is still awaiting a just solution.

As you all recall, the U.N. General Assembly issued Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Palestine into two states: One Jewish and the other Palestinian, but the Palestinian state was not recognized by the U.N., in the contrary the Palestinian people faced a tremendous historic injustice, the majority were uprooted from their homes and were made refugees.

The Palestinian people continue to seek their rights of self-determination and return. Rights that today form the backbone of all relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, the Universal declaration of human rights and International Law. Rights that should be exercised on Palestinian national soil.

You are aware, Ladies and gentlemen, that we have accepted the solution provided for by the international legality, yes, we have accepted less than 25 percent of historic Palestine, while the General Assembly granted us almost 50 percent of historic Palestine as was provided for in Resolution “181” of 1947.

On this new basis we went to the Madrid Peace Conference, which was held on the basis of the principle of land for peace, and with the objective of implementing all relevant International legality resolutions including Resolutions “242”, “338”, “425”, and U.N. General Assembly Resolution “194” concerning Palestinian refugees.

Then we signed the Oslo agreement in Washington D.C., witnessed by the U.S., the Russian Federation the European UNION, China, Japan, Egypt, Jordan and the Whole World. Later we singed a number of agreements and memorandum of understandings. After the assassination of my late partner Mr. Itzhaq Rabin, the Israeli Governments that followed took the path of non-compliance and did not implement Israel’s obligations pertaining form agreements signed, which impeded our sincere efforts to reach a comprehensive, just, lasting peace, the peace of the brave. Settlements and settlers were doubled since the start of the peace process, which reflect the lack of seriousness on the part of Israeli Government.

Then came the Sharon visit to the Noble Sanctuary in holy Jerusalem, which I had warned the Israeli Government of its grave consequences on the peace process and on the region. This action sparked the Palestinian Intifada, which came as a reflection of the Palestinian people rejection of the Israeli Government non-compliance with agreements signed, Israeli settlement policies, which is deepening the occupation, instead of ending it by withdrawing from the Palestinian occupied territory, and also its policies of undermining our Christian and Moslem holy places.

The current Israeli Government continues the aggression against the Palestinian people, which began by the previous Government. State terror is being practiced against the Palestinian people, using the might of Israeli army, including, F.15, F.16, Apatchi Helicopters, tanks, missiles, and navy ships, including internationally forbidden weapons.

The Israeli Army practices also include assassinations of Palestinian political leaders, demolition of homes, destruction of private and governmental institutions, uprooting hundred of thousands of trees and farms (olives and fruits), practices that included the killing of women, children and old people. 1800 Palestinians were killed and 37000 wounded, in which many were handicapped for life, thousands were arrested.

It should be noted that the Palestinian economy was devastated, losses reached Seven billion dollars, as a result of all forms of economic, financial, medical, food, closures and siege imposed on all Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps, which continue to prevent the movement of people, and goods, including the movement of students and teachers who are prevented form reaching their schools and universities, which was recently tightened. Our International passages, Airport are also closed. All measures are in a flagrant violation of the basic human rights. Workers were also prevented from reaching their work places.

Facing this aggression, escalation, and the bloody war of state terror, being waged by the Israeli Government against our people, land, holy places, the tanks incursions into our cities, villages and refugee camps, and the massacres committed in various locations in the West-Bank and the Gaza Strip. We call upon the international community represented by all of you and all supporters of peace, freedom, justice through out the world to exert every possible effort to stop this war of aggression, send international observers to protect our people from the occupation, terror and ethnic cleansing practiced by Israel and in order to supervise the implementation of the cease fire declared a number of times by our side and always violated by the Israeli Government.

Mr. President:

The International sponsorship of the Middle-East peace process is the only guarantee for the efforts being exerted by the International Community to make peace an established reality in our region, the absence of the International involvement from the conflict and the serious search for a solution of the Palestinian question in accordance with justice and the principles of International Law, will push the region back to the squares of violence, confrontation, bloodshed and make the situation more explosive and fragile.

Therefore, I call upon the International Community to redouble its sincere efforts to end the current situation and the escalating crisis, which threatens the peace process. It is essential for the active involvement of the International Community and the effective Super Powers to save the peace process and to put it back on the right track and to sincerely and effectively move it forward. A lasting peace will not be achieved and sustained without the implementation of International legality that should provide an effective International Mechanism to implement the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. The accurate and honest implementation of these resolutions will establish and sustain peace and prevent the bloodshed in our region.

Pursuant to our believe of peace as a strategic irreversible option to our people, we have fully and positively cooperated with all international efforts and initiatives, including the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative, the Tenet’s Understandings, and the Mitchell’s Report which we accepted as a package. We have also unilaterally declared an immediate, comprehensive cease-fire, and we have exerted maximum efforts to sustain it.

On the eve of the Jewish new year, we initiated a call for peace, and offered our sincere congratulations to the Israeli people, and called upon them to make the new year an occasion for a new era of peace, security and coexistence between the Palestinian and Israeli people and the people of the Middle-East region.

We made our strategic commitment to peace, negotiations, peaceful solution to all outstanding issues between us and the Government of Israel very clear and unequivocal.

Regrettably, the Israeli Government instructed its army to escalate the military campaign against our people, cities, villages and refugee camps, that included buffer zones which led to the destruction of our farms, uprooting of thousands of trees in various places of the West-Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Allow me, to extend my deepest appreciation and sincere wishes to all brotherly, friendly nations and to the Super Powers, which have realized today more than any other time before, that the establishment of a Palestinian State with holy Jerusalem as its capital is the only guarantee for security, peace and stability in the region and the world, and constitute a corner stone for establishing and sustaining it.

We call upon these nations, especially, the U.S., the U.K, the Russian Federation, France, China, Japan, the countries of the European Union to exert every possible effort to transfer this vision into a realistic political track in order to enable the Palestinian people to live in peace, dignity, freedom independence and sovereignty, within their independent State on their national soil with holy Jerusalem as it capital, and to ensure that Israel, the occupying power, full and comprehensive withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab territories including holy Jerusalem to the June 4th, 1967 boundaries, to end settlement activities and evacuate settlers from our land and guarantee the right of the Palestinian refugees to return in accordance with resolution “194” , which specified this right and called for compensating those not wishing to return.

We welcome the positive positions declared by President George Bush and other leaders, which have called for the establishment of the Palestinian State, we believe it constitute a significant step in the path of ending the conflict and the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

I will candidly say to you, that reviving the peace process will not be possible after all what happened through interim solutions, it is impossible, off course, to achieve another interim agreement.

To control the situation on the ground, and to get the situation to what existed prior to September 28,2000, require a clear political horizon in order to revive hope.

What the peace process requires now in order to achieve just and lasting peace? is a genuine effort sponsored by the U.S., the Russian Federation, the European Union, and Arab and Moslem countries and other friendly nations in the Non-Aligned Movement, to introduce immediately a comprehensive framework for a permanent solution, based on International legality, so that both parties can negotiate expeditiously on the details of the permanent solution.

This should be immediately preceded by the implementation of the Mitchell Report and the Tenet's Understandings.

It is very evident that we are in need for more international efforts and international presence on the ground.

In any case, the U.N. and the Secretary-General must carry out their important role so we can achieve our peace endeavor.

I call upon the Israeli Government and the Israeli people to react positively to this approach, so we can together build peace in the land of peace the Holly Land. Needless to say that we need an expeditious effort that can no longer be delayed, especially at the current international situation.

We are ready to carry out our share of the responsibility, we trust that you are also ready to do the same.

I salute all of you, and hope that this session will produce the required resolutions and recommendation, that will enable our people and nations and the whole of humanity to live in peace, stability and more prosperity.


© 2005 Palestinian American Council