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23 Sep, 2011

UN Palestine Debate: Turkey Seeks Sanctions on Israel, Australia Fears a “Further Intifada”

The Palestinian issue retained centre stage on Sept 22, the second day of the 66th UN General Assembly session. Turkey ratcheted up pressure on Israel by calling for sanctions against the Jewish state over its continued occupation of Palestine. At the same time, Australia expressed fears of “a further intifada” if the conflict is not settled. Meanwhile, more countries have joined the growing chorus of support for the creation of a Palestinian state.

As accurately forecast by Travel Impact Newswire, the outcome of this year’s UN General Assembly debate will have a huge impact on global events in the second decade of the 21st century. The travel & tourism industry will not be immune to these events.

This dispatch of Travel Impact Newswire summarises key quotes on the Palestine issue from leaders of Turkey, Australia, Poland, Chile, Peru, Kenya, Afghanistan, Suriname, Croatia, Cyprus, Tanzania, UK, Kuwait and Bahrain. Their voices must be heard by the entire travel & tourism industry, especially by American corporate executives and American expatriates. They will not be able to claim ignorance when they feel the backlash. If they choose not to make their government accountable, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

Only Travel Impact Newswire can provide these in-depth insights. No other travel publication can come even close.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey

Statement Summary made available by the UN:

Mr Erdoğan said that the international community and the United Nations were being “tested” in an unprecedented way. The United Nations did not demonstrate the kind of leadership necessary to help mankind prevail over its concerns for the future; instead of remaining under the control and leadership of certain countries, the Organization should urgently reform itself.

The United Nations should be the personification of the ideal that peace prevailed over conflict and that human conscience, rather than simple self-interest, prevailed, he said. The greatest impediment to the realization of that ideal remained the Arab-Israeli conflict. The fact that it remained unsettled, for the sake of political balance, was the greatest blow to the ideals of the Organization. Israel had violated 89 legally-binding Security Council resolutions, as well as numerous General Assembly texts. Noting that the United Nations had not taken steps to end the humanitarian crisis affecting the Palestinian people, he pointed out that it had imposed sanctions in other conflicts around the world — why not in the case of Palestine? The international community must act urgently to heal the “bleeding wound” that was the ongoing Middle East conflict.

In that vein, no sanctions had been placed on Israel, which used phosphate bombs and had atomic bombs, whereas the possible emergence of a “whiff” of such activity elsewhere in the region would be prevented. In fact, the fault for the conflict lay with the Israeli Government, which continued to build new barriers to peace and to use disproportionate force. The ongoing blockade of Gaza persisted, despite the calls of the international community and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — which forbade the isolation of a people, such as in Gaza. Real security for Israel could only be achieved through a lasting peace; nothing else would substitute. Today, the “newly flourishing political geography” in the Middle East meant that Israel would not be able to carry on in a state of conflict. Turkey deemed it necessary for the United Nations to put pressure on Israel to achieve peace and show it that it was not above the law.

Recognizing the just demands of the Palestinian people to a State, and allowing them to take their place at the United Nations, was foremost among the path towards peace, he continued. Turkey’s support for the State of Palestine was unconditional; it would continue to work actively towards that goal, as well as towards the lifting of the illegal blockade imposed on Gaza. When an attack by Israel had taken place in international waters, Turkey could not remain silent. Its reaction to Israel had been a reflection of its position on Gaza; otherwise Turkey had never strayed from its principle of friendship and cooperation with any country, including Israel. However, in the case of the flotilla incident, Israel must apologize, pay compensation to the families of those who had been killed and lift the Gaza blockade without delay. Turkey’s position would not change until those demands were met. “We do not have a problem with the people of Israel,” he stressed, but with the aggressive policies of the Israeli Government.

He said that from the start of the recent movements in the Middle East, Turkey had called for the world to “lend an ear”. It was essential that the free will of the people was recognized. “Times have changed”; the era of Governments that did not meet the demands of its people, that did not consider justice above all else, had come to an end.

Kevin Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs Australia

Twelve months ago we had no expectation of change in Egypt, Tunisia or Libya.

But we did hope to see progress in the historic process to bring permanent peace to the peoples of Israel and Palestine.

Sadly, there has been no progress.

Australia remains committed to a negotiated two-state solution that allows a secure and independent Israel to live side-by-side with a secure and independent Palestinian state.

Over the last ten months, I have travelled three times to both Jerusalem and Ramallah where I have met on each occasion with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas.

I have urged both parties to engage in direct negotiations.

I have argued that these should occur on the basis of the 1967 boundaries plus appropriate land swaps.

I have argued that the remaining final status issues on the right to return, the status of Jerusalem, the Holy Sites and the provision of external security be resolved through these direct negotiations.

My fear is that if we do not see these matters concluded in the near term, the rapidly changing geo-politics of the region will make the prospects of a lasting settlement remote.

We have already seen tensions between Israel and Egypt.

We have already seen the fracturing of the relationship between Israel and Turkey.

We do not know how long the current framework of the Arab Peace Plan will remain on the table.

We are fearful of a further Intifada of the type we have seen before.

As a friend of Israel, we are fearful that in the absence of a negotiated settlement, Israel’s security situation will rapidly deteriorate in the year ahead.

As a friend of the Palestinian people, we believe the time has come for direct negotiations to establish a Palestinian state, and one which guarantees the security of Israel.

If we fail to achieve this, I fear the gravity of the consequences as the ground continues to change across the wider Middle East.

An Israeli and Palestinian state, living side by side, would result in diplomatic recognition across the Arab world.

It would create an economic market of 350 million people from which the Jewish and Arab peoples could prosper.

Australia therefore urges both parties to seize the day and to shape the future of a new Middle East. We await the outcome from the weeks that lie ahead in New York before framing our response to any particular resolution before the United Nations.

Bronislaw Komorowski, President of Poland

The Polish Round Table of 1989 paved the way for transformation in our part of Europe. I am convinced of its usefulness in the process of the “Arab Spring”, particularly in the difficult situation that arose in Syria, a country of great Islamic culture and traditions. We are ready to share this experience with the societies that wish it. Mediation is an irreplaceable way to a lasting and just peace. This also applies to solving very difficult problems in relations between Israel and its neighbors, especially with the Palestinian Authority. I urge the UN and the Secretary General to actively use this form for building trust and peace between peoples, cultures and different social groups who frequently legitimate reasons are often in a situation of antagonism.

Mr. Ivo Josipović, President of Croatia

Croatia shares the acute sense of urgency to secure an early resumption and conclusion of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at achieving a two-State solution. The current unprecedented and deep changes in the political landscape of the Middle East calls for urgent and highly responsible action by all parties concerned. Israel’s recognition of Palestinian state and Palestinian’s recognition of the Jewish state is both the starter and the desired outcome of the peace negotiations. Failure to move forward on the two state solution now might have unpredictably negative consequences not only for Israel and Palestine, but for the whole international community. Having in mind our recent experience of war and of reconciliation, Croatia calls upon the leaders of the parties concerned to assume courageously their historic responsibility for the future of their peoples, for peace and stability in the Middle East.

Mr. Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya

Kenya believes in the Two-State solution where the territorial integrity of Palestine within the 1967 borders is upheld and the peace and security of Israel are both assured and guaranteed. It is therefore our hope that Palestine will be welcomed into the Community of Nations with full membership in the United Nations.

Mr. Ollanta Humala Tasso, President of Peru

Statement Summary Translation

Warning that extreme interpretations of some values could lead the world to greater confrontations without advances in liberty or equality, he urged the international community to strengthen fraternity as the path to peace. In that context, he added his voice in support of the Palestinians.

Mr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan

The people of Afghanistan deeply sympathize with the plight of our brothers and sisters in Palestine. We reiterate our call for an immediate end to their suffering and the realization of their inalienable rights, including the right to an independent State. In this connection, we stand firmly behind efforts aimed at Palestine’s admission as a full member of the United Nations. I hope that this year we will witness, with pride, the inclusion of Palestine as the 194th member of the United Nations.

King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain

Today, more than any time in the past, the international community is offered a propitious opportunity to do justice to the brotherly Palestinian people to achieve their legitimate aspirations by recognizing their independent Palestinian state on their own national territory, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This would put an end to an era of bitter Arab-Israeli conflict, subject to a complete Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories to the lines of 4 June 1967 in Palestine, the occupied Syrian Arab Golan and the occupied territories in southern Lebanon, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Demetris Christofias, President of Cyprus

The longstanding dispute in the Middle East is now characterized by frozen negotiations. It is of vital importance to resume the peace process on the basis of the principles established by the international community in its Resolutions. Cyprus supports the resumption of negotiations and calls on both sides to engage with honesty and goodwill, without creating new fait accompli. Israelis and Palestinians alike deserve a peaceful, stable and secure future within the framework of two independent states.

We maintain our principled position for a free and independent Palestinian state, next to the State of Israel, within the 1967 borders. At the same time we condemn actions that even recently have caused the deaths of innocent Israeli citizens.

Sheikh Naser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait

Six decades have passed, and the United Nations still stands incapable of finding a solution to the Palestinian Question and putting an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab territories. Worse yet, the suffering of the Palestinian people exacerbate further as the years pass. Their economic and social conditions worsen, the settlements expand, their land confiscated, their water stolen, their areas are besieged, their movements are restricted, and their sons and daughters are imprisoned. What really evokes concern is that the International Community stands as a spectator of all these Israeli practices and policies, without opposing or deterring them, despite their clear contravention and violation of the most simple rules of international law and the resolutions of international legitimacy, let alone their undermining of the chances to achieve peace. Perhaps the inhuman practices of Israel against the brothers in Gaza, such as the totally unjustified blockade and the deliberate destruction of the infrastructure despite the continued international condemnation against them, are but a shining example of Israel’s indifference towards its responsibilities and towards the world’s public opinion.

The international community is therefore required to continue its endeavours and efforts to pressure Israel to enable the Palestinian people to obtain their right to self determination, the establishment of their state on their land, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as end the Israeli occupation of all the Arab territories it occupied after 4 June 1967, including the Syrian Golan, and cease its continued violations of the sovereignty of Lebanon and withdraw from all its occupied territories.

Here, we wish to renew our full commitment and support to the bid of the Palestinian Authority and its endeavours to obtain membership in the United Nations as an independent and full member state.

Mr. Desiré Delano Bouterse, President of Suriname

Suriname reaffirms the right of the Palestinian People to self-determination, including the right to an independent State of Palestine, as endorsed by the United Nations in December 2010. Suriname has answered to the plight of the Palestinian People and has taken the decision to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, worthy of becoming a full-fledged member of this world organization.

Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania

I wish to reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their rightful quest for an independent homeland. Our plea is for the fulfillment of the vision of two states: The State of Israel and a sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and harmony.

David Cameron, Prime Minister of UK

We all here have a responsibility to the Palestinians too. A key part of the Arab Spring is the right of Palestinians to have a viable state of their own, living in peace, alongside a safe and secure state of Israel.

And I strongly support this. There has been much speculation about what will happen here this week. Lets be clear about one fact. No Resolution can, on its own, substitute for the political will necessary to bring peace, Peace will only come when Palestinians and Israelis sit down and talk to each other, make compromises, build trust and agree.

So our role is to support this to defeat those who embrace violence, stop the growth of settlements and support Palestinians and Israelis alike to make peace.

Sebastián Piñera Echeñique, President of Chile

Statement summary translation:

Chile also recognized the Palestinian State, hoping soon to welcome it to this Organization.