May 20th, 2013

Excerpts from Saeb Erakat’s briefing to the UN committee on Palestinian rights


Mr. Erakat said that -- based on Israeli government figures -- 16,600 new, Israeli settler-only housing units have been approved in Occupied Palestine since Mr. Netanyahu took office and that population growth in the settlements has been three times greater than in Israel proper. He also reported that revenue from Israeli business enterprises in Occupied Palestine was $615,000,000 in 2012.

Mr. Erakat reported that Mahmoud Abbas has called for new presidential elections – open to both Fatah and Hamas -- in three months, offering to limit his presidency to those three months with a willingness to relinquish the office if Hamas should win.

He said the PA/PLO have no conditions that Israel must meet in order for the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. He mentioned that Israel is obligated, under International Law and agreements that the Israeli government has signed, to stop building settlement housing units in occupied Palestine.

Mr. Erakat called on all UN member states to support US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to bring peace with justice to Israel and to Palestine. He also mentioned that Mr. Kerry prefers to work less in the spotlight than his predecessors.

Again citing Israeli sources, Mr. Erakat reported that Jerusalem residency rights have been stripped from more than 1000 Palestinians in the past four years.

The representative of Cuba submitted for comment The Caracas Declaration ( adopted by the Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People during that Committee’s special April meeting in Venezuela. In addition to the Declaration’s welcoming “the admission of the State of Palestine as a non-Member Observer State by the UN General Assembly, and its admission as a Member State by the UNESCO General Conference” plus recognizing “heightened worldwide solidarity” with the Palestinian people, we were encouraged to read the list of 37 “Action proposals advanced at the Caracas Meeting”.

As the existence of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine violate International Law (the Fourth Geneva Convention) and are a major obstacle in the path to a two-state solution, we were encouraged by calls for legal action against products coming from settlements, the proposal that governments should be urged to ban settlement products and that “a register of companies profiting from the occupation, including settlements should be mandated by the GA”.

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