Statement to the UNHCR on Palestine

6 March 2003

            The circumstances oblige me to begin with a commentary on the refusal of the Commission to inscribe a special session on Iraq on its agenda.  This refusal seems to us hypocritical: how can we treat human rights violations in a situation in which the cause of the violation is deliberately ignored?

            Palestine has been the object of innumerable resolutions adopted by the Security Council, none of which have ever been applied by Israel.  Furthermore, Israel possesses arms of mass destruction, biological, chemical, and nuclear, and militarily occupies foreign territories.  This situation has never incited the United States to treat Israel as Iraq is treated today.

            Thus, Palestine has been inscribed on the agenda in sessions of the Commission of Human Rights each year for a long time.  Declarations and resolutions have proceeded without effect.  But today, the context is different.  In effect, the United Nations has just received a blow which many think may be fatal to it: the world’s superpower has decided to launch a war in spite of the opposition of the Security Council and despite an unprecedented mobilization of international public opinion.  This entry into war has been accompanied by the diffusion of misleading information destined to construct arguments justifying the war and to drown the truth of its real motivations.  But this truth is gleaned from texts defining the strategy of the networks that prepared the election of the current President of the United States of America.  It is about, no more, no less, than guaranteeing the hegemony of the most conservative sector of American society over all of America and the over the whole of the world for the 21st century.  

To what use then do we attempt to found some hope in the Commission here reunited.  If we can scorn the Security Council, what could we not permit ourselves here, in this power-less conclave?  What’s the use of reaching a conclusion by a resolution, by propositions that will only be buried?  What’s the use of speaking of Palestine, since the world will have soon only one master, who will organize everything according to his will?  President Bush announced, shortly after the beginning of the war, that in the after-war arrangements, there could possibly be a place for a Palestinian state.  He did not specify his thoughts on this nor define this famous place.  He explained neither why this would be possible only after the war’s end, nor why he tolerates relaunching the program of violent expropriation of the Palestinian people by Israel.  In fact, this declaration had only two goals: on the one hand, to attempt to calm the Arab world whose leaders were awaiting this pseudo concession in order to justify their cowardice and their servility, and on the other, to announce a pretext: the victory against Iraq is the beginning of a reorganization of the Middle East according to the plans and interests of the United States, more exactly of the most conservative sector of American society.             

If we thus intervene here today, it’s because we think that this policy is failing.  Far from bringing about a guarantee of hegemony for this century, it is encouraging a global awareness and generalized rejection of this hegemonic project.  There will be of course innumerable shocks, confrontations in succession.  The war against Iraq is the beginning of a Third World War, but of a strange war, unlike any other.  In this war, the struggles for Law, Justice, Peace, and for a Humanityworthy of itself, will be the principal battle fronts.  February and March demonstrated this to us: the world’s youth are the bearers of this battle.  In Lausanne on Thursday, March 20, at the heart of the anti-war protest, a Palestinian man returning from a trip to Ramallah, presented his hope.  I quote: “But I find hope again in seeing this new-born European generation, a generation that refuses silence and that believes in justice and peace.”

            Thus, if it is certain that the United States will militarily win the war it is engaged in, except only if the Arab world rises up together in its entirety, they have already and from this point on lost the war in spirit, principally in the spirits of those who will construct the world of tomorrow.

            In this context, the Palestinian question will find its solution, and this solution will not be the dreamt-of arrangement of the current U.S. president.  In this context, far from succumbing to the contempt of the current United States Administration, the institutions of the UN will be developed, transformed, reinforced, and democratized.  In this context, the present Commission will see itself recognized as possessing an increasingly effective authority.  This is why we plead again here the cause of the Palestinian people in introducing a resolution that I propose to take to a vote:

            The 59th session of the Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations asks the Palestinian government to present to the Security Council a proposal for the organization of the Palestinian State, according to the desired modalities of the Palestinian people, in view of accelerating the recognition of this State by all States of the world.