Gershon Baskin, discussing political options for the future, said that under a Netanyahu Government, there would be no real progress towards a final status agreement, as Mr. Netanyahu was firmly opposed to Palestinian sovereignty because it would endanger the existence of Israel.
The United Nations African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was held in Windhoek from 20 to 22 April 1998, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolutions 53/39 and 53/40 of 2 December 1998.
The Committee was represented by a delegation comprising Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee, who acted as Chairman of the Meeting; Ravan A. G. Farhâdi (Afghanistan), Vice-Chairman of the Committee, who acted as Vice-Chairman of the Meeting; George Saliba, Rapporteur of the Committee and Vice-Chairman and Rapporteur of the Meeting; Martin Andjaba (Namibia), who also acted as Vice-Chairman; and Nasser M. Al-Kidwa (Palestine).
The African Meeting consisted of an opening meeting and three plenary meetings, followed by a closing meeting. Plenary I was entitled “Promoting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people – a key to peace in the Middle East”, plenary II drew on the role of Africa in supporting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; and plenary III focused on the Bethlehem 2000 Project of the Palestinian Authority.
Presentations were made by 23 experts from Africa and other regions, including Palestinians and Israelis. Each plenary meeting included a discussion period open to all participants. Representatives of 28 Governments, Palestine, 3 intergovernmental organizations, 5 United Nations bodies and agencies and 5 non-governmental organizations, as well as special guests of the host country and representatives of the media, universities and institutes attended the African Meeting.
Gershon Baskin, Director, Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, presented slides showing the latest expansion of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Discussing political options for the future, he said that under a Netanyahu Government, there would be no real progress towards a final status agreement. Mr. Netanyahu was firmly opposed to Palestinian sovereignty, because, in his view, it would endanger the existence of Israel. A sovereign Palestinian State could establish its own offensive fighting force, it had full control over its borders, it could enter into military defense pacts and it would control the natural resources of its territory, water, in particular. On the other hand, a left/centre Government would immediately begin final status negotiations, supported by a generous United States Administration.
He pointed out that the Palestinians must be better prepared for those negotiations, in order to offset the lack of balance. Israeli positions should be anticipated, Palestinians should present their own programme, agreements should contain contingencies for partial or non-implementation, including for not meeting timetables, and the negotiating process should be democratized by discussing possible solutions in public. In conclusion, he called for a further democratization of the Palestinian society, political and financial accountability and transparency in order to create the necessary confidence among the Israeli and other international partners.
United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
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