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Ambassador Tichenor Statement to Human Rights Council on the Palestinian Territories Report
March 22, 2007

Statement by Ambassador Warren W. Tichenor
on the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights
in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967

Human Rights Council

Thank you, Mr. President.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for his work. The United States shares the international community’s concerns regarding the hardships faced by Palestinians. We disagree strongly, however, with the assertion that the Quartet, an organization whose membership includes the United Nations, is party to human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. The goal of the Roadmap, to which the international community has agreed, is creation of a future Palestinian state through peaceful negotiations and renunciation of terrorism.

The United States has a long-standing commitment to improving the lives of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza and the creation of a Palestinian state. Since 1993, the United States has delivered more than $1.7 billion in aid to the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education, build roads and water systems, construct and equip medical clinics, and promote good governance. In 2006, the United States was the largest bilateral contributor of assistance to the Palestinian people, spending approximately $260 million. This amount includes $137 million to UNRWA for its regional Palestinian refugee programs, of which $51 million was provided for emergency aid for refugees in the West Bank and Gaza.

We find the inappropriate comparison to apartheid unhelpful. Such inflated arguments serve only to undermine the Council’s credibility while adding nothing to the search for peace. While we regret the loss of all innocent life, both Palestinian and Israeli alike, there is a clear distinction between military operations by the IDF against terrorists versus the deliberate targeting of civilians as commonly practiced by terrorist organizations operating in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Special Rapporteur asks whether a further International Court of Justice advisory opinion is needed on issues related to occupation, colonization and apartheid. We believe that seeking such an advisory opinion at this time would not contribute to the parties’ efforts to resolve their differences and advance the cause of peace. The UN-endorsed Quartet remains the appropriate body to deal with these issues on the path to peace we seek for this time, and for all times.

Thank you, Mr. President.