Mr. President, I would, from the outset, like to tell you how gratified I am to see a diplomat with your experience and talent leading the work of the Council during this month of September of living dangerously. I therefore wish you every success in carrying out the task before you. I would also like to say how grateful my delegation is to Ambassador Negroponte for having presided over the Council in a very effective and a distinguished manner.
Just when the United Nations, during the General Debate held at the beginning of every session of the General Assembly, brings together Member States, large and small, to strongly reassert their attachment to the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter, their commitment to the rules and standards of international law, and their determination to respect and ensure respect for all resolutions of the Security Council at all times and in all places, Israel has once again, with its habitual arrogance fed by the strange complacency demonstrated by our Organization with regard to its activities, chosen this moment to attack what little was left standing after its destructive rage of a few months ago. Israel has now annihilated the last buildings where the Palestinian Authority was doing its best to maintain some sort of appearance of life, while striving to reform the Palestinian institutions, as had been demanded of it.
This obsessive frenzy of Israel and its recourse to disproportionate military means against helpless civilian targets, revealed the nature of the Zionist regime, intoxicated with its military power, and drunk day after day with its inglorious military feats, sure of its impunity.
This shows the stubborn resolve of the Israeli leadership to annihilate every hope of ever relaunching the peace process that Mr. Sharon himself has said has breathed its last. Indeed, there is no doubt this systematic policy of destruction of the buildings and infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority, and the policy of isolating President Arafat is part of a deliberate strategy to completely destroy the momentum of the peace process begun at Madrid.
There also is no doubt that the purpose is to undermine the credibility of the Palestinian Authority, to crush its motivating forces and make it impossible for it to carry out its own commitment to law and order.
Then it is blamed for not containing the legitimate resistance of a people that is subjugated, repressed and humiliated on a daily basis by an occupying Power that uses the most sophisticated and devastating weapons against young people who have no shield but their bodies, such as the thirteen-year-old child who was deliberately shot in Nablus, in front of a British volunteer, by an Israeli soldier who had not even been a war machine endowed with fearful means assails avictimized people and its symbols with unheard of ferocity.
It is incumbent upon the Security Council to put an end to this immediately. Just when the Council is very concerned with having its resolutions respected when they apply to other conflicts, it must act with the same resolve and rigour against a State which is illegally occupying the territory of other States, a country that resorts without restraint to force and threatens its neighbours every day, which shamelessly ignores resolutions of the Security Council, flouts every standard of international law and tramples underfoot the rules of international humanitarian law. Any reluctance or hesitation on the part of the Council would be a serious failure in terms of its responsibilities and would certainly seriously damage the credibility of the Council, which we want today, more than ever, to see recognized by all and to have its role as guarantor of international peace and security recognized by all.
If we look at the responsibilities incumbent upon the Council in terms of maintaining international peace and security, and the part it must play as the pillar of our collective security, we feel with increasing urgency that the Council must act directly and energetically by immediately condemning these outrageous policies of the Israeli Government, by calling for an immediate stop to the terror campaign and destruction it is carrying out, to require that it withdraw from the Palestinian towns and locations it has been occupying since September 2000, by demanding it respect the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and by making sure, by whatever means are adequate, perhaps by sending international observers, that it see to the protection of the Palestinian population and launch the peace process once again.
Algeria holds this point of view and firmly believes, more than ever, that peace is a strategic choice and there is no alternative to negotiation. Algeria is firmly attached to a peaceful, fair, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Middle East conflict as proposed by the Arab Summit in Beirut based on the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and resolution 338 (1978), and on the principle of land for peace.
Such a settlement should obviously enable Israel to withdraw from all of the occupied Arab territories, thus opening the way to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds as its capital.