His Excellency Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretariat
New York, NY 10017
By Fax: 212-963-4879
Dear Mr. Secretary General:
We are writing to call for your support for the abolition of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
In our letter to you of July 11, we expressed great alarm about the United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Middle East Peace to be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on July 12 and 13, sponsored by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Unfortunately, our concerns about the entrenched anti-Israel nature of this conference were well founded.
While the conference allegedly promoted Middle East Peace, in reality it was a forum for the propagation of extreme, unmitigated hate against Israel, a member state of the United Nations. According to the conference statement, released by the United Nations Information Service in Vienna, an Action Plan was adopted calling for a year of "a global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end the occupation." The conferees noted the anniversary of the International Court of Justice decision on Israel's security fence, calling it "Israel's annexationist apartheid wall." Israel's plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip was called a "ploy to legitimize Israel's annexation of wide swathes of territory in the West Bank."
We are not surprised by the outcome of this conference, given the obvious bias of its conveners and participants. What is unacceptable is the United Nations imprimatur on these proceedings. United Nations funds paid for this conference, as they do every year. UNESCO provided space. The United Nations Information Service released a report of the proceedings. Even you, Mr. Secretary General, addressed the conference in a message delivered by the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Sergei Ordzhonikidze. Indeed, for thirty years, since its establishment following General Assembly resolution 3376, the United Nations operations budget has paid to house and operate this Committee. U.N. departments, including the information service, distribute its programs and communiqués.
Mr. Secretary General, the involvement of the United Nations in the conference contradicts the statements you have made committing to reform within the U.N. structure that would provide fairness to Israel.
While a General Assembly resolution will be required to officially disband the Committee, it is crucial that you publicly state support for the abolition of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, declaring that its work is at odds with United Nations policy and undermines efforts to promote Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation. Moreover, we respectfully request that you seek opportunities to limit United Nations operational support for the Committee.
As the situation on the ground improves, and cooperative efforts by Israel and the Palestinians expand, it is essential that the international community support these developments and reject those would undermine genuine attempts for peace.
Abraham H. Foxman