Special Committee Chair Cites Discrimination, Excessive Force, Collective Punishment as Fourth Committee Tackles Israeli Practices in Arab Lands

Discriminatory practices, excessive use of force and collective punishment against Palestinians are leading to a rapid deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation across the occupied territories, speakers told the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) today.

As the Committee considered the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, Satya Rodrigo (Sri Lanka), its Chair, described the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied lands, the unlawful detention of Palestinian children, the excessive force used against protesters in Gaza, the general absence of accountability, and other practices.

Concerning settlement expansion, he said the demolition of Palestinian homes and the destruction of their private property by Israeli security forces was one of the most frequently cited issues of concern during the Special Committee’s meetings in 2018. Often conducting demolitions under the pretext that no permits were issued for the targeted buildings, Israel’s security forces demolished 213 structures owned by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, leading to the displacement of 579 people between July 2017 and July 2018, the report indicates.

Also of serious concern to the Special Committee is the arbitrary administrative detention of Palestinians, often on the basis of secret information, he said, noting with regret that reports of child arrests are increasing. Turning to the occupied Syrian Golan, he cited reports of settlement expansion and diversion of resources, such as water, for Israel’s development. Organizations briefing the Special Committee also expressed concern that local elections held in October 2018 were a manifestation of Israel’s desire to impose its sovereignty over the territory, he reported.

On the situation in Gaza, he expressed particular concern about excessive use of force by Israeli security forces against demonstrations that began in March 2018 near the border fence between Gaza and Israel. The Special Committee heard that, as of 31 October, 228 Palestinians, including 43 children, have been killed. In the context of policing demonstrations, he emphasized that Israeli forces must respect international instruments pertaining to law enforcement, expressing concern over a culture of impunity. Also concerning, he said, is Israel’s tightening of restrictions on imports into Gaza in response to the launching of burning kites from the enclave into Israel, further exacerbating the electricity crisis and threatening the delivery of life saving services.

Many delegates also expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Gaza, with the Observer for the State of Palestine describing the ferocity of Israel’s aggression against peaceful protesters as a further reflection of that country’s absolute disregard for Palestinian life. The protection crisis under Israeli occupation is dramatic and constant, she stressed, calling upon the international community to meet its commitments to ensure the safety and well being of Palestinians. Illegal practices are accompanied by collective punishment measures, including the blockade of Gaza, where fear and panic are widespread among the civilian population as they face the prospect of another deadly cycle of violence, she said, warning that the situation has brought Gaza to the brink of collapse.

The speaker representing the European Union delegation noted that as living conditions in Gaza worsen, protests and violence have intensified and expanded, exacerbating an already volatile situation in and around the enclave. Calling for restraint, he urged all actors to refrain from violence and to avoid exploiting the demonstrations by any means. While acknowledging Israel’s right to self defence, the European Union expects Israeli authorities to respect the principles of necessity and proportionality in its use of force, he emphasized.

Venezuela’s representative, speaking for the Non Aligned Movement, also expressed concern about Israel’s excessive use of force against young Palestinians in peaceful protest, emphasizing that Gaza’s terrible humanitarian crisis represents a serious violation of international law and requires urgent attention.

Saudi Arabia’s delegate, speaking for the League of Arab States, expressed anger at the raids on Gaza by the Israeli air force beginning on 12 November, saying they have killed many people. Israel continues to use indiscriminate violence, having been emboldened by the international community’s silence, he said.

Pakistan’s representative, referring to Israel’s long standing policy of dispossessing Palestinians of their land and disrupting their lives, declared: This is, in fact, a calculated and deliberate process of slowly disintegrating an entire people.

Also speaking today were representatives of Bangladesh (for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Maldives, Syria, Cuba, Qatar, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt.

Israel’s representative spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 14 November, to continue its general debate on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories.

Introductory Statements

SATYA RODRIGO (Sri Lanka), Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, presented that panel’s report (document A/73/420), noting that, as in previous years, the Government of Israel did not respond to the Special Committee’s request for access to the Occupied Palestinian Territory or the occupied Syrian Golan. As a result, the Special Committee visited Amman from 17 to 19 July to meet with Palestinian authorities and United Nations officials, as well as Israeli, Palestinian and Syrian civil society representatives, victims and witnesses. On the basis of briefings and testimonies, he said, the report provides updates on several issues of concern, including the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied lands; the exploitation of natural resources; the blockade and closure of Gaza; the absence of accountability; the detention of children and use of administrative detention; and the hostility to human rights organizations in the occupied territories.

Concerning settlement expansion, he said the demolition of Palestinian homes and destruction of their private property by Israeli security forces was one of the most frequently cited issues of concern in the Special Committee’s meetings in 2018. Often conducting demolitions under the pretext that no permits were issued for the targeted buildings, Israel’s security forces demolished 213 structures owned by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, leading to the displacement of 579 people between July 2017 and July 2018, according to the information received by the Special Committee. Property provided by States as humanitarian assistance are also demolished, he reported, citing the example of two classrooms in the Bedouin community of Abu Nuwar built with donor funding and demolished in February 2018.

On the situation in Gaza, he expressed particular concern about excessive use of force by Israeli security forces against demonstrations that began in March 2018 near the fence between Gaza and Israel. The Special Committee heard that, as of 31 October, 228 Palestinians, including 43 children, have been killed. In the context of policing demonstrations, he emphasized that the Israeli forces must respect international instruments pertaining to law enforcement, expressing concern over a culture of impunity. Also concerning is Israel’s tightening of restrictions on imports into Gaza in response to the launching of burning kites from the enclave into Israel, further exacerbating the electricity crisis and threatening the delivery of life saving services. Access to health care for Gazans has deteriorated since the demonstrations began, he said, adding that Israeli authorities regularly deny or delay exit permits facilitating access to health care for Palestinians injured in demonstrations � a practice amounting to violation of Israel’s obligations under international law.

Also of serious concern to the Special Committee is the use of arbitrary administrative detention of Palestinians, often on the basis of secret information to which the detainee is granted neither access to nor the opportunity to challenge it, he said, noting with regret that reports of child arrests are increasing. In the occupied Syrian Golan, there were reports of settlement expansion and diversion of resources, such as water, for Israel’s development. Organizations briefing the Special Committee also expressed concern that local elections held in October 2018 were a manifestation of Israel’s desire to impose its sovereignty over the territory, he reported. Testimonies heard by the Special Committee indicated that, in general, discriminatory practices against Palestinians and Syrians are increasing, resulting in a rapid deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation across the occupied territories.

FRANCESCO MOTTA, Director for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), delivered a statement on behalf of the Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, and introduced the following reports of the Secretary General: Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories (document A/73/364); the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/73/357); and Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/73/410).

He noted that the latter report provides information on an increase in settlement planning but a decrease in the number of tenders and construction starts. It focuses on the impact of settlements on the Jordan Valley and on the human rights of Palestinians living there, including factors contributing to the coercive environment around settlements. Such an environment may compel Palestinians to leave their areas of residence, he cautioned, adding that the report recommends that Israeli authorities immediately end all activities contributing to the creation of such an environment or that may lead to forcible transfer.

Introducing the report of the Secretary General on Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (document A/73/420), he said it highlights several key ongoing human rights violations in Gaza, examining the rights to life and security in light of recent demonstrations there. The report notes that Israeli forces, acting in a law enforcement capacity, have used lethal force on numerous occasions when the threat posed did not amount to a danger to life or serious injury. From 30 March to 31 May, Israeli security forces killed 95 Palestinian demonstrators, he said. The report’s recommendations include lifting the closures of Gaza and allowing free movement of people and goods, he said, calling upon Israel to ensure that any use of force, including during law enforcement operations, is in compliance with international law.

Interactive Dialogue

The representative of Israel said his delegation rejects the mandate of the Special Committee because it serves only one side of the story and undermines Israel’s right to defend itself. He expressed sadness that while Israel has the best human rights record in the Middle East, especially when compared with Hamas or neighbouring countries, it is targeted every year. Recalling the recent missile attacks launched against Israel from Gaza, he emphasized that his country operates with great restraint, focusing on terrorist activities while trying to minimize collateral damage. Hopefully, someday, this Committee will turn its focus from Israel and investigate other abhorrent practices in the Middle East, he said.

The observer for the State of Palestine expressed gratitude for the Special Committee’s efforts to carry out its mandate despite the lack of cooperation from Israel. Among the report’s most troubling findings are the human rights violations against Palestinian children, including their targeting for lethal force, arrest and imprisonment, she said, while asking for further elaboration on interactions between the United Nations and Israel aimed at preventing such violations of international humanitarian law.

Mr. MOTTA said OHCHR works actively on issues confronting the State of Palestine in order to promote international law and international humanitarian law as applicable to Palestinians. Its office in the Occupied Palestinian Territories works with the authorities and with non governmental organizations in undertaking advocacy where possible, he added, noting that the High Commissioner may visit the region in the near future when he will raise the obligations of both Israel and the State of Palestine.

General Debate

FEDA ABDELHADY-NASSER, Observer for the State of Palestine, urged immediate collective action based on the report’s recommendations to address the human rights violations endured by the Palestinian people. The absence of accountability measures makes it apparent that Israel will persist with impunity, acting as a State above the law and destroying all chances for peace, she said. Appealing for calm and restraint in Gaza, she expressed appreciation for Egypt’s efforts to stop the recent volatility there.

She went on to point out that despite the Security Council’s demands, Israel has systematically continued illegal settlement activities in occupied territories. Citing the construction of thousands of new units, the confiscation of Palestinian lands, excavation measures that undermine the sanctity and historic status quo of holy sites, the displacement of Palestinian civilians, she said those and other practices are at the core of human rights violations endured by the Palestinians. Recent actions by the United States have exacerbated the situation, she emphasized.

The ferocity of Israel’s aggression against unarmed civilians peacefully protesting in Gaza is a further reflection of that country’s absolute disregard for Palestinian life, she continued. The protection crisis under Israeli occupation is dramatic and constant, she said, calling upon the international community to meet its commitments to ensure the safety and well being of Palestinians. Illegal practices are accompanied by collective punishment measures, including the blockade of Gaza, where fear and panic are widespread among the civilian population as they face the prospect of another deadly cycle of violence, she said, warning that the situation has brought Gaza to the brink of collapse, accelerating forecasts that it will be uninhabitable by humans by 2020.

She went on to state that Israel pursues legislative schemes aimed at reinforcing its illegal expansionist agenda, including such racist legislation as the Jewish Nation State bill passed earlier in 2018. She called upon the international community to reject Israel’s peddling of the cynical discourse that it is unfairly singled out. Emphasizing that the deliberations in question are not biased but aimed at seeking justice through peaceful, diplomatic and legal means, she said Israel remains privileged and continues to be coddled by many in the international community, adding that Palestinians are constantly reminded of how fatigued the Middle East conflict has left everyone. International law provides clear solutions, she stressed, calling upon Member States to uphold their legal obligations and responsibilities on the question of Palestine until it is resolved in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.

HENRY SUAREZ (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement, highlighted the worsening human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in particular the serious humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Condemning continued settlement activities, he said Israel persists with impunity, stressing that all such activities are illegal under international law and must cease completely and immediately. He went on to outline systematic violations perpetrated by Israel, including the demolition of homes, the confiscation of lands and goods, forced displacement, forced transfer, removal of residency rights and attacks on medical personnel, among other measures of collective punishment. Illegal settlement practices have intensified recently, he observed, pointing out that Israeli policies and practices continue to violate the fundamental human rights of Palestinians and other Arabs living under occupation.

Concerned about Israel’s excessive use of force against young Palestinians and peaceful protesters in the occupied territories, he emphasized that Gaza’s terrible humanitarian crisis represents a serious violation of international law and requires urgent attention. He also called for speeding up Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery, noting also the important role played by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in the territories. Israel must end its illegal blockade of Gaza and open all border crossings in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions, he reiterated. Violence and incitement by Israeli settlers continue to cause Palestinian casualties, he observed, warning that such illegal activities are undermining the viability of a future Palestinian State and a two State solution. He concluded by stating that the Non Aligned Movement categorically condemns the illegal exploitation of Palestinian natural resources � thereby denying their sovereignty over such resources and their right to development � adding that Israel’s conduct of elections in four Syrian Golan villages constitutes a clear violation of international law.

FAIYAZ MURSHID KAZI (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), applauded the Special Committee’s principled efforts to uphold its General Assembly’s mandate despite continued obstruction by the occupying Power, Israel. Highlighting that country’s violations against the Palestinian people, as outlined in the report, he urged the international community to mobilize in order to end their suffering. More specifically, he called upon Member States to endorse the report and adopt accountability measures as well as binding resolutions to hold Israel responsible.

He went on to state that allowing Israel to continue its violations with total impunity exacerbates the human suffering of the Palestinian people, creating an unsustainable and highly volatile situation and further harming the prospects for peace. Indeed, effective accountability is critical to breaking the cycle of Israel’s human rights violations and de escalating the situation on the ground. More broadly, he called for serious and practical measures to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and boost the ability of the Palestinian people to restore and exercise their inalienable rights.

ABDALLAH Y. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia), speaking on behalf of the League of Arab States, expressed anger at the raids on Gaza by the Israeli air force beginning on 12 November, saying they have killed many people. Israel continues to use indiscriminate violence, having been emboldened by the international community’s silence, he said. It also continues its settlement expansion and the Judaization of Al Quds in defiance of United Nations resolutions, undermining the prospects for serious political negotiations under international parameters for peace. Recalling that all international instruments drafted since the Oslo Accords recognize Al Quds as a final status issue, he emphasized that, as such, any measures taken by Israel in that regard � including settlement, confiscation of property, or deeming Jerusalem its capital � are null and void and lack legitimacy.

He went on to state that Arab States categorically reject all illegal Israeli practices aimed at annexing the holy city of Jerusalem and altering its Arab character or isolating it from its surroundings. He also noted that continuing Israeli settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territories constitutes a serious violation of international law, calling upon the international community to compel Israel to stop violating Palestinian rights. In that respect, Arab States also reject Israel’s attempts to control the occupied Syrian Golan and condemns its actions aimed at annexing it. He emphasized that Israel must stop any actions imposing a fait accompli on that territory’s people. Recalling that the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 reiterates the readiness of Arabs and Muslims to embrace peace, he pointed out that Israel’s actions continue to fuel tensions in the Middle East and to undermine the prospects for a comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict.

PIERRE-CHRISTOPHE CHATZISAVAS, European Union delegation, expressed deep concern about the situation in Gaza, noting that 2 million people there struggle for sufficient access to basic services, including water and electricity. As living conditions worsen, protests and violence have intensified and expanded, exacerbating an already volatile situation in and around the enclave. Calling for restraint, he urged all actors to refrain from violence and not exploit the demonstrations by any means. While acknowledging Israel’s right to self defence, the European Union expects the Israeli authorities to respect the principles of necessity and proportionality in its use of force, he emphasized.

Commending the efforts of the Special Coordinator, he called upon all parties to support the European Union’s proposed humanitarian and economic interventions for Gaza, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority. First, however, tensions must be reduced, he said, stressing that the Authority’s return to Gaza is indispensable for improving the humanitarian situation there. At the same time, fundamental changes are needed, such as ending the closure of crossing points, he said. Meanwhile, the European Union will continue to support efforts by the United Nations and Egypt for the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank under one single and legitimate Palestinian Authority, he said, urging both sides to refrain from unilateral actions that undermine the relaunch of negotiations or imperil the viability of a two State solution.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan), associating herself with the Non Aligned Movement and the OIC, noted that the death toll in Gaza is rising since the beginning of peaceful protests in March. Moreover, the Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar has become the latest flashpoint in Israel’s long standing policy of dispossessing Palestinians of their land and disrupting their lives. This is, in fact, a calculated and deliberate process of slowly disintegrating an entire people, she pointed out, adding that the fundamental tents of a two State solution are being systematically dismantled in full view of the international community. At a time when a political settlement of the issue remains a distant ideal, however, it is heartening to note that both traditional and new donors stepped up their contributions to UNRWA in the wake of its unprecedented shortfall in 2018, she said. Pakistan has also made an additional contribution to the Agency, she reported.

AHMED NASIR (Maldives) said the policies of apartheid and denial of basic human rights must be reversed as the starting point for a two State solution. Condemning Israel’s human right violations in the Palestinian territories, as outlined in the Secretary General’s report, he called upon Israel to return to the right side of international law. Peace cannot be achieved through violence, he emphasized, stressing also that imposing restrictions that limit electricity, water, health care and economic opportunities will perpetuate poverty rather than creating peace. Meanwhile, there is urgent need to create an environment of respect for the human rights of the Palestinian people, in which their fundamental freedoms are not suppressed through fear and oppression, he said, underlining his country’s steadfast support for the Palestinian people and their right to self determination.

MOUNZER MOUNZER (Syria), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said a critical juncture has been reached on the question of Palestine as the international community turns a blind eye to illegal Israeli practices in the occupied territories. Noting that Israel has been attempting to alter the legal status of the Golan by trying to impose Israeli citizenship on its Syrian population and holding local elections in October 2018, he said that country continues its violations of the Syrian community there, citing mock trials and long, unjust prison sentences. He called upon the international community and Israel to secure the release of all Syrian political prisoners detained in that country.

Syrians in the occupied Syrian Golan have been deprived of the right to communicate with their families in Syria and cut off from neighbouring communities, he continued, also lamenting their lack of access to adequate health care. Houses have been demolished under the pretext of lacking permits so that houses can be built for the Israel Defense Forces, he said. Furthermore, Israel has stolen historical artefacts in the Syrian Golan and turned agricultural land into military sites and toxic landfills, leading to an increase in the number of cancer cases. He said Israel explores for oil and seeks to divert water from the Syrian population, while also condemning its aggressive actions and involvement with terrorist groups operating in the border area.

HUMBERTO RIVERO ROSARIO (Cuba), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said the unilateral declaration by the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a flagrant violation of international law. He went on to note that the Special Committee’s report reveals that Israeli practices continue to violate the human rights of the Palestinians. In addition, he emphasized that any measure or action taken by Israel to modify the structure of the occupied territories or to exercise its jurisdiction over them are null and void. The building of illegal settlements in the Syrian Golan are also in violation of international law, he said. It is deplorable that the Security Council has not been able to implement its resolutions, he said, calling upon it to take immediate actions to do so. Cuba reaffirms its support for promoting the observer State of Palestine to full Member State status in the United Nations, he said.

REEM AL-HARAMI (Qatar) highlighted Israel’s settlement expansion activities and its excessive use of force against protesters around the Gaza border fence. She also pointed out Israel’s use of administrative detention and its undermining of humanitarian efforts in the Occupied Territories. The construction and expansion of settlements in those Territories is prohibited under international law, she noted, also outlining the situation in Gaza, where continued closures and violations of humanitarian law are causing an escalation of violence. The human rights situation in the Occupied Territories calls for renewed and immediate efforts to reach a fundamental settlement of the Palestinian question, she observed, noting that a just and comprehensive solution based on agreed parameters will result in regional stability. Underlining the importance of maintaining the status quo of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites � Al Aqsa Mosque in particular � she said her delegation also rejects illegal Israeli activities in the Syrian Golan.

KIM IN CHOI (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that Israel’s occupation of Arab territories threatens peace and security in the Middle East and that the country has already crossed the limit line in the region. Citing Israel’s withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and its decision to declare Al Quds its eternal capital city, he said the crackdown on Palestinians protesting the relocation of the United States Embassy there was the culmination of its crimes against humanity. Recent resolutions adopted by the General Assembly reflect the international community’s strong support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people, he emphasized. Nonetheless, a certain permanent member of the Security Council has attempted to block the adoption of those resolutions by wielding veto power in the Council, he noted. Indeed, Israel is fully patronized by an arrogant country that misuses the United Nations as its political tool, he added, while cautioning that the patronage of that State will only make the voices of international support for the Palestinians grow louder.

A.K. AHMAD MUNIR NORDIN (Brunei Darussalam), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement and the OIC, condemned all human rights violations committed against the civilian Palestinian population. Underscoring the importance of dialogue and negotiations in settling all disputes, he said this conflict is no different. It is crucial to continue to support the two State formula and to prevent any actions that could undermine that objective. Reiterating concerns about any change in position on Jerusalem, he added that its final status must be resolved through negotiations among all parties directly concerned.

SAMI ELGHODBAN (Libya), associating himself with the League of Arab States and OIC, noted that Gaza has been subjected to violent strikes recently, targeting populated areas. The occupying Power will present justifications, saying that its security is threatened, but that is an excuse misleading international public opinion, he said. What does Israel expect from a population which has been expelled from its lands, whose young people are deprived of hope for the future and whose holy places are undermined? He went on to question whether the world should help to exterminate the Palestinian people in the service of a Zionist dream, citing Israel’s recently passed Jewish Nation State law. That law will begin the transformation by which the political conflict will become a religious one, he warned, saying the occupation justifies using any means possible to oppose it because the world no longer supports them.

ALAA M. RIDHA M. HASSAN NAJAF (Iraq), associating himself with the League of Arab States, the Non Aligned Movement and OIC, said Israel’s continued aggression against the Palestinian people reflects its complete disregard for relevant United Nations resolutions. He called upon the international community to shoulder its responsibility to stop such violations and end the occupation. Iraq rejects all racist laws as well as Israel’s military behaviour, which disregards basic rights, he said. The Knesset has passed illegitimate laws, including the Jewish National State legislature which threatens Palestinian existence, he noted. Several such laws allow Israel to undertake punitive measures that are illegal under international law, he observed, condemning the systematic arrest of Palestinians and calling upon the occupying Power to provide judicial safeguards to Palestinian detainees, in accordance with principles enshrined in international law.

BACHIR SALEH AZZAM (Lebanon) said Israel continues to abstain from cooperation with the Special Committee while blocking its access to the Palestinian territories. Nevertheless, it is regrettable to see how that country’s practices, documented in the report, reflect the regression of the situation. Indeed, these are systematic policies pursued by Israel in violation of international humanitarian law and under the pretext of safeguarding its security, he said. Among its laundry list of violations is building settlements in breach of international humanitarian law while demolishing Palestinian homes as collective political punishment, he said. Meanwhile, Israel engaged in excessive use of force against protesters during the return marches, claiming the lives of hundreds of Palestinians and injuring thousands more. It is thus incumbent on the international community to end the stalemate and move from assessing and documenting practices to addressing them through the implementation of international law, he emphasized. In that connection, the recommendations contained in the Special Committee’s report provide a road map to ensure protection for Palestinians from Israeli practices that violate human rights in the territories, he said, calling upon Member States to implement those recommendations and end Palestinian suffering.

TAREK AHMED MAHFOUZ AHMED MAHFOUZ (Egypt) said that after 50 years of occupation and Arab suffering, and many discussions, the international community has had enough of repeated condemnations and reports. The words have lost all meaning and no longer have any impact, he added. If we have had enough, what about the Palestinian people who are targeted by the practices laid out in the report? If Member States are meeting at the United Nations to talk about the Palestinian cause, it is not to target anybody, but to reiterate the creation of an Israeli State, he said. If Member States have accepted that right, then that right must also be accorded to the Palestinian people for the creation of their own State, he stressed. In fact, the legal and political parameters are already in place in the relevant Assembly resolutions on the creation of a Palestinian State, he said, stressing that that is the only glimmer of hope for the Palestinian people. Today’s meeting is not about exerting pressure, but about safeguarding the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, he emphasized. Indeed, the Israelis and Palestinians will not disappear; they have a single destiny. However, Member States must uphold international law and renew their commitment to the parameters of peace before it is too late, he warned.

Right of Reply

The representative of Israel, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said Arabs and Muslims have hijacked the United Nations across the board, adding that the hatred of Jews is greatest in Arab countries. The presence of Jews as a community in the Middle East is hated to death, he reiterated. Describing Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East, where freedom of the press and movement exist, he said it has brought innovations to the world. An inherent hatred towards Jews and Israel is broadcast in Arab countries, he said, adding that people from those countries flee to Europe, taking terrible notions of Jews and causing an increase in anti Semitism there too. Palestinians in the Arab world launched a war against Jews and that notion constitutes the main obstacle to peace, he said, adding that if Palestinians accept the Jewish State and wish to live in peace with it, they will find a partner in Israel.

He went on to state that if Israel puts down its weapons, it will cease to exist, whereas if Palestinians do so, there will be peace. Citing the rift between Palestinians, he asked how Israel can make peace with someone who cannot deliver. Even the peaceful Palestinian voice is paying salaries to terrorists and their families, he said, adding that the more Jews are assassinated by those terrorists, the more remuneration they receive. Describing Occupied Palestinian Territories as a political term, he stressed that there is no Palestinian State, calling for the issue to be discussed in a real peace process. Recalling that there was no blockade of Gaza before Hamas took over, he emphasized that the closure is a protective measure. We will protect ourselves no matter what the cost is. Calling upon Palestinians to accept the Jewish presence, he urged them to adopt a single voice for peace.

Source: United Nation