La quatrième Commission de l’AG conclut l'examen du rapport du Comité spécial chargé d'enquêter sur les pratiques israéliennes affectant les droits du peuple palestinien et des autres arabes des territoires occupés - Communiqué de presse Français
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With extremist ideology “spreading like a malignant disease” across the Middle East, Israel was on the “frontline” of combatting the enemy, and while it might be convenient to point fingers at it that did not address the heart of the problem, the country’s representative told the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) today.
As that body concluded its consideration of 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, Israel’s speaker decried the “theatre of the absurd” advanced in the debate through a biased narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He said his Government was committed to building a strong and vibrant Palestinian economy, but added that development must go hand-in-hand with the demilitarization of Gaza. Israel had recently adopted several measures to stimulate economic growth in the West Bank, and it supported the international community’s involvement in the development of industrial zones there, which, once operational, would create thousands of jobs.
And yet, he said, none of those developments or achievements was found in the Special Committee’s report.
Countering those remarks, the representative of Jordan said Israel’s atrocities and inhumane restrictions on Palestinians were in clear contrast with its stated desire to be part of the Middle East.
The time had come, asserted Lebanon’s representative, for the international community to wake up and for the United Nations Security Council to redeem its responsibility of achieving peace. Given the volumes of Israeli atrocities over the decades and the systematic abuse suffered by the Palestinians through the apartheid wall, Israel had continued to build settlements even amid the United States-sponsored peace talks.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that the United Nations Security Council, despite being directly responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, had failed to stop Israel’s barbarous acts in Gaza in July-August. That was fully related to United States political and strategic interests and backing for Israel, he added.
Reflecting a recurring sentiment, the representative of Senegal said the city of Jerusalem was shaken by great tension because of the excessive use of force by the Israeli police in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It was time to end that situation, which offended the sensibilities of millions of people, he urged.
The representative of the Maldives said that Israel, as a member of the United Nations, enjoyed all rights that went along with that status. It was urgent for the people of the Occupied Palestinian territory for the Israeli Government to live up to the duties that came with that privilege.
Also making statements today were the representatives of Qatar, Namibia, Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bangladesh, South Africa and Iraq.
The observer for the State of Palestine and the representatives of Malaysia, Israel, Lebanon and Bolivia spoke in exercise of right of reply.
The Committee will hold its final meeting of the session at 10 a.m., Thursday, 14 November to take action on all outstanding drafts.
The Fourth Committee met today to conclude its debate on 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. For further background, see Press Release GA/SPD/574 of 6 November.
SONIA ISHAQ AHMAD SUGHAYAR (Jordan) said the issue being discussed was of vital importance, not only to the Palestinians, but to the entire region. Jordan was affected directly by Israeli actions in the occupied territories, she said, and viewed that country’s non-cooperation with the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories with extreme concern. As the occupying Power, Israel was responsible for the atrocities and inhumane restrictions being perpetrated against the Palestinians, including the extremists’ recent escalation in the holy city. Such activities would not change the legal status of Jerusalem but would instead incite further tensions. Furthermore, those practices were in clear contrast with Israel’s stated desire to be part of the Middle East. How could the countries and their people and region accept as a neighbour a State that embraced acts of aggression against Muslims around the world? Extremists must not be allowed to “gain the upper hand” if peace and prosperity were to be achieved. Jordan was firmly committed to the Palestinian cause and would press ahead in all international forums to advance it. Israel must stop settlement construction, desecration of religious shrines, and acts of repression in the interest of realizing peace through the two-State solution.
AHMAD AL-THANI (Qatar), associating with the Non-Alignment Movement and the League of Arab States, thanked the Special Committee for highlighting the suffering of the Palestinian people. He reiterated the Movement’s support of the Palestinian fight for the peoples’ inalienable rights. While the world tried to solve the conflict, the reports pointed to Israel’s flagrant violations of humanitarian and international law. Qatar was concerned about the detention of Palestinian prisoners without cause, especially the detention of children. The Israeli practices isolating and restricting the movements of the Palestinian people undermined the realization of a two-State solution. The last conflict, in July and August, demonstrated reaffirmed that finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli problem was crucial. Qatar also condemned Israel’s exploitation of resources in the Golan region, recalling that it was illegal. It also called on Israel to cease settlement construction. The continued military aggression and violations by the Israeli authorities should remind the international community of the need to put an end to the conflict in line with the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the Palestine State’s capital.
DONA AL TURK (Lebanon) said the reports highlighted how undeterred Israel was in committing aggressions against the Palestinians and Syrians in the Golan. Given the volumes of Israeli atrocities compiled over the decades, the international community must act with urgency and determination. Palestinians were suffering from systematic abuse through the apartheid wall, she said, adding that Israel also continued to build settlements amid the United States-sponsored peace talks. Those practices contravened intentional law, the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and United Nations resolutions. Israel’s attack on Gaza in July and August unleashed a wave of death and destruction, and the blockade also perpetuated the harsh conditions, as did housing demolitions and other restrictions. Detainees were being transferred unlawfully, economic growth was stifled, and religious sites were desecrated. Even Israel’s friends were condemning such practices and urging their cessation. The time had come for the international community to wake up and for the United Nations Security Council to redeem its responsibility of achieving peace.
WILFRIED EMVULA (Namibia), associating the Non-Aligned Movement, said that Israel’s actions threatened to further upset the prospects for a two-State solution and showed the country’s lack of commitment towards a genuine peace on the basis of the pre-1967 borders. His delegation strongly condemned all of those illegal Israeli actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and called on Israel, the occupying Power, to end its illegal blockade against Gaza, which amounted to the “prolonged collective punishment” of its entire population. Further, it urged the Israeli Government to cooperate with the Special Committee, as mandated by the General Assembly resolutions, including resolution 68/80. Further, Namibia appealed to the international community to demand that Israel cease all of illegal settlement activities and all other provocations, and commit to the path of peace. He urged the international community to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to ease the suffering of the affected Palestinian communities. At the same time, he welcomed efforts to continue negotiations and appealed to both parties to embrace that opportunity and abide by previous agreements and obligations in order to achieve lasting peace.
KAMEL CHIR (Algeria), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, strongly condemned the last criminal Israeli military aggression perpetrated against the defenceless Palestinian population in Gaza, which resulted in the killing of more than 2,150 Palestinians. The targeting of civilians, private property, infrastructure and United Nations buildings, such as schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was tantamount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was particularly concerned by the recent Israeli provocations and incitements in occupied East Jerusalem, including attempts to change the status quo of holy sites, as well as illegal settlement activity, which only fuelled tensions, which could undermine the peace process. Israel’s policies and practices continued to violate fundamental human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and other occupied Arab Territories. He deplored that more than 5,000 Palestinians remained in Israeli prisons and detention centres under inhumane conditions and were subjected to torture and other forms of physical and psychological mistreatment. Urgent measures were required to hold Israel accountable for its violations, with a view to ending impunity and ultimately bringing an end to its illegal actions.
ELHAFIZ EISA ABDALLA ADAM (Sudan), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab Group, said this year’s report showed a deteriorated situation in the region, owing to the use of excessive force by Israel. Sudan condemned the aggression against the Palestinian people especially women and children, demolitions and the new settlement construction. Those acts were in defiance of the international community. Additionally, the occupying Power turned Palestinians into prisoners, ignoring all laws and forcing the Palestinians to live surrounded by disease and without basic services. That difficult situation was exacerbated by the blockade and restricted movement. Sudan reiterated its appeal to the international community to put an end to the Israeli occupation of all Arab occupied territories and to establish an independent State of Palestine.
RIADH BEN SLIMAN (Tunisia), associating with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Non-Aligned Movement, said the world was living each day amid Israeli intransigence and international law violations. Citing the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as efforts to change the demographic character of Jerusalem, he reiterated Tunisia’s condemnation of those and other illegal acts. The most recent attack on Gaza was a barbaric act of aggression, he said, urging the international commission of inquiry to investigate all atrocities and violations to ensure Israel’s accountability. All parties should fulfil the pledges they made at the recent conference to rebuild Gaza. Although there was international consensus on the illegality of the settlements, Israel persisted with their construction as well as illegal transfers of populations. It thus placed deliberate obstacles to peace. He called for urgent action to end the illegal occupation and advance the peace process towards the two-State solution.
Alia AlSuwaidi (United Arab Emirates), associating with Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, thanked Sweden for recognizing Palestine. The reports presented by the Special Committee showed clear violations by Israel. They also highlighted the situation of the Palestinian detainees, especially children and women, some of whom died because of a lack of care and torture. She also condemned the violence and terrorist acts by the Israeli settlers forcing the Palestinian people to move. The war launched in July led to a grave humanitarian crisis, depriving Palestinians of all basic human needs, and destroying their schools, hospitals and other facilities. The Israeli blockade aggravated the situation by blocking humanitarian assistance. She condemned the Israeli practices causing widespread unemployment and poverty among the refugees. Rejecting Israeli extremists’ provocation on Muslims with the attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, she called the international community to request that Israel stop aggressive policies and settlement construction. Israel must respect its Charter-based obligations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, including as it related to the treatment of prisoners, and it must abide by the recommendations in the reports in the lead-up to making the necessary reparations for the Palestinian people. The international community must do its part to protect the Palestinian people.
SALEM ABUHADIDA (Kuwait), associating with Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the report explicitly mentioned the scale of the human rights violations against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territory. Israel continued its defiance of the international community as it persisted with its illegal settlements, demonstrating its lack of commitment to achieve a peace settlement. The attack on Gaza in July had exceeded the barbarity of its previous assaults. Kuwait renewed its support for the Palestinian cause, including the creation of an independent and viable State, and called for a time-bound lifting of the blockade. Israel must withdraw from the Syrian Golan Heights and the international community should support Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations. The international community should put pressure on Israel to implement the decisions of the Special Committee.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, commented on the recent military aggression of Israel in Gaza, as well as the report. Regarding the latter, he called for collective pressure to be exerted on the Israeli Government to stop the expansion of illegal settlements and dismantle the existing ones. Furthermore, he urged Israel to fulfil its legal obligation as the occupying Power, namely, by safeguarding all inhabitants from acts of violence or threats, cease illegal detention of Palestinian people, stop destruction of homes and land confiscation, allow Palestinians free access to their lands, employment and natural resources, and open all border crossings and the blockade to allow free movement of goods, persons and humanitarian aid.
SHIRUZIMATH SAMEER (Maldives) said it was disheartening to see the continued degradation of life endured by the Palestinians and other Arabs living under Israeli occupation. Israel, as a member of the United Nations, enjoyed all rights that went along with that status. It was a most urgent matter for the people of the Occupied Palestinian Territory for the Israeli Government to live up to the duties that came with that privilege. Statehood for Palestine was the only option to ensure long-term peace in the Middle East. A two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, was the genuine solution to the conflict. The military operations carried out by Israel in Gaza in July and August had multiplied the human rights violations against the people there. Israel must cooperate with the Special Committee, halt new settlements and reverse existing ones, and lift the blockade.
Ibrahima Sory Sylla (Senegal), associating with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Non-Aligned Movement, said the city of Jerusalem was shaken by great tension because of the excessive use of force by the Israeli police in front of the Al-Aqsa mosque. It was time to end the situation that offended the sensibilities of millions of people. The reports showed that despite United Nations resolutions, Israel continued to defy international and humanitarian laws. The situation was exacerbated with the 50-day war this summer. Despite the lack of cooperation from Israel during the preparation of the Special Committee’s report, it had been able to collect enough information on the human rights and humanitarian violations committed by Israel, including the disproportionate use of force, restriction of access to certain regions within the Occupied Territory, and the continued blockade of Gaza. That situation was not new; it was a reflection of the daily lives of the Palestinian people. Israel must withdraw from the Occupied Territory and cease settlement construction with the aim of allowing Palestinian to exercise their inalienable rights. Senegal called on the international community to implement the recommendations contained in the reports. It added that corporations benefitting from the illegal exploitation of the occupied territories exposed themselves to potential prosecutions by the competent authorities.
KIM YONG SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said Israel’s barbarous acts committed during its attack on Gaza constituted war crimes. However, the United Nations Security Council, directly responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, had failed to stop those inhumane acts, owing to the United States’ political and strategic interests in and backing of Israel. The grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory justified the urgency of resolving the issues of the Middle East in the interests of the peoples of Palestine and other Arab countries. Israel must immediately withdraw from all occupied territories and compensate for the moral and material damage it had inflicted on the Arab people, including Palestinians. He demanded, in particular, the withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan.
DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the accession of the State of Palestine to various international treaties, and hoped that process would lead to the protection of the Palestinian people and guarantee their access to justice. Concurring with the recommendations highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report, he said Israel should take all possible measures to ensure respect for its international humanitarian and human rights law obligations, including under the Fourth Geneva Protocol. He called on Israel to cease all policies and practices that directly and indirectly led to forced evictions or forcible transfers of civilians, including demolitions and confiscations. Israel should either charge or release detainees in administrative detention. He condemned the plight of Palestinian women who were forced to give birth chained and shackled to their beds and children who were ill-treated and held in custody. It was urgent that Israel lift the blockade on Gaza, which exacerbated the already dire socioeconomic and humanitarian situation there. He welcomed the current ceasefire arrangement and supported efforts to concretize it.
MOHAMMED ALNAQSHABANDI (Iraq), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, called on Israel to respect international law and assume its international obligations. It should immediately end its repression, blockade, demolitions, evictions, illegal settlements and other acts of aggression and barbarity against the Palestinian people and other Arabs in occupied territories. Israel must also cease all efforts aimed at changing the demographic and other realities of the West Bank and Gaza, and instead focus on good faith efforts to achieve a just, lasting and durable peace based on the two-State model.
BENJAMIN SHARONY (Israel) said that the day’s meeting was yet another window into the “theatre of the absurd”. The Committee had chosen to devote its valuable time to a one-sided report that distorted the truth and ignored the reality on the ground. The report did not “seek to advance human rights or promote Palestinian development”, nor did it bring the international community a single step closer to lasting peace. Instead, it furthered a biased narrative of the conflict and advanced “a clear political agenda” aimed at discrediting Israel. His delegation was committed to facilitating efforts to develop Gaza and help build a strong and vibrant economy. However, development must go hand-in-hand with the enclave’s demilitarization. Since Israel had disengaged from Gaza in 2005, Hamas had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars in aid intended for development, in order to build its terror infrastructure. Together with the Palestinians and the United Nations, Israel had agreed to a mechanism for rehabilitating Gaza, one that addressed its security concerns, provided reassurance that materials would be directed to rebuilding, and enabled the Palestinian Authority to play a key governing role.
Across the Middle East, extremist ideology was “spreading like a malignant disease”, he said, adding that his country was on the “frontline” combatting that enemy. While it might be convenient to point fingers at Israel, that did not address the heart of the problem. In the face of constant threats, Israel had launched an operation of self-defence in July, throughout which it was committed to upholding international law and did everything in its power to avoid harming civilians. But it was time to be honest about who was responsible and “lay blame where it belongs — with Hamas”, he proclaimed.
Meanwhile, he continued, Israel had recently adopted a number of measures to stimulate economic growth in the West Bank. Dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian Ministries of Finance had recently resumed, and Israel continued to invest in upgrading commercial crossings, resulting in a marked increase in the volume of goods transferred. Israel also supported the involvement of the international community in the development of industrial zones in the West Bank, which, when operational, would create thousands of jobs. And yet, he noted, none of those developments or achievements was found in this year’s report. For its part, the Palestinian Authority must put an end to incitement against Israel taking place in Palestinian media and schools. It must play a constructive role in that process by demonstrating a commitment to bilateral negotiations rather than unilateral ones. It was only through direct talks that Israel and the Palestinians would find concrete solutions. Any other route would hold the region captive by the “chains of resentment and hatred” and pass on a legacy of violence and intolerance to the next generation.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of right of reply, the observer of the State of Palestine said the Special Committee was neither biased nor one-sided, as the Israeli delegate had alleged, but had carried out its work within the framework of international law and United Nations resolutions. There were no distortions of the truth; the report contained facts about events that amounted to war crimes. Israel was singled out for non-compliance with its international obligations. The Israeli delegate had failed even once to recognize in the Fourth Committee, where it was serving as Vice-Chair, the essence and core of the conflict: Israeli illegal occupation of Palestinian land and its subjection and suppression of the people.
The Gaza Strip remained occupied territory controlled by Israel through land, air and sea. Israel must recognize the brutality and criminality of its occupation as well as the complete rejection by the international community of its actions. Only recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people could provide the basis for peace. As for “helping” Palestinian while still committing countless crimes, peace could not be achieved. Principled statements made in support of the Palestinian people in the Committee as well as in other multilateral forums provided a source of hope.
The representative of Malaysia, speaking in exercise of right of reply, reminded the Israeli representative of his country’s obligation to cooperate with the Special Committee. The body had remained careful to be objective in the conduct of its work, drawing information from a broad range of sources on the ground, including victims. It also sought to include important information from published Israeli Government sources. If Israel thought the Special Committee was biased, it should begin cooperating with that body and allow it access to the occupied territories.
Next, taking the floor, the representative of Israel said his country was proud to serve as Vice-Chair of the Fourth Committee. It was strange to hear countries like Cuba, Bolivia, Bangladesh and Sudan — some of the most rampant abusers of human rights — criticize Israel. When Israel found genuine and committed partners such as the late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and late King Hussein of Jordan, it made peace. Why had delegates not denounced Hamas? Peace required hard choices and compromises and could only be achieved through direct negotiations. Any other route would place the region in chains of resentment and hatred and pass along a legacy of violence and intolerance to the new generation.
The representative of Lebanon, exercising her right of reply, reminded Israel that the item under discussion was clear: Israeli practices. Twelve years ago, Lebanon had launched the Arab peace initiative; all Israel did ever since then was launch rockets and missiles.
Taking the floor a second time, the representative of Israel said that, before speaking about Israel, the representative of Lebanon should take a closer look at refugee camps in Lebanon where people were subjected to some of the harshest conditions imaginable.
The representative of Bolivia said Israel did not realize the meaning of multilateralism. The United Nations had adopted many resolutions against Israeli aggressions and injustices. The world was assembled here to condemn those actions and his country would continue to raise its voice in favour of the Palestinian people.