La Journée Internationale de Solidarité avec le peuple Palestinien a été marquée par une réunion spéciale à L’Office des Nations Unies à Genève - Communiqué de presse Français
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UNITED NATIONS OFFICE AT GENEVA COMMEMORATES
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
30 November 2015
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was commemorated today at a Special Meeting held at the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, chaired the meeting and read out the message of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In the message, the Secretary-General said that this year’s observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People fell at a time when security and hope were at a low point. The tensions related to the Holy Sites in the Old City of Jerusalem had introduced a troubling and dangerous religious dimension to the conflict. Palestinians felt deep frustration over an occupation that had lasted nearly 50 years. Israelis feared deeply for their security. The lack of a political horizon to achieve the two-State solution risked allowing the situation to spiral out of control. The international community could and must play a greater role to break the impasse. The Secretary-General urged all to reaffirm the commitment to bring about the just peace that the peoples of Israel and Palestine deserved.
A statement read out on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of Palestine, thanked the United Nations which since its inception had defended the Palestinian cause, placed it on the international agenda, and legislated resolutions and recommendations that constituted the foundations in the search for a just, lasting and comprehensive solution. The United Nations had the permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine, which must be upheld until this question was satisfactorily resolved in all its aspects in accordance with international law and the principles of justice. The recent events in the country were a result of diminishing hopes, the continued situation of strangulation, siege and pressure, and the lack of sense of security and safety felt by the Palestinians. There was the urgent need for efforts to expand and intensify international engagement to achieve peace, including through the adoption of a resolution by the Security Council, which would include clear parameters to achieve peace on the basis of the two-State solution and with a set timeframe for ending the Israeli occupation. It was urgent to act now to salvage the prospect for peace.
The Special Meeting was also addressed by representatives of Senegal, which chairs the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Sri Lanka, which chairs the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories; the League of Arab States; the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement; the African Union; and the World Young Women’s Christian Association, a non-governmental organization accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Messages or statements for the Day were received from the Heads of State of Indonesia, Namibia, Malaysia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Thailand and the European Union.
MICHAEL MØLLER, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, opened the meeting and read out the message of BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General. In his message the Secretary-General said that this year’s observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People fell at a time when security and hope were at a low point, while the tensions related to the Holy Sites in the Old City of Jerusalem had introduced a troubling and dangerous religious dimension to the conflict. The Secretary-General condemned all acts of violence and welcomed the repeated assurances of Israel’s Prime Minister that Israel had no intention of changing the status quo at the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount, stressing that this commitment needed to be accompanied by actions to defuse the situation and restore confidence. Leaders on both sides needed to play a constructive role towards resolving the conflict and reject incitement and inflammatory public statements. Recognizing the security challenges Israel faced, the Secretary-General reminded Israeli authorities that the use of force, if not properly calibrated, fed anger and frustration, and urged Israeli security services to exercise maximum restraint, particularly in the use of lethal force.
Palestinians felt deep frustration over an occupation that had lasted nearly 50 years. Israelis feared deeply for their security. The lack of a political horizon to achieve the two-State solution risked allowing the situation to spiral out of control. The international community could and must play a greater role to break the impasse, stressed the Secretary-General. The State of Palestine had joined the United Nations as a “non-Member observer State” three years ago, and today 136 countries recognized the State of Palestine and its flag flew at the United Nations next to those of all Member States. However, those advances were not felt by children in Gaza, or by the residents of Nablus, Hebron and East Jerusalem, who felt a lack of hope that their lives would change for the better and that they would be citizens of a State able to ensure their freedom and well-being through peace with their neighbours. On this International Day of Solidarity, all should reaffirm their commitment to bring about the just peace that the peoples of Israel and Palestine deserved.
Senegal, speaking on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that the date of 29 November had been chosen as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people. On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly had adopted resolution 181, which came to be known as the Partition Resolution, and which had provided for the establishment in Palestine of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State”, with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum under a special international regime. The State of Israel came into being in the following year. The State of Palestine was now occupied, denied the same rights the State of Israel enjoyed, including the right to self-determination and the right to national independence and sovereignty. Today, 68 years after resolution 181, the world was witnessing a serious crisis on the ground once again.
As Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson had rightly said during his latest briefing to the Security Council, “This crisis would not have erupted if the Palestinian people had any perception of hope of a viable Palestinian State, if they had an economy that provided jobs and opportunities, or if they had more control over their security and the legal and administrative processes that define their daily existence — in short, if they did not still live under a stifling and humiliating occupation that has lasted almost half a century.” The matrix of occupation continued to grow in the Palestinian Territory and despite repeated calls by the international community to cease, Israel continued to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israelis-only highways cut through the occupied West Bank, separating Palestinian cities and villages from one another; Israeli civilian law was applied to settlers in the occupied West Bank, while Palestinians were subjected to Israeli military law: in the twenty-first century, the world should not be seeing a system in which one group was treated favourably over another. Gaza was often called an open-air prison, as access to the outside world was blocked via land, sea and air. Prison was probably not the right word, as prisons had roofs, electricity, running water, and meals. Most of the 150,000 homes destroyed during the 2014 war had not been rebuilt, electricity shortages disrupted the daily life of 1.8 million residents, and over 90 per cent of water in Gaza was unfit for human consumption. The poverty rate was a staggering 40 per cent. This was why there needed to be a two-State solution – two peoples enjoying the same rights in their own countries. The Palestinian people must be freed from inhumane occupation, discrimination and subjugation. On this Day, all should go back to the spirit of resolution 181 – two States for two peoples, with arrangements for the holy sites in Jerusalem to be accessible to people of all religions.
Sri Lanka, representing the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, said that the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was a reminder to the United Nations and the international community of a goal which was yet to be achieved and of the continued responsibility to find a peaceful and just solution to what was being referred to as the “Palestinian question”- in essence, the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Despite great challenges and suffering for more than five decades, the Palestinian people had not given up hope to attain their legitimate rights. The Special Committee had presented its forty-seventh report to the Fourth Committee, which examined the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the occupied Syrian Golan. The main concerns raised in this report included the continuing settlement activity and settler violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem; excessive use of force by Israeli security forces and tensions surrounding the Al Aqsa Mosque; as well as exploitation of natural resources in the occupied territories by corporations, in violation of international humanitarian law; and the human rights situation in Gaza. The continuing policy of settlement expansion and the climate of impunity relating to the activities of the settlers contributed to the escalating violence, while disturbing testimonies had been received about numerous incidents involving the excessive use of force by Israeli Security Forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Special Committee had called on Israel to immediately ensure compliance with international standards for law enforcement and accountability for excessive use of force, and to immediately cease all excavation works below or near the Al Aqsa compound, which may potentially cause harm to the Al Aqsa Mosque. The situation of Palestinian detainees remained a serious concern, with an estimated 5,000 held in Israeli custody, including 160 children, while administrative detention remained the norm. The blockade of Gaza continued to be a key obstacle to the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights of Palestinians. Up to 100,000 Palestinians remained displaced and lived in precarious conditions, struggling with access to basic services such as electricity, water, sanitation and medical services. It was thus imperative that the international community used its influence to end the blockade of Gaza and for donor countries to honour the pledges made in Cairo, and to urgently disburse funds to facilitate the ongoing reconstruction efforts. Sustainable peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians alike could only be achieved by bringing about real accountability, and by addressing the root causes of the conflict. The international community must not lose sight of the overarching goal of the “‘two States solution” - two States living side by side in peace and security with the human rights of their peoples at the core.
A representative of the League of Arab States said that this Day was a reminder of the
adoption of resolution 181 and also a reminder of the sovereign rights of the Palestinian people. The raising of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations several weeks ago was a success, but this had been clouded over by the actions of Israel which were in violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The two-State solution was necessary to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict and the entire world would like to see peace in this region. The international community must protect the Palestinian people from the Israeli occupation and its military machine; the occupation was the greatest obstacle to peace in the region and the greatest reason feeding terrorism. The United Nations Security Council and Member States must bear their historic responsibility and put an end to those practices by Israeli Government, and ensure that Israel respected its international obligations. The Palestinians had deployed efforts over the past 20 years to find the way out of the deadlock in peace negotiations. It was clear that Israel would continue its practice of illegal settlements, illegal actions and blockade of Gaza because it lacked the political will and was governed by extremists. It was time for the Palestinian people to recover their rights and build their future - the rights that other people of the world enjoyed must be guaranteed for the Palestinian people too.
A representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that the Palestinian people today suffered under the direst of conditions under mounting Israeli military aggression. Palestinian lands were still subjected to Israeli occupation, settlement, blockade and the racist separation wall. National resources were being plundered and the city of Al-Quds al-Sharif was being subjected to Judaization and ethnic cleansing, with the aim of obliterating the Arab Islamic identity of the city. The increasing frequency of crimes and field executions perpetrated by the Israeli occupation and extremist settler groups against Palestinian civilians all went undeterred on any political, legal or ethical grounds. The dangerous developments currently taking place could not be taken separately from the recurrent Israeli aggression against the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, which represented violations of the Muslims’ inalienable religious rights.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation called upon the international community to work diligently on reviving political efforts to achieve the two-State solution by seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution setting a time-line for the end of the Israeli occupation under international guarantees. Finding a solution to the current crisis required the political will, particularly of the United Nations Security Council, by applying pressure on Israel to cease its continuing aggression against the Palestinian people. It must assume its responsibility of ensuring the required international protection of the Palestinian people until the end of Israeli occupation, and ensuring the implementation of the resolution of international legitimacy which guaranteed to the Palestinian people the exercise of their inalienable rights, including the right to establish an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital. The High Contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention must assume their responsibilities to guarantee Israel’s observance and implementation of the Convention as the occupying power on the Palestinian Land.
Iran, representing the Non-Aligned Movement, said that despite decades of participation in peace efforts in good-faith, the Palestinians' plight had worsened on all fronts due to Israel’s persistent illegal policies and practices that undermined all peace endeavours. In this regard, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people was a solemn occasion for renewing the commitment to a just and lasting solution for the question of Palestine and a durable peace in the Middle East. The ongoing illegal Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory continued to be a matter of grave concern, and the Non Aligned Movement called for urgent action and practical measures by the international community, to compel the occupying power to cease completely its illegal and destructive settlement campaign and to abide by all of its obligations under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and United Nations resolutions. The Non Aligned Movement condemned the illegal Israeli practices aimed at altering the demographic composition, legal status, character and geographic nature of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, so as to facilitate de facto annexation of more Palestinian land.
Unfortunately, provocations by Israeli settlers and extremists, in sensitive religious sites, particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque, had worsened the situation on the ground, deepening already grave doubts regarding Israel’s false claimed commitment to peace. The Non Aligned Movement called upon the international community to provide urgently needed assistance to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis affecting the Palestinian people and reaffirmed that the United Nations had a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine, until it was resolved in all its aspects on the basis of international law.
A representative of the African Union said that the years continued to pass, but were very similar to each other when it came to serious violations of international law by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people who were abandoned by the international community and punished collectively because they pursued their legitimate quest to enjoy an independent State. The African Union deplored the escalation of violence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and condemned all Israeli actions aimed at changing cultural and historical characteristics in Jerusalem, including the demolition of homes and evictions, destruction of historical monuments of Islamic and Christian holy places, the apartheid wall, and the illegal settlements in East Jerusalem. The African Union condemned Israel’s declaration rejecting the two-State solution which jeopardized the peace process between the two parties and called upon the Security Council to assume its responsibilities for maintaining peace and international security, and to take the necessary measures to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in all its aspects, in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.
The African Union welcomed the hoisting of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations Headquarters and the recent Special Meeting of the Human Rights Council during which the President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas addressed the international community in person and expressed the distress of the Palestinian people. Israel continued to ban human rights organizations from visiting Gaza, and continued to refuse to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Human Rights Council, which showed that the Israeli authorities sought to conceal violations or escape international monitoring. The time had come to force Israel to cooperate fully with the United Nations inquiry and immediately allow human rights organizations to visit Gaza, stressed the African Union. In conclusion, the African Union said that everyone needed the fulfilment of the most basic needs: shelter, work, and land, and called upon international community to ensure those for the Palestinian people.
A representative of the World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA), a non-governmental organization accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that during the past year, violence had escalated tenfold in the Middle East. The prolonged military occupation of Palestine with its ongoing policies of colonialism, apartheid, genocide in Gaza, attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque, shoot to kill policies in Jerusalem, and now summary executions and punitive home demolitions violated the Palestinian people’s human rights, freedom of movement and religion, and sense of dignity, freedom, and security. To date, hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people, which Israel’s war in Gaza created, were still homeless, and humanitarian aid was still unable to address this problem.
The unresolved and prolonged Arab/Israeli war was one of the underlying causes of the widespread violence and humanitarian crisis in the region, leading to further territorial fragmentation, creating thousands of refugees and forced displacements, some of who were being displaced for a second and third time, leaving a detrimental effect on women and children. In addition, by not addressing the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, it was now adding to the global refugee crisis. World YWCA expressed support for Palestine’s right to self-determination as guaranteed in United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338 and demanded that all world leaders ensured these resolutions and international laws were implemented and enforced. World YWCA applauded the European Union’s decision on labelling products from the settlements and encouraged other actions that put pressure on Israel to comply with human rights and international law.
Palestine, reading out the statement of MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the Palestinian Authority, said that since its inception the United Nations had defended the Palestinian cause, placing it as a priority on the international agenda, extending a helping hand to the people and legislating resolutions and recommendations that constituted the foundations that could not be bypassed in the search for a just, lasting and comprehensive solution. The United Nations had the permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine, which must be upheld until this question was satisfactorily resolved in all its aspects in accordance with international law and the principles of justice. President Abbas’ message said Palestine expressed its deep regret that the many resolutions of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice had not been implemented, which had resulted in the continued denial of the rights of the Palestinian people. This had deepened the conviction about double standards which allowed Israel to behave with impunity and had grave consequences: the continued Israeli occupation and the persistence of colonial settlements, cruel arrests and detention of civilians, extra-judicial killings of youth and children, the blockade of Gaza, home demolitions, brutal attacks by Israeli terrorist settlers, including against the sanctity of Christian and Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, particularly aimed at changing the historic status quo at Al-Haram Al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa Mosque. This risked turning the conflict from a political and legal one to a religious conflict which would have disastrous consequences for everyone. Palestine would not accept this.
In his statement, President Abbas reiterated that the recent events in the country were the result of diminishing hopes, the continued situation of strangulation, siege and pressure, and the lack of sense of security and safety felt by the Palestinians. The angry uprising of the people and the successive events stemmed from Israeli’s incessant violations and crimes against the Palestinian people, their rights and their land, violations and crimes that continued as the international community continued to fail to rectify the injustice that had befallen the Palestinians, and to end their suffering, especially for the youth, whose hopes and beliefs in the future were diminishing. There was the urgent need for efforts to expand and intensify international engagement to achieve peace, and this included the adoption of a resolution by the Security Council which would include clear parameters to achieve peace on the basis of the two-State solution and with a set timeframe for ending the Israeli occupation. It was not logical to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations; it was urgent to act now to salvage the prospect for peace. In light of Israel’s destruction of the foundations upon which the political, economic and security arrangements had been signed, Palestine could not continue to be the only party bound by those agreements, said Mr. Abbas.
Ending the injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people was a moral and humanitarian responsibility, said President Abbas’ statement. The international community should compel Israel, the Occupying Power, to abide by international law, including humanitarian and human rights laws and relevant United Nations resolutions, and to put an end to its violations and its illegal, aggressive and destructive policies and practices. It must provide international protection for the Palestinian people for as long as this illegal occupation continued. Palestine wanted the complete end of the Israeli occupation of its land and the achievement of the sovereign contiguous State of Palestine of its national territory. The Palestinian people would continue to resist the occupation by peaceful means, they would not accept temporary or partial solutions and were seeking to form a government of national unity to function in accordance with the programme of the Palestine Liberation Organization leading to presidential and legislative elections.
For use of the information media; not an official record