Le Conseil des droits de l'homme consacre un débat général se penche sur la situation des droits de l'homme en Palestine et dans les autres territoires Arabes occupés – Communiqué de presse de l’CDH Français
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The Human Rights Council this morning held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories.
Israel, speaking as a concerned country, said ignoring Palestinian violence against Israel and the denial of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State detracted from any credibility the Council could have, and did not contribute to building Israel's confidence in the Council.
Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, said that the Prime Minister of Israel had spoken about his vision for peace. However, the conditions he gave ran counter to many international standards. The right to self-determination was not a right that could be assigned by an occupying force.
Syria, speaking as a concerned country, said Israel continued to make declarations to refuse to make peace, continued to refuse a Palestinian State, continued to build settlements and continued to occupy the Syrian Golan. Israel continued to violate international humanitarian and human rights laws.
In the general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories, speakers said the ongoing siege against the Palestinian people and the Israeli aggression in Gaza had engendered the destruction of private and public property, and the displacement of thousands of Palestinian citizens, depriving them of their right to food, shelter, and education. Israel’s violations of human rights continued, with no respect to international law and human rights. All Israeli measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were and remained illegal. The plight and suffering of Palestinian people could not continue. The construction of settlements – including natural growth – anywhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, was illegal under international law. Palestinians continued to face military intervention and occupation, extra-judicial and targeted assassinations; restriction of movement; and demolition of houses and infrastructure. Continued arbitrary detentions, persistence and strengthening of the Separation Wall, executions, abductions and disappearances, the widespread practice of torture and other human rights abuses were the way of life that Palestinians were forced to live with. There was a need to attain a just and lasting solution to the conflict in the Middle East; however this must be achieved in a balanced way and with respect for justice.
Speaking in the general debate were the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Arab Group, Egypt on behalf of the African Group, the Czech Republic on behalf of the European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Egypt in its national capacity, Qatar, Bahrain, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Malaysia, Kuwait, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco, United States, Iceland, Iran and Iraq. The League of Arab States took the floor, as did the following non-governmental organizations: Union of Arab Jurists, Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples, Arab Commission for Human Rights, Cairo Institute for Human Rights, United Nations Watch, World Union for Progressive Judaism, Coordinating Board of Jewish Organization, Al-Hakim Foundation and North South XXI.
The Council today is holding three back-to-back meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. During its midday meeting, it will hear the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan present her report, and then hold an interactive dialogue with her.
Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories
Statements by Concerned Countries
AHARON LESHNO-YAAR (Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said Israel was concerned that the overwhelming consensus was that this conflict seemed to only have one party. Not once was the fate of the innocent civilians living in Israel brought to the attention of the Council. If the Council wanted Israel to take it seriously, then it must show some understanding and solidarity with the suffering and concerns of the Israeli people. Ignoring Palestinian violence against Israel, and the denial of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State detracted from any credibility the Council could have, and did not contribute to building Israel's confidence in the Council. No resolution of the Council adopted by the automatic majority of the Arab countries and their supporters would change the basic truth that in times of military conflict, people had to be led by some fundamental principles of law and morality. Israel was willing to come to the table of bilateral negotiations. Israel's willingness, together with the Palestinians, to work towards peace was a far cry from Syria's assertion last week that Israel's intent was to destroy the Arab world and throw the Palestinians into the sea - Israel appreciated the comic relief, but had no intentions in this regard. The Palestinian people in the West Bank had neither a normal life, nor a good reality - the same went for Israelis. All deserved a better life, a better reality, and could not afford to remain passive, but should act now.
IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that the Prime Minister of Israel had spoken about his vision for peace. However, the conditions he gave the Palestinian people ran counter to many international standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right to self-determination was not a right that could be assigned by an occupying force. The occupying force wanted to continue being an occupying force. As for Jerusalem, Netanyahu’s vision also ran counter to several resolutions which considered it as occupied territory. This was a racist evidence of the racist policy of Israel that blatantly disregarded all fundamental freedoms of the Palestinian people. Israel’s vision expressed by Netanyahu also ran counter to the clearly expressed vision by President Barack Obama which was based on a two-State solution that he had mentioned only recently during his visit to Egypt. Israel scorned and rejected the unanimity of the international community concerning the importance of the removal of the occupation. Palestine was not asking for a nuclear State, but for a peaceful State with East Jerusalem as its eternal capital, as well as a solution for the refugee problem, the release of Palestinian prisoners of war and the possibility to rebuild the destruction caused by Israel and health care for the victims.
FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI (Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said the Palestinian people were constantly subjected to terrorism, sieges and criminalization by the Israeli occupation. Israel continued to make declarations to refuse to make peace, continued to refuse a Palestinian State, continued to build settlements and continued to occupy the Syrian Golan. With regard to the situation in the Syrian Golan, Syria stressed that the situation was not that much better than the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory - Israel continued to violate international humanitarian law and human rights. There was a five-year prison term that was recently passed by Israel with respect to a case involving a journalist and a farmer. Syria highlighted that there was a strange situation that was provoked by the occupying forces, a situation that was not heard about, where one Israeli court sentenced a child who was one and half years of age, a resident of the Golan, to house arrest for what was considered a crime - the parents’ refusal of the Israeli nationality. Syria called on the Council to urge Israel to reverse its decision to refuse the Council’s resolution 10/17, and to remind Israel that it was not above the law, otherwise there would be no hope for true peace and stability.
ADEL ESSA HUR AL MAHRI (United Arab Emirates), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said the ongoing siege against the Palestinian people and the Israeli aggression in Gaza had engendered the destruction of private and public property, and the displacement of thousands of Palestinian citizens, depriving them of their right to food, shelter, and education. The detention of thousands of Palestinians and the policy of extra-judicial killings and imposition of military barriers and checkpoints all violated the free movement of people and goods. Christian and Muslim Palestinians could not freely attend their places of worship. All of these were flagrant violations of international human rights, including the Geneva Conventions. The international community and international bodies had mentioned the need to help the Palestinian authorities to reconstruct Gaza, and to help them to face up to the policies of force of Israel and its prohibition of the supply of humanitarian goods. This disaster, this catastrophic situation which Palestinians in Gaza were living through every day, had to come to an end. Israel refused to accept the resolutions of the international community, including the Council. It refused to cooperate with the Special Procedures, and this undermined the work of the Council. The violations of human rights continued, with no respect to international law and human rights.
AMR ROSHDY HASSAN (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the African Group, asked where the High Commissioner was or a representative of her Office. What gave her the right to decide that this was not an important issue and that she did not have to attend the meeting? Later today, when the Council took up the situation in Sudan, he was sure the High Commissioner or her representative would be attending, and there would be no empty seats on the podium. Yesterday, she was asked many questions and none of them were replied to, which was unacceptable. Egypt expressed its grave concern regarding her absence during the debate on the situation in Gaza. All Israeli measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were and remained illegal. The plight and suffering of Palestinian people could not continue. Israel should adhere to its obligations established by the International Court of Justice and several human rights treaty bodies. The African Group called upon Israel to fully accept the rights of the Syrian inhabitants of the Syrian Golan as stated in the Fourth Geneva Convention.
JEANIE TOMKIN (Czech Republic), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union expressed its continued concern over the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its commitment for the need to seek a political solution to the crisis in the Middle East. The European Union reiterated the urgency of a durable solution to the Gaza crisis through the full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1860, and called for the immediate and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of aid, trade and persons to and from Gaza without which the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid, reconstruction and economic recovery would not be possible. Israel continued to hold hundreds of Palestinians in administrative detention without formal charges, including minors. The European Union remained deeply concerned about continued settlements activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The construction of settlements – including natural growth – anywhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, was illegal under international law. The European Union also deplored the discriminatory application of planning and residence laws which resulted in the eviction of Palestinian residents and the destruction of their homes, particularly in East Jerusalem.
ZAMIR AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the Organization of the Islamic Conference remained concerned over the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories. Palestinians continued to face military intervention and occupation, extra-judicial and targeted assassinations; restriction of movement; and demolition of houses and infrastructure. Continued arbitrary detentions, persistence and strengthening of the Separation Wall, executions, abductions and disappearances, the widespread practice of torture and other human rights abuses were the way of life that Palestinians were forced to live with. All Special Rapporteurs and independent observers had widely reported and criticised human rights violations by Israel. Implementation of the resolutions of the Council would at least bring some relief to the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation. The human rights violations in the occupied Syrian Golan also continued with no end in sight. If violence and retaliation was to be effectively countered, the international community would need to step up its efforts to end Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and other Arab territories, which was the root cause of all violence, insecurity and instability in the region. The Council and the international community needed to act decisively to end the suffering of the Palestinian people and help them exercise their fundamental right to self-determination.
RESFEL PINO ALVAREZ (Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that while the whole world was celebrating the end of the year 2008 and the beginning of 2009, more than 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, died under the bombs of the Israeli air force and artillery. As a result of this aggression, the human rights of the Palestinian people, especially of those living in the Gaza Strip, were violated and massacred by the force of the weapons of the Israeli army. The Israeli troops destroyed everything: the infrastructure, mosques, United Nations facilities, hospitals, houses and educational centers. In that regard, the Non-Aligned Movement welcomed the appointment of the independent international Fact-finding Mission under the leadership of Judge Goldstone. For more than 42 years, the peoples living in the Palestinian and other Arab Occupied Territories, including the Occupied Syrian Golan, had continuously suffered under the Israel brutal military occupation of their land. The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirmed its firm commitment to end the suffering of the Palestinian people.
AMR ROSHDY HASSAN (Egypt) said that Egypt was convinced that there was a need to attain a just and lasting solution to the conflict in the Middle East; however this must be achieved in a balanced way and with respect for justice. Israeli practices in the Occupied Arab Territories suggested that Israel was not ready to follow the path to peace. Israel continued its siege, targeted civilians, and continued to build its separation wall – which meant the building of Palestinian State was far from close. Israel violated international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel’s continued building of settlements left little land for the Palestinians to negotiate with. Israel continued to confiscate Syrian lands. Much had been said, and much would be said about the flagrant violations of human rights of the Arab populations by Israel, but the international community had not heard the half of it. The international community made a lot of noise about violations made by developing countries – if this policy of double standards continued many obstacles would remain in the path to peace.
FAISAL ABDULLA AL-HENZAB (Qatar) said a number of resolutions had been adopted condemning Israeli violations of human rights, and calling upon Israel to respect these, however, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories continued to deteriorate, as Israel targeted civilians, denying them their rights as set out in international law. Palestinian land was shrinking due to colonisation. The Israeli Prime Minister had said that the Government was determined to continue settlements on the West Bank, and would defy international opinion in this regard. There were developments in the Palestinian Territories and the arrogance and pretentiousness of the Israeli Government was imposing unachievable conditions for the establishment of two States. There was no credibility to the United Nations resolutions on the situation. All Special Procedures had condemned the violations of human rights by the Occupying Forces. The Council should force Israel to respect its international obligations and respect the rights of the Palestinians. Historical conflicts could not be resolved merely through words - Palestine had made concessions to achieve a Palestinian State, but the Occupying Forces were not prepared to follow the path of peace. Israel should be pressurised, maybe through sanctions, in order to respect international law. There could be no peace as long as there was occupation and settlements.
ABDULLA ABDULLATIF ABDULLA (Bahrain) said that Bahrain thanked the President of the Human Rights Council for his efforts to set up an international Fact-finding Mission to go to Gaza. Bahrain insisted that human rights were a common pillar for all States and had to be respected by all States. Particularly, Bahrain said that people under occupation should determine their own fate. Israel continued the building of the wall, continued settlements, and continued killing Palestinian people which were all flagrant violations of the Geneva Conventions. The situation in the occupied Syrian Golan remained of great concern as well. Bahrain appealed to the Council to provide protection for the Palestinian people, respect for the inalienable rights of the Palestinians, and establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.
JURG LAUBER (Switzerland) welcomed the renewed resolve of the international community, and in particular of the United States, for the active promotion of a durable solution to the situation in the Middle East. The situation in Gaza was extremely worrying and Switzerland noted that movement to the Gaza Strip remained hindered. The passage of humanitarian goods to Gaza must be ensured. In order to attenuate supplies to the civilian populations a control measure should be ensured, and Switzerland was prepared to contribute to this. Egypt’s efforts to promote a Palestinian-Palestinian agreement were welcomed, and Switzerland called on Hamas to cooperate fully. The extreme loss of life in Gaza was noted with concern, and Switzerland reiterated the importance to shed light on all the events that took place in order to know if violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law had been committed, and who the perpetrators were. Continued settlements, and the building of the wall were illegal acts and hindered viable peace between Israel and Palestine. Israel as the occupying power must conform to its commitments under international law, to ensure that people living in the occupied territories could live in an equitable way.
MARINA KORUNOVA (Russian Federation) said the Russian Federation was in favour of the continuance of full-scale Israeli-Palestinian discussions in order to achieve a fair and just solution, with the creation of a sovereign Palestinian State, living together with Israel in peace. As a result of the long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip, there was a grave humanitarian situation in the area. Russia was in favour of large-scale donor support for the Palestinians. All the steps taken in this regard could only be effective if there was a safe and secure situation in the region, with a safe basis for the Palestinian State. The international community should not digress from the main objective: to support the peace process on a legitimate international basis. One of the fundamental conditions to ensure cooperation to protect and promote human rights in the area was the cooperation of all States and their good will to implement resolutions adopted during sessions of the international community, without which the work of the Council lost all meaning. Israel's position to not comply with the Fact-Finding Mission and the ninth Special Session of the Council could not be ignored.
ALEXANDRE GUIDO LOPES PAROLA (Brazil) said that in January 2009, the Human Rights Council had convened a Special Session on the impact of the financial and economic crisis to the realization of all human rights. On that occasion, Brazil had joined efforts with many other countries, particularly from the developed world, in order to giver their leaders a clear message on the importance of taking into due account the human rights perspective when setting out the ways to overcome the crisis. Despite their differences, the Special Session had allowed them to reflect upon the effects of the crises to the realization of all human rights. Either developed or developing countries: all had to be concerned about the impact of these crises on human rights. The presence of so many international organizations was also a clear signal on the importance of convening that session that many were skeptic about. In a broader perspective, the Special Session on the financial crisis had also contributed to open the Council, in an innovative way, to the debate on ongoing issues under the perspective of human rights. [The Vice-President of the Council said this statement would be placed under another agenda item as the Council was now debating the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories.]
RAHLAGA KGOMOTSO (South Africa) said South Africa welcomed the statement given by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the intention of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to strengthen its efforts in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as the findings of the Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza. South Africa abhorred the impunity under which acts were continuously committed by the Israeli Government, and life-long psychological scares were inflicted on the population. The international community had a responsibility to ensure that the collective response to these violations was equitable and balanced. South Africa reaffirmed its support for the two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. South Africa urged Israel to implement Human Rights Council resolutions and to cooperate with the Fact-Finding Mission and the Special Rapporteur on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as this would dispel any doubt that remained within the international community, and would relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people.
AHMED SULEIMAN IBRAHIM ALAQUIL. (Saudi Arabia) said for decades Israel had been practicing a policy of collective punishment, had attacked innocent people, and had carried on a blockade that had destroyed the Palestinian economic infrastructure. There was a need to lift the blockade on Gaza, and the conditions imposed had provoked a deterioration in the situation there - among the human rights that were violated was that Israel chased people from their homes, which was counter to international legality and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice declared that the settlements were illegal, and yet Israel was pursuing their construction, triggering a deterioration of human rights for the population and undermining the hope for the creation of a Palestinian State. Human rights had to be respected in Palestine, and there should be an end to all human rights violations of the Palestinian people. Saudi Arabia expressed its great concern given the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and urged the Council to take all necessary measures to provide assistance to the Palestinian people.
GHADEER H. EL-FAYEZ (Jordan) said that the situation of human rights, along with the already dire economic and humanitarian conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, continued to deteriorate due to the ongoing Israeli actions and measures in violation of its obligation under international law; Israel had an obligation to abide by international humanitarian law and human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This obligation had been well established in international law and Israel’s argument that its actions were to be measured only against the rule of international humanitarian law remained unacceptable. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination was a well established principle in international law and had been reaffirmed not only as a rule of customary international law but also as an erga omnes obligation, and therefore, all States had an obligation to promote and facilitate its realization. In addition, the Human Rights Committee underlined the importance of the realization of the right to self-determination as an essential condition for the promotion and protection of human rights. It was disquieting to note that Israel had not fulfilled its obligation in this regard.
JOHAN ARIFF ABDUL RAZAK (Malaysia) said that Malaysia wished to express its grave concern over the continuing Israeli policy of demolition of houses and infrastructure, confiscation of land, expanding settlements and construction of the separation wall within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In this regard, Malaysia noted with encouragement the approach taken by the current United States administration on this issue, and fully supported the call made by the United States President Obama in his recent speech in Cairo for Israel to halt the expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Malaysia remained highly concerned with the continuing refusal of Israel to recognise the legitimate rights of Palestinians living under its occupation, and reiterated the view that such actions on the part of Israel constituted a material breach of its obligations under relevant international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
NAJEEB A.A. AL-BADER (Kuwait) said the Human Rights Council had taken many resolutions that remained to be implemented, and there was great concern for the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. All the resolutions should be implemented. The Human Rights Council must protect the Palestinian civilians and bring an end to the occupation and the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The conditions imposed by the Occupying Power had a considerable effect on the rights of the people of Palestine, including their economic and social rights. The attacks on them, including on women and children, were grave human rights violations. There could be no peace whilst these continued. The presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the area and its activities could be a way to officially register human rights violations and the refusal of the Occupying Power to respect the decisions of the Council and other international legal bodies. The Council should shoulder its responsibilities and call upon the Israeli forces to cease violating human rights on Palestinian territory and to implement the resolutions of the international community.
AHMED SAADI (Algeria) said that the suffering of the Palestinian people during the last six decades had surpassed all limits. Palestinian homes were destroyed in order to expand the Israeli settlements. The Human Rights Council should show solidarity with all who sought the realization of human rights. Algeria drew the attention of the Council to the heinous attempts of judaization of Jerusalem and the practice of importing foreigners to replace the Palestinians. Peoples had a sacred right to liberate themselves from occupation. In conformity with the provisions of international law, Israel had to put an end to occupation and to the violation of all human rights.
SAEED AL HABSI (United Arab Emirates) said that the United Arab Emirates expressed great concern given the increase of grave violations committed by Israel within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In particular, the lack of water for human beings, animals and agriculture was of concern. This caused a degradation of the farm land and the livelihood of the Palestinian people. Israel was confiscating water from the Palestinian territories and was also diverting water away from those regions, which impacted the availability of water for the Palestinian people and raised concerns with regard to the contamination of water sources. Israel continued to blatantly violate human rights, as well as seriously violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child with the imposition of the Israeli nationality on children living in the Syrian Golan.
WALID ALETHARY (Yemen) said it was not surprising that the international community continued to be seized of this issue. Israel was found to be guilty in many international reports for indiscriminate acts against the Palestinian people, and the army carried out murderous attacks on civilians. The Palestinians were subjected to genocide and murder and acts that were tantamount to full-scale collective punishment. The international community should bring pressure to bear on the Israeli authorities, which was bound by all international conventions, and the international community should make them responsible for all the sufferings and bring an end to all acts of collective punishment, especially in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians continued to suffer all kinds of injustices such as arrest and detention.
ALI CHERIF (Tunisia) said that the violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Gaza Strip following the military attacks carried out by Israel were unjustifiable and had to be investigated in order to inform the international community on the sad reality of the Palestinian people. Those responsible needed to be identified. There was no other solution than a durable solution with durable borders. Tunisia expressed its concern regarding the creation of new settlements and considered that this activity would jeopardize the peace in the region. Tunisia also mentioned the deplorable fate of the Arab detainees in Israeli prisons. In the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank or the Golan Height, these detainees had to be treated in accordance with international law and with respect to human dignity.
NAJLA RIACHI ASSAKER (Lebanon) said that the discussion on the situation in the Middle East must be continued as long as Israel continued to refuse the implementation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and as long as the borders of 1967 were not returned to. Israel’s continued project of settlement expansion continued to eat away at Palestinian territories, and the continued building of the separation wall continued to hamper Palestinians rights to education, supplies, free movement, land, and continued to divide their territory. Gaza was one big prison. Human rights violations continued in Palestine and the Syrian Golan. Israel continued to flout international legality and was postponing peace. The security and rights of a people could not be achieved at the expense of the rights and security of another. Lebanon reaffirmed that the Beirut initiative and the withdrawal of the occupation powers pursuant to General Assembly resolutions was the only way to achieve lasting peace and would enable the people of the region to live in peace and stability.
ASLIGUL UGDUL (Turkey) said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained at the core of all problems in the region. These problems could not be addressed in isolation - there was a need for a comprehensive approach to reinvigorate the peace process in all its tracks. A durable peace in the Middle East would not be possible without solving the conflict. All actions that undermined the peace process should be halted. The full implementation of Security Council resolution 1860 and unimpeded distribution of humanitarian assistance should be ensured in order to address the situation in Gaza. The determination of the international community to achieve the ultimate objective of establishing peace and security in the region should be translated into concrete process. The Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority should take advantage of the willingness that some of the main players had recently expressed.
MOHAMED ACHGALOU (Morocco) said that Morocco was grateful to all States that had undertaken efforts to enhance the rights of the Palestinian brothers. The issue of Jerusalem lay at the heart of the Palestinian situation, but this city was occupied and was being altered. There were attempts of judaization which were particularly dangerous since the city was a symbol of coexistence of religions. The Council had to express international solidarity and history and be aware of the role which was so closely linked to Arab identity. Morocco underlined that the Geneva Convention applied to Jerusalem and imposing a fait accompli policy would not allow the situation to be resolved. The Palestinians had a legitimate right to establish a Palestinian State with secure borders alongside the Israeli State.
MARK CASSAYRE (United States) said the peaceful resolution of the conflict was in Israel’s interest, the Palestinians’ interest, the region’s interest and the world’s interest. It was time for everyone to live up to their responsibilities. The United States aligned its policies with those who pursued a comprehensive peace among Israel and all its neighbours that respected Israel’s rightful place in the community of nations. The United States said in private and public to Israelis and Palestinians and others - all parties had to live up to their obligations and responsibilities to each other and as members of the international community. The Council had to also live up to its responsibilities. As one of the few international fora on human rights, it had to remain balanced and objective, including on issues relating to the Middle East. The Council should not apply its politicized resolutions that focused unconstructively on one issue at the cost of ignoring others around the world.
VETUR THOR STEFANSSON (Iceland) said the Human Rights Council was founded to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner. Its obligation was to enhance the protection and promotion of human rights. It was to Iceland's dismay that the Israeli Government had refused to work with the Fact-finding Mission. A great opportunity could be lost, not only for the international community, but for Israel too. If all parties worked with the Mission, there would be a thorough inquiry into alleged crimes committed during the conflict. Unless Israel urgently changed course, this opportunity would be lost. The Government should cooperate with the Mission immediately. It was the duty of United Nations Member States to protect the reputation of the Organization - thus, every State should commit itself to full cooperation with the Organization and its agencies, or its capability to carry out tasks was undermined.
ASADOLLAH ESHRAGH JAHROMI (Iran) said that the international community had been continuously witnessing the deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Palestine and the occupied Arab territories including occupied Syrian Golan due to gross and systematic violations of human rights committed by the Israeli regime during the past decades. In addition to the former Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council since its inception had held several special sessions to address this specific and alarming situation with a view to halt those human rights violations, regrettably with no tangible and concrete result. Following the recent full-fledged military aggression against the Gaza Strip early this year, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution and strongly condemned the Israeli military operation carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in massive violations of human rights of the Palestinian people and the systematic destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure.
FARIS AL-ANI (Iraq) said that for more than 60 years the Palestinian people had faced the worst forms of torture and the violation of their rights. They had been subjected to genocide and siege. Iraq welcomed the fact that the Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza had gone to investigate the violations and attacks made by Israel on the people of Gaza. Those responsible for war crimes should not remain unpunished. The international community remained silent on these crimes and that was not acceptable. There was an Arab initiative which provided a just solution, and as such Israel should seize this opportunity. It was no longer possible to distort reality.
SAAD ALFARARGI, of the League of Arab States, said the ugliest face of injustice was the occupation by Israel of Palestine, southern Lebanon and the Syrian Golan. The building of new settlements was a single example of Israeli violations that were in full view of all. The Nowhere Safe Committee, formed of impartial judges had testified to the genocide and murder committed there, portrayed the full-scale and systematic attack against civilians. Humanitarian law condemned Israel. Peace would never be achieved except with the end of occupation and full and complete withdrawal from the occupied territories, a just solution for Palestinian refugees, and the establishment of a Palestinian State with its capital in East Jerusalem. Rhetoric cycles would not lead to the end of the conflict. Humanitarian solutions would not lead to a viable solution or a viable State. The Council should adopt a clear ruling based on international legitimacy and justice, and call for the end of Israeli occupation.
ELIAS KHOURI, of Union of Arab Jurists, of Union of Arab Jurists, said that the suffering of the Palestinian people increased daily. The rights of the Palestinian people, internationally acknowledged, were not respected. The rights of Arab detainees were not respected and they were in poor medical condition without any access to health care. The Security Council resolution as well as various resolutions of this Council had stated that the occupation of the Golan was illegal, despite that the Israeli occupying forces tried to impose Israeli nationality on the Syrians. The Union of Arab Jurists called on the international community to reaffirm its condemning of Israeli practices.
GIANFRANCO FATTORINI, of Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples, said the Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples shared the concerns expressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of the deteriorating saturation of the human rights of the Palestinian people, as a result of the measures imposed by Israel. Whilst the Palestinian people were struggling for survival, Israel was presenting itself as the victim. Israel had a right to super impunity in which it was able to violate major rights and obligations, but maintained support by western States. The Palestinian people had to be given the right to self-determination. In conclusion, the refusal to apply sanctions on the State of Israel called in question the creditability of the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the United Nations system as whole, as well as the people who considered themselves as defenders of human rights around the world.
ABDEL WAHAB HANI, of the Arab Commission for Human Rights, said the unimaginable conditions that had been presented by the extreme right-wing alliance had triggered indignation by the international community. The inalienable right to self-determination by the Palestinian people could not be denied. The condition of recognising the Jewish nature of the Israeli State was an unacceptable condition, and was the same as asking people to recognise apartheid in South Africa. The Occupying Power should respect its international obligations. That the State refused to comply with international resolutions was unacceptable, and the Council should mandate a group of Experts to list all recommendations and decisions of the Council and the United Nations as a whole which had not been respected and could be - the very credibility of the United Nations was at stake in this regard. The United Nations should convene a meeting of the parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to investigate the situation and pursue those who had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
JEREMIE SMITH, of Cairo Institute for Human Rights, said that in May 2009 a seminal study was released entitled “Occupation, Colonialism and Apartheid: A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories under international law”. The purpose of the report was to examine in a legislative non-politicized manner the question raised before this Council concerning the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the occupying power and third States. It concluded that Israel exercised control in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by Jews over Palestinian and that this system constituted a breach of the prohibition of apartheid.
MARISSA CRAMER, of United Nations Watch, said that history would record that this day, 16 June 2009, of everything that was happening around the world this week and today, the Human Rights Council was once again addressing the violations of human rights by Israel. Was this really the only pressing issue in the world today? The agenda item was biased and violated the principles of objectivity and non-selectivity. Was the Council aware of the greatest violations of human rights happening right now? How would history judge what was happening right here, right now?
DAVID LITTMAN, of World Union for Progressive Judaism, said Gaza, under the rule of Hamas, was a classic example of a divided society. The genocidal nature of the 1988 Hamas Charter had never been condemned by any United Nations body- until that was done, and the Charter had been totally renounced by Hamas, no peace or reconciliation with Israel would be possible for Gaza. Surely the time had come for the Council to condemn the Mein Kampf-like Jihadist Charter of Hamas, as well as all calls to kill in the name of God or religion - any religion.
KLAUS NETTER, of Coordination Board of Jewish Organizations, in a joint statement with B'nai B'rith International, said that many countries both in and outside the Council looked forward with high expectation to the first participation of the United States as a full member of this Council in the next few days. This return reflected a pronounced multilateral approach in United States foreign policy, starting first and foremost with an active participation throughout the United Nations System. There could be little doubt that this turning point could strengthen the influence and effectiveness of the United Nations as a whole and of this Council in particular. It was likely that another resolution would be drawn up and in the full knowledge of the uselessness of such resolutions in the past, the organization suggested that no action be taken on any resolution under this item, so as not to oblige the welcome new member of the Council to cast a lonely negative vote, even as it placed the resolution of this conflict at the top of its foreign policy agenda.
SALLAMA AL-KHAFAJI, of Al-Hakim Foundation, said that East Jerusalem from the perspective of international law was an annexed territory by Israel which was attempting to judiasize the city. Further measures to do so included the expansion of Israeli settlements, the changing of licensing procedures and impeding the movement of Palestinians. The routes to and from Gaza were impeded and had to be opened in order to ensure the flow of humanitarian aid. In addition families must be allowed to visit one another.
LILY AUROVILLIAN, of North South XXI, said the situation of Palestine remained the longest still-unresolved serious human rights situation on the United Nations agenda. All actors should fully cooperate with the Fact-finding Mission. It was regretted that Israel had failed to fully cooperate with the Mission, and the Council should take appropriate steps to redress this situation of non-compliance and non-cooperation, which was in direct defiance of not only the Council's decisions but also in defiance of the General Assembly's and the Security Council's decisions. The Council, through the General Assembly, Security Council, or the International Court of Justice, should ensure that Israel's violations of human rights were prosecuted. Failure to do so would heighten suspicions about the integrity of international justice.
For use of the information media; not an official record