Le Conseil des droits de l'homme se penche sur la situation des droits de l'homme en Palestine et dans les autres territoires arabes occupés - Communiqué de presse
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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS GENERAL DEBATE ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
26 September 2011
The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories.
Bacre Ndiaye, Director of the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in introducing the two reports under the agenda item, said that Human Rights Council resolution 16/32 had requested that the Secretary-General present a report on progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict. The Secretary-General’s report had reviewed every recommendation of the Fact-Finding Mission and it provided up-to-date information regarding the status of implementation of these recommendations. The Human Rights Council also requested that the High Commissioner present a report on the implementation of resolution 16/32. The High Commissioner’s report had reviewed the key operative paragraphs of resolution 16/32 and provided information on action taken in response to the Council’s requests therein.
Israel did not take the floor as a concerned country.
Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, said the occupying power remained unabated in its violations of international law, including the Geneva Conventions, determined to preserve its identity as a colonial apartheid power. On behalf of the Palestinian people, Mahmoud Abbas had submitted Palestine’s application for membership to the United Nations last Friday, based on the natural, legal and historical rights of the Palestinian people. The resumption of negotiations was a given, but without recognized borders there would be no negotiations.
Syria, speaking as a concerned country, said Israel was continuing its Judification programme in the Syrian Golan and was conducting the theft of water and territory. These were crimes against humanity. All of these crimes and aggressive acts had thus led to the increased isolation of Israel by the peoples of the world. If the Human Rights Council wished to remain credible, it should not remain silent before a country that carried out massacres that United Nations observers had defined as war crimes.
In the general debate, speakers observed, among other issues, that dozens of countries supported the right of Palestinian people to self-determination. It was time for the majority of the international community to recognize the right to self-determination of the Palestinians and to allow Palestine to become a full fledged member of the United Nations. Some speakers said there was a long-standing international consensus recognizing the right to self-determination with Palestine as a State on the basis of the borders of 4 June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. One speaker energetically condemned that such an aspiration could be blocked by the veto power of the permanent member of the Security Council which guaranteed Israel’s impunity. Such an action would reinforce the status quo that was condemned session after session at the Council.
Speakers said the siege imposed on Gaza was a collective punishment which amounted to a war crime and States called upon the Council and the relevant United Nations bodies to take necessary action to compel Israel to immediately lift this illegal blockade. The credibility of the Council and of the international human rights system was on the line. States remained concerned about the construction and expansion of settlements which represented a blatant violation of humanitarian law and an obstruction to the peace process. It was important to reiterate the importance of implementing the recommendations contained in the reports, in particular the Fact-Finding Mission led by Judge Goldstone.
Speaking in the interactive dialogue were Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group, Senegal on behalf of the African Group, Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Switzerland, China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Cuba, Kuwait, Maldives, Bangladesh, Qatar, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Algeria,
Morocco, Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Sudan, League of Arab States, South Africa, Lebanon, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Venezuela, and Tunisia.
Also speaking were representatives of BADIL Resources Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, Al Haq Law in the Service of Man, Coordinated Board of Jewish Organizations, Hope International, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amitie entre les Peuples, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’Homme, Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru, and United Nations Watch.
The next meeting of the Council will be on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 at 9 a.m., when it will hold a general debate on follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The Council will also meet in private to consider its Complaint Procedure. During the midday meeting, there will be an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on racism and members of the Working Group on peoples of African descent.
The Report of the Secretary-General on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission by all concerned parties, including United Nations bodies, in accordance with paragraph 3 of section B of Human Rights Council resolution S-12/1, (A/HRC/18/49), focuses on the status of implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (A/HRC/12/48). It reviews all recommendations made by the Mission, in the order in which they appear in the Mission report. The report looks at action taken by the Human Rights Council, the Security Council, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the General Assembly, the State of Israel, Palestinian armed groups, responsible Palestinian authorities, the international community, the Secretary-General and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Progress report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/32, (A/HRC/18/50), provides information on the status of implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/32, which concerns follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.
Introduction of the Reports
BACRE NDIAYE, Director of the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, introducing the two reports under agenda item seven, said that Human Rights Council resolution 16/32 had requested that the Secretary-General present a report on progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict. The Secretary-General’s report had reviewed every recommendation of the Fact-Finding Mission and provided up-to-date information regarding the status of implementation of these recommendations. The information contained in the report was gathered by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights from States, organizations and other entities to which the Mission addressed its recommendations, in particular other United Nations agencies. The Human Rights Council also requested that the High Commissioner present a report on the implementation of resolution 16/32. The High Commissioner’s report had reviewed the key operative paragraphs of resolution 16/32 and provided information on action taken in response to the Council’s requests therein.
Statements by the Concerned Countries
IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, expressed gratitude to the High Commissioner, her Office and the Special Procedures and treaty bodies, for their efforts towards the protection of human rights without distinction; and called on them to remain steadfast and continue with their work, particularly regarding the situation in Palestine. Action concerning the implementation of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission including retribution to the victims was necessary. Palestine recalled the statement by the Prime Minister of the occupying power at the General Assembly, which affirmed that the United Nations was nothing but at a surreal stage, giving Israel the role of the villain but also giving the villain a major role. Israel seemed to forget that it itself was created by a United Nations resolution. The time had come for the international community to move from rhetoric to action, from allocution about the Palestinian cause to responsible action, in the form of legal and collective commitment for the realization of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to return to their homeland and life in freedom on their soil. The occupying power remained unabated in its violations to international law, including the Geneva Conventions, determined to preserve its identity as a colonial apartheid power. It had proven difficult for it to make a transition from an occupying power to a peace seeking entity. Israel’s actions showed that it without doubt persisted in occupation, deliberate assassinations, detentions, demolitions of housing and public property, and breaching international commitments. Concerning the violations committed by settlers in full view of the occupying authority, including the banners openly calling for the killing of Palestinians, Israel, the occupying power, refused to acknowledge reality.
The people of Palestine existed and would not forgo their land. There existed cooperation between the world and Palestine, what was missing was the demarcation of the borders. But did Israel have recognized borders? Israel would not have recognized borders as long as it continued with its occupation policy, walls, detentions, arrests, murders and disregard for international norms and conventions: was this the way to ensure their security? Palestinians believed that only peace based on international legality would beget from peace, not from walls, not from settlements and not from arrests. The world followed eagerly President Mahmoud Abbas historical speech to the General Assembly. The occupying power’s Prime Minister’s speech appeared at a loss to justify Israel’s occupation. The Palestinian people could not and would not consent that the occupation persisted, the international community could not continue to feed the occupation, and international law could not continue to be hostage of double standards. For these reasons and on behalf of the Palestinian people, Mahmoud Abbas submitted Palestine’s application for membership to the United Nations last Friday, based on the natural legal and historical rights of the Palestinian people, including General Assembly resolution 181, from 29 November 1947, the Palestinian declaration of independence from 15 Nov 1988, as well as on the General Assembly recognition of this declaration in resolution 177/43 in 1988; and based on the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security, accepted by the Secretary-General, the General Assembly and the international community, and contained in all the relevant United Nations resolutions. The membership application had been transmitted to the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly to be considered as soon as possible.
The resumption of negotiations was a given, but without recognized borders there would be no negotiation. Proposals were being considered, including that from President Sarkozy, and were being studied by the Palestinian leadership. However, the Quartet had failed to advance the peace process. Palestine reiterated that Israel must accept the Arab Initiative submitted by His Majesty the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. It reaffirmed the refugees’ right to return to their homeland; no talk about peace in the Middle East could take place without a settlement of the Palestinian question. Palestine challenged the international community to rise to the task and take responsibility and to allow the region to live in security and prosperity.
FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI (Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said the Human Rights Council was once again discussing violations of human rights in Palestine and the occupied Syrian Golan. Following the murder of peace activists on the peace flotilla the Israelis had shot at Syrians trying to recall the disaster of 1967 who were trying to return to their lands. For several weeks new crimes had been committed. The Israeli authorities had built a racist separation wall separating the Golan from its mother nation. All these actions confirmed the State terrorism carried out by Israel and the aggression against Arabs as a State policy. None of those supporting Israel had called for a special session to protest the Israeli actions. Israel was above international legality. After 27 years Israel was holding a prisoner of Syrian Golan whose only crime was to have burnt his Israeli identification papers. Israel was conducting torture and claimed to be the only democracy in the region. Israel was continuing its Judification programme in Golan and was conducting the theft of Palestinian water and territory. These were crimes against humanity. All of these crimes and aggressive acts had thus led to the increased isolation of Israel by the peoples of the world. This should help Israel understand that it was perpetuating crimes of murder. If they wished to remain credible, the Human Rights Council should not remain silent before a country that carried out massacres that United Nations observers had defined as war crimes. The few remaining countries that found pretexts for Israel should not find pretexts and should convince the occupying power to stop its occupying territory and recognize the Palestine State as the world would soon be recognizing the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders with the right of return and Jerusalem as its capital.
MAHMOUD AFIFI (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said that Israel had flouted all resolutions adopted by various United Nations bodies and had continued to violate all international human rights laws. Israel continued to refuse to cooperate with the opinion of the International Court of Justice on the security barrier wall. The Arab Group supported the establishment of an independent Palestine State with East Jerusalem as its capital and the return of Palestinians to their homeland and property, which was their inalienable right. It was time for the majority of the international community to recognize the right to self-determination of the Palestinians and to allow Palestine to become a full fledged member of the United Nations. The Arab Group called on Israel to cease violations of human rights against the Palestinian people and reiterated its request to secure implementation of the recommendations in the report on the Fact-Finding Mission in Gaza. The Israeli occupation authorities had consistently continued their violations of the human rights of the citizens in the Occupied Golan, both on 15 May and 5 June, when agricultural land that belonged to Syrians was confiscated to build a wall under the pretext to build a security line. The flagrant, systematic and massive violations of the occupying power, Israel should not continue to be ignored.
BABACAR BA (Senegal), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the reports following up on the resolutions of the Human Rights Council showed once again the continuing refusal of Israel to cooperate with implementing the recommendations made by the Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza. The African Group was concerned by the deprivation of basic rights without justification and in flagrant violation of all rules of international law. The unlawfulness of the Gaza blockade was intolerable. The African Group had always condemned the occupation of the Arab territories including the Occupied Territories in Palestine and in the Syrian Golan. The international community should also take into account the recommendations to other States parties in the reports, including the General Assembly, notably the convening of High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians during times of war, the establishment of accounts to pay damage to Palestinian victims, and referral to the International Criminal Court of crimes committed by the Israeli army. The African Group took note of the recent developments with Palestine’s request for a Palestinian State with its capital as East Jerusalem and the right of return for refugees.
MAHMOUD AFIFI (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Non-Aligned Movement registered a persistent pattern of the non-cooperation of Israel in the implementation of recommendations. Justice delayed was justice was denied. Two and a half years after the war in Gaza, the voices of victims and their families implored the international community to stand united against impunity and to ensure accountability. The Non-Aligned Movement stood at the forefront of support for the historic march of the Palestinian people to realize freedom, peace and justice, in line with long standing international consensus recognizing their right to self-determination and Palestine as a State on the basis of the borders of June 4 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. The violations of human rights in the Palestinian and Arab occupied territories were at the core of the Council’s mandate. History would judge and evaluate to what extent the international community had or had not risen to the challenge and assumed its responsibilities in this regard. The credibility of the Council and of the international human rights system was on the line.
MARIAM MADIHA AFTAB (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the Organization of the Islamic Conference renewed their calls for the implementation of all recommendations contained in the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict as well as the conclusions of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the flotilla. Israel had pursued a policy of wanton repression in Occupied Palestinian territories through the use of disproportionate force, deliberate destruction of infrastructure, killing of civilians and eliminating the religious and cultural heritage of Palestine in order to silence the voice of occupied Palestinians. The continuous flagrant violations by Israel of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and in particular the most fundamental right to life and the right to self-determination was a clear violation of the United Nations Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The time had come for the international community to translate the recognized right of the Palestinian people to self-determination into concrete steps through putting an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and recognizing the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders with Al-Quds el-Shareef as its capital and the return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference condemned the ongoing illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories and demanded that Israel stop the establishment and maintenance of the settlement. The Organization of the Islamic Conference further demanded that Israel release all Palestinian prisoners, particularly children, women and members of the Palestinian parliament. Pakistan called upon Israel to immediately lift the siege imposed on the occupied Gaza Strip. The illegal blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel was the first and the whole basis of ongoing violations. The siege imposed on Gaza was a collective punishment which amounted to a war crime and the Organization of the Islamic Conference called upon the Council and the relevant United Nations bodies to take necessary action to compel Israel to immediately lift this illegal blockade. The human rights situation in the occupied Syrian Golan was also deteriorating as a result of the Israeli occupation which continued to violate the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Syrian population. The Organization of the Islamic Conference had condemned the Israeli measures in the occupied Syrian Golan and demanded an end to the illegal occupation of the Syrian land and the violations of humanitarian and human rights law.
DANTE MARTINELLI (Switzerland) said Switzerland was strongly attached to the achievement of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Switzerland remained concerned about the construction and expansion of settlements which represented a blatant violation of humanitarian law and an obstruction to the peace process. Settlers had been propagating violence against Palestinian goods and properties and Israel should do everything to protect Palestinian citizens. Switzerland called for an end to the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza which constituted a violation of international law and the Gaza authorities should do everything they could to stop this action. Switzerland was concerned about the 30,000 Bedouins living in the Negev who had been forcibly removed from their land and access to water. Switzerland expressed its concern about the West Bank Bedouins exclusively under Israeli control who were subject to discrimination.
HOU PEI (China) said that China noted with regret that most of the contents of the Secretary-General’s report had not been effectively implemented. China supported calling the Council’s attention to this issue. China condemned the occupation of Arab territory, including East Jerusalem. China had always supported the Arab people of Palestine including in their inalienable right of the founding of an independent State. China had always been in favour of a long lasting solution for the Middle East issue at an early date. China was ready to work with the international community to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
ABDULWAHAB ABDULSALAM ATTAR (Saudi Arabia) said that the Council had been able to take an important action through the resolution on the situation in Palestine, including the Gaza Strip and the consequences of the Israel aggression against the flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza. Now it was important to reiterate the importance of implementing the recommendations contained in the report, in particular the Fact-Finding mission led by Judge Goldstone. The population of the occupied Palestinian territories continued to suffer from the illegal practices and unlawful measures taken by Israel, which constituted not only violations to the United Nations Charter and international law but also undermined the possibilities for peace for which the international community was working. Israeli settlements and the annexation of East Jerusalem were against international law. Moreover, one of the main obstacles for the peace agreement was the accelerated settlement process, including colonial practices and unlawful confiscation and demolition of property. Saudi Arabia stressed that the most basic violation of human rights was occupation itself. The international community should take action to ensure respect for the Palestinian right to self-determination, step up efforts to stop Israel’s settlement activities, and implement the relevant United Nations resolutions, for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds el-Shareef as its capital.
SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia) said Malaysia reaffirmed the findings of the reports of the respective Fact-Finding Missions on the Gaza conflict and on the humanitarian flotilla incident and renewed its support for the accountability of perpetrators of human rights violations, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Council had been actively pursuing the implementation of the recommendations addressed to it by the Goldstone report and Malaysia was of the view that the Council should continue following up on the implementation of the remaining recommendations of the Mission’s report. Malaysia noted with regret that other United Nations organs, particularly the Security Council had not yet been able to act on the Mission’s recommendations. Malaysia reiterated its call for the lifting of the blockade so that the inhabitants of Gaza could resume reconstruction and economic activities. The continued construction of the illegal separation wall, the continued enforcement of civil and military policies by the occupying power that appeared designed to inflict collective punishment, and ongoing attempts to alter the demographic character of the occupied territories, among others warranted the Council’s sustained consideration of the human rights situation there.
MIKHAIL LEBEDEV (Russian Federation) said the Russian Federation remained in principle in favour of a two-State solution. The Russian Federation had been working and exerting efforts to bring this about. It was important to preserve an existing process for negotiation of a settlement. Russia confirmed its position on the indivisibility of the occupied Palestinian land and the two-State solution. Russia had recognized the Palestinian State long ago. Russia opposed unilateral use of force by Israel including the illegal continued construction of the wall, the demolition of houses in East Jerusalem and the rejection of a just solution to the refugee problem. Russia was ready to continue to cooperate including through the Quartet and stated its intention to hold a Moscow conference on the Middle East. Concrete progress would only be possible if resumed negotiations had moved into a stable phase.
FRANK DIAZ DIAZ (Cuba) said that Israel continued to flaunt the decisions of the Council. It was unacceptable to see that Israel did not want to cooperate with the international missions established by the United Nations system and the Council in particular; it was more embarrassing to see that after years of Israeli aggression in Gaza, the victims’ calls for justice remained unanswered. Occupation continued to deprive the nation of Palestine of their fundamental rights, including self-determination. The situation required the attention of the Council and its resolutions should be implemented. Cuba called for the recognition of an independent Palestinian State on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital, and for membership of Palestine at the United Nations. Finally Cuba energetically condemned that such an aspiration could be blocked by the veto power of the permanent member of the Security Council which guaranteed Israel’s impunity. Such an action would reinforce the status quo that was condemned session after session at the Council.
SADIQ M.S. MARAFI (Kuwait) said that Kuwait supported the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to become an independent State. The situation in Palestine was worsening because of the occupying power. The Council could not remain silent while the Palestinian people continued to suffer under the Judification of Jerusalem, illegal settlements and the theft of water resources. Israel had continued to ignore all resolutions adopted by the Council and the treaties to which it had acceded. The international community should bring pressure to bear on Israel to allow Palestine to become an independent State.
IRUTHISHAM ADAM (Maldives) quoted Thomas Jefferson "We surely cannot deny to any nation that right whereon our own government is founded, that every one may govern itself according to whatever form it pleases and change these forms at its own will”. The Maldives and dozens of other countries supported the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The Maldives called on all States to support Palestine’s bid for statehood. The blockade of Gaza was illegal and the Maldives called for the implementation of all the recommendations contained in the Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza and the conclusions of the Fact-Finding Mission on the flotilla.
NAHIDA SOBHAN (Bangladesh) said that the human rights situation in the occupied territories remained a concern because it was deteriorating everyday. The people of Palestine were in a dire situation due to Israel’s blockades, confiscation of land, demolition of houses and new settlements in occupied territories which were contrary to the Geneva Conventions and other norms of international law. The new settlements negated the inalienable right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their native land. The Council should stand by the oppressed. The Palestinians had the right to live a life of dignity and enjoy all human rights like any other people. It was deplorable that Israel had extended its atrocities into international waters, though its attack on the humanitarian flotilla. Unfortunately, it appeared to be a collective failure on the part of the international community and, more so, on the people of Israel, who once suffered deprivation, as they failed to guarantee to the people of Palestine their fundamental rights. It was essential that the Council took a clear and unequivocal stand on the flagrant defiance of international law, particularly on the violation of fundamental human rights by Israel. Bangladesh’s support for the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent homeland of their own was total and unflinching. Bangladesh thus welcomed the move by Palestinian leadership for an independent sovereign State and recognizing the State of Palestine with its 1967 borders and with Al-Quds el-Shareef as its capital.
MANSOOR ALSULAITIN (Qatar) said Qatar reiterated the need to implement all the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission in Gaza and the International Fact-Finding Mission on the Flotilla. Qatar appreciated the efforts made by the Government of Switzerland which had sought to hold a Conference of the High Contracting Parities to the Geneva Convention to ensure respect for the provisions in the Convention in the Occupied Territories, despite resistance to this proposal. It was time for the international community to ensure the full development of the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, including a right for their own State with East Jerusalem as the capital and for Palestinian refugees to return in accordance with United Nations resolutions. Qatar fully supported granting full membership for the State of Palestine by the United Nations. The central issue in the Middle East was the issue of Palestine, which hung like a sword of war over the region. The international community must ensure that Israel implemented all United Nations resolutions and recommendations and respected the human rights of Palestinians.
MUHIB MAHMOUD AHMAD NIMRAT (Jordan) said that in spite of the contents and recommendations of the two reports, Israel the occupying power continued to violate international humanitarian law. Israeli practices based on settlement expansion should come to and end and Israel should cease all practices that aggravated Palestinian suffering. The stalemate in the peace process could only feed the feeling that carried a great threat to the region and regional stability. Jordan supported the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State. Israel must cease to create new rules on the ground to influence the final status. Expectations ran counter to all international efforts to obtain a lasting peace. Israel must cease the confiscation of private properties. Israeli practices continued to be a blatant violation of international law and human rights. They must reach final status negotiations within a set time frame. Translating this into reality was the collective responsibility of the international community. They must put an end to the Israeli occupation.
GOPINATHAN ACHAMKULANGARE (India) said that it was regrettable that little progress had been made in the implementation of the Mission’s recommendations since the last report during the fifteenth session of the Council. India noted with considerable regret that border closures and restrictions on passage through border-crossings with the Gaza Strip continued to have serious adverse effects on the livelihoods and infrastructure and that freedom of movement within the occupied Palestinian territory remained severely restricted. India’s deep association and continuing commitment to Palestine was rooted in history that went back to its struggle for independence. India was vitally interested in peace, development and stability in the region and stood ready to assist in whatever way it could. Ultimately, however, it was the parties themselves that had to shoulder the major responsibility for achieving a permanent and lasting solution. There had to be a spirit of accommodation and political will to achieve a just and comprehensive peace. At the same time, human rights standards and international humanitarian law were universal and should be respected by all sides. India encouraged all parties concerned, including the Palestinian armed groups, to give due regard to the recommendations and implement them in right earnest, in order to make a difference to the human rights situation on the ground.
DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia) said Indonesia took note of the two reports and it was clear that much remained to be done on the long awaited escrow fund for the reparations of Palestinians and families that had suffered during the loss and damage as a result of unlawful acts attributable to the occupying power during the military operations conducted from December 2008 to January 2009. Indonesia was concerned about restrictions on freedom of movement of the Palestinian authorities and the over 5,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons. The human rights situation in the Occupied Territories continued to be a concern for Indonesia especially as the situation had further worsened. The practice of settlements in the West Bank was a violation of human rights law. Indonesia called on the occupying power to fully implement all recommendations in the two reports.
AGUSTIN SANTOS MARAVER (Spain) said resumption of negotiations was a must. All civilians were entitled to security. Following recent events in the region Spain had emphasized that international humanitarian law must be respected by all. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was concerned about the lack of accountability on many fronts. Spain called on all parties to ensure the principle of accountability was upheld. Spain believed that the construction of settlements including in East Jerusalem was illegal according to international law. Spain called on the Israeli side to appropriately investigate settler violence against Palestinians. Spain renewed the call for the release of Gilad Shalit. Spain remained concerned about conditions of interrogation and detention of minors. Spain was concerned about Israeli settlements on illegally occupied land.
LAURA MIRACHIAN (Italy) said having in mind the statement of the Quartet in New York last week, Italy emphasized the importance of striving to create the conditions for resumption of negotiations and the creation of a lasting peace. Building on those parameters and restoring mutual trust between the parties driven apart by years of conflict and human tragedy was the priority today. Further delay would prolong the current uncertainty. Further delays would jeopardize rather than promote peace. Italy was pleased to hear the willingness to engage in the statements made by representatives of the two parties last week.
OGUZ DEMIRALP (Turkey) said that the Human Rights Council had to accept the legitimate call of Palestinians to have their own State. The Palestinian bid for statehood could not be evaluated separately from the context of the ongoing democratic transformation in the region. Due to the intransigent approach of Israel towards the parameters of a meaningful peace process, Palestinians were left with no option other than searching for their right to statehood at the United Nations. Recognizing the Palestinian State was an obligation of the international community at large. The Fact Finding Mission last year on the illegal blockade against Gaza reaffirmed the well-established fact that this blockade was illegal, a conviction that was endorsed by both the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly. Turkey called upon the Human Rights Council and all relevant United Nations bodies to take necessary action to compel Israel to immediately lift this illegal blockade. The occupation of the Syrian Golan should also come to an end at once.
TAMARA KUNANAYAKAM (Sri Lanka) said addressing the General Assembly the President of Sri Lanka had expressed a profound disappointment that the Palestinian people had not been able to realize their right to a State of their own despite repeated expressions of support by many countries. The blockade of Gaza by Israel created critical concern for the situation of the civilian population. To achieve lasting peace and justice for the Palestinian people, Israel must proceed with the liberation of all political prisoners and put an end to all illegal settlement activities, including the continued campaign of colonization that had resulted in the fragmentation of the Palestinian territories.
MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil) thanked the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for their reports and indicated that more needed to be done to implement recommendations of the Goldstone report. Occupation remained the main cause of human rights violations in Palestine. The situation in Gaza remained of great concern and Brazil called upon Israel to lift the blockade and allow for free transit. Brazil also urged both parties to refrain from violent measures and retaliation. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent conference would provide an opportunity to increase respect for international human rights and international humanitarian law. The President of Brazil, Dilma Rouseff, had said last week that it was high time for Palestine to be recognized as an independent State. Only an independent State could lead to the prosperity of the Palestinian people and peace in the region. It was time to ask whether the present strategies were working, whether they were working to improve Israel’s security or the lives of Palestinians. The present strategies were not working for Israelis, for Palestinians, nor for the region.
IDRISS JAZAIRY (Algeria) said that this debate came at a time when Palestine had made an historic request at the United Nations, which Algeria fully supported. Algeria regretted that the occupying power had not implemented the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza, or on the flotilla incident, findings which had already been adopted by the Human Rights Council. Algeria was concerned about the deportation of thousands of Bedouins from their homeland who were under the full control of Israel.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said the prevention of the creation of an independent Palestinian State was a violation of international law. In Jerusalem there was a resistance of attempts to Judicize the city and expel the Palestinian population. The Government of Morocco and its King supported Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and its cultural heritage. Morocco supported the creation of a Palestinian State and the creation of a time table for the realization of the peace process.
SYED MOHAMMAD REZA SAJJADI (Iran) said that the international community and the Council could not and should not remain silent any longer and the time had come for recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination by putting an end to the long-lasting occupation. Iran strongly condemned the illegal settlement colonization campaign, the unrelenting illegitimate blockade of the Gaza Strip, the detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians including political prisoners, women and children and all other measures of collective punishment including the use of disproportionate force which resulted in the massacre of civilians, and the deliberate destruction of infrastructure, in particular the annihilation of the religious and cultural heritage of Palestine. There was an urgent task for the Council to take concrete measures to force the occupier to immediately lift the siege imposed on the occupied Gaza Strip. Iran strongly believed that the illegal blockade imposed on Gaza was a clear example of a war crime.
BUDOOR ABDULAZIZ AHMED (Bahrain) said that Bahrain welcomed Palestine’s application for full membership in the United Nations. The refusal by Israel to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination and the continued acts of violence on Palestinians by Jewish settlers were all violations of Palestinian human rights. Bahrain called upon the Human Rights Council to take all measures to compel Israel to end the blockade of Gaza so that the Palestinians could enjoy their full human rights. Bahrain said that a just and comprehensive peace with Israel could only be achieved with a full withdrawal by Israel from all Arab territories, including the Syria Golan.
MAHMOUD AFIFI (Egypt) said a moral obligation was needed to guarantee that the violations of human rights by Israel were not repeated. The international community must not tolerate human rights violations and violations of humanitarian law that had been seen in the war against Gaza. The suffering of the Palestinian people had increased because of the lack of a possibility of a peace being brokered, and the lack of a calendar or time frame for obtaining an independent State. It did not make sense that the wave of freedom that had swept the Middle East should not affect Palestinians.
YAHYA ALWIHAIBI (Oman) said that the situation of human rights in Palestine and other occupied territories was deteriorating due to violations to the most basic principles of human rights, including excessive force against civilians. This required prompt action and investigation by this Council. Oman supported the recognition of a Palestinian State on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital. Negotiations should be based on clear goals, ending conflict on the basis of a two-State solution, and counting with a concrete timeline. Oman called on the international community to take all possible measures to stop aggression and perpetration of crimes against humanity, and ensure the lifting of the blockade and free transit for Palestinians. The international community should shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and the fulfillment of United Nations resolutions in order to achieve a settlement that ensured peaceful coexistence in the region.
OBAID SALEM SAEED AL ZAABI (United Arab Emirates) said the report from the Fact-Finding Mission had shed light on the serious human rights violations of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip since 2009. The Human Rights Council must deal with the violations of human rights committed by Israel against the Palestinian people so as to put an end to the days of double standards. Peace in the Middle East was an indivisible package, it was a whole and the issue of the Palestinian people had to be addressed with their right to statehood with East Jerusalem as their capital.
KIM YONG HO (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea condemned the unilateral and unlawful measures of Israel, the occupying power, aimed at changing the status and demographic composition of the occupied Palestinian territories. Human rights violations in the Syrian Golan remained another grave concern and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea particularly denounced measures aimed at altering the legal, physical and demographic status of the occupied Syrian Golan.
OMAIMA ALSHARIEF (Sudan) said that Sudan had taken note of the reports and was concerned by flagrant violations to international law, international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by Israel in the occupied territories, and the refusal of Israel to comply with the International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the building of a wall in Palestine. Sudan called for granting the Palestinian people their basic and legitimate right to self-determination through the establishment of a Palestinian State on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as their capital. Sudan condemned the systematic violations committed by the Israeli occupation against the rights of the Syrians in the Syrian Golan, including the confiscation of property.
SAAD ALFARARGI, of the League of Arab States, said in spite of the multiple resolutions taken by the United Nations, Israel continued to defy international legality by committing crimes and aggression against the unarmed civilians in Gaza. The fundamental humanitarian and basic human rights of the Palestinians were violated by Israel. The Arab Initiative and Peace Summit in 2002 were historic calls for peace if Israel would withdraw from all Arab territory so that there could be the creation of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as the capital and to honour the right of return of Palestinians to their land. The League of Arab States called for accountability and would not accept impunity by Israel of the human rights violations it had committed against the Palestinian people.
ABDUL SAMAD MINTY (South Africa), said two years had passed since the Human Rights Council considered the report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict. With great disappointment South Africa had reviewed the implementation of the recommendations of the report. There had been minimal progress while the siege on Gaza continued to inflict untold suffering on the Palestinian people. South Africa called on the international community to ensure that the General Assembly implemented the recommendations contained in the report.
BACHIR SALEH AZZAM (Lebanon) condemned the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied territories as a result of Israeli occupation and practices. The attempts to change the original character of Jerusalem through forced settlement continued to prompt violations to international law on the ground. Lebanon supported the recognition of a Palestinian State with Al-Quds el-Shareef as its capital and the rightful Palestinian quest for recognition as a State and full membership to the United Nations, which deserved the support from all Member States. Lebanon would like to see Palestine become not only a member of the United Nations, but also a member of this Council. At the same time the international community was called upon to urge Israel to respect human rights and to act in accordance to the rules of international law, in particular, international humanitarian law.
SLIMANE CHIKH, of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had set a sad record as the longest ongoing conflict since the end of the Second World War. Last week, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation adopted a document on behalf of the Palestinians after being addressed by the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Abbas who explained that he had made the request for Palestinian statehood to the United Nations only after exhausting all efforts to reach a peaceful negotiation on Palestinian statehood with Israel. Israel’s obstructive policies could not continue and the unconditional support it received from allied powers in the Human Rights Council had prevented Israel from being held accountable for its human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
FELIX PENA RAMOS (Venezuela) said the situation in Palestine had not been resolved in the last 63 years. Venezuela would like to express support to the inalienable right of Palestinians to self-determination and a free sovereign independent State with East Jerusalem as it capital. Venezuela condemned the use of force against the defenseless Palestinian people. Venezuela hoped justice would be done. The United States indication of their potential use of their veto in the Security Council to stop something that the world was calling for was anachronistic.
HAMADI GHORBEL (Tunisia) said that this meeting took place at a moment when the Palestinian people found themselves at a decisive and historic turning point. Tunisia had supported the Palestinian people in their quest out of the current crisis and towards the creation of an independent and stable State, with Al-Quds el-Shareef as its capital, and to enjoy full membership to the United Nations. Tunisia took note of the report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission. While recognizing the need to fully implement these recommendations, Tunisia condemned the violations of the most basic human rights committed against the Palestinians, including the policies of blockade and forced settlement in Al-Quds el-Shareef. Tunisia called upon the Council to live up to its responsibility and ensure respect for international law and to promote justice and peace in the region.
MUNIR NUSEIBAH, of BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, said that since the Human Rights Council began its Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza and its efforts to achieve accountability, the situation in Gaza had deteriorated significantly. BADIL reminded Member States of their responsibility to ensure accountability by referring to the Fact-Finding Mission Report to the Security Council and encouraging Member States to support Switzerland, as the depositary of the Geneva Conventions, to convene a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to affirm the applicability of the Conventions to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. BADIL said that Member States should continue to support the establishment of an escrow fund to compensate Palestinian victims and survivors.
ANNE-MARIE VUIGNIER-JAMES, of Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, expressed its concern about the increasing large-scale evictions and demolitions in the area covering more than 60 per cent of the West Bank and controlled by Israel, known as Area C. Around 300,000 Jewish settlers currently lived in illegal settlements in Area C versus around 150,000 Palestinians. The military authorities imposed serve restrictions on Palestinian constructions and less than 1 per cent of the zone was available for Palestinian development. A de facto Israeli takeover of Area C would have profound implications for a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel should immediately stop demolishing Palestinian owned structures in Area C and implement a fair and equitable system of water distribution that provided for the needs of Palestinian communities in Area C. Policy makers and international donors should support projects that promoted continued Palestinian life in Area C.
NATALIE TABAR, of Al Haq Law in the Service of Man, said the Palestinian application had rejuvenated the struggle for self-determination and the pursuit of accountability. The failure of the international community to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission report on the Gaza conflict had reinforced the perception that Palestinians were unprotected by international law.
KLAUS NETTER, of Coordinated Board of Jewish Organizations, warned against the Council’s oft-repeated practice of calling for inquiries with one-sided mandates that prevented cooperation by both sides of a dispute to be examined. In this case, as in the past, the resultant loss of credibility from such exercises was not Israel, but, regrettably, the Council.
MIREILLE BARBIER, of Hope International, said that Hope International called itself hope and stood for hope for a new generation, for the hope of a better future, a life in dignity and peace. What prospects did young people in Palestine have? What property did they have access to and what guarantees did they have for its protection when they were expelled from their land? The right to property if it was not certain would not allow populations to settle down and live. Israel said it wanted peace. It could aim for peace by withdrawing its troops and military forces from the Palestinian land. On behalf of human rights, the right to development and the Millennium Development Goals, Hope International said it did not ask Israel to help non-governmental organizations but simply not to prevent them to work for the promotion of peace.
GOLSHAN PAZHOOH, of Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, said that the veto power in the Security Council should not prevent the Council from pursing the rights and demands of the Palestinians, which included the recognition of the most basic human rights stipulated in the United Nations Charter, the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people; taking the necessary measures for the return of millions of Palestinian refugees to their homeland; putting an end to the imprisonment of more than 1.5 million people through the unlawful blockade in the Gaza Strip; putting an end to the policy of settlements constructions which were a clear and manifest violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention; and the real prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators of crimes against civilians. The Arab Spring had brought an atmosphere and opportunity for the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people to be pursued in a more logical and just basis.
GIANFRANCO FATTORINI, of Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amitie entre les Peuples, said that no other State in the world other than Israel had been able to violate with absolute impunity. The Palestinian people had been the victim of the colonial apartheid policy of the State of Israel. The United States assured political and military support to Israel in spite of its human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
LAILA MATAR, of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, said that other avenues for improving the situation of Palestinians had failed and the last 13 years of negotiations had done little to improve the situation of Palestinians. Why were States that were strong supporters of the statehood of Kosovo now opposing the statehood of Palestine? The Cairo Institute for Human Rights called on all Members States of the Human Rights Council and the United Nations to recognize the State of Palestine, pursuant to its right to self-determination.
BIRO DIAWARA, of Recontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, said that the recommendations and plans drawn up by experts for the Palestinian people had not been in line with the needs of these people. They called on both parties to promote dialogue for inter Palestinian and Israeli cooperation because only through dialogue and cooperation would peace and security be achieved.
LAZARO PARY, of Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru”, in a joint statement with World Peace Council, said that colonial powers had arbitrarily partitioned Palestine and created a Jewish State with more than 50 per cent of Palestinian territory in 1948. The United Nations that was responsible for this unfair partition should now recognize the self-determination of the Palestinian people. Double standards and hypocrisy existed in the response of the United States and the European Union concerning the claim for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.
ALEXIA BEDAT, of United Nations Watch, lamented that the Council met today under the only agenda item that targeted a specific country. This had been noted by the United Nations Secretary-General who had lamented the Council decision to single out a particular country, given the human rights violations taking place around the world. Leading democracies had spoken out on that day, including the European Union, United States, Australia and Canada. No Member State had explained how this agenda item was coherent with the principles of non-selectivity and balance; and that the language in the item was unbalanced.
For use of the information media; not an official record