La Journée Internationale de Solidarité avec le peuple Palestinien a été marquée par une réunion spéciale à L’Office des Nations Unies à Genève - Communiqué de presse Français
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UNITED NATIONS OFFICE AT GENEVA COMMEMORATES
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
29 November 2016
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was commemorated today at a Special Meeting held at the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, chaired the meeting and read out the message of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a long-standing, gaping wound that had fed tension and conflict throughout the Middle East. Israeli and Palestinian leaders still voiced their support for the two-State solution. However, without urgent steps to revive a political perspective, they risked entrenching a one-State reality. With the Israeli occupation approaching its fiftieth year, and the prospects for a two-State solution threatening to slip out of reach, the international community must make it clear that it remained committed to helping the parties to rebuild trust and create the conditions for meaningful negotiations. On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Secretary-General urged all to reaffirm their commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people and working to build a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
Palestine, reading out a statement on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of Palestine, said that 2017 would mark the centennial of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967 and leading to the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba, the catastrophe which befell the Palestinian people in 1948. Palestine reiterated its commitment to agreements concluded with Israel since 1993, but this commitment must be reciprocated from the Israeli side, and Israel must recognize the State of Palestine and work towards solving all final status issues and cease its settlement activities as well as put an end to its attacks and aggressions against Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps and its policies of collective punishments and arrest and detention of thousands of Palestinian prisoners in its jails.
The Special Meeting was also addressed by Nicaragua on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Sri Lanka on behalf of the Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories; the League of Arab States; the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement; the African Union in a video message; and the World Young Women’s Christian Association and Young Women’s Christian Association of Palestine, speaking on behalf of non-governmental organizations accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, requested a minute of silence to be observed in honour of Commander Fidel Castro, the symbol of people of the world who fought for social justice and peace.
Messages or statements for the Day were received from the Heads of State of Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Qatar, Senegal, Bangladesh, Turkey, Brazil, Maldives, Nicaragua, Iraq and Indonesia.
The Special Meeting was organized in observance of General Assembly resolution 32/40B of 2 December 1977.
MICHAEL MØLLER, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, opened the meeting and read out the message of BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General, saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not just one of many conflicts in the region. It was in many ways a long-standing, gaping wound that had fed tension and conflict throughout the Middle East. Israeli and Palestinian leaders still voiced their support for the two-State solution. However, without urgent steps to revive a political perspective, they risked entrenching a one-State reality. Recent years had witnessed two unsuccessful attempts at negotiating a peaceful settlement, three armed conflicts, thousands of dead – the vast majority of them Palestinian civilians – rampant incitement, terror attacks, thousands of rockets and bombs fired at Israel from Gaza, and an expanding, illegal Israeli settlement enterprise that risked undermining Israel’s democratic values and the character of its society. This year, the number of demolitions of Palestinian houses and other structures by Israeli forces had doubled, compared to 2015. Gaza remained a humanitarian emergency, with 2 million Palestinians struggling with crumbling infrastructure and a paralyzed economy, and tens of thousands still displaced, awaiting reconstruction of homes destroyed by conflict.
All this had led to growing anger and frustration among Palestinians and profound disillusionment among Israelis. It had strengthened radicals and weakened moderates on both sides. Making matters worse was a dangerous vacuum within the international community as crises elsewhere claimed the attention of world leaders. The internal divisions and in-fighting in the West Bank added a new worrying dimension to the paralyzing lack of Palestinian unity, and undermined democracy and the rule of law. With the Israeli occupation approaching its fiftieth year, and the prospects for a two-State solution threatening to slip out of reach, the international community must make it clear that it remained committed to helping the parties to rebuild trust and create the conditions for meaningful negotiations. The steps required to create conditions for successful negotiations had been spelled out in the recent report of the Middle East Quartet. The United Nations, as well as our partners in the Quartet -- the European Union, Russian Federation and the United States -- remained committed to working with key stakeholders, including countries in the region, to implement the report’s recommendations. On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Secretary-General urged all to reaffirm their commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people and working to build a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
Nicaragua, speaking on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, reminded that on 29 November 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which came to be known as the Partition Resolution. Back then, nobody would have imagined that 69 years later they would still be reminding the world of the need for the freedom of the Palestinian people and the independence of the State of Palestine, adjacent to the State of Israel, which came into being and gained its independence a few months after that resolution was adopted. Resolution 181 was not fully implemented, and the Palestinian people had not only been denied their rights, but had endured the cruelty and misery of nearly a half-century of foreign occupation. The Israeli occupation, which was being imposed in grave violation of international humanitarian law, namely the Fourth Geneva Convention, negatively impacted all aspects of Palestinian life and denied them their entitlement to equality: first and foremost, equality of treatment and respect for their basic right to life, safety, movement, and freedom, but also in their economic, social and cultural rights, as per international human rights law. The Israeli occupying forces continued to carry out summary executions, night raids, arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention without trial, with over 7,000 Palestinians, among them children, now imprisoned or detained by Israel. A parallel legal system made Palestinians inferior in law and practice. Israel also continued to exploit the natural resources of the occupied Palestinian territory, further denying its inhabitants their right to development, in defiance of international human rights and humanitarian law.
The Committee urged the Security Council to uphold its responsibilities in respect of peace and security and ensure that the Palestinian people could finally enjoy freedom, independence and protection in their sovereign, independent and viable State. For its part, the Committee intended to implement an intensive programme of activities in 2017 as an international year to end the Israeli occupation with a view to reaching a just and lasting solution to this conflict.
Sri Lanka, speaking on behalf of the Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, said this International Day of Solidarity reminded all of the urgent need to find a just and peaceful solution to the question of Palestine, and most importantly to address the plight of the Palestinian people, particularly its children, and to provide for their humanitarian needs. Earlier this year in Amman, briefings and testimonies once again brought to the attention of the Committee the daily violence and humiliation suffered by Palestinian men, women and children, whose every aspect of life continued to be controlled by the unlawful occupation. Settlement expansion had had a direct impact on the escalation of violence in the occupied territories and had largely contributed to the increase in the number of civilian casualties, including infants. The latest statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that as of mid-October, 83 Palestinians had been killed in the occupied West Bank, and 8 Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli security forces in 2016. During the same period, 2,978 Palestinians had been injured in the occupied West Bank, and 184 Palestinians injured in Gaza. Israeli practices had also included State-sanctioned land seizures, retroactive legalization of outposts, demolition of Palestinian homes and livelihood structures, denial of Palestinian building permits, restrictions of movement or access to livelihoods, or lack of accountability for settler violence.
Both parties to the conflict must create the necessary environment to facilitate peace. There was an urgent need for mutual confidence-building measures in support of efforts to resume dialogue and substantive negotiations. Israel must protect the Palestinian civilian population in the occupied territories and desist from actions that were contrary to the established rules of international law and practice. The Special Committee reiterated its support to the implementation of United Nations General Assembly resolutions regarding the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to Statehood, and the attainment of a two-State solution based on the 1967 borders.
League of Arab States, reading out a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said that the Palestinian people had accepted the two-State solution because of their real wish to establish peach and prosperity for both peoples and for the people of the region, and because of the Arab League’s solid belief of the necessity of ending the Arab-Israeli struggle, which had resulted in the 2002 Arab summit in Beirut adopting the Arab peace plan as a basis for a comprehensive peaceful solution through Israel’s withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967, establishing a separate Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, and finding a just solution for the problem of the Palestinian refugees. While the whole world had welcomed this peace plan, Israel continued to reject it, as it rejected the two-State solution, and continued with its racist policies and building settlements, encircling Palestinian cities and villages with the racist wall, attacking Christian and Islamic holy places, demolishing Palestinian homes, setting up military barriers across the occupied West Bank, and continuing the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Despite Israel’s flagrant violations of international law through its violations against the rights of the Palestinian people, the international community was rewarding it by allowing it access to it organizations and committees, as it sought to gain a seat on the Security Council in 2019/2020. The League of Arab States demanded that all stood firmly against this attempt, which contradicted the basic principles of logic and justice, as occupation had to be ended, not rewarded.
Organization of Islamic Cooperation, reading out a statement by the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation had been following the serious developments in the Palestinian issue with profound interest and concern. Israel, the occupying power, continued its aggression and mounting violations against the unarmed Palestinian people and their land and holy places. This included burning families’ homes and places of worship, extrajudicial killing of Palestinians, arrest of thousands, demolition of houses, blockade, in addition to other incessant violations and racial practices that arrogantly elbowed off the principles of international law and respect for human rights. This required the international community to assume its responsibilities to provide international protection for the Palestinian people. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemned the gravity of what was happening in the occupied city of Al Quds and its environs in terms of Israeli measures and systematic policies to Juadize the city and isolate it from its Palestinian surroundings; the Israeli settlement policy was still dismembering the occupied Palestinian territory and undermining the vision of the two-State solution; the plight of the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli detention centres continued to be a case of denial of justice and a crime embodied in the worst inhuman and unjust practices committed by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian prisoners; and the continuation of Israel’s illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip which constituted collective punishment and a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, requested a minute of silence to be observed in honour of Commander Fidel Castro, the symbol of people of the world who fought for social justice and peace. The Non-Aligned Movement had historically maintained a firm stance toward the Palestinian people and their cause, based on a clear and unequivocal principled position concerning the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the rejection of the illegal occupation of Arab territories by Israel. The Movement also condemned the mass, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the occupying power. Decades of peace efforts had been rendered unfruitful and the Palestinians’ plight had worsened due to Israel’s persistent illegal policies and practices that undermined all peace endeavours. It was of deepest concern that the State of Israel continued to pursue illegal practices and aggressions against the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. Moreover, there were still violent aggressions in the Gaza Strip, despite the prohibitions of such actions under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. The ongoing illegal Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory continued to be a matter of grave concern and the Non-Aligned Movement reiterated its calls for urgent action and practical measures by the international community, to compel the occupying power to cease completely its illegal and destructive settlement policy. The Movement also expressed its grave condemnation regarding the illegal Israeli practices aimed at altering the demographic composition, legal status and geographic nature of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, so as to facilitate the de facto annexation of new Palestinian land. The Non-Aligned Movement called upon the international community to provide all of the urgently needed assistance to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by the noble and heroic Palestinian people.
African Union, speaking in a video message, said the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was established by the General Assembly in 1977. Since that day, and year after year, the situation remained the same and they were still seeing grave violations of the rights of Palestinian people by Israel which was punishing them for wanting a Palestinian State. The African Union deplored the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and condemned the Israeli actions. The African Union was greatly concerned by the stubborn acts of Israel which refused to recognize and implement United Nations resolutions and deplored that they continued to violate the rights of Palestinians collectively. This situation reasserted the belief of the African Union in the need for the peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and to guarantee the creation of an independent Palestinian State with borders prior to the 1967 war and with East Jerusalem as its capital. The African Union called on the Security Council to take necessary measures to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in all its aspects. Israel continued to pursue a policy of illegal settlements. The universal condemnation of this policy had not changed anything, demonstrating how Israel was flaunting the will of the international community. The African Union recalled that the illegal settlements had adverse consequences for any peace settlement. At the humanitarian level and the respect of human rights, the different bodies of the African Union condemned Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees and the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. Israel must stop these violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws. Israel continued to refuse to cooperate with the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry, leading all to believe that it sought to hide its violations. Israel must be obliged to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry.
World Young Women’s Christian Association and Young Women’s Christian Association of Palestine, speaking on behalf of non-governmental organizations accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that General Assembly resolution 181 in 1947 had recommended dividing Palestine into two States, one for the Jewish people and one for the Arab Palestinians. However this resolution demanding national independence and sovereignty for Palestinians had not been enforced and the Palestinian people had been forcibly displaced from their homes and lands and robbed of their right to self-determination. Violence against Palestinians continued to escalate. There were renewed attacks on Christian and Muslim holy sites and the Israelis were constructing more settlements than ever before on Palestinian land. In addition, the detention of Palestinian children continued in record numbers. The organizations said they stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people and demanded that United Nations Member States affirmed and upheld human rights and international law for all. They supported Palestine’s right to self-determination as guaranteed in United Nations resolutions 242 and 338, and affirmed the role of women in peace building and conflict resolution at all levels. The organizations called on all governments and civil society to enforce and support ending the military occupation of the State of Palestine, ending the siege of Gaza and supporting its reconstruction, stopping the transfer of Palestinians from their lands, supporting the right of return for refugees or reparations, ending settlement expansion and annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, freeing all detainees, and supporting the global boycott to put economic pressure on Israel until it respected international law.
Palestine, reading out a statement on behalf of MAHMOUD ABBAS, the President of the State of Palestine, said that 2017 would mark the centennial of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967 and leading to the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba, the catastrophe which befell the Palestinian people in 1948. In 1988, the Palestinian National Council had declared its abidance by the rule of international law and United Nations resolutions and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, had made a historical compromise and sacrifice by agreeing to establish the State of Palestine on the borders of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital. They reiterated their commitment to agreements concluded with Israel since 1993, but this commitment must be reciprocated from the Israeli side, and Israel must recognize the State of Palestine and work towards solving all final status issues and cease Palestinian settlement activities as well as put an end to its attacks and aggressions against our cities, villages and refugee camps and its policies of collective punishments and arrest and detention of thousands of Palestinian prisoners in its jails.
President Abbas said Israel was pursuing its occupation of East Jerusalem and its actions to alter the identity and character of the city. The illegal Israeli practices and policies of settlement construction and expansion on the land of the State of Palestine were entrenching a one-State reality of an apartheid nature, instead of consolidating the pillars of just and lasting peace, based on United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. The Palestinian side continued to extend its hand in peace, and called on the international community to uphold its responsibilities, including by adopting a Security Council resolution to end settlement activities, the main obstacle and the greatest threat to the achievement of peace, and to provide international protection to Palestinians. The Palestinian President called for the early convening of the international peace conference and the setting up of an international mechanism and a timeframe for ending the Israeli occupation.
The Palestinian President reaffirmed the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the question of Palestine until a comprehensive solution was found, in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
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