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I have the honour, in my capacity as Chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Group in New York, to convey for your valuable consideration a statement that was endorsed on 3 June 2010 by the OIC Group at the ambassadorial level on the recent illegal Israeli military aggression against the civilian convoy of humanitarian aid destined for the Gaza Strip (see annex).
I would highly appreciate it if the present letter and its annex were circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda items 15 and 16, and of the Security Council.
The OIC Group strongly condemns the illegal, brutal and provocative Israeli aggression carried out in international waters against the civilian convoy of ships that was carrying vital humanitarian aid to be delivered by hundreds of international peace and human rights activists to the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. The OIC Group also condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing and injury of several civilians by the Israeli military forces that attacked the Turkish vessel in the humanitarian convoy. The OIC Group conveys its deepest condolences to the families of those killed in this military aggression and expresses its hopes for the early recovery of the wounded.
The OIC Group stresses that the Israeli military aggression on the civilian convoy of ships constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, and also constitutes an explicit act of piracy under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The OIC Group also recalls in this regard General Assembly resolution 3314 (XXIX) of 1974 on the Definition of Aggression. The international community must take all necessary measures to hold Israel accountable for the perpetration of this condemnable and illegal act. The OIC Group joins the Security Council’s calls made in the presidential statement of 1 June 2010, and calls upon the United Nations Secretary-General to immediately initiate a full, impartial, transparent, independent and credible investigation in conformity with international standards into the Israeli military aggression and demands that the perpetrators of this crime be brought to justice.
The OIC Group further deplores the Israeli seizure of the civilian peace and human rights activists, the ships and the humanitarian supplies in the civilian convoy that were intended for the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, which continues to suffer gravely under the inhumane blockade that has been illegally imposed by Israel, the occupying Power, for nearly three years, impoverishing the Palestinian population, devastating Palestinian society and causing widespread trauma and despair. The OIC Group demands the immediate and unconditional release of all of these detained civilians as well as of the ships seized, and calls for the delivery of all of the humanitarian aid and supplies to the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, as intended by the organizers of the convoy. The OIC Group further demands that full compensation be made, in accordance with international standards, for the loss of lives and injury caused to civilians by this Israeli military aggression on the humanitarian convoy of ships as well as compensation for all material damages caused.
The OIC Group reiterates that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip constitutes collective punishment on a massive scope and scale and is tantamount to a war crime against the Palestinian people. The OIC Group reiterates its firm and unwavering demand for an immediate end to this unlawful Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the opening of all crossing points to allow for the freedom of movement of persons and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip and to allow for unfettered humanitarian access. The OIC Group appeals to the United Nations Secretary-General to exert all efforts to support the suffering Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and calls for urgent action in this regard. Moreover, the OIC Group calls upon all humanitarian organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent to insist on access to the besieged civilian population in Gaza, in accordance with the provisions of international humanitarian law, and to expedite the provision of humanitarian aid, including food, medical, sanitation and fuel supplies, to meet the basic needs of the population.
The OIC Group stresses in this regard the urgency of the entry of all necessary humanitarian and civilian goods to the Gaza Strip as well as the entry of reconstruction materials to allow for the long and unjustly delayed reconstruction of the homes, infrastructure and institutions, including United Nations facilities that were destroyed by the Israeli occupying forces during the military aggression against the Gaza Strip from December 2008 to January 2009. In this regard, the OIC Group also reiterates its demand for accountability and justice for the war crimes and human rights violations perpetrated against the Palestinian civilian population during that Israeli military aggression, as called for by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council in follow-up of the report of the United Nations Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (Goldstone report).
The OIC Group calls upon the international community, especially the Security Council, to uphold its responsibilities with regard to this serious matter in all its aspects. Urgent action must be taken to bring an end to such blatant Israeli impunity and disregard for all norms and standards of international law. Action must also be taken to bring a halt to all other illegal Israeli practices against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
The OIC Group reaffirms the importance of continuing the strong coordination among OIC, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group and the need to continue the coordination and cooperation of these groups in order to ensure comprehensive follow-up of this serious and urgent matter, including to ensure the full implementation of the Security Council’s presidential statement of 1 June 2010, particularly the pursuit of an impartial, credible, transparent and independent international investigation in accordance with international standards led by the United Nations Secretary-General.
The OIC Group reiterates its call for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and all other Arab territories occupied since 1967 and for the realization by the Palestinian people of their inalienable right to self-determination in their independent State of Palestine, with Al-Quds Al-Shareef as its capital, and the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, including a just solution for the plight of the Palestine refugees in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III).
The OIC Group decides to remain seized of this matter.