Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Situation des droits de l'homme en Palestine - débat général du Conseil des Droits de l'homme – Communiqué de presse Français
Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: Human Rights Council
14 June 2011



HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS GENERAL DEBATE ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
14 June 2011

The Human Rights Council this morning held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories after hearing High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay present her report on the status of implementation of the conclusions contained in the report of the international fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla.

The High Commissioner said that Human Rights Council resolution 16/20 of 12 April 2011 requested her to submit a report on the implementation of the conclusions of the independent international fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla. Notes Verbale were sent to the Permanent Missions of Israel and Turkey, as well as the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine. The report reflected the input from the only response received to date, being that of the Government of Turkey.

Speaking as a concerned country, Israel said in the midst of all the change in the Middle East and North Africa, Israel noted that the Council was mired into dealing with Israel. Israel was clearly not before the Council because of any current burning human rights need, but some delegations at the Council continued to see this as their birth rights. Israel remained committed to peaceful negotiations with its neighbours. Israel was a State where all its citizens regardless of faith, gender, race or sexual orientation had equal access to those democratic and social rights that many of the citizens in the region were risking their lives to attain. Israel was determined to protect its borders and citizens and it would continue to take great efforts to maintain regional peace and security.

Also speaking as a concerned country, Palestine said that the Flotilla had on board civilians of many nationalities as well as humanitarian aid for people disabled by Israeli forces. The attack on it by Israel was a violation of international law. The Government of Israel continued to fail to implement the important recommendations contained in the report. Israel continued to be intransigent in its position, which was not based on any legal basis. The Government of Israel should make appropriate apologies and compensate the victims. The blockade of Gaza should end. Israel continued its occupation along with the violations of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.

Syria, also speaking as a concerned country, said it was exactly one year since Israel had committed the crime of killing humanitarian workers in international waters in an act of piracy. Israel had also killed 25 and injured over 400 peaceful demonstrators from Palestine and the Syrian Golan who had been requesting their rights guaranteed to them in international treaties. This massacre had proved state terrorism and the inherently aggressive way with which Israel dealt with the Arabs. Despite this, the international community and the United States had not moved to condemn those acts, because in their eyes, Israel was beyond accountability for those human rights violations. The list of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by Israel was too long.

Turkey, speaking as a concerned country, said that the Human Rights Council was rightfully seized of an emblematic case; the flotilla raid. This was emblematic because the breach of international law had never been so clearly established. Further it was emblematic because the human rights violations had been undeniably blatant and flagrant. The international community should not forget that the Israeli conduct was not only disproportionate to the occasion but that it demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary, unjustified and incredible violence. Turkey noted that in the face of this emblematic case, the Council had taken the right course of action. Israel had taken no effective steps to redress the situation. Turkey believed that the New York Panel was neither a substitute nor a duplicate for the Human Rights Council. Further, it was expected to produce results at the political level.

In the general debate, speakers were deeply concerned about the continuing stalemate in the peace process and called for the urgent resumption of direct negotiations leading to a comprehensive solution on all tracks. The goal remained a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition. A way should be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two States. Speakers condemned the aggression and violence against peaceful demonstrations and all measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian people by Israel, which represented grave violations of international humanitarian law for which the occupying power must be held accountable. Israel must release all illegally held prisoners, including women and children. The international community had the responsibility to react against Israel. Speakers called on Israel to stop the destruction of Palestinian properties in East Jerusalem as well as refrain from any measures aimed at altering the demographic character or status of East Jerusalem. The human rights situation in the Syrian Golan Heights was also deteriorating because of the Israeli occupation which continued to violate the economic, social and cultural rights of the Syrian population. It was regrettable that a year after the investigation of the flotilla incident that there had been no implementation of the recommendations of the report. All parties must show restraint and conduct impartial enquiries. Some speakers regarded the panel of inquiry established by the United Nations Secretary-General, with the support of Turkey and Israel to receive and review the reports of Israel’s Turkel Commission and Turkey’s National Commission of Inquiry, as the primary method for the international community to review the incident.

Speaking in the general debate were Hungary speaking on behalf of the European Union, Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Nigeria on behalf of the African Group, Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, Switzerland, United States, China, Japan, Bahrain, Russian Federation, Malaysia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Maldives, Brazil On behalf of India, Brazil and the South Africa Forum, Bangladesh, Algeria, Turkey, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Oman, Kuwait, Morocco, Venezuela, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States, Lebanon, and Sudan.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man, B’nai B’rith, BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian residency and Refugee Rights, Press Emblem Campaign
, United Nations Watch, Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples, North-South XXI, and World Union for Progressive Judaism.

The Council today is holding a full day of meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. During its midday meeting, the Council will hear the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance present his report, which will be followed by an interactive dialogue with him. The Council will then hold a general debate on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance: follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

Documentation


The
Report of the High Commissioner on the status of the implementation of the conclusions contained in the report of the fact-finding mission, (A/HRC/17/47), provides information on the status of the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/20, paragraph 3, in which the Council called upon concerned parties to ensure the implementation of the conclusions contained in the report of the independent international fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla (A/HRC/15/21).

Presentation of Report by High Commissioner for Human Rights


NAVI PILLAY,
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that Human Rights Council resolution 16/20 of 12 April 2011 requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a report on the implementation of the conclusions of the independent international fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla. Notes Verbale were sent to the Permanent Missions of Israel and Turkey, as well as the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine. The report reflected the input from the only response received to date, being that of the Government of Turkey.

Statements by Concerned Countries


AHARON LESHNO-YAAR (
Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said that this was a scary time. Much of the stability that the Middle East had known in past decades had evaporated following the brave actions of protesters in Cairo and Tunis, in Teheran and Benghazi, in Da’ra and San’na. Jewish sages taught the Jewish people to remember what bondage was like and how fortunate Israelis were today to live in a democratic, open society. Israel was a State where all its citizens regardless of faith, gender, race or sexual orientation had equal access to those democratic and social rights that many of the citizens in the region were risking their lives to attain. It continued to be a scary time because some rulers continued to prevent their citizens from achieving freedoms. The changes and uprisings in the region were felt by all citizens of Israel. Israel was deeply concerned by attempts of the Syrians and Palestinians along the frontier between the two countries. It called on the international community to convey a clear message to Syria that such provocations carried serious potential for escalation and must cease completely. The Government of Syria was expected to take all necessary measures to prevent such dangerous incidents from reoccurring in the future. Israel was determined to protect its borders and citizens and it would continue to take great efforts to maintain regional peace and security. In the midst of all the change in the Middle East and North Africa, Israel noted that the Council was mired into dealing with Israel. Israel was clearly not before the Council because of any current burning human rights need, but some delegations at the Council continued to see this as their birth rights. Israel remained committed to peaceful negotiation with its neighbours. On the matter of matter of last year’s flotilla incident, Israel noted that the United Nations had spoken about the inappropriateness of Flotillas in the future: on 19 May 2011, at a meeting of the Security Council. Israel was not perfect. But the time had come for the Council to see the difference between pursuing human rights and political positioning.

IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (
Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that the Flotilla had on board civilians of many nationalities as well as humanitarian aid for people disabled by Israeli forces. The attack on it by Israel was a violation of international law. The Government of Israel continued to fail to implement the important recommendations contained in the report. Israel continued to be intransigent in its position, which was not based on any legal basis. The Government of Israel should make appropriate apologies and compensate the victims. The blockade of Gaza should end. Palestine supported the efforts deployed by Turkey to ensure that the rights of the victims were upheld. Israel continued its occupation along with the violations of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions. The occupying force authorities had refused to implement the recommendations in the resolution adopted by the international community on the building of the wall, the recognition of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and to allow for the recognition of borders between Palestine and Jordan, which ran counter to statements supporting this by President Obama. The denial of the rights of the Palestinian people ran counter to the spirit of international law. Additional violations included approval by the Israeli parliament to change the names of Arab streets, giving them Hebrew names and thereby changing the character of Jerusalem; the arrest of Members of the Council of the Legislative Assembly; and permitting acts of aggression on places of worship, such as mosques. Israel continued to obtain the assets of the Palestinian State authorities and dozens of Palestinian citizens and Syrian citizens were killed by Israel while calling for their right of return. The Government of Palestine supported the recommendations in the report to prosecute those who committed this attack, and through the Security Council to make an investigation into war crimes and to establish a compensation fund for those impacted by Israeli acts of aggression. The General Assembly should investigate the use of forbidden weapons by Israel.

FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI (
Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said that the Human Rights Council was discussing this year Israeli violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Occupied Syrian Golan in the light of new developments. The Israeli occupation last month had killed over 20 Palestinians who had been peacefully demonstrating. It was exactly one year after Israel had committed the crime of killing humanitarian workers in international waters in an act of piracy. Israel had also killed 25 and injured over 400 peaceful demonstrators from Palestine and the Syrian Golan who had been requesting their rights guaranteed to them in international treaties. This massacre had proved state terrorism and the inherently aggressive way with which Israel dealt with the Arabs. Despite this, the international community and the United States had not moved to condemn those acts, because in their eyes, Israel was beyond accountability for those human rights violations. List of human rights violations and violations of the international humanitarian law committed by Israel was too long. Israel also violated the right to life and property of the Palestinians and inhabitants of the Syrian Golan, deprived them of the right to seek justice, all the while claiming it was the only democracy in the Middle East. Those violations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court were tantamount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. If the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights were to preserve their reputation, they must not remain mute in front of those crimes, but must raise their voice against the State that committed terrorism, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against peace. States that defended Israel and found excuses for its crimes should put an end to hypocrisy and respect the principles of international humanitarian law.

OGUZ DEMIRALP (
Turkey), speaking as a concerned country, noted that the Human Rights Council was rightfully seized of an emblematic case; the flotilla raid. This was emblematic because the breach of international law had never been so clearly established. Further that it was emblematic because the human rights violations had been undeniably blatant and flagrant. The international community should not forget that the Israeli conduct was not only disproportionate to the occasion but that it demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary, unjustified and incredible violence. Turkey noted that in the face of this emblematic case, the Council had taken the right course of action. The Council had called for a Special Session, and had tasked a mission of experts to look into the case and Turkey endorsed the conclusions reached by the experts. The Council had not failed to invite the countries concerned to implement the conclusions, hoping that justice would be done without further delay. Israel had taken no effective steps to redress the situation. Turkey believed that the New York Panel was neither a substitute nor a duplicate for the Human Rights Council. It was expected to produce results at the political level. Israel had claimed that the blockade in Gaza was legal. Turkey asked how the inhumane blockade could be considered legal and legitimate when the occupation was entirely illegal.

General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories


ANDRAS DEKANY (
Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union was deeply concerned about the continuing stalemate in the peace process and called for the urgent resumption of direct negotiations leading to a comprehensive solution on all tracks. The goal remained a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition. A way should be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two States. Recalling the Berlin Declaration, the European Union reiterated its readiness to recognize a Palestinian State when appropriate. The European Union reiterated that Israeli settlements, the separation barrier built on occupied land, the demolitions of homes and evictions were illegal under international law and constituted an obstacle to peace. The European Union urged the Government of Israel to end all settlement activities in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. The European Union welcomed the agreement of 3 May, following the successful mediation of Egypt, allowing for intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind President Abbas as an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian State. Reconciliation should be in the long term interest of Israel and its legitimate right to exist, as it helped to engage all parties in a process leading to a sustainable peace agreement. The European Union hoped that this new context would favour the unconditional release of detained Israeli solider Gilad Shalit. The International Committee of the Red Cross should be allowed to visit him immediately. The European Union was committed to support the creation of a more democratic, stable, prosperous and peaceful southern neighbourhood.

HISHAM BADR (
Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that today the Human Rights Council convened again to address the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and again found itself in a situation where the situation of Palestine and the Occupied Syrian Golan had not been resolved. The Council still witnessed the continuing oppression and suffering of people under Israeli occupation. The Non-Aligned Movement would remain on the forefront of the historic march of the Palestinian people for freedom, recognising the provisions of international treaties and their right to self-determination. The Non-Aligned Movement condemned the aggression and violence against peaceful demonstrations and all measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian people by Israel, which represented grave violations of international humanitarian law for which the occupying power must be held accountable. Israel must release all illegally held prisoners, including women and children. The international community had the responsibility to react against Israel and should not accept the fact that the occupying power imposed fait acompli on people because they could. The international community must lend its support to end the situation in the Occupied Syrian Golan too, including the violence and use of live ammunition against peaceful demonstrators which had led to the killing of scores of people. The Non-Aligned Movement thanked the High Commissioner for the support for the conclusions of the international fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla. The time to act was now and the international community must rise to its obligations and do more to manifest its support and thus facilitate attainment of peace in the region with the highest standards of protection and human rights.

MUHAMMAD SAEED SARWAR (
Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that the continuous flagrant violations by Israel of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and in particular the most fundamental rights to life and 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 Organization of the Islamic Conference reaffirmed the international community’s demand to end the occupation of Palestine and establish the independent and sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and the return of all refugees. The Organization of the Islamic Conference condemned the ongoing illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel must release all Palestinian prisoners including children, women and members of the Palestinian parliament. The Organization of the Islamic Conference called on Israel to stop the destruction of Palestinian properties in East Jerusalem as well as refrain from any measure aimed at altering the demographic character or status of East Jerusalem. The human rights situation in the Syrian Golan Heights was deteriorating because of the Israeli occupation which continued to violate the economic, social and cultural rights of the Syrian population. The Organization of the Islamic Conference regretted that a year after the investigation of the flotilla incident that there had been no implementation of the recommendations of the report. It believed that the Council should remain seized of this issue in order to ensure accountability and the fight against impunity for those responsible for the violations.

MOHAMMED HAIDARA (
Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group, commended the High Commissioner for her report on the status of the implementation of Council resolution A/HRC/16/20 and believed that Israeli military action against the Flotilla last year was an act of aggression and a violation of international law and international humanitarian law. It was unfortunate that Israel had refused to provide any response to the High Commissioner’s request for information on the incident. The African Group was deeply concerned about the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Syrian Golan and other Occupied Arab Territories. The African Group’s position had not changed and as a matter of principle, the African Group would like to reiterate its support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people and people of other occupied Arab territories in their longstanding quest for the full realization of their rights which could not be forfeited. The occupation remained the single most important cause of human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and it was time for Israel to wake up to this reality and make efforts at ending the occupation.

IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (
Palestine), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said that the Arab Group welcomed the agreements reached in Cairo recently, which were a fundamental step forward to enable the Palestinians to address the challenges and realise their rights. The Arab Group recognised the alienable rights of the Palestinians to self-determination, return and other rights as stipulated by the international treaties. The Arab Group called on the international community to ensure that the principles of international law and international humanitarian law were upheld, particularly of the Fourth Geneva Convention which was applicable in the case of Palestine and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Arab Group asked the occupying force to put an immediate end to violations, to the rules enabling the building of the apartheid wall, and to the construction of illegal settlements particularly in Jerusalem. Israel must release thousands of detainees and lift the siege of Gaza. The Arab Group condemned the violations of human rights of Palestinians and of people of the Occupied Syrian Golan, particularly those that had occurred during the recent commemoration of the Nakba. The Arab Group urged the Human Rights Council and the international community to take all necessary measures to ensure that the occupying power respected all decisions and resolutions pertaining to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to put a stop to the violations of international law and international humanitarian law. The Arab Group restated its solidarity with the Government and people of Turkey and supported their position on the need to monitor the implementation of the conclusions and recommendations from the report of the international fact-finding mission on the humanitarian flotilla incident.

JURG LAUBER (
Switzerland) regretted that so many violations of human rights were being committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and that impunity continued to remain a problem. Switzerland welcomed the inter-Palestinian reconciliation agreement. All new Palestinian governments must commit to non-violence and constructive peace with Israel. Switzerland condemned the violent dispersion of peaceful demonstrations by Palestinian security forces in Hebron and in Gaza and deplored the arbitrary arrests that had followed. Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly were fundamental rights. Switzerland called on the Palestinian Authority to observe these rights. Switzerland condemned the repeated and continuing attacks by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It also noted that settlement activities were not only a violation of international law but were also a violation of the road map to peace. Switzerland was concerned about the many arbitrary detentions and arrests conducted by Israel with regard to parliament members and members of the Palestinian civil society. It called on Israel to put an end to arbitrary detentions and arrests. Switzerland stressed that all parties must show restraint and conduct impartial enquiries.

CHARLES O. BLAHA (
United States) deeply regretted the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in the incident aboard the Gaza bound ships last spring. However, resolution 14/1 passed judgment on the facts before they were determined and handed the fact-finding mission a flawed mandate, something the mission itself acknowledged in its report. The United States regarded the Panel of Inquiry established by the United Nations Secretary-General, with the support of Turkey and Israel to receive and review the reports of Israel’s Turkel Commission and Turkey’s National Commission of Inquiry, as the primary method for the international community to review the incident. The humanitarian situation had significantly improved over the last year and the United States continued to work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, donors and the international community to ensure that the needs of the people of Gaza were met.

HOU PEI (
China) said China thanked the High Commissioner for her report and urged all sides, especially Israel, to meet the demands of the United Nations General Assembly and to cooperate fully with the United Nations mechanisms. China was concerned about the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including in East Jerusalem. The prolonged siege of Gaza by Israel seriously damaged the human rights of the Palestinians and China urged Israel to lift the siege and improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The peace process was in a stalemate and the international community needed to do all it could to promote the resumption of peace talks and to ensure that the peace process continued. In closing, China reiterated its will to play an active and constructive role for durable and just peace in the Middle East.

OSAMU SAKASHITA (
Japan) reiterated Japan’s condolences to the victims of the flotilla incident which occurred in May last year. Japan condemned the violent acts which had caused the tragic incident. Japan continued to watch carefully over whether the measures to relax the Israeli blockade would be fully implemented. It also hoped that humanitarian assistance to Gaza would be extended through other channels available to the parties. Japan continued to believe that prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation of the incident needed to be conducted. Further Japan believed that a two-State solution in which an independent and democratic Palestinian State existed with Israel in a peaceful and stable manner was the only feasible solution. Japan would continue assistance to a Palestinian Authority which acknowledged Israel’s right to exist and sought a two-State solution.

BUDOOR AHMED (
Bahrain) said Bahrain considered human rights as the common responsibility of all States around the world which extended to occupied territories and included the right to self determination. The Israeli occupation authorities continued illegal acts against the Palestinian people in a clear defiance of the will of the international community. The recent violations by Israel on the Syrian border had violated many innocent people’s human rights and Bahrain called on Israel to abide by all international resolutions, to protect human rights in all the Occupied Territories and to withdraw its occupation forces so that a full and just peace could be possible.

NATALIA ZOLOTOVA (
Russian Federation) said that the refusal of the Government of Israel to cooperate with international missions to determine the facts surrounding the incidents of the humanitarian flotilla was regrettable. The use of force against the flotilla in international waters had been a violation of international law and the Russian Federation requested compensation for the victims. The situation in the region remained of concern and Israel must take firm steps to facilitate the lives of the Palestinians. The problem of the Israeli settlement policy was complicating the resumption of peace negotiations. The ongoing tensions in the Gaza Strip were leading to deterioration of the humanitarian situation and a growth of resentment. Israel must fully open up the sector and facilitate movement of people. The Russian Federation was taking ongoing steps to prevent further destabilisation and to resume peace talks. It was necessary to bring about irreversible change in addressing the situation which would foster the emerging Palestinian institutions which would enable the future Palestinian State living side by side with Israel. In closing, the Russian Federation reiterated its intention to hold the Moscow conference on the Middle East and added that this conference would be more successful if it took place after the peace talks had resumed.

SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (
Malaysia) said that Malaysia reiterated the importance of the findings of the international fact-finding mission on the humanitarian flotilla and added that they should inform the course of action by the Human Rights Council. The findings had demonstrated the clear responsibility of Israel for this attack and Malaysia condemned the continuing defiance of Israel and lack of cooperation with the fact-finding mission. Since the attack on the humanitarian flotilla, the whole region had undergone a dramatic change, in which the occupation of Palestine could not go for ever. Malaysia condemned the use of violence by Israel, including the use of live ammunition, against peaceful demonstrators during the commemoration of the Nakba. Malaysia reiterated its commitment to continue assisting the people of the Occupied Palestinian Territories in their efforts to secure their human rights and fundamental freedoms through peaceful negotiations.

YUSNIER ROMERO PUENTES (
Cuba) said that Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the United Nations recommendations showed a lack of respect for the United Nations’ decisions and although one year had gone by the victims and their families were still calling for justice to be done. The Israeli Government’s refusal to cooperate with international experts was confirmed in the report and the Palestinian people continued to be subjected to difficult conditions. Cuba called for a just, peaceful and lasting solution to the Palestinian people, which could only be achieved by pursuing the recommendations in the High Commissioner’s report.

AHMED SULEIMAN IBRAHIM ALAQUIL (
Saudi Arabia) reaffirmed the fact that Israel’s responsibility had been fully clarified regarding the peace talks with its Palestinian counterparts. Israel had no plan to disarm and worked to incite destruction. Israel continued to build settlements in the Palestinian territories. All possible should be done to prevent the continued building of the settlements, implement the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, end the construction of and remove separation walls, halt judiazation methods, and provide compensation to Palestinian citizens. Saudi Arabia urged the Human Rights Council to investigate attacks carried out by Israel against unarmed protestors, which had given rise to the death of 40 people.

MANSOOR ABDULLA AL-SULAITIN (
Qatar) said Qatar welcomed the report by the High Commissioner on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla, which presented objective information in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Human Rights Council. Qatar recognised the hard work done by the fact-finding mission, which had focused on human rights issues in their investigations. Qatar also welcomed the Panel of Experts which had looked into the facts of the incidents and produced recommendations in order to avoid the repetition of such incidents. Israel had refused to cooperate with the fact-finding mission, which was not a surprise given the contempt of Israel for the international community and human rights, which it continued to violate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Qatar condemned the crimes and attacks committed by Israel against worshipers. The international community could not turn a blind eye to the suffering and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

SALMA ETTAWEEL (
Jordan) said Jordan was concerned that Israel had not shown any remorse for the tragic loss of life and injuries of innocent people, which had resulted from this attack. Jordan believed that accountability should be upheld and that effective remedy for the victims should be ensured. With respect to item 7, the Government of Jordan condemned the killing of peaceful demonstrators by Israel in the Occupied Golan Heights. Jordan firmly believed that the right to peaceful assembly was guaranteed under international human rights law and all States were under obligation to ensure the safety of protestors. Jordan continued to express its deepest concern over Israeli policies to empty the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly East Jerusalem, from its inhabitants. Recent credible reports reaffirmed that Israel had revoked the residency permits and or status of 140,000 Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

IRUTHISHAM ADAM (
Maldives) said the current events in the Middle East and North Africa reminded the international community that human rights were universal values and each individual had the right to choose his or her future. Nevertheless, the situation in the Occupied Arab Territories did not give any reason for such optimism. The Palestinian people were no closer today to living in peace, security and prosperity in the independent and sovereign State of Palestine than they were six decades ago. The non-realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people should be resolved in accordance with international law and relevant resolutions of the Security Council. The Maldives was particularly disheartened by the deadlock in the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine and reiterated the necessity of an immediate freeze on all settlement activities in the occupied territories and condemned the recent use of excessive force against civilian populations. The Maldives therefore hoped that the United Nations would recognize the establishment of the State of Palestine and welcomed steps taken by the Palestinian Authority towards that goal, in particular the establishment of the reconciliation agreement between the national stakeholders. Regarding the follow up to the conclusion of the fact-finding mission on the flotilla incident, the Maldives deeply regretted Israel’s continued non-cooperation and called on all parties to cooperate. The Maldives welcomed the establishment of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry which should avoid any duplication of work and take into consideration the reports of the fact-finding mission and of the High Commissioner.

CIRO LEAL MARTINS DA CUNHA (
Brazil), speaking on behalf of India, Brazil and the South Africa Forum, welcomed the cooperation of Turkey with the High Commissioner and said that all aspects of the humanitarian flotilla incident must be fully disclosed, victims compensated and accountability for violations ensured. The Forum condemned the use of violence against civilians and was concerned at the reports of attacks against protesters along the borders of Israel with Lebanon, Syria and Palestine and reiterated the call of the High Commissioner for an independent investigation of those incidents. The situation in Gaza remained of grave concern and changes in Israeli policies on the movement of goods had not been sufficient to stop the deterioration of the humanitarian and human rights situation. The Forum called on Israel to ensure early and significant easing of restrictions on the free movement of persons and goods within Palestine. Occupation remained the main cause of violations in Palestine. Recent events in the Middle East offered a chance for a comprehensive peace and the Forum welcomed the reconciliation between Palestinian factions.

NAHIDA SOBHAN (
Bangladesh) said that Israel continued to violate international human rights and humanitarian law by committing systematic human rights violations against the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people were deprived of the enjoyment of their property and access to employment and livelihood, and access to natural resources necessary for human survival. Millions were living in refugee camps in abject poverty, hunger, disease and malnutrition. There appeared to be a collective failure on the part of the international community, more so on the people of Israel that once suffered deprivation as they failed to rise to the occasion in guaranteeing the people of Palestine their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The prolonged and illegal occupation of the Arab territories by Israel must be addressed. Bangladesh united with the international community in reiterating its long-standing solidarity with the Palestinian people and reaffirmed its full and unwavering support in their just and legitimate struggle for freedom.

BOUALEM CHEBIHI (
Algeria) said Algeria was alarmed that the Palestinians continued to be stripped of their rights by the Israelis. The violations of human rights were crystal clear. The Israeli Government had not lived up to its obligations regarding these violations. In the Syrian Golan Heights, the use of weapons by occupied forces recently resulted in dozens of victims. These human rights violations by Israel did not serve Israeli interests. Algeria asked the international community to impose its will in requiring Israel to respect and implement United Nations resolutions. Algeria congratulated the Palestinians on the recent reconciliation achieved.

OGUZ DEMIRALP (
Turkey) said the situation in Palestine remained unchanged despite the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa. Darkness was keeping its sway over the Occupied Territories. A durable peace in the Middle East was not possible without resolving the conflict between Israel and Palestine. A durable peace required two States existing side-by-side with a secure border in accordance with United Nations resolutions. Fatah and Hamas had taken a step in the right direction with their recent reconciliation, which Turkey supported. The Palestinian road map towards elections and democracy should be supported by all parties. Israel should not yield to incitement to undermine the peace process. Palestine should be given resources to provide services to its people. Turkey called for the Palestinian State to be recognized by more States which would provide a basis for peaceful negotiations. Turkey condemned the recent attacks on civilians in the Golan Heights and the continued occupation of this area.

MOHAMMAD CHANDRA YVDHA (
Indonesia) said that as asserted by the international fact-finding mission, serious breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law had occurred in the humanitarian flotilla incident and Indonesia endorsed the call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and for the victims to obtain effective judicial and other remedies. Indonesia was concerned about the lack of implementation of the recommendations of the fact-finding mission and the resolution of the Human Rights Council and added that the Government of Israel still needed to cooperate with the human rights institutions and implement recommendations of the fact-finding mission. Indonesia, like other countries, wished to see the resolution of the conflict which had been going on since 1967 and which had seen systematic use of superior military power to enforce needless suffering and humiliation of the defenceless Palestinian nation.

HISHAM BADR (
Egypt) said that developments and challenges were escalating in the Occupied Arab Territories. In Gaza, the humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate as a result of four years of illegal siege. The Israeli occupation continued in other areas of the Arab Territories in defiance of the United Nations resolutions. It was unacceptable that the international community was failing to ensure the compliance of Israel with international human rights law and international humanitarian law at the time when the world was witnessing important changes in the region. The international community carried the responsibility to pursue efforts to set up clear parameters for the resumption of peace negotiations and to settle the question of Palestinian refugees in accordance with the relevant United Nations General Assembly resolutions.

SEYED MOHAMMAD REZA SAJJADI (
Iran) strongly condemned the Zionist regime’s unrelenting refusal to cooperate with all the relevant Human Rights Council’s mechanisms, preventing them from fulfilling their mandates. Iran maintained that this important matter required an urgent and intensive effort by the Human Rights Council and the United Nations Secretary-General to guarantee such cooperation. Iran also strongly condemned the deteriorating settlement colonisation campaign in the West Bank, the incessant blockade of the Gaza Strip, the detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians including political prisoners and all other measures of collective punishment which were serious violations of the fourth Geneva Convention. Iran expressed grave concern about the continuation of arrest, detention and prosecution of a large number of innocent women and children in harsh conditions by Israeli military courts.

OBAID SALEM SAEED AL ZAABI (
United Arab Emirates) said this debate was evidence of the keenness of the international community to uncover the truth behind the incident of the Flotilla. In spite of the clear findings of the fact finding mission that Israel had committed serious human rights violations, the Government of Israel refused to cooperate with the fact finding panel or to offer either an apology or compensation to the victims which called into question Israel’s willingness to work with the Human Rights Council. Israel should implement all recommendations in the report and the Palestinian people should be allowed to recover their full rights over their occupied territory.

KSHENUKA SENEWIRATNE (
Sri Lanka) expressed its firm belief that only meaningful negotiations would achieve the two-State settlement envisaged by all, putting an end to the occupation of the Palestinian and other Arab territories, culminating in the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine, for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. There was an urgent need to put an end to all unlawful settlement activities. The Sri Lankan delegation welcomed the opening of the Rafah crossing by Egypt last month which would assist in ameliorating the conditions in Gaza. Sri Lanka emphasized the need for the re-launching of peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. In this regard a freeze on settlement expansion needed to be addressed with a sense of urgency. Sri Lanka called upon all parties to intensify efforts in forging an early solution based on the two-State settlement envisaged by all.

YAHYA ALWIHAIBI (
Oman) said this session was being held at a time when the human rights of the Palestinians were characterized by illegal practices on the part of the Israelis. People were being forced to leave their land, based on seizure, construction, the judiazation of Jerusalem and contempt for international resolutions. Oman supported efforts to put an agreement into place in order to achieve the aims of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of an independent state within the 1967 borders. The negotiations were taking a long time and thus the international community needed to take appropriate measures to end aggression and to ensure people were allowed to return to their homeland. Israel needed to be held responsible when it violated United Nations resolutions and human rights.

SADIQ MARAFI (
Kuwait) said that the Human Rights Council was again meeting to examine the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the suffering of the people due to Israeli violations, such as the expansion of settlements, seizure of goods and siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. It was regrettable that Israel refused to put an end to those violations and to be held accountable for continuing violations of international humanitarian law. There was a need to adopt a mechanism which would guarantee implementation of adopted resolutions.

OMAR HILALE (
Morocco) said that the situation in Palestine was very complex. The peace process had reached a stalemate and the Human Rights Council must put greater efforts in ending the human rights violations and to ensure that recommendations from relevant United Nations bodies were implemented. In Jerusalem, people were trying to resist judaisation and those who had been thrown out of their homes must have the right to return. The people of Jerusalem had been suffering due to the expansion of settlements and since those practices were illegal, Morocco called on the Council to protect the rights of Palestinian people. Places of warship must be protected too and excavation under mosques must stop.

FELIX PENA RAMOS (
Venezuela) said the Government of Israel had acted with total impunity in engaging in serious violations of human rights and international human law committed on a daily basis against Palestinians. During the Flotilla incident, the Israeli Army massacred civilians, committing an act of war against unarmed civilians. The Government of Venezuela urged the Council to find effective mechanisms to hold the State of Israel accountable for it actions.

SLIMANE CHIKH, of
Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that the report from the fact finding mission clearly noted that the Israeli forces committed violations of humanitarian laws. One year after the Israeli attack and eight months after the fact finding mission, the international community was still waiting for Israel to implement the conclusions of the report and in so doing the Human Rights Council was sending a negative message to countries engaged in similar violations by not bringing Israel to account. The Organization of the Islamic Conference urged the Human Rights Council and the international community to be firm and intransigent in holding Israel to account for its acts.

SAAD AL FARARGI (
League of Arab States) said the Human Rights Council had adopted many resolutions regarding the violations of human rights in the Occupied Territories and many reports had been issued in this regard. However, the position of Israel remained unchanged; it continued to pursue aggression. In a barbaric fashion on 15 March, protestors were attacked by Israel in the Golan Heights. On 5 June Israel had committed criminal acts, resulting in 40 dead. There were serious human rights violations due to settlement expansion in the Occupied Territories. This was putting a brake on peace efforts in the region. The League of Arab States asked the Council to put pressure on Israel and ensure there was no impunity for human rights violations.

RANA MOKADDEM (
Lebanon) said for the Palestinian people, the point of departure had been that many were refugees. Lebanon reaffirmed its support for the Palestinians to exercise their right to peaceful demonstration. Unarmed people had been murdered along the border while demonstrating peacefully. Palestinians were suffering from daily and systematic violations of their rights as they were being taken from their land and homes by Israelis. Many of those who had protested in support for self-determination and peace were languishing in Israeli prisons and many areas of Lebanon and Jordan continued to be occupied by Israel. Israel had refused to provide compensation for those who had suffered from its violations of human rights.

RAHMA SALIH ELOBIED (
Sudan) said Sudan was concerned about the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and added that the policy of blockade of Gaza and expansions of settlements was continuing, and even affecting other territories. Sudan regretted the question of the humanitarian flotilla and added that the Human Rights Council must keep this question before it until the accountability was assured.

NATALIE TABAR, of
Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man, said that as a Palestinian human rights organization, Al-Haq regretted discriminatory policies against Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Since 1995 Israel had revoked residency status for over 10,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites. Israel’s coercive policies amounted to the war crime of forcible transfer. As long as Palestinian right to self-determination remained under attack the violations would continue, as was demonstrated during the recent violence on the Nakba Day.

DAVID HACHUEL, of
B'nai B'rith International, in a joint statement with Coordination Board of Jewish Organizations, said the discussion under item 7 at this session occurred at a time when violations to the right to life were being committed across regimes in the Middle East, including Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iran. Oblivious of the dramatic human rights issues demanding attention throughout the region, the Human Rights Council insisted on maintaining the one and only agenda item directed against a single country.

NUR ARAFEH, of
BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian residency and Refugee Rights, said that Israel had increased its attacks against non-violent protestors in the Occupied Territories. In the Gaza Strip 125 civilians were injured while in the West Bank 200 Palestinian marchers were shot at with rubber bullets. BADIL urged Israel to close the legal loopholes that allowed violence to continue against innocent Palestinians.

GIANFRANCO FATTORINI, of
Press Emblem Campaign, reminded the members of the Human Rights Council that the High Commissioner presented the report on the implementation of the conclusions of the independent fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla on 21 March 2011. Press Emblem Campaign asked whether the action of the international community regarding crimes against reporters had been adequate. Throughout 2010, 218 violations against journalists and media outlets had been committed by Israeli forces and Palestinian security services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Press Emblem Campaign reminded the distinguished Council that during the period known as the Gaza war, there was a cap on media coverage imposed by Israeli forces. Press Emblem Campaign suggested the Council organize a working group to document all violations against journalists in 2010 and 2011 in the area as a yardstick to encourage the Council to embark on a resolution that would accord journalists working in situations of military conflict with a special status.

HILLEL NEUER, of
United Nations Watch, said that history would record that at a time when citizens across the Middle East were being attacked by their own governments, the United Nations focused its time and attention on a country in that region where this was not happening. It focused on the only country in the region which, despite it flaws, respected a wide range of human rights. This agenda item symbolized the opposite of human rights and embodied the pathologies that so discredited this Council’s predecessor body. This was so unjust, so biased, so selective, so politicized and so contradictory to the Council’s own principles of equality and universality. United Nations Watch asked why the Council recommended the perpetuation of this agenda item. History would record that when citizens were being persecuted by their own governments, the United Nations turned a blind eye to the victims.

GIANFRANCO FATTORINI, of
Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples, said that since the sixteenth session of the Human Rights Council Israel had reaffirmed its commitment to continue with its settlement policies. The members of the fact-finding mission had expressed their position that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community had the responsibility to protect civilians and prevent violations and suffering due to the occupation. The State of Israel and its leaders should no longer enjoy impunity for violations and abuses committed against the Palestinian people. Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples called on the Human Rights Council to call on the United Nations Security Council to undertake all measures to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people.

GALA MARIC, of
North-South XXI, noted the single-page report of the High Commissioner on the implementation of recommendations of the fact-finding mission on the humanitarian flotilla. North-South XXI regretted that the report could not be longer or stronger and required an explanation why parties did not implement the recommendations. North-South XXI was concerned about the Israeli behaviour and the continuing attacks against civilians. On 16 May the Israeli Navy had used live ammunition against a Malaysian ship in international waters. Failure to adequately follow up on the recommendations of the fact-finding mission led to continuing attacks against humanitarian workers, North-South XXI noted in closing.

DAVID LITTMAN, of
World Union for Progressive Judaism, said that Fatah’s green charter could not be overlooked as an obstacle to the peace process. The main theme of the various Nakba Day events a month ago was the Palestinian refugees’ return to the 1948 territories and the destruction of the State of Israel. To continue to ignore the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas Charters which expressed Palestinian strategic goals would lead the United Nations down a blind alley.


For use of the information media; not an official record


HRC11/086E



Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter