Le Comité des droits des Palestiniens tient une réunion spéciale au regard de la Journée internationale de solidarité au peuple palestinien - Communiqué de presse Français
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Addressing a meeting organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, he said that one year ago, as the General Assembly declared 2014 the Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, United States-facilitated negotiations on final status issues between Israelis and Palestinians had resumed. Hope had been visible, yet the world witnessed another ruthless war in Gaza, and the parties were no nearer to lasting security.
He said more must be done to protect civilians and abide by international human rights and humanitarian law. Long-term security required lifting the closure on Gaza and ending the half-century occupation of Palestinian land, while also addressing Israel’s legitimate security issues. The Israeli and Palestinian people faced a shared fate on shared land. There was no “erasing the other”.
Once empathy and mutual understanding of the parties’ common humanity and common future “goes – it is not far over the precipice”. Urging an end to the “mindless” cycle of destruction, he called on the parties to step back from the brink and find the path to peace “before hope and time run out”.
Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, stressed that Israel’s military occupation of the land and people of Palestine must end. Thus, the State of Palestine had presented a draft resolution to the Security Council, through the Arab Group, to set a timeframe for ending the Israeli occupation.
This year, he said, marked 47 years since June 1967, when Israel had forcibly occupied the remainder of historic Palestine – the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It was also a year when the occupying Power had targeted Gaza, killing Palestinians, including children, and causing horrific devastation condemned by all. Nevertheless, the State of Palestine remained committed to the two-State solution. “Let us make this year the year of the two-State solution,” he urged in a second intervention.
Pointing out that recovery in Gaza was imperative, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, noted that those fleeing the destruction in Gaza had become refugees for a second time and that their flight from conflict was becoming more complicated as borders closed. Yet despite pessimism in the short-term, Palestinians could be envied by middle-income countries for record development of human capital, but they could only envy those countries’ Statehood. Noting that the peace process now hung from a thread, General Assembly President Sam Kahamba Kutesa said that the recurring cycle of violence hampered UNWRA’s ability to provide humanitarian services. Given that 95 per cent of the Agency’s funding came from voluntary contributions, he urged Member States to fully finance its core budget.
Palitha T. B. Kohona, Chairman, Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, urged Israel to implement the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism brokered by the United Nations, and called on the international community to investigate the business activities of companies profiting from Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and the occupied Syrian Golan.
Ahmed Fathalla, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, reading a message from the League’s Secretary General, Nabil Elaraby, said “If we fail in our duty, history would not absolve us”. With that, he urged the Security Council to set a deadline for withdrawal of the occupying Power from Palestinian Territory, to the pre-1967 borders.
Also speaking were Fodé Seck, Palestinian Rights Committee Chair, and Gary Quinlan (Australia), Security Council President for the month.
Reading out messages of solidarity by their leaders were representatives of Iran, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement; Saudi Arabia, Chair of the fortieth session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); and Mauritania, Chair of the African Union.
Mr. Seck read out a list of officials, Heads of State and Government, Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Governments and civil society organizations that had sent messages of solidarity, which would be published in a special bulletin of the Division for Palestinian Rights.
Mark Koenig, Co-chair of the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group, also participated, on behalf of civil society organizations active on the question of Palestine.
FODÉ SECK (Senegal), Chair, Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that despite today’s gathering in solidarity with the Palestinian people, Gaza remained deeply affected by the latest conflict, the third since the Palestinian legislative elections in January of 2006. He called for a minute of silence in memory of the 1,486 civilian lives lost in Gaza over the summer. As the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People drew to a close, he reviewed the many things that had happened in 2014, including Palestine’s official accession to the four Geneva Conventions, along with 10 other international instruments. He also noted several initiatives by European Governments to end the occupation.
He recalled the formation a Government of National Unity, and the $5.4 billion pledged in Cairo enabling the start of Gaza’s reconstruction. He reviewed the Committee’s activities in the context of the International Year of Solidarity, noting in particular the convening of a joint meeting with the League of Arab States, which had resulted in the Cairo Declaration. A meeting of civil society would be held in Seville, Spain in December.
There had also been many disturbing developments, he said, citing among them the illegal settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Additionally, scores of Palestinians had been and the 50-day Gaza war had destroyed the homes of more than 100,000 Palestinians, also damaging water, sewage and electricity infrastructure, as well as businesses and facilities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The humanitarian situation in the enclave was disastrous. The Committee had strongly condemned the war and called for the lifting of the blockade. He hoped this year would end with Palestine’s accession to the United Nations as a full Member State.
SAM KAHAMBA KUTESA (Uganda), President of the General Assembly, noting that conditions on the ground remained volatile, urged a cessation of all acts of violence. The situation in Gaza was critical and he urged a lifting of the blockade. Regrettably, the peace process now hung from a thread. The international community must continue to support the parties to resolve their differences, and the United Nations should take a more decisive role. The negotiations should be based on a two-State solution, within internationally recognized borders. The recurring cycle of violence hampered UNWRA’s ability to provide humanitarian services. Given that 95 per cent of the Agency’s funding came from voluntary contributions, he urged Member States to fully fund its core budget.
GARY QUINLAN (Australia), Security Council President, said the 15-member body remained closely engaged with the situation and fully committed to the search for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace. It had continued to receive monthly briefings from senior United Nations officials and had held open debates on the Middle East on a quarterly basis. The Council supported the resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, and had urged the conclusion of a two-State solution, as envisaged in Council resolution 1850 (2008). Members condemned acts of violence on both sides, including rocket and other attacks directed at Israel. They had also expressed concern over Israel’s settlement activities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Council was also gravely concerned at the loss of civilian lives as a result of the Gaza crisis, and had called for full implementation of its resolutions and for the immediate provision of humanitarian assistance for the Gazans. He hoped that the international community would increase its support to UNWRA and increase humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. It should also support the economy’s development.
PIERRE KRÄHENBÜHL, UNRWA’s Commissioner General, said that in its nearly 65 years, the Agency had accomplished much, but the Palestinians nevertheless remained under pressure, with enormous threats to their lives and livelihoods. Resolution could only be achieved through political action. Recovery in Gaza was imperative, and while he welcomed the eased entry of construction materials, rebuilding must be sped up with the cold months approaching, or the more than 110,000 Palestinians would remain homeless. In that connection, the Cairo pledges must be disbursed. Those who had fled the situation had become refugees for a second time in other countries, and their flight from conflict was becoming more difficult as borders closed. He expressed particular concern over the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria. Given the costs resulting from the loss of human dignity, UNRWA would strengthen its focus on refugees’ rights. Despite short-term pessimism, the Palestinian people could boast a great record in the development of human capital, and one which many middle-income countries would envy, however, Palestinians envied their Statehood.
RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, speaking on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said this year marked the passage of 47 years since June 1967, when Israel had forcibly occupied the remainder of historic Palestine, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip. It had also witnessed the suffering of the Palestinian people under another brutal military aggression by Israel, the occupying Power, which had a few months ago targeted the occupied Gaza Strip, killing and injuring Palestinians, including children, causing massive destruction and inflicting horrific devastation that had been condemned by all.
He stressed that Israel’s military occupation of the land and people of Palestine must end and reiterated urgent calls to the international community to compel Israel to comply with its legal obligations, and completely cease its violations of international law and its illegal, aggressive and destructive policies and practices. The State of Palestine had, through the Arab Group, presented a draft resolution to the Security Council to set a timeframe for ending the Israeli occupation. The State of Palestine continued to act with utmost responsibility to serve its people and uphold its legal obligations and international commitments. It had stood ready for decades to reach a solution to the conflict, and despite diminishing hopes and a dangerous situation on the ground, it remained committed to the two-State solution. Its people were determined to remain steadfast and realize their inalienable rights, confident that the international community would stand with right and justice so that hope, freedom, peace and security could prevail.
PALITHA T. B. KOHONA (Sri Lanka), Chairman, Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, said the Special Committee was appalled by the humanitarian impact of the recent escalation of violence. He called on the international community to honour the pledges made in Cairo for Gaza’s reconstruction and urged Israel to implement, in good faith, the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism brokered by the United Nations. He reiterated the call to end the blockade and sought improvement in the situation of Palestinian detainees. The ongoing construction of the wall was illegal, he said. He also urged the international community to investigate the business activities of companies profiting from Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and the occupied Syrian Golan. Tensions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, if left unaddressed, would ignite further violence.
In his national capacity, he read a statement from his country’s President, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people, particularly stressing the need to support programmes for children and youth.
GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran), reading a message from President Hassan Rouhani on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people was a solemn occasion for renewing the international community’s commitment to a just and lasting solution for the question of Palestine and a durable peace in the Middle East. Voicing grave concern and condemnation of Israel’s military aggressions against the Palestinian people, he called for immediate and practical efforts to advance a fair and credible peace process that ensured an end to the occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the exercise by the Palestinians of their right to self-determination and a just solution for the plight of the refugees.
ABDULMOHSEN F. A. ALYAS (Saudi Arabia), reading out a message from Saud Al-Faisal, Minister for Foreign Affairs of his country and Chairman of the fortieth session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that, despite the call for a two-State solution, the occupying Power had continued to flout human rights and pursue a policy of status quo on the ground. He called on contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to take action to protect the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. He also called for an urgent decision to be taken to call on Israel to respect the peace process and put an end to its settlement policy, as well as to respect the rights of the Palestinian people. Noting Sweden’s decision to recognize the State of Palestine, he called on other States to do the same and on the Security Council to accept the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.
SIDI MOHAMED OULD BOUBACAR (Mauritania), reading out a message from President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Chairperson of the African Union, said the situation of the Palestinian people was of increasing concern. Israel’s practices violated international law and prevented a just solution for peace in the Middle East. The settlement policy had prevented efforts at reconciliation by the Palestinian people and threatened the results they had achieved, without which there could be no lasting peace. The African Union would continue its efforts to find a solution in order to establish a sovereign and independent Palestinian State on the basis of pre-1967 borders.
AHMED FATHALLA, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, reading a message from the League’s Secretary-General, Nabil Elaraby, said the Palestinian people had faced a war imposed on them by the occupying Power. Noting that Gaza had been besieged by Israel by air, land and sea, he said the enclave was virtually a prison. Israel had flouted international law, unleashed a war of racism and disregarded the two-State solution. It was also flouting international consensus that was calling for peace and an end to the occupation. Despite an effort to implement the two-State solution, negotiations had been aborted by Israel, which had continued illegal practices against the Palestinian people. “If we fail in our duty, history would not absolve us,” he said, urging the Security Council to set a deadline for withdrawal of the occupying Power from Palestinian Territory, with the 1967 borders.
MARK KOENIG, Co-Chair, Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group, speaking on behalf of civil society, acknowledged the suffering of so many in the region throughout the year and urged the international community to redouble efforts to support a new dispensation for Israel and Palestine where all were equal under the law; where they enjoyed the full exercise of their human rights, had access to just and inclusive governance and were free from fear and want. All parties — State and non-State actors alike — must embrace non-violent approaches that contributed to sustainable peace for every child, woman and man in the region.
BAN-KI MOON, Secretary-General, said that one year ago, as the General Assembly declared 2014 the Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, United States-facilitated negotiations on final status issues between Israelis and Palestinians had resumed. Hope had been visible. “Yet, here we are – having passed through a sombre, sad and sorry year for Palestinians, Israelis and all who seek peace,” he said. Over 50 days, the world had witnessed another ruthless war in Gaza, the third in six years. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians and seventy Israelis had died; the homes of over 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza had been destroyed; Gaza’s infrastructure lay in ruins; tens of thousands of Palestinians remained displaced. People on both sides were no nearer to lasting security.
During two visits to the region in recent months, he said he had condemned Hamas rocket attacks that indiscriminately targeted innocent civilians and pointed out that the scale of destruction by the Israeli military left questions about respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality, and had generated wide calls for accountability. More must be done to protect civilians and to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law. Long-term security required lifting the closure on Gaza and ending the half-century occupation of Palestinian land. Israel’s legitimate security concerns must also be addressed.
He urged donors to continue support for UNRWA, pointing out that it was critical to immediately honour and disburse pledges made at the October Cairo Conference on Palestine. Expressing concern at the situation in East Jerusalem, he called on all parties to stand up to the extremists dictating the agenda on both sides, to exercise restraint and respect the status quo governing holy sites. International law made clear that settlement activity was illegal and ran counter to pursuit of the two-State solution. Urging the Israeli Government to cease those activities, he said that only a negotiated and just political solution, based on relevant United Nations resolutions could end the conflict.
“We cannot paper over the differences and the difficulties that we face today,” he said. The Israeli and Palestinian people face a shared fate on shared land, and there was “no erasing the other”. Yet, he said, he feared deeply that, with each passing day, the people of the region had been losing any sense of connection — any sense of empathy — any sense of mutual understanding of our common humanity and common future. “When that goes, it is not far over the precipice”.
The mindless cycle of destruction must end and the virtuous cycle of peace must begin,” he said, calling on the parties to step back from the brink and find the path of peace “before hope and time run out”.