SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE: The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

The UN Security Council
The UN Security Council

The debate on The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question at the United Nations Security Council on 14th October 2009.

The synopsis of the speech of His Excellency Dr Riad Al-Malki, Minister for the Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority:

” He said that there is no real progress been made towards addressing the major issues of concern, foremost among them the ongoing Israeli colonization campaign in the West Bank, especially in and around East Jerusalem, and the raging humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip as a concern of the Israeli military aggression and the continued for realising a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. “

On GAZA: we are all too aware of the tragic consequences of the savage Israeli military aggression launched on 27 December 2008 against the defenseless Palestinian civilian population, of whom more than 1,400 including hundreds of innocent children and women were brutally killed and more than 5,500 were injured, many permanently, as the occupying forces rampage through Gaza, using all means of heavy and lethal weaponry and exhibiting a callous disregards for human life. The widespread destruction deliberately weakened by the occupying forces on the Gaza Strip shockingly remains in full view as Israel continues to obstruct the reconstruction of the thousands home, vital infrastructure, hospitals, schools, mosques, economics, industrial and agricultural facilities and even the UN facilities damaged and destroyed in the onslaught. The continued imposition of this immoral, unlawful Israeli blockade in collective punishment of the population has ensured that the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip continue to live in misery amidst the ruins, deepening their humanitarian hardship and stoking the raw feelings of injustice.

In this regards, the investigation carried out by Justice Goldstone* and his team, led to findings that clearly confirm that Israel, the occupying power, committed serious human rights violation and grave breaches of international humanitarian law, including the 4th Geneva Convention – amounting to war crimes and even crimes against humanity – against the Palestinian people. This include the willful killing of civilians, torture and inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, all of which give rise to Israeli criminal responsibility. The Justice Goldstone report concluded that this Israeli military campaign was planned in all its phases as a deliberately disproportionate and systematic attack aimed at punishing, humiliating and terrorising the Palestinian civilian population, radically diminishing its economic capacity to sustain itself, and forcing upon it a heightening sense of dependency and vulnerability.

The members of the UN Fact Finding Mission On the Gaza Conflict – Justice Richard Goldstone, Professor Christine Chinkin, Ms Hina Jilani and Colonel Desmond Travers – should be commended for the thorough investigation they carried out and for the comprehensive report that they compiled under difficult circumstances, including Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Mission. These persons are respectable, eminent jurists and experts of integrity and professionalism that cannot be challenged by anyone. The Security Council should uphold its Charter duty to address such matter critical to the maintenance of international peace and security, and the general Assembly, the international Criminal Court, Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the international community as a whole – here at UN, as High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, and an implementation of the universal jurisdiction – all should act upon the recommendation made in the report in accordance with respective roles and responsibilities.

The world has for too long witnessed Israel’s impunity, knowing well that this has been repeatedly fueled by lack of punishment and accountability. The tragic consequences have been suffered by generations of innocents throughout 60 years of statelessness and over 42 years of occupation. Israel must be stopped from committing the violations and crime it continues to perpetrate against the Palestinians people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The situation is highly volatile due to Israel’s illegal and provocative actions and incitement, including the flagrant pursuit of settlement activities and acts by extremist settlers at Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound, requiring urgent attention and action by the international community, including this Security Council. We will thus continue our pursuit for justice and will continue to reject and call for an end to the impunity that has allowed Israel for all these years to commit such mass crimes against the Palestinians people without fear of punishment.

We want to turn the page on this horrific and tragic chapter for Palestine and cross threshold into a new era which our people can live in peace, freedom, and dignity in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, exercising the rights to which all human beings are entitled but which they have for so long been denied. Unchecked impunity and the absence of justice will only continue to prolong this tragic conflict, prolong civilian suffering and obstruct peace efforts.

As stated by Justice Goldstone before the Human Rights Council, “a culture of impunity in the region has lasted for far too long. The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point … The mission is convinced that the international community must confront the realities highlighted in this report and that by doing so find a meaningful basis for the pursuit of peace and security for all people of the region. Only in that way will the human dignity and security of these people be realised.”

*Justice Goldstone is a Jew

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