TEHRAN, Nov. 12 (MNA) – Non-Aligned Movement states have called for urgent action and practical measures by the international community to compel Israel to cease its illegal and destructive settlement campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Gholam Hossein Dehghani, ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nation, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, addressed the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (4th Committee) of the 70th UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, calling for international response against the Israeli military aggressions in occupied lands, construction of settlements, violation of human rights, forced displacement of Palestinian civilians and their continued blockade of Gaza Strip.
The full text of his statement on “Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories” is as follows:
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. I am thankful to the Chair and Members of theSpecial Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories for their valuable efforts and comprehensive report. We appreciate the valuable efforts of the Chair of the Special Committee, H.E. Mr. Amrith Rohan Perera, distinguished Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and other members of the bureau, Malaysia and Senegal, and commend them for providing Member States with a detailed report, as contained in document A/70/406.
NAM is deeply concerned that Israel, the occupying power, refused again to cooperate with the Special Committee, preventing the Special Committee from holding consultations with the relevant Israeli authorities or to gain access to the occupied territories to meet with victims within its mandate. NAM also strongly condemns the non-cooperation by Israel with the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Gaza and the refusal to grant access to it to investigate the violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
NAM condemns Israel’s continuing settlement construction throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around Occupied East Jerusalem, in grave breach of the 4th Geneva Convention and various UN resolutions. These and other systematic violations, including demolition of homes, forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, the arrest and detention of Palestinians, including children, and incessant violence, terror and provocations by Israeli settlers and extremists, including at sensitive religious sites, particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque, have worsened conditions on the ground. It is high time to end this abhorrent Israeli occupation and impunity that has brought so much suffering to the Palestinian people, and continues to be one of the most destabilizing factors at the regional and global levels.
According to the report of the Special Committee, Israel’s policies and practices continue to violate fundamental human rights and the dignity of the Palestinian people and other Arabs living under its occupation. The Non-Aligned Movement is seriously concerned about the disturbing findings of the report, especially regarding the situation of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including women and children, in Israeli prisons, as well as the vastly detrimental impact of the illegal Israeli settlement campaign throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip due to the illegal Israeli blockade and successive military aggressions.
The same report states that as a result of war against Gaza in 2014, over 2,200 Palestinians had been killed, 10,670 injured and about 25,000 housing units had either been fully destroyed or sustained major damages owing to the hostilities. In addition, at the peak of the hostilities, approximately 500,000 Palestinians, almost one third of the entire population of Gaza, had been internally displaced. The already prevailing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, owing to the 2009 and 2012 escalation of hostilities and continued blockade of Gaza was exacerbated as a result of the 2014 hostilities. As a result of the significant delay in reconstruction efforts since the ceasefire in August 2014, approximately 100,000 Palestinians remained displaced as of August 2015. Those Palestinians, among them thousands of Palestine refugees, continue to live in precarious conditions in temporary accommodation or with host families.
NAM reiterates its condemnation of the Israeli military aggressions against the Palestinian people, including the deadly aggression against the Gaza Strip in July and August 2014. The heavy toll it took on Palestinian civilians is shocking, not only because it far exceeded that of the similar Israeli military aggression in 2008 and 2009, but also because many among them were women, children and elderly, and also because of the massive civilian displacement caused, where nearly half a million people were displaced at one point during the conflict.
NAM also calls upon Israel, the Occupying Power, to promptly and unconditionally end its illegal blockade of Gaza and open all its crossing points in accordance with international humanitarian law and all UN resolutions, including Security Council resolution 1860 (2009).
As reflected in the report of the Special Committee (A/69/355), since 1967 the overall number of detainees held in Israeli prisons and military detention facilities has exceeded the staggering figure of 850,000, the vast majority of whom were Palestinians, including 25,000 children. As at June 2014, 5,243 Palestinian detainees were held in Israeli custody in more than 17 prisons, detention centers and military camps in the occupied West Bank and in Israel, out of which 198 were children and some of whom were detained without charge, and the youngest was 14 years old. With the wave of arrests during the recent crisis, the number of Palestinian prisoners and detainees has exceeded 6,000 persons.
It is the conviction of the Movement, as stated in the Declaration on Palestine Political Prisoners, adopted by the 16th Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Tehran, in August 2012, as well as, by the XVII Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Algiers, Algeria, in May 2014, that the Palestinian prisoners and detainees should be immediately released and their plight should be addressed by the international community, particularly the Security Council and the Human Rights Council.
It is disturbing that Israel, the occupying Power, continues to pursue such illegal practices with blatant impunity despite the prohibitions of such actions under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, relevant United Nations resolutions, and the 2004 ICJ Advisory Opinion. The impact of these illegal measures on the Palestinian civilian population, including women and children and the most vulnerable such as the Palestine refugee population, must be seriously considered and measures must be taken in accordance with international law to remedy this injustice.
Israeli settlement activities continue through a combination of illegal policies and practices, including the confiscation of land, construction of settlements and the wall, and the demolition of homes and structures, in addition to the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, among them Bedouin and herder communities; and the denial of residency rights, particularly in East Jerusalem. These illegal colonization practices are most intense in and around Occupied East Jerusalem, where Israeli provocation and incitement, including at Holy Sites, including Al-Haram Al-Sharif, continue to threaten to further destabilize this critical situation. Israeli settler violence also continued to result in Palestinian civilian casualties and destruction of property and was reported to be a factor that contributed to forcing Palestinians off their land.
These illegal activities are undermining the contiguity of the West Bank, jeopardizing the contiguity of a future Palestinian State, and violating the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. Such illegal actions are destroying the two-State solution. In this regard, NAM calls for urgent action and practical measures by the international community, in particular by the Security Council, to compel the occupying Power to cease completely its illegal and destructive settlement campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,and to abide by all of its obligations under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, UN resolutions, the Advisory Opinion and its obligations under the Road Map. This is urgent to uphold international law and salvage the prospects for peace.
Turning to the Syrian Golan, the Non-Aligned Movement reaffirms once again that all unlawful actions by Israel, the Occupying Power, since 1967 constitute a clear violation of international law, the UN Charter and relevant resolutions, including Security Council resolution 497 (1981), and the Fourth Geneva Convention. NAM demands that Israel abides by resolution 497 and withdraw completely from the occupied Syrian Golan to the borders of 4 June 1967.
In conclusion, the Movement reaffirms its unwavering commitment to a just and comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, with the question of Palestine at its core, and to the immediate restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and their right to their independent and viable State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution for the plight of the Palestine refugees on the basis of General Assembly resolution 194 (III).
Thank you, Mr. Chairman