The UN Must End Israel War Crimes
Following the activities of the “Annual Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” which was held on December 1 2009 at the UN center in Vienna in which Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, the UNOV General-Director, left the room after about 20 minutes and before listening to the speech of the Palestinian representative, the statement of International Progress Organization on behalf of the network of NGOs, the League of Arab States on behalf of Mr. Amr Mousa, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organizations of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
The Israeli war crimes took the first place in the words of all the speakers. Mr. Amr Mousa called on the need of the UN and its official institutions, to carry their legal responsibilities and duties towards the war crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian civilians.
[larger pictures click on to see them in full]
He said: “ War crimes committed by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians should not go unaccounted for or unpunished, because they are a flagrant violation of the existing legal norms, treaties and international agreements. The United Nations and it’s specialized agencies are urged to exercise their legal responsibilities with regard to these crimes and their perpetrators.
Mr. Fritz Edlinger said: I think it’s time that the International Community accepts this lesson of almost two decades more or less of useless negotiations and put much more pressure on Israel in order to fulfill obligations. As I mentioned before, equal and fair negotiations between the occupier and the victim of the occupation area contradiction per se. It is about time that especially the UN, but also Europe accept this experience. I think it’s time to go back to more international approach. The frustrating and endless bilateral negotiations should at least be complemented by an International Peace Conference under the shared responsibility of the members of the Quartet.
Here are some paragraphs from the statement of Mr. Amr Mousa, which was read by Amb. Dr. Mikhail Wehbe, and under it some paragraphs of the statement of Mr. Fritz Edlinger, Secretary General of SAAR on behalf of the IPO.
Paragraphs From the Speech of Mr. Amr Mousa
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year the annual commemoration of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people takes place at a time when the Palestinian people continues to be deprived of its legitimate national rights, and to endure the continued Israeli occupation of it’s territory.
The Israeli military aggression and the siege of the Gaza Strip has brought a serious deterioration of the socio-economic and environmental situation and affects the health and daily life of the Palestinian people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The war crimes committed by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians should not go unaccounted for or unpunished, because they are a flagrant violation of the existing legal norms, treaties and international agreements. The United Nations and it’s specialized agencies are urged to exercise their legal responsibilities with regard to these crimes and their perpetrators.
The report of all investigative missions and international organizations working in the field of Human Rights, especially the Goldstone report of the Human Rights Councils fact-finding mission, the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry set up by the League of Arab States and headed by John Dugard, as well as the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories which has recently been submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations, confirmed the war crimes committed under the Israeli occupation.
They also documented Israel’s targeting of Palestinian civilians used as human shields and the use of internationally banned weapons.
The reports included testimonials and factual information about violations by the Israeli army of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in particular targeting of civilians and destruction of civilian religious, health and education facilities.
Mr. Amr Mousa said that the Arabs are unanimous in upholding the Arab Peace Initiative and in supporting international efforts towards the two-stats solution. This, in addition to backing the notion of a fair and comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, based on all relevant international resolutions and of a peace process conducted within the agreed upon frame of reference.
Mr. Amr Mousa expressed his deep concern over the recent step back taken by the U.S administration on the issue of Israeli settlement which are a serious obstacle to a just and comprehensive peace in the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Israel’s arrogant disregard for international law, including human rights law, is due to the protection and immunity it enjoys. This injustice has still not been remedied because in Security Council has been prevented from dealing with the situation in the occupied territories.
Mr. Amr Mousa said that Israel’s attitude puts us face to face our humanitarian, legal and political responsibilities. We must take all necessary steps to ensure that any future negotiations shall be serious and based on precise obligations, backed with guarantees that Israeli will not resort to its usual stalling tactics in order to prolong the occupation and change the situation on the ground in the occupied territories, ultimately making it impossible to establish a Palestinian State.
A complete halt to settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Easy Jerusalem, and end to the unjust blockade of the Gaza Strip, the opening of the crossing points and of a humanitarian corridor to cater to the needs of the population and permit the reconstruction of Gaza are the essential points to be addressed in any meaningful and effective negotiations. Failing that, the situation will remain volatile and the region sitting on a powder keg.
The speech of Amr Mous ended by saying that the League of Arab States calls for adherence to the standards and principles which the international community enshrined in the United Nations Charter then reiterated in all resolutions relevant to the question of Palestinian and the Arab-Israeli Conflict and this, away from unbalanced politics and double standards.
The Arab League reaffirms once again that what it seeks is a genuine peace which would restore to the rightful owners their land and their right. So as to usher in a new era in the Middle East as a whole.
Paragraphs From the Speech of Mr. Fritz Edlinger
I would like to start my speech by sharing a couple of experiences I gained over the last week.
Too often we forget resp. forget to mention, that there is still occupation in Palestine, a very brutal one that has lasted 42 years. Israel is the occupying power in flagrant violation of basic parts of international law and against humanity. I just came back from Palestine a few days a go, and although I have visited Palestine at least 3-4 times a year over the last 40 years. I am still shocked at the dimensions of this occupation. The so-called security-barrier is almost totally finished, settlements are growing in all parts of the West Bank and the infrastructure for new settlements is built. And the Judaisation of Jerusalem in continuing at an accelerated speed. All these steps are in flagrant violation of international law and against countless resolutions and decisions by the UN and other international bodies.
The second fact I experienced, which is too often neglected is the existence of millions of Palestinian refugees, who were kicked out of their homes in 1948 mostly within a fe hours. These events mark the initial-point of the national catastrophe of the Palestinian people, enshrined as Nakba in collective memory of the Palestinians. The number of appr. 800,000 deportees of 1948 increased in the meantime to almost 5 million, finding refuge in the Arab neighbor-countries and being registered and supported by the UNRWA. Israel did not just steal their land and all their properties but has been denying their right of return to their homeland for the last 62 years. Israel is not even ready to recognize the crime against humanity, which was committed in 1948, nor is it ready to offer any compensation. All these atrocities are against human rights and international law.
Mr. Edlinger said that the elimination of the Israeli occupation and their right of return are both important cornerstones of any political solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They have to be addressed and not as done during the last 16, 17 years, the years of the so called peace-process-neglected and forgotten.
Mr. Edlinger said that the pre- condition for any lasting peace, is the internal reconciliation of the Palestinian people and by saying that I do not mean the notorious conflict between Fatah and Hamas. I also mean the increasing conflict, or better to say, alienation, between inside and outside, taking into consideration that the vast majority of the Palestinian people are still living in exile. It is extremely important to give the millions of Palestinians in the Middle East, in Europe and in America definitely more influence in the different Palestinian bodies.
As long as the Palestinians continue their internal debates and conflicts, they will play into the hands of the Israelis. In both contexts I call for much more active involvement of the International Community. The international boycott against Gaza is inhuman and the one against Hamas in counter-productive, both are at the end only in Israel’s interest.
He ended his speech by saying that the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People should not just used for diplomatic events. As important as they are, they should also be used to mobilize the International Civil Society and all peace-loving and law-abiding people in the world.
by Kawther Salam
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