Palestine: Roadmap to Peace?:
"neverbeforecampaign | November 08, 2010
For decades we have heard almost everyone talk about peace in the Holy Land. What is certain is that no one needs peace more than the Palestinian people. Since before 1948, the Palestinian people have been living under the threat of wars and massacres, under occupation and oppression, deprived of their basic rights. But it is real peace that the Palestinians seek, in contrast to the false peace that is being sought at the expense of justice.
As if humanity haven't learned from the millions killed due to the lack of justice. One would think it would have been obvious by now that there is no peace without justice, and that no people will accept to lie down and accept injustice upon their children. Palestine is no exception. Let there be one or a hundred peace processes. Let there be one or a hundred alternative remedies. Real peace will only prevail when justice does.
Full_Report (pdf* format - 80.5 Kbytes)
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
Fourth Committee21st Meeting (AM)
Reviewing Report of Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices, Delegates Say Restricting Dual-Use Items into Gaza Severely Impedes Enclave's Reconstruction
Despite a "façade" of actively pursuing peace, Israel continued to infringe on the basic human rights of the Palestinians and inflict "untold suffering" through a blockade that prevented the flow of goods and people, even in life-and-death situations, undermining any future prospects for a peaceful settlement, delegates told the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) today, as it began its annual discussion of Israeli practices affecting the human rights of Arabs in the occupied territories.
In its report, the Special Committee - composed of Member States Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Senegal - presents information gathered from interviews of 43 Palestinian, Israeli and Syrian witnesses in Egypt, Jordan and Syria concerning the human rights situation in the occupied territories. Since its establishment in 1968 the Committee had not received cooperation from Israel to conduct its work within the occupied territories.
The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine said that Israel's unlawful actions on the ground provided the starkest evidence of the contrast between its professed desire for peace and its actions, included through injuring, imprisoning, displacing and collectively punishing Palestinian civilians through the destruction of homes, property, infrastructure and land.
She said that children bore the brunt of the consequences arising from the unlawful blockade, and suffered from alarming levels of malnutrition, stunted growth, anaemia, and other diseases. That humanitarian crisis persisted, despite Israel's claims of "easing" the blockade, which let in barely 25 per cent of needed goods and supplies. She called on the international community to take "whatever steps necessary" to break the blockade and compel Israel to immediately open border crossings for the regular, sustained movements of persons and goods.
In that vein, South Africa's representative said that despite Israel's allowance now of unrestricted entry for all items except a published list of "dual use" items, that easing had not positively altered the situation. Construction materials, which were mainly classified as "dual use" materials, were the most needed for the reconstruction of Gaza.
Senegal's representative said that the mass denial of Palestinian rights by Israel had had tragic consequences, which were evident on a daily basis, and which caused untold and unacceptable human suffering and triggered reactions that kept the Middle East region in a state of tension and antagonism. As in pervious years, he said, Israel displayed an "unjustified lack of cooperation" with the Special Committee, obstructing its efforts to properly deliver on the commitments vested in it by the General Assembly. Israeli policies and practices and the culture of impunity that surrounded them, seriously hampered the advent of decent and dignified living conditions for the inhabitants living under Israeli occupation.
Also expressing concern that Israel continued to ignore the request of the Committee for full access to the occupied territories, Indonesia's representative said that settlement issues remained the most "formidable hurdle" on the road to peace. It was regrettable, therefore, that calls by the international community for Israel to stop settlement construction continued to be ignored. Echoing the calls of several other delegations, he urged Israel to halt settlement expansion, restore freedom of movement to the Palestinians, and end the collective punishment of the people of Gaza.
Drawing the Committee's attention to incidences of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, Venezuela's representative said that those had included firebombing mosques, destroying olive fields, killing cattle, and attacking villagers.
Syria's representative said that four decades had gone by and Israel continued to challenge humanitarian norms, with more than 1,000 resolutions adopted by relevant bodies since 1948. All the resolutions called for withdrawal from the occupied territories, but thus far, nobody had been able to rein in Israel's expansionism.
That representative also lamented the refusal by the Israeli authorities to identify the locations of mines in the Syrian Golan, and its continued policy of arbitrary arrests and detentions there. He said that throughout the occupied territories, the occupying Power continued its aggressive policies, murders and oppressive practices, land confiscations, and forced displacements, and had transformed Gaza into the largest prison in the world, depriving its residents of food, fuel and other basic needs.
The representative of Sri Lanka introduced the Special Committee's report.
Also speaking were the representatives of Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Cuba, Pakistan and Kuwait.
The Committee is scheduled to meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 8 November, to continue its debate on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of Arabs in occupied territories.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to begin its consideration of Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories.
On that subject, the Committee had before it a note of the Secretary-General transmitting the forty-first report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (A/65/327). The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories is composed of three Member States: Sri Lanka (Chairperson), Malaysia and Senegal.
The report to the General Assembly reflects the substance of the information gathered during the mission of the Special Committee to Egypt, Jordan and Syria from 8 to 19 June 2010. In those three countries, the Committee interviewed 43 Palestinian, Israeli and Syrian witnesses and representatives of non-governmental organizations. The Committee also reviewed numerous relevant documents and research materials, including a written submission by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Syria.
Section V of the report provides information concerning the human rights situation in the occupied territories, while section VI constitutes an overview of Israeli practices affecting the human rights of Syrian Arab citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan. Section VII presents the conclusions of the report and the recommendations of the Special Committee to the General Assembly.
Among the recommendations that the Special Committee makes in the report are that the General Assembly should urge the Security Council to ensure the implementation of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and General Assembly resolution ES-10/15, in which the Assembly requested Israel to comply with its legal obligation to cease the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem; to dismantle the segments of the wall already built; to repeal all legislative and regulatory acts adopted in view of the construction of the wall; and to make reparation for the damage arising from the construction of the wall.
According to the report, the Assembly should urge Member States to implement the recommendations of the Special Committee, and intensify diplomatic efforts, including the imposition of appropriate sanctions to enforce Israel's compliance with relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions, and with international humanitarian and human rights law. Further, it should request the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take concrete measures, in respect of their obligations under article 1, to ensure respect for the Convention by Israel.
In addition, the Assembly should call on Israel to stop its policies of confiscating land and of expanding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan, and ensure that Israeli forces protect Palestinian civilians and their property against settler violence. It should also call on Israel to restore freedom of movement for Palestinians throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory by lifting the closure regime, and stop building roads accessible only to Israeli settlers and citizens and preventing access by Palestinians, in particular women and children, to their fields, schools, places of work, hospitals and other health-care facilities, as well as the passage of ambulances. Israel should also be called on to guarantee to prisoners and detainees a fair trial and detention conditions, in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law, and establish an independent and transparent system of accountability that ensures prompt and impartial investigations, that perpetrators are brought to justice and that victims enjoy the right to an effective remedy.
Further, Israel should urgently comply with resolution 497 (1981), which annuls the Israeli decision on the annexation of the occupied Syrian Golan, and end its occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan. Israel should implement the concluding observations and recommendations of United Nations treaty bodies and special procedures mechanisms, and the recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council, as well as facilitate visits of separated families located in the Syrian Golan and the occupied Syrian Golan, pending a resolution to the conflict. The Committee would also have the Assembly call on the Palestinian Authority to abide by its obligations under international human rights and international humanitarian law.
The Committee also had before it the Secretary-General's report on the work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (document A/64/326), which gives an overview of that body's activities and mission, as well as the activities of the Department of Public Information on the issue and the Special Committee's work.
Also before the Committee was the report of the Secretary-General on applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories, (document A/65/355), in which the General Assembly demands that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and that it comply scrupulously with the provisions of the Convention. It also calls upon all High Contracting Parties to the Convention to continue to exert all efforts to ensure respect for its provisions by Israel, the occupying Power.
The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/65/365), which addresses the continuation of Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Arab territories and its impact on the human rights of the residents. The report recommends that Israel abide by its international legal obligations and its pre-existing commitments as stated in the Road Map to cease transferring its civilian population into settlements, immediately and completely freeze all settlement activities, including in occupied East Jerusalem, and immediately dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.
The report also says that Israel should immediately cease demolitions in Area C and adopt measures that would ensure that Palestinian planning and development needs were met. Further, Israel must adopt all necessary measures to prevent attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and their property, and ensure that Israeli security forces are properly instructed to protect Palestinian civilians from settler violence. Israel must also ensure that there is no impunity for crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and that redress is provided to the victims of such crimes.
Also before the Committee was a report addressing the implementation of General Assembly resolution 64/94, entitled "Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem" (document A/65/366). The report recommends that the Government of Israel take immediate actions to prevent further incidences of excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians. The report also says that the firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars into southern Israel must stop, as such firings result in death, injury, damage to infrastructure and general terror among the civilian population, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
Further, the report calls on Israel to immediately and publicly clarify the restrictions it intends to enforce on freedom of movement within Gaza and publicly issue relevant guidelines. Such restrictions should not be enforced, in the first instance, by opening live fire, and their parameters should give due consideration to the Gazan agricultural and fishing industries. Noting recent progress in this area as a result of positive measures implemented by the Government of Israel, Israeli authorities should place priority on the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) and on reopening the crossing points in line with the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/65/372), in which the General Assembly calls upon Israel, to comply with the relevant resolutions on the occupied Syrian Golan, in particular Security Council resolution 497 (1981), by which the Council decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect. It calls upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, and to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, as well as its other repressive measures against that population.
Also before the Committee was a letter dated 15 October from the Permanent Representative of the Syria to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, (document A/65/520), regarding the situation in the Middle East.
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