24 October 2011
H.E. Ambassador Eshagh Al Habib
Deputy Permanent Representative of the
Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Under the agenda item entitled
“The Situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine”
Security Council of the United Nations
24 October 2011, New York
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
At the outset, I wish to express our appreciation for convening this important open debate at this critical juncture on the developments in the Middle East. The meeting would surly provide us with an overview on the current state of affairs in the region and the path forward to bring peace to the Middle East.
The question of Palestine, since its occupation till today has remained one of the biggest challenges and problem of world. This occupation forms the most painful and the biggest tragedy of humanity in modern history. More than six decades of massacre, demolition of houses, imposition of embargos, abduction and imprisonment the people, attacks on neighbors and others and violation of international law and international humanitarian law has come after this occupation.
The Israeli regime continues to defy international law in its pursuance of unlawful and inhuman blockade against the Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza strip, which has entered its fifth year. The recent report by UNRWA indicates that the “broad unemployment in Gaza in the second half of 2010 reached an unprecedented 45.2 percent, one of the highest rates in the world.” The seizure of another civilian boat “El Karama” by the Israeli regime is yet another violation of international law. This inhumane blocked is a source of grave concern for the people all over the world who expressed their support for humanitarian moves such as the “Freedom Flotilla” and “El Karama” and called for the immediate lifting of Gaza blockade.
States supporting Israeli regime have brought about shame for themselves because on the one hand they claim that they are advocating human rights and international law and international humanitarian law and at the same time they support the occupation and illegal settlement and all violations committed against international law by the brutal regime occupying Palestine. In the history of the Israeli regime there is nothing but crimes, killing men, women and children, the use of banned weapons and stockpiling nuclear weapons, blind assassinations, attacks on civilians and aid convoys in international waters, and war crimes in Lebanon and Palestine, all these inhumane acts have become routine doings of the occupying Regime. There is no doubt that the support to this regime is tantamount to the support for the occupation, massacre, assassination and violation of human rights.
Attaining a peaceful and just settlement of the question of Palestine is imperative for the realization of comprehensive and lasting peace and stability in the Middle East and beyond. In our view a lasting peace in Palestine and the region will be possible only through justice and by putting an end to discriminatory and racist policies and ending the occupation of Palestine and other occupied territories. Today, we are witnessing that more and more States are joining the ranks of those who have already recognized Palestine as an independent State. This is a very clear indication that the cause of Palestine is getting a new momentum.
On Syria there are evidently attempts in creating sectarian sensitivity and denominational tensions and divisions, a known tactic used by hegemonic regimes. Such mischievous attempts are worthless and vain attempt and would have no effects in the stability in the country. The enemies of humanity did not and do not want the people in Syria to remain united, independent, and developed. But the people in Syria know that the key to their independence and dignity is unity and resistance against mischievous and subversive attempts.
The Israeli regime has persisted on its aggressive policies towards Lebanon by constantly violating its land, sea and air space and refusing to withdraw from Lebanese occupied villages. These occupations and acts of aggression should stop immediately.
Before concluding, I would like to react to the reference made to my country by the Representative of the Israeli regime. It is no wonder that by leveling baseless allegations against Iran’s nuclear program, the Zionist regime has preposterously attempted to deflect the attentions from its long and dark catalogue of crimes and atrocities such as occupation, aggression, militarism, state-terrorism, and crimes against humanity. It is a widely recognized fact that Israeli regime’s clandestine development and unlawful possession of nuclear weapons poses a uniquely grave threat to regional as well as international peace and security. The Israeli regime has clearly defied the demand of the overwhelming majority of the UN member States that have, time and again, called on this regime to renounce nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT. Regrettably, the inaction of the relevant United Nations organs in dealing with such Israeli policies and practices has emboldened this dangerous regime. It is expected from the Council to condemn Israeli regime for the possession of nuclear weapons, compel it to abandon nuclear weapons, urge it to accede to the NPT without delay, and demand this regime to place promptly all its nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards. Indeed, peace and stability cannot be achieved in the Middle East where the massive Israeli nuclear arsenals continue to threaten the region and beyond.
Thank you Mr. President.
Identical letters dated 10 October 2011 from the Permanent
Observer of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the
Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council
In follow-up of my letter of 30 September 2011, I regret to inform you that the
situation of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees being illegally imprisoned
and detained by Israel, the occupying Power, continues to be grave and the
conditions in which they are being held continue to deteriorate due to escalating
violations against them by the occupying Power, in violation of international law,
including international humanitarian law.
As noted earlier, Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons and
detention centres began an open-ended hunger strike on 27 September 2011 to
protest against a series of oppressive measures by the occupying Power that threaten
their lives and deprive them of their basic human rights, guaranteed to them under
international law. In this regard, Israel has continued its inhumane treatment of
Palestinian prisoners and detainees via a series of illegal and harsh measures, such
as collective punishment, which includes forcing them to live in unsanitary and
unhygienic conditions; denial of health care; restrictions on family visits; solitary
confinement for long periods of time, with some held in isolation for at least 10
years; deprivation of the prisoners’ right to education; forced night-time searches of
prisoners’ cells; and denial of due process. In addition to such measures, in violation
of the prisoners’ basic human rights, the occupying Power continues to subject
Palestinian prisoners and detainees to all forms of psychological and physical
maltreatment, such as cuffing their feet and hands, measures of humiliation and
intimidation, forced interrogations and, in many cases, torture.
It should be noted that the situation of Palestinian prisoners deteriorated even
further after the declaration by the Israeli Prime Minister in June of this year of his
plans to further “toughen” conditions on the more than 6,000 Palestinian civilians,
including at least 280 children and 38 women, as well as 22 elected officials, who
continue to be imprisoned or arbitrarily detained by Israel. Just this past Thursday,
6 October 2011, six more Palestinians, including three children aged 15, 16 and 17,
were arbitrarily detained by the occupying forces in Beit Ummar and Al-Khalil
(Hebron), adding to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners and detainees mentioned
It is imperative to stress that, as the occupying Power, Israel remains bound by
numerous obligations under international law, including humanitarian law and
human rights law, with regard to all of its actions in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, including East Jerusalem, including vis-à-vis the civilians it imprisons or
detains. Article 76 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian
Persons in Time of War clearly defines the rights of protected persons faced with
detention by an occupying Power. Among those rights is the right to remain in the
occupied territory during all stages of the detention, including during the serving of
prison sentences if convicted, a right that is clearly being violated by the occupying
Power as a result of its transfer of prisoners and detainees to areas inside Israel.
The current hunger strike brings the serious matter of the Palestinian civilians
being held captive by Israel, the occupying Power, to the fore. The international
community must act urgently to address this issue and uphold international law. It
has a duty to compel Israel to immediately release the thousands of Palestinian
prisoners and detainees it is holding, including the women, children and elected
officials. Until they are released, the international community must hold Israel
responsible for the lives and well-being of Palestinian prisoners and detainees and
must demand that the occupying Power respect its obligations under international
law, including humanitarian and human rights law, vis-à-vis its treatment of these
protected persons. Their lives are imperilled by the ill treatment they are subjected
to while incarcerated by Israel, and their plight has become more acute due to this
hunger strike intended to call attention to their dire situation. In this regard, I must
inform you that, since 1967, at least 202 Palestinians have already died in Israeli
jails due to torture, deprivation of health treatment and deliberate killing.
Today, I am also compelled to inform you of acts of violence and terrorism
that continue to be perpetrated by illegal Israeli settlers in recent weeks against
Palestinian civilians and their properties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
including East Jerusalem. The escalating acts of violence, lawlessness and terror
being perpetrated by the more than half a million Israeli settlers, many of whom are
armed, include the killing of a Palestinian and the serious injury of a disabled
person and a youth in a hit-and-run accident in Al-Khalil and the Ramallah area; the
burning of the Qusra mosque and the desecration of mosques in the villages of Bir
Zeit, Deir Istiya and Yetma; the uprooting, burning and destruction of over
3,000 olive trees and grapevines; the burning of 20 dunums of agricultural land in
Bi’lin in response to weekly peaceful protests against the illegal wall; the flooding
of 40 dunums of agricultural land in Walaja with sewage from nearby settlements;
the burning and destruction of 63 dunums of agricultural land in the villages of
Halhoul, Jeet and Deir Dibwan; and the constant harassment and humiliation of
Palestinians, including children, on a daily basis by settlers. Such illegal actions by
Israeli settlers occur in full view of the occupying forces, who continue to take no
action to hold these settlers accountable for their actions and continue to provide
them with impunity and protection while they are carrying out these crimes.
The above constitute further confirmation of the dire situation that prevails in
the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which requires the
international community’s urgent attention. Israel, the occupying Power, must be
held responsible for its illegal and provocative actions. The international community
cannot continue to stand idly by as the occupying Power perpetrates its criminal and
inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners and detainees. The international
community cannot continue to stand idly by as Israel continues to colonize the
Palestinian territory, allowing its illegal settlers to rampage unbridled and to
incrementally destroy the viability of the two-State solution for peace. The
international community, including the Security Council, must exert timely efforts,
including practical measures, to uphold the legal obligation to protect the
Palestinian civilian population under occupation, including the prisoners and
detainees, to enforce international law and to salvage the chances of achieving peace
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 405 letters regarding the ongoing
crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since
28 September 2000. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-
S/2000/921) to 30 September 2011 (A/ES-10/533-S/2011/606) constitute a basic
record of the crimes being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the
Palestinian people since September 2000. For all of these war crimes, acts of State
terrorism and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian
people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators
must be brought to justice.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter
distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General
Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Riyad Mansour
Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations