29 November 2012
H.E. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement
Before the General Assembly
On the Agenda Item 37: “Question of Palestine”
(New York, 29 November 2012)
I have the honor to address the General Assembly today on behalf of the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM), on agenda item (37) “Question of Palestine”. This important debate coincides with the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. It is an important occasion not only for Palestine but also those of us who strongly believe in the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination and to free themselves from foreign occupation and oppression. On this day the international community reaffirms its continued and unwavering support for, and solidarity with, the long suffering people of Palestine in their national struggle to achieve the independence of their State and peace and justice. NAM pays tribute to the resilience of the Palestinian people in their pursuit of their legitimate national aspirations, which have they have been for too long unjustly denied.
NAM reiterates its grave concern regarding the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as a result of Israel’s prolonged military occupation and illegal policies and practices. We condemn Israel’s ongoing military raids and attacks against the Palestinian civilian population; blockade of the Gaza Strip; settlement
colonization campaign involving, inter alia, land confiscations, construction and expansion of settlements and “outposts”, transfer of hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers, construction of the Wall, home demolitions, and imposition of severe movement restrictions and hundreds of checkpoints; detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians; forced displacement of Palestinian civilians; reprisals against the civilian population and all other measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian people, which are the grave breaches of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law.
Unfortunately, our meeting today comes at a time when Israel, the occupying Power, has escalated its military campaign against the Palestinian people, particularly in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli attacks on Gaza that were carried out during the eight-day period of November 14-21, 2012, resulted reportedly in the killing of more than 160 Palestinians, including women and children and wounding about 1,200 others. The situation in the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the East Jerusalem, is also deteriorating as a result of Israeli excessive use of force aimed at intimidating and terrorizing the Palestinian civilian population. The Non-Aligned Movement strongly condemns the recent military campaign against the Palestinian people, and underlines that, in addition to violating countless provisions of human rights law, such military aggression and collective punishment measures by Israel, the occupying Power, are tantamount to grave breaches of international law, including international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, and relevant UN resolutions and pose a serious threat to international peace and security as well as to regional stability.
In this regard, NAM call for accountability for the perpetration by the occupying power of war crimes in its latest military aggression against Gaza in order to end Israeli impunity and to realize justice for the victims. Moreover, while welcoming the ceasefire agreement ended the Israeli military aggression in the Gaza Strip, the Movement calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to promptly and unconditionally end its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip and open all its crossing points with Gaza in accordance with its obligations under international law, Security Council resolution 1860 and all other relevant UN resolutions.
Israel, the occupying Power, continues to pursue its illegal settlement activities along with many other illegal policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The situation continues to be most severe in the Jordan Valley, where thousands of Palestinians have been displaced and thousands more are at risk of displacement due to Israel’s illegal colonization, as well as in and around Occupied East Jerusalem, where the occupying Power continues pursuing measures aimed at the “quiet transfer” or de-population of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants and at ensuring a Jewish majority in the City. In this regard, NAM calls for a complete end to all settlement activities, home demolitions, residency revocations, excavations, including near Al-Hiram Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and closure of Palestinian institutions in the City. We condemn also the terror, violence and provocations by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and properties, including homes, agricultural lands, and Muslim and Christian holy sites, and caution that such actions are fueling religious sensitivities that risk further destabilization and must be brought to an immediate end by the occupying Power.
The Non-Aligned Movement remains firm in its condemnation of Israel’s illegal settlement policies and practices, stressing that all such unlawful attempts to alter the demographic composition, character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, remain rejected and unrecognized by the international community. In this connection, the Movement 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 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 in this regard.
NAM condemns Israel’s continuing unlawful campaign of arrest, detention, and forced interrogation of thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children, women and numerous elected officials, who continue to be held under harsh, inhumane conditions and to be subjected to physical and mental ill-treatment. In this regard, the Movement condemns, inter alia, Israel’s use of torture and all other forms of physical and psychological mistreatment and deprivation of Palestinian prisoners, including denial of family visits, denial of access to education and adequate medical care, and the inhumane use of solitary confinement. 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, in Tehran, in August 2012, that the Palestinian prisoners should be immediately released and the plight of these prisoners should be addressed by the international community, particularly the Security Council and the Human Rights Council.
NAM expresses its serious concern regarding the dangerous impasse in the Middle East peace process due to ongoing Israeli intransigence and illegal policies, which continue to undermine the resumption of credible negotiations and to obstruct the achievement of a just, lasting, comprehensive and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Such persistent Israeli behavior and its refusal to commit to the internationally endorsed parameters for the two-State solution cast a dark shadow of doubt over Israel’s professed intentions and instead underscore the belief that Israel’s insistence on the negotiation path is merely for the sake of managing the crisis, entrenching its illegitimate military occupation, and not to actually reach any comprehensive peace settlement.
We stress the need for intensified and coordinated efforts by the international community to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its illegal policies and genuinely commit to the peace process on the basis of United Nations resolutions and longstanding agreed terms of reference. The international community must act to prevent a total collapse of the peace process after so many years of efforts and support for this process on the basis of a clear foundation rooted in international law, UN resolutions and the international consensus on the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders and a just and comprehensive solution for the plight of the Palestine refugees on the basis of General Assembly resolution 194 (III).
In this regard, the NAM Committee on Palestine has welcome all efforts and initiatives aimed at realizing the two-State solution and justice for the Palestinian people, and stresses the importance of the developments in this august Assembly to accord Observer State status to Palestine, expressing the hope that this multilateral, peaceful initiative – consistent with United Nations resolutions regarding the question of Palestine, including with regard to the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and the international consensus on the two-State solution – will positively contribute to salvaging the prospects for peace.
Now more than ever, NAM stresses the need for the international community to remain united in its demand that Israel must respect its legal obligations as an occupying Power and cease forthwith all its violations. There is unanimous conviction that such respect is imperative for achieving the two-State solution through a mutually agreed solution based on the agreed principles and terms of reference, namely Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 425, 1397, 1515 and 1850, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map.
In conclusion, Mr. President, 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 exercise its self-determination and sovereignty in its independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Thank you Mr. President