30 November 2012
H.E. Mr. Eshagh Alehabib
Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
under the agenda item 36 entitled
“Situation in the Middle East”
General Assembly of the United Nations
30 November 2012, New York
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
At the outset, I would like to congratulate Palestine for the overwhelming support it received during the voting on the resolution on the enhancement of its status at the United Nations. I wish to express our solidarity with the people of Palestine and admire the tireless efforts and unwavering determination of Palestinians in pursuing their national aspirations and defending their inalienable rights to statehood and to exercise sovereignty.
The General Assembly is convened to debate the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine. Palestine lies at the core of the Middle East issues. The tragedy of Palestine, as a major source of resentment and desperation, is felt throughout the Muslim world. This meeting is taking place just a week after yet another tragic episode in the series of repeated and grave crimes perpetrated by the Israeli regime against the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli regime, with unbridled impunity intensified its military assault against the Gaza Strip, killing, wounding and maiming Palestinian civilians including women, elderly and children. As it has been announced by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child the attack by Israel is having a “devastating and lasting impact” on children and stressing that the recent crisis would have long-term psychological effects on youth. “This impact extends from a large number of deaths and injuries in Gaza to deep trauma and other psychological effects on children. These experiences may affect them for many years to come, including into adulthood.”
The Israeli regime’s deadly air strikes and shelling of Gaza should be considered as part of a larger policy marked with expansionism, aggression, oppression, the practice of collective punishment, extrajudicial killings, targeted assassinations and state terrorism, all in gross violation of international law as has been the act of occupation from the very outset. The recent Israeli crimes in the Gaza Strip would undoubtedly create more instability and serve to inflame tension and threaten to further destabilize the situation in the region. The United Nations organs, particularly the human rights institutions have not and should remain indifferent to Israeli’s atrocity. The question is “How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?” if I want to paraphrase Bertrand Russell.
The international community should live up to its responsibility by preventing Israel from continuing to commit atrocities and flout the international law, norms and regulations. Regrettably, some powerful Member States which happens to be Permanent Members of the Security Council, due to their unconditional support to Israel, have prevented concrete actions at the Security Council against the crimes by Israel. The obstructionist role played by the same member in the General Assembly in case of upgrading the status of Palestine at the United Nations was another manifestation of the blind support of this State to Israel and in line of preventing the Palestinian people for exercising their legitimate rights. Applying restrictions by the same States regarding the aids to the Palestine is tantamount to punishing the Palestinians for exercising their basic rights in shaping their fate and future. Such inadmissible punitive measure against a nation is against the principles of international law and the principles recognized for nations to pursue their legitimate demands.
In the same vein, provocative announcements by the Israeli regime in accelerating the construction or the revocation of Palestinian residency rights, is a political extortion of the Palestinian people and confirms that this regime chooses settlement and residency issues as an instrument to prevent the legitimate Palestinian demands. It should be noted that the Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties, accompanied by escalating violence by settlers and forced evictions, are seriously exacerbating the situation on the ground.
The Israeli criminal acts against the Palestinians and other peoples in the region is the gravest threat currently posed to regional as well as international peace and security. It is evident that durable peace in Palestine and the Middle East will only be possible through justice, end to discrimination, end to occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories, the return of all Palestinian refugees, and a democratic mechanism through which all inhabitants of Palestine as well as Palestinians driven out of their homeland would have the possibility to determine their future in a democratic and peaceful fashion.
The humanitarian situation of the Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, also remains a grave source of concern. This is a disastrous situation that must be ended by calling on the Israeli regime to lift the siege of Gaza and open all border crossings to the movement of goods and persons, in accordance with international humanitarian law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
Yesterday, we observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The solidarity and support enjoyed by the Palestinian people would have undoubtedly strengthened their steadfastness against injustices and occupation. The results of votes on the resolution adopted yesterday on granting the non-member observer State status to Palestine showed to what extent the Israeli regime is isolated. It was an indicative for those who blindly support this illegitimate regime that they seriously need to review their policies vis-à-vis this regime.
With reference to the resolutions adopted yesterday under agenda item 37 and today under agenda item 36 I would like to reiterate once again that the solution to the question of Palestine – the crux of the conflict in the Middle East- lies in compelling Israeli occupying Power, to fully withdraw from the occupied territories and enabling the Palestinian people to return to their land and establish their independent State in the entire Palestinian land. The Palestinian of regardless of their religion or ethnicity should express their opinions freely regarding their fate and future and the kind of State and Government they want to have through a referendum with the participation of all Palestinian people. This is the only solution for a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian crisis.
Before concluding, I would like to place on record that my delegation rejects the baseless allegations raised against my country in this hall today by the representatives of Israel. This is yet another weary practice by the Israeli regime and its advocate to divert the international community’s attention from the Israeli crimes in Palestine and elsewhere in the region through raising unfounded allegations against others. I don’t want to take the time of this Assembly to respond to those irresponsible claims. However, in the context of Israel’s defiance of the international community, I would like to refer to only one aspect of the dangerous behavior of this regime i.e. the infamous Israeli nuclear weapons program, which is a showcase of five decades of concealment and deception and total disregard for the demand of the international community. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a regime with an unparalleled record of state terrorism and resort to aggression and the threat of force against other countries presents a real threat to regional and global peace and security and the non-proliferation regime. This threat needs to be urgently and decisively addressed by the international community and the initiative for the creation of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East should be actively pursued. In this regard I would like to echo the statement issued yesterday by NAM where it registered its profound disappointment regarding some of the statements issued by the conveners of the 2012 Conference on the establishment of a Middle East Zone Free from Nuclear Weapons and all Other Weapons of Mass Destruction. These statements called for a delay in convening the Conference as scheduled to take place on 2012 out of the fear that the Conference would further isolate the Israeli regime. We believe that the failure to convene the Conference before the end of this year contradicts and violates the collective agreement of the States Parties to the NPT and therefore it should be held as it was originally scheduled to take place.
I thank you, Mr. President