24 April 2013
Statement by H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee,
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement
before the United Nations Security Council Open debate
“Situation in the Middle East; including the Question of Palestine”
24 April 2013, New York
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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
It is an honour for me to address this meeting of the Security Council on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and at the outset, I wish to convey the Movement’s appreciation for Rwanda’s presidency of the Security Council for having convened this open debate on the situation in the Middle East; including the question of Palestine.
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory regrettably continues to deteriorate owing to the oppressive, violent practices that Israel, the occupying Power, continues to inflict on the Palestinian people in violation of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law. Regrettably, since the last open debate, despite regional and international peace efforts, Israel, the occupying Power, continues its colonization of the Palestinian land, its blockade of the Gaza Strip, its military raids and arrest campaign, and all forms of collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation.
As stressed in the recent meeting of a delegation led by the NAM Chair with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the last month’s Security Council, the deteriorating situation of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, which are being unlawfully held by Israel, the occupying Power, is a matter of grave concern to the Movement. Furthermore, Israel’s violent suppression of non-violent civilian protests against the occupation, particularly against the abuse of thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including the recent torture and killing of a Palestinian detainee and in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners, as well as against Israel’s settlement, wall and colonization of Palestinian land, has caused extensive casualties and further destabilized the situation and is a matter that preoccupies the Movement.
We condemn the continued unlawful detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, including children, women and numerous elected officials, who continue to be held under harsh, inhumane conditions and subject 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. NAM calls for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners.
The Movement condemns ongoing Israeli settlement activities, which constitute grave breaches of international law and violates numerous United Nations resolutions, including resolutions of the Security Council, as well as other illegal practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israel, the occupying Power, continues to defy international law and the will and demands of the international community with this destructive, provocative and illegal practice, which is threatening the realization of a just and peaceful solution.
Thousands of Palestinians have been displaced from their lands in the Jordan Valley, where 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. Violence and terror also continue to be waged by extremist Israeli settlers against the Palestinian civilian population and at Muslim and Christian holy places, including in Jerusalem. NAM calls for a complete end to all Israeli settlement activities, the construction of the Wall, home demolitions, residency revocations, excavations, including near Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and closure of Palestinian institutions in the City, and calls for a cessation of the transfer of Israeli settlers to the Palestinian land and for an end to their lawlessness. NAM also calls for a complete lifting of the blockade of Gaza and for international attention to the severe humanitarian situation there.
NAM stresses the urgency of action by the international community to redress the unjust and critical situation being endured by the Palestinian people under Israel’s almost 46-year military occupation. Relevant UN resolutions and international law must be implemented. The responsibilities of this Security Council, which is mandated to maintain international peace and security, are clear and it is high time that they are upheld. The Security Council cannot remain on the sidelines and must act to advance efforts to resolve this prolonged, tragic conflict by which the Palestinian people have been too long denied their inalienable human rights, including to self-determination and return, and freedom in their independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Turning to Lebanon, the Movement condemns Israel’s ongoing violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty and calls on all parties concerned to fully implement resolution 1701 (2006), in order to end the current fragility and avoid the resurgence of hostilities. Such actions also constitute a threat to international peace and security and are a continuation of Israel’s aggressions against Lebanon.
Concerning the occupied Syrian Golan, the Movement is concerned about the recent violations of the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement that would bring the risk of tension, escalation and confrontation in the area. NAM reaffirms that all measures and actions taken, or to be taken, by Israel, the occupying Power, to alter the legal, physical and demographic status of the occupied Syrian Golan, as well as Israeli measures to impose its own jurisdiction and administration there, are null, void and have no legal effect. The Non-Aligned Movement demands that Israel abide by resolution 497 (1981) and withdraw fully from the occupied Syrian Golan to the borders of 4 June 1967, in implementation of resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
The Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement reiterate their continuous calls to the Security Council to act urgently to send a clear message to Israel, the occupying Power, that all of these illegal actions must be fully ceased forthwith and that it must comply with international law. All these illegal Israeli practices are exacerbating tensions and casting grave doubts on Israel’s claims of commitment to achieving a peace that brings an end to this grotesque military occupation and ensures justice and freedom for the people in the region.
I thank you Mr. President.
I shall now speak in my national capacity and I would like to refer to the present political and security situation in the Middle East region which is becoming more and more delicate and risky. There are now more threats from terrorism, extremism, militarization of the region. Under such circumstances, any miscalculation, wrong decision, military intervention would only foment extremism, terrorism and sectarian clashes. This is particularly true with regard to the situation in Syria. Iran believes that any foreign military involvement against Syria would only exacerbate the crisis and extends insecurity to other countries in the region. Therefore, Iran views that the way out of present crisis lies in strengthening a comprehensive peaceful political process with the aim of establishing first and foremost a cessation of violence between the parties and holding national dialogue between the opposition and the Syrian government for a peaceful political process. The regional countries should cooperate with one another to make this dialogue and national reconciliation possible. To this end, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been actively participating in the talks with regional countries, in particular, Egypt and Turkey. It seems that there is no other alternative if we want to bring back peace and stability to Syria and to the region.
Turning now to what was stated by the representative of the Israeli regime at this Chamber against my country; it is not the intention of my delegation to comment in detail what has been stated. I would also like to point out only that the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially declared its commitment to the fundamental principle of the Charter, to refrain from the threat or use of force against any member of the United Nations. The Israeli regime with a dark history of terrorist activities and possessing hundreds of nuclear warheads and known as an outlaw force in the world is better to keep quiet and stop threatening other countries. At the very least, this Council should demand that the Israeli regime abandon its policy of flouting international law and the UN Charter and cease and desist immediately from resorting to the threat or use of force.
Thank you, Mr. President