22 July 2014
Statement by H. E. Mr. Hossein Dehghani,
Ambassador and Charge d’Affaires of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
before the Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East
22 July 2014, New York
In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement in this important session of the Security Council. Let me start by conveying sympathy and condolences of the members of the Movement to the Palestinian people and their leadership for the tragic loss of life and devastation that they have suffered in the recent period as a result of the indiscriminate and brutal shelling and aerial strikes, followed by a massive ground invasion in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupying forces, particularly against the Gaza Strip — attacks and invasion that clearly constitute deliberate reprisals and collective punishment against an entire civilian population in grave breach of international law.
This latest Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, has caused high civilian casualties, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where around 500 Palestinians, most of them women, children and elderly, have been killed and thousands of Palestinians have been injured, hundreds critically, by the Israeli occupying forces. It is particularly tragic that women and children constitute the majority of the victims of these indiscriminate, lethal military strikes. In this regard, according to the estimates by UN and independent agencies present on the ground, more than three-quarters of the victims have been civilians and UNRWA has found that more than one quarter of the fatalities have been children.
Moreover, these indiscriminate Israeli bombardments, coupled with ground invasion, against densely populated civilian areas, have caused widespread destruction and damage to civilian properties, and vital civilian infrastructure, and have devastated and disrupted all aspects of life in Gaza, which is already long-suffering under the illegitimate, suffocating Israeli blockade This massive Israeli military offensive, which is unjustifiable under any pretext, as well as the constant violence, provocations and incitement against the Palestinian people have caused widespread trauma, fear and distress among a whole civilian population and must be condemned.
In the light of the dire humanitarian situation, especially in the Gaza Strip, the Non Aligned Movement believes that there is an urgent need to help the Palestinian people, including through provision of emergency humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of the Palestinian civilian populations. NAM calls on the international community to provide this emergency assistance to alleviate the vast suffering caused by this regrettable deterioration and destabilization of the situation on the ground. In this regard, NAM calls for urgent additional support to the UNRWA for the provision of necessary food and other humanitarian aid to the Palestine refugees and other displaced civilians in Gaza.
Despite efforts by regional and international actors, including the call for ceasefire by this Council on 12 July and also by NAM, OIC and the Arab League, Israel, the occupying Power, is defiantly persisting with its military aggression and ground invasion against the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation in grave contravention of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention. This intransigence on the part of the occupying Power is in continuation of its practice of blatantly ignoring the demands of the international community to end its occupation and to stop its illegal policies and practices, which over the past five decades have destabilized the regional and international peace and security and claimed the lives, land, dignity and welfare of millions of Palestinian people.
The atrocities committed by Israel during the past weeks adds to a long list of grave breaches perpetrated by this regime in the past 6 decades, which include but are not limited to: occupation; aggression; collective punishment; extrajudicial executions; use of excessive, indiscriminate and brutal force; confiscation and colonization of the Palestinian land with massive settlements, the Wall and transfer of hundreds of thousands of settlers; arbitrary detention and imprisonment of thousands of civilians, now numbering more than 6,000 Palestinians; use of torture and other internationally prohibited abuses against civilians; destruction of homes and forced displacement of civilians.
This ongoing tragedy and injustice is mostly due to a culture of impunity in which the occupying Power has systematically and willfully perpetrated its violations over the years, an impunity undoubtedly fostered by the repeated failure of the international community, particularly the Security Council, to hold it accountable for its crimes and to compel its compliance with the law. In the two statements issued by the Non-Aligned Movement during the recent crisis, we stressed the urgent need for this Council to uphold its Charter duties and to act decisively to uphold international law and to ensure accountability for its violation.
The very fragile situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, demands urgent attention and action of the Security Council to stop the current invasion of Gaza, bring a halt to the repeated Israeli military aggressions against the Palestinian civilian population, to end the inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip and to ensure full respect for international humanitarian law and protection for the Palestinian civilian population. The Security Council must assume a more active role in the crisis to avert the further destabilization of the situation, avert the relapse of such deadly and destructive cycles of violence, and contribute to the efforts for realizing a just and lasting peace and security.
In closing, Mr. President, I would like to reaffirm the unwavering support and solidarity of the members of the Movement to the Palestinian people and their resilient efforts to realize their inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations for freedom, justice, dignity and peace.