Introduction Draft Resolution L.16 on Question of Violation of Human Rights in occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine
It is quite natural that this session of the CHR has been preoccupied with the situation in occupied Palestine.
Since the past several months, a ruthless strategy is being implemented to break down the painstakingly built structures of peace and revive the campaign of repression and displacement of the Palestinian people commenced in 1948.
The preambular and operative paras of the draft resolution record the different dimensions and various facets of the tragedy, which is being imposed by a brutal occupation on the Palestinian people, which are blatant violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and many of which constitute war crimes:
- Extra judicial executions;
- Collective punishments, including the demolition of hundreds of houses by tanks and helicopter gun-ships, indiscriminately killing men, women and children;
- Arbitrary detention of thousands and torture of hundreds of Palestinians;
- The obstruction of medical attention to the wounded through attacks on ambulances and against hospitals;
- The isolation of President Arafat and death threats against him;
- The destruction of the structures and property of the Palestinian Authority;
- And, now – the systematic massacres of Palestinians conducted in Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem and other places in the past few days. Even a senior Israeli officer, speaking after the Jenin massacre, was reported to have observed that "history will judge us harshly". Indeed it will.
The draft resolution in L.16 condemns these actions and the war launched by the Israeli Army against Palestinian cities and towns resulting in hundreds of casualties including of women and children.
As the UN Secretary General’s statement noted "Nor can military action be considered legitimate self defence when it is used to perpetuate the occupation of foreign territory".
The draft resolution in L.16 upholds the right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation as affirmed in UNGA Resolution 37/43 of December 1982. It also demands the dismantling of Israeli settlements that are at the heart of the current Israeli campaign to further dispossess and encroach on the remaining territory of Palestine. The resolution calls for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in accordance with Security Council resolution 242 and 338, which has been reflected in the recent Security Council resolution 1397, 1402 and 1403.
We are most concerned that after one week, the Israeli authorities have yet to accept the visit of the mission to be led by the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the occupied Palestinian territories. They have yet to implement the recent obligatory resolutions of the UN Security Council – 1397 and 1402 – calling for a ceasefire and withdrawal from Palestinian cities and territories.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, while addressing the Commission today said "one of the lessons of the history of the UN is that it cannot afford to be neutral in the face of great moral challenges." We therefore welcomed the statement made by the Secretary General in the Security Council on 04 April; we welcomed High Commissioner’s call to conscience in this Commission last week; and, we welcomed the statement of the Chief Executives Board issued in Rome on 10 April.
The OIC asks the Commission on Human Rights to adopt the draft resolution in L.16 as an expression of the conscience of the world’s peoples – peoples who are revolted and horrified by the images of a rampaging military power ruthlessly brutalizing a defenceless people. We share the pain and sufferings of the Palestinian people, their anguish and anger. We call on each Member of the CHR to join us in securing acceptance by the Israeli authorities the will of the international community. We urge all of them to support this resolution contained in Document L.16. to implement this resolution of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.