Ma'an News Agency
December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Members of the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People discussed the status of Palestinians and the ongoing Israeli occupation on Monday as the UN observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concerns over the failure to resume peace talks based on a two state solution for over a year and further called on Israel and Palestinian authorities to conduct immediate investigations into allegations of grave human rights violations committed in Gaza during Israel’s Operation Cast Led last year.

“Now more than ever politics must be made credible. Those who try to undermine moves towards peace through violence or by changing facts on the ground must not be allowed to set the agenda,” he said.

Ban also stressed the imperative need to reunify Gaza and the West Bank and create a sovereign Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps and a just, agreed solution to the refugee issue, additionally pledging the UN’s commitment to continue working for lasting peace through negotiations based on Security Council resolutions, previous agreements, the Madrid framework, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Developments on the ground demonstrate the extent to which Israel has been consolidating its hold on Palestinian land and resources, according to Paul Badji, chairman of the Palestinian rights committee, underscoring the need for solidarity with the Palestinian people. “The Palestinian people need and deserve our solidarity. Due to the compelling imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians, this courageous people need seriously our active solidarity.

“The Palestinian people deserve even more our solidarity because their leadership has vowed to achieve its national goals by peaceful negotiations. And it has demonstrated through concrete steps in the territory under the Palestinian Authority that it is serious in building its institutions in accordance with widely accepted norms of transparency and good governance,” Badji said.

In a message read by Riyad Mansour, permanent observer of Palestine, President Mahmoud Abbas relayed that the question of Palestine remained the sole issue facing the international community for which relevant resolutions had not been implemented, allowing Israel to continue to behave as if it were above international law.

“It is time, after all these years of negotiations that have not yielded results, for the international community, particularly the Security Council, to shoulder its responsibilities and to take immediate and decisive action that reflects the positions the countries of the world, which have repeatedly called for the two-State solution and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.”

Abbas added that Israel’s current government “had denied and retreated from all commitments and agreements reached by its predecessors, and it had seriously accelerated settlement policies and attempts to “judaize” Jerusalem by evicting and suffocating its indigenous population, and by excavating in and around Al-Aqsa.”

According to Walid Khalidi, general-secretary of the Institute for Palestine Studies, the US is “not an objective observer; it is a major part of the problem” in view of the fact that the US finances and provides tax exempt donations to Jewish settlements in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Nonetheless, Khalidi asserted that the US remains an important player in the peace process.

The committee further discussed the plight of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and Israel’s continued efforts to prohibit international efforts to rebuild the area following Israel’s devastating assault last year, with UN General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki lamenting that Israel’s strict blockade and military offensive on the Gaza Strip has severely worsened an already desperate situation, forcing its residents into poverty and isolation.

The Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian Peoples and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories Palitha Kohona noted that the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the continued Israeli siege only added to the population’s misery and had stalled momentum during recent peace initiatives.

The Syrian representative, Bashar Ja’afari, reading a message from Syria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Walid Al-Moualem, pointed to “the occupying power’s daily acts and barbarous practices against an entire population, its methodical demolition of housing, destruction of crops and land, and arrests of thousands of citizens, including women, children and the elderly.

That tragic situation was aggravated by inhumane practices. It was deplorable that the Security Council was unable to reach a firm decision to end those practices, particularly the building of Israeli settlements, including in East Jerusalem.”


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