Delegates Deplore Excessive Use of Lethal Force during Peaceful Demonstrations, as Fourth committee Begins Debate on Israeli Practices in Occupied Territories

Report
from UN General Assembly
Published on 13 Nov 2019 View Original

GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOURTH COMMITTEE
SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION, 23RD MEETING (PM)
GA/SPD/711
13 NOVEMBER 2019

Secretary-General’s Reports Details Plight of Children in Detention, Occupation’s Profound Effects on Daily Life

Speakers decried Israel’s excessive use of force during peaceful demonstrations today, citing more than 100 deaths and thousands of injuries, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) began its general debate on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories.

Presenting the report of the Special Committee on Israeli Practices, Satyajit Arjuna Rodrigo (Sri Lanka), its Chair, noted that 138 Palestinians have been killed and a further 15,901 injured, largely in the context of peaceful demonstrations held between September 2018 and August 2019. In that regard, he stressed that Israeli forces must respect international instruments pertaining to law enforcement.

Calling particular attention to the toll of Israeli practices on Palestinian children, he noted that 29 were killed and 4,387 others injured in Gaza during the same period. Citing also the growing number of arrested children, he said they continue to suffer ill treatment during arrest and detention, and that 210 children are in detention as of July 2019.

He went on to point out the continuing settlement expansion and development in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Syrian Golan, saying there has been a sharp increase in planning for future construction. The year 2018 saw the highest number of approvals for new settlement housing units since 2012, he added, emphasizing the profound impact that settlements have on the daily life of Palestinians and Syrians, as well as their role as a key driver of human rights violations.

Concurring, an observer for the State of Palestine said that international inaction, coupled with ongoing appeasement, has led Israel to assume that it will never be held responsible for its crimes. “This has fuelled its belief that it can continue to act with impunity, as a State above the law, going so far as to openly declare its plans to annex our land.”

She went on to cite a statement by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, to the effect that with that announcement by Israel, the patina of temporary occupation has come to an end. As such, the international community’s inaction has also undermined prospects for a two-State solution and accelerated efforts to replace it with an apartheid State, she stressed.

In that context, South Africa’s representative recalled that his country liberated itself from apartheid because the international community refused to accept the existence of an overtly racist government in modern times. However, there is a lack of similar indignation vis-à-vis the Palestinian people’s plight, he pointed out.

Saudi Arabia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, emphasized that any action by Israel to forcibly remove Palestinians from their homes, build settlements, confiscate territory or declare Jerusalem its capital are null and void since they are not based on law, custom or international ethics. Al Quds is an integral part of Palestinian territory and the eternal capital of a Palestinian State, he said, stressing that Israel’s continuing efforts to change facts on the ground and impose its settlement plans undermine any chance for a two-State solution.

Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), noted that the Secretary-General’s report raises concerns about possible impunity for Israeli forces relating to arbitrary detention, and details ill-treatment of Palestinians in custody. The report further highlights an unacceptably high number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli security forces and raises concerns that not enough is being done to protect them, he said.

Also speaking today were representatives of Azerbaijan (for the Non-Aligned Movement), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Qatar, Maldives, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Namibia, Iraq, Cuba, Brunei Darussalam and Syria.

An observer for the European Union delegation also addressed the Committee.

The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 14 November, to continue its general debate on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories.

Opening Statements

SATYAJIT ARJUNA RODRIGO (Sri Lanka), Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, presented a note by the Secretary‑General transmitting that panel’s report (document A/74/356). Noting the continuing settlement expansion and development in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Syrian Golan, he said there has been a sharp increase in planning for future construction. The year 2018 saw the highest number of approvals for new settlement housing units since 2012, he added. Emphasizing the profound impact that settlements have on the daily life of Palestinians and Syrians, and their role as a key driver of human rights violations, he reported that Israeli security forces demolished 106 housing units owned by Palestinians in the West Bank between January and August, leaving at least 295 Palestinians displaced. Moreover, there is a worrying rise in settler violence, harassment and intimidation directed at Palestinians, he said, expressing particular concern about the H2 area of Hebron.

He went on to express further concern about the continuing loss of life and excessive use of force by Israel’s security forces during demonstrations near the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Largely in the context of peaceful demonstrations from September 2018 to August 2019, 138 Palestinians have been killed and a further 15,901 injured, he reported, stressing that Israeli forces must respect international instruments pertaining to law enforcement. Killing in the absence of an imminent threat of death or serious injury may amount to arbitrary deprivation of life, he cautioned. Turning to the blockade on Gaza, he reported some improvements in the supply of electricity and fuel while observing that demand is much higher. That disparity affects commerce, factories, industries and households, with the electricity shortage, in particular, affecting health care. Moreover, Israeli authorities regularly deny or delay exit permits allowing access to health care for Palestinians injured in demonstrations, he said, citing Israel’s approval of 61 per cent of applications for permits from Gaza in May 2019, against only 18 per cent approved for those injured during demonstrations in the same month.

Concerning the situation of Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody, he expressed serious concern about the use of administrative detention, often based on secret information. The Special Committee continues to receive worrying reports about lack of access to health care for such detainees, he said, expressing concern about deaths in custody. He went on to highlight reports of Israeli practices during detention and interrogation that may amount to torture, citing the example of Samer Al A’rbeed, who was arrested on 25 September and hospitalized two days later. He called particular attention to the toll of Israeli practices on Palestinian children, noting that 29 were killed and 4,387 others injured in Gaza between September 2018 and August 2019. Children’s right to education is severely restricted in Gaza and the West Bank, he said, pointing out that Israel’s restrictions on the construction of new schools, as well as its demolition of structures used as schools, have had a severely detrimental impact on access to education. Citing the growing number of arrested children, he said they continue to suffer ill-treatment during arrest and detention, adding that 210 children are in detention as of July 2019.

Turning to the Syrian Golan, he reported that Israel’s new plan for settlements — revealed by that country’s Government in April — involves the transfer of 250,000 settlers to the Golan by 2048. Moreover, local elections held in the region on 30 October 2018 are a manifestation of Israel’s desire to impose its own sovereignty over the Syrian Golan, he said, noting that hundreds of Syrians protested outside polling stations and most boycotted the election. Observing that discriminatory Israeli practices against Palestinians and Syrians are increasing, he stressed the urgent need to revive the peace process, reiterating the Special Committee’s strong support for a two-State solution. As such, he called upon Israel to end its occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan, cease all settlement activity and lift the land and sea blockade and other closures imposed on the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Israeli security forces must act in accordance with the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, he stressed.

Introduction of Reports

ANDREW GILMOUR, Assistant Secretary-General, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), delivered a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General and introduced the latter’s reports on: Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories (document A/74/219); and Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/74/357).

He said the latter report provides an update on the settlement enterprise, including increasing settlement planning as well as a 50 per cent rise in demolitions of Palestinian structures in the West Bank in comparison with the previous reporting period. It also highlights increasing violence by settlers and focuses on the impact of settlements on Palestinian communities at risk of forcible transfer, he said, noting that the report cites examples from the Nablus Governorate and Hebron H2 area, specifically. Regarding settler violence, he reported that several incidents took place in the presence of Israeli security forces, occasionally with their direct participation.

Introducing the report of the Secretary‑General on Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (document A/74/468), he noted that excessive use of force by Israeli security forces has persisted. He also pointed out the Secretary-General’s serious concern over the high number of Palestinians killed at considerable distance from the Gaza security perimeter in circumstances that did not appear to involve a threat of death or serious injury. The report further highlights an unacceptably high number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli security forces and raises concerns that not enough is being done to protect them, he said.

Moreover, he continued, the report raises concerns about possible impunity for Israeli forces relating to arbitrary detention, and details reports of ill-treatment of Palestinians in custody. He went on to cite practices that may amount to collective punishment, such as the impact of the Gaza closures on the lives of civilians. The report recommends, among other things, ensuring that any use of force is compatible with international law, the immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza and ensuring that all Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are guaranteed freedom of movement, among other rights. He then introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/74/192).

Interactive Dialogue

An observer for the State of Palestine said Israel’s non-cooperation with the Special Committee and other United Nations mandate holders violates its obligations as a Member State and calls into question what the occupying Power is trying to hide from the international community. Indeed, Israeli officials brag about barring entry to mandate holders and deporting human rights activists, she added. Noting the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties, she said that in the 189 fatalities investigated during the reporting period, the use of live ammunition by Israeli occupying forces was unlawful in all but two cases. Could the Assistant Secretary-General share more detailed reflections on the profound impact of the occupation on children?

The Assistant Secretary-General emphasized that, although Palestinian children should not be encouraged to put themselves in harm’s way as a form of protest, there is no justification for Israeli forces targeting children. It is impossible to think that the aim of such actions is not to ensure that the next generation of Palestinians grow up fully radicalized, he said.

General Debate

FEDA ABDELHADY-NASSER, observer for the State of Palestine, highlighted the killing and injury of Palestinian civilians by occupying forces in military raids across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as operations in the Gaza Strip, pointing to an extrajudicial assassination and military aggression on 12 November. Noting that 21 Palestinians have been killed only in the past 24 hours, she said casualties continue to mount due to Israel’s wanton firing of live ammunition upon civilians participating in the Great March of Return. In that context, she reported that more than 310 Palestinians — including 40 children ‑ were killed and over 34,000 civilians injured since the protests began.

Concerning settlement activity, she said more than 15,800 units were advanced in 2018 and that 8,300 have been advanced thus far in 2019, with 2,000 more units announced last week. That illegal colonization and annexation campaign is a key driver of violations, she emphasized, adding that it causes forced dispossession and the displacement of thousands, including refugees enduring repeated trauma. She went on to highlight the 12-year-old land, sea and air blockade and mass punishment of 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, noting that the blockade obstructs the enclave’s socioeconomic recovery and has pushed its health, water and sanitation systems to near-collapse.

Citing the United Nations country team’s prediction that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020, she pointed to the arrest and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, noting that 460 civilians are held without charge under administrative detention. Moreover, 210 children, some as young as eight years of age, are held captive in prisons or under house arrest, she said. Constant provocations, incitement, incursions and assaults against holy sites — including Al-Haram Al-Sharif — by Israeli occupying forces and extremists violate the sanctity of those sites and risk igniting a religious conflagration, she warned. The occupation also places restrictions on movement, enforced by hundreds of military checkpoints, and an arbitrary permit regime that obstructs humanitarian access, and even confiscates and destroys humanitarian assistance she said. She went on to warn further that international inaction, coupled with ongoing appeasement, has led Israel to assume that it will never be held responsible for its crimes.

“This has fuelled its belief that it can continue to act with impunity, as a State above the law, going so far as to openly declare its plans to annex our land,” she continued. Citing a statement by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, she said with that announcement by Israel, the patina of temporary occupation has come to an end. The international community’s failure to ensure accountability has obviously prolonged the conflict, she reiterated, stressing that inaction has also undermined prospects for a two-State solution and accelerated efforts to replace it with an apartheid State. As such, she called for immediate action against Israel, in accordance with international legal obligations, urging the mobilization of all legitimate political and legal tools and measures, including sanctions and prosecution for war crimes. She also called for the release of the database on businesses engaged in activities related to illegal settlements. Moreover, she urged the rejection of all measures to promote Israel’s annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem, including attempts to replace education and health services provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

NAHIDA BAGHIROVA (Azerbaijan), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed deep regret that the Special Committee’s inquiries still yield negative results. Reiterating the Movement’s deep concern that Israel refuses to recognize or cooperate with the Special Committee, she condemned that country’s settlement activities, saying they remain the source of many human rights violations and threaten the two-State formula. “It is high time to end this illegal Israeli occupation,” she said, calling for an immediate end to Israel’s de facto annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem and its threats to annex more Palestinian territory. Israel must also end its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, promptly and without conditions, she said, adding that the international community must extend strong support to UNRWA. He went on to warn that the transfer of Israeli settlers and other illegal settlement activities violate the inalienable right of Palestinians to self-determination, calling upon the international community — particularly the Security Council — to ensure accountability and a cessation of violations by the occupying Power. “Israel must comply with its obligations and responsibilities under international law,” he stressed. Turning to the Syrian Golan, he reaffirmed that Israel’s unlawful actions since 1967 constitute a clear violation of international law, the Charter of the United Nations, the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention and Security Council resolutions. She went on to call upon the Security Council to condemn the provocative recognition by the United States of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

ABDALLAH Y. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, stressed that illegal actions against Palestinians by the occupying Power demonstrate the scope of Israel’s crimes in violation of international law. Calling upon the international community to ensure accountability, he said the Palestinian cause is of enormous importance for all Arab actions, both international or regional. Israeli forces continue to undermine the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, continuing its use of disproportionate and arbitrary force and making no distinction among women, children or elderly, he noted. However, the international community remains silent, particularly the Security Council, he noted, emphasizing that any action by Israel to forcibly remove Palestinians from their homes, build settlements, confiscate territory or declare Jerusalem Israel’s capital are null and void since they are not based on law, custom or international ethics. Al Quds is an integral part of Palestinian territory and the eternal capital of a Palestinian State, he said, stressing that Israel’s continuing efforts to change facts on the ground and impose its settlement plan undermines any chance for a two-State solution. He went on to condemn the blockade on Gaza while rejecting all Israeli activities to annex the occupied Syrian Golan, impose its authority and to create alternate facts on the ground.

ANDREA PONTIROL, European Union delegation, reaffirmed support for a two-State solution that ends the occupation and fulfils the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. In accordance with international law and Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), the European Union remains strongly opposed to Israel’s settlement policy and actions and will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by the parties, he added. Expressing grave concern over the volatile political and humanitarian situation in Gaza, he said that restoring a political horizon for peace is essential to reducing violence and containing extremism. Israel must respect the fundamental right to peaceful protest and Hamas must ensure that protests remain strictly non-violent, he emphasized. Meanwhile, the European Union urges President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to set a date for the recently-announced elections in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, she said, while calling upon all Palestinian factions to commit unequivocally to democratic principles.

KIM IN CHOL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the Palestine issue is increasingly aggravated by Israel — “the cancer of Middle East peace” — thereby triggering the indignation of the international community. Citing the “gangster-like” law seeking to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel, he also described the plot to Judaize and annex the city. In another unprecedented act, he added, Israel intruded into a mosque during a Muslim holiday and seeks to transform Islamic ceremonies into Jewish rituals, he said. Condemning Israel’s expansion of settlements and eviction of Palestinians from their homes, he noted that “such inhumane outrages arouse vehement resentment of the international community”. The status of Jerusalem should be addressed fairly by restoring the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, he said, adding that Israel must discontinue its settlement activities, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2334 (2016). Meanwhile, the Special Committee should recommend that the Security Council strictly investigate the Israeli occupation and accordingly take strict legal measures, he said.

ATSUSHI MORITA (Japan) expressed support for a two-state solution while condemning Israel’s continuing settlement activities as well as the demolition of Palestinian-owned structures. He further expressed deep concern over continuing violence in Gaza and the West Bank as well as casualties among both Israelis and Palestinians, calling upon both to take immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence. Japan firmly believes that the issues Israel and Palestine face cannot be resolved through violence, but only by efforts on both sides to build mutual trust, he said, stressing that the launching of indiscriminate rockets from Gaza into Israel contravene such efforts.

ABDUL RAHMAN AL-JARBA (Qatar) reiterated that the settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal, constituting a hurdle to a two-State solution. Citing reports of excessive use of force by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, he also pointed to the detention and ill-treatment of children, violations of due process and restrictions on freedom of movement, assembly and expression. Violations also include attacks against human rights defenders, he added. The ongoing blockade of Gaza renders the enclave an “open prison”, he said, describing the denial of permits and other actions as punitive measures that are tantamount to collective punishment. A lasting and just solution requires serious negotiations between the two sides on the basis of agreed terms of references and the Arab Peace Initiative, he emphasized.

THILMEEZA HUSSAIN (Maldives) noted that while most people encounter stories of young Palestinians being detained, injured and killed by Israeli security forces or settlers on the news, that is the daily lived reality of two million children in Palestine. “This is deplorable and unacceptable,” she said, emphasizing that the international community must protect their rights as it celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Israel’s national policies “blatantly and consistently violate international law and constitute a system of discrimination which has negatively affected generations,” she said, going on to characterize the blockade on Gaza as the “collective punishment” of 1.9 million people, with its “draconian limitations on the movement of persons and goods, including humanitarian items”. The growing number of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the destruction of Palestinian homes and properties “will not create peace”, she said, adding that, instead, it will perpetuate poverty and increase the suffering of Palestinians. She went on to reiterate her country’s support for Palestine “in seeking the international community’s political recognition that it deserves, and for Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations”.

BASHAR ALDUWAISAN (Kuwait), noting that Israel continues to violate international law, as per the report, said that such violations amount to crimes in violation of international law while the Security Council remains passive. Expressing concern over Israel’s policies and unilateral measures aimed at changing realities on the ground, he said Kuwait supports the State of Palestine’s request to revive the Middle East Quartet under United Nations auspices. He went on to call upon the international community to take all measures necessary to guarantee Israel’s compliance in the investigation of its excessive use of force that led to the deaths of protestors in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. Kuwait calls for the lifting of the Gaza blockade and reiterates that East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, he emphasized.

XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the failure of the United Nations to uphold its commitment to human dignity and the rights of the Palestinian people constitute a normalization of the occupation, the violation of human rights and disdain for international law. Recalling that South Africa liberated itself from apartheid because the international community refused to accept the existence of an overtly racist government in modern times, he pointed out the lack of similar indignation vis-à-vis the Palestinian people’s plight. He emphasized that the situation on the ground cannot be allowed to continue, encouraging all Member States to steer the two sides towards a lasting solution. He went on to call upon the Israel authorities to fully implement the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners — also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules — as well as the Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners.

FATIMA ALMEMARI (United Arab Emirates), associating herself with the Arab Group, said her delegation supports an independent Palestinian State alongside Israel based on the pre-June 1967 borders. Expressing concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in Gaza, she said the United Arab Emirates is also worried about extremists gaining a foothold in the region. Israel must stop building and expanding settlements and confiscating land, she said, urging that country to implement the relevant United Nations resolutions. Credible negotiations on final-status issues should begin immediately, she added. She went on to state that the United Arab Emirates has provided more than $630 million in recent years to support development in Palestine in the areas of health and education, among others.

MOHANNAD ADNAN MOUSA SHADDAD (Jordan) said he looks forward to the day when the Palestinian issue is no longer on the United Nations agenda. Calling for a two-State solution within the pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, he said the Palestinians have suffered a historic injustice and the international community must form a movement to end their dire plight. Emphasizing his country’s commitment to peace and stability in the region, he said the world has an unprecedented opportunity to attain peace and Israel must seize that chance before it is too late. Warning that annexing the Golan or the Jordan Valley will deliver fatal blows to a two-State solution, he stressed that aggression against Gaza will not bring peace.

AUDREY GANTANA (Namibia), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, described the Special Committee’s report as an unsettling reminder of the never-ending human rights violations committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Occupied Syrian Golan. One of the report’s key findings is that the settlements are a key driver of human rights violations, she noted, emphasizing that no amount of humanitarian or economic support can substitute for a negotiated two-State solution. Welcoming the increase in energy supply to households in Gaza and Israel’s easing of import and export restrictions, he pointed out, however, that Gaza’s health system remains on the brink of collapse, adding that the volatile environment in which Palestinians continue to labour are unsustainable.

YAARB AHMED NASER AL-TEMEMY (Iraq) said that Israel’s ongoing and systematic violations of international law against Palestinian civilians have an ongoing detrimental impact on the population and only aggravate the crisis. Citing the excessive use of force and settlement activities, he said Iraq also opposes the continuing occupation of the Syrian Golan notwithstanding relevant Security Council resolutions. Urging the international community to exert pressure to make Israel cease its illegal activities and Israel to grant the Special Committee access to the occupied territories in order to carry out its work, he condemned attacks against Palestinians, the demolition of homes, schools and service establishments, the closure of roads, confiscation of properties and other violations.

HUMBERTO RIVERO ROSARIO (Cuba), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the reports presented are discouraging and reveal Israel’s continued attempts to annex Palestinian territory. Describing settlements as a key factor of civil rights violations, he said Israel’s policies amount to colonization and collective punishment. He went on to note Israel’s attempts to impose its laws on the West Bank and emphasized the serious humanitarian situation in Gaza, where half the population is composed of children. Condemning Israel’s attempts to change the status of Palestine refugees and their right of return, he questioned the decision by the United Nations not to extend the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron. He went on to describe the decision by the President of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as unilateral and a flagrant violation of international law and norms, emphasizing that any action that Israel has taken to change the demographics of the Syrian Golan are null. Cuba also rejects the decision by the United States to recognize the Syrian Golan as part of Israel, he said, warning that grave consequences will result from such actions by Washington.

NUR FARAHANAH HJ SARBINI (Brunei Darussalam), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, called upon the occupying Power to cease the construction of illegal settlements, other violations and unfair practices against Palestinians, to comply fully with and respect international law and to end its occupation of the Palestinian territory. She went on to emphasize the need for dialogue conducive to a negotiated peace settlement based on a two-State solution, with a Palestinian State within the pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. Like all peoples, Palestinians have dreams and hopes, yet they are hindered by the illegal practices of the occupying Power, she said, stressing the moral and legal obligation of the United Nations to enforce Palestinian rights and to ensure accountability for actions contravening international law. Underlining that Palestinian question is the very essence of the situation in the Middle East, she said the Government of Brunei Darussalam supports efforts towards full United Nations membership for the State of Palestine.

ALIAA ALI (Syria), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Fourth Committee has played a welcome role over the past 52 years since Israel’s occupation began. However, the international community is beginning to ignore the occupation and Israel’s human rights violations, he added, noting that it makes use of “massacre and murder”. After all the decades, now is the time for the United Nations to end the occupation, she said. Noting that Israel has attempted to impose control over the Golan since 1981, he recalled that it tried to organize elections, but its attempts have failed. She went on to note that Israel deprives the Golan’s people of their right to unify with Syria, denies their legitimate right to resistance, destroys their homes, violates their right to education under the Syrian curriculum, confiscates their agricultural land to build settlements and toxic waste dumps, and loots resources such as gas, oil and water. She went on to condemn the decision by the President of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.