Statement by Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour before the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question, New York, 19 October 2016

Mr. President,

At the outset, I extend Palestine’s congratulations to the Russian Federation on its presidency of the Security Council and our appreciation for convening of this important debate today.

I also thank Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UN Special Coordinator, for his briefing and ongoing efforts, including to draw the Council’s attention to the critical issues before us.

I also reiterate our deep appreciation to the five Security Council members that co-chaired last week’s Arria-meeting on Israeli settlement activities, allowing for the Council to hear expert presentations about the stark reality and dangers of the ongoing illegal colonization of Palestine, both on the ground and on the prospects for peace. We thank Malaysia, Egypt, Angola, Senegal and Venezuela for this timely and important initiative.

Mr. President,

Reflecting on that meeting and the firm positions reaffirmed by all Council members, along with many recent Government statements in response to Israeli settlement announcements, it is clear that the settlements issue is not, as cynically claimed by some, a “one-sided, Palestinian” issue. As affirmed in every statement, the illegality of settlement activities and the threats posed to the two-State solution and peace prospects, are matters of international law and involve all States concerned with a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and peace and security in the Middle East. [Read more…]

Statement by Ms. Reem Julia Mansour, Esq., Legal Adviser, Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations before the Sixth Committee, agenda item 81: Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts, 71st h Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 7 October 2016:

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Distinguished Delegates,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by Tunisia on behalf of the Arab Group.

We are discussing this issue at a critical moment as we witness the immense suffering of millions of civilians in conflicts around the world, particularly in the Middle East, where civilians are bearing the highest toll of armed conflict in all forms, including foreign occupation. This toll has compelled the largest movement of refugees since World War II with grave humanitarian, social, economic, psychological and security consequences for the children, women and men whose fate it is to become a refugee, as well as consequences for the countries in conflict, receiving countries and the international community as a whole.

The Palestinian people know too well the pain and tragedy of such turmoil and dislocation as they continue to suffer the injustices of the 1948 Nakba, including 5.5 million Palestine refugees constituting the most protracted refugee crisis in the world, and to endure the brutality of Israel’s illegal, belligerent occupation for nearly a half century. Their suffering persists due to the failure to achieve a just solution to the conflict, despite countless UN resolutions, but also due to the international community’s failure to uphold international humanitarian law (IHL) in the face of grave breaches and to ensure the protection of civilians until such a solution has been realized.

The intent of the drafters of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols was clear: to ensure protection to civilians in situations of armed conflict and minimize their vulnerability and suffering.  Yet, the tragedy of civilians in armed conflict persists due to the lack of respect for IHL in too many circumstances and the failure to hold accountable the perpetrators of violations and grave breaches, including Israel, the occupying Power, which continues to cause harm and suffering to the Palestinian people with absolute impunity. The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols provide a necessary and fundamental framework for parties in armed conflict, including in situations of foreign occupation, by providing protections to civilians and imposing restraints on military conduct. The State of Palestine is deeply committed to ensuring respect for and adherence to international humanitarian law (IHL). Yet, more efforts must be focused on ensuring better compliance with the law so that civilians affected by armed conflict are protected and their suffering minimized to the extent possible. Efforts must also be made to ensure that the restraints provided for by the law are in fact obeyed by militaries. The State of Palestine believes that the international community must continue to work together to promote greater compliance with international humanitarian law so that civilians are afforded the utmost protection in times of war.

We have repeatedly appealed for protection for the Palestinian people, not just in the recent period but over the decades as our people have endured immeasurable oppression and cruelty under Israel’s occupation, including killing and injury of civilians in military raids, airstrikes and bombardments and terror attacks across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, detention, imprisonment, abuse and torture, forced displacement and transfer, an illegal blockade and other severe measures of collective punishment. This deplorable situation is corroborated by numerous UN reports, including the Secretary-General’s annual reports on Children and Armed Conflict, which document the devastating impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian children and their extreme vulnerability. Yet over the decades and despite the calls for protection, Palestinian civilians have been deprived of effective protection from such systematic violations and crimes.

The international community has clear responsibilities, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention, which must be upheld.  Protection should not be viewed as unreasonable or unimaginable by any party that respects the law and human rights and seeks peace.  Civilians – children, women and men – must not be used as cannon fodder and all efforts must be made to spare them the atrocities of war and protect their lives. As a State Party to the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols, the State of Palestine requests the Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depositary of the Geneva Conventions, to convene a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to consider further measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including measures to provide protection to the Palestinian people due to the grave breaches of the provisions of the Conventions being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, and to asses and evaluate the implementation of the Declaration adopted by the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention of 17 December 2014.

Moreover, the State of Palestine reiterates its call on the international community to consider providing the Palestinian people with protection in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, until the end of occupation and the independence of the State of Palestine. In this connection, we also highlight the essential role that can be played by humanitarian organizations, as well as civil society, in providing a protective civilian presence.

For the Palestinian people, this call is more urgent than ever in an unsustainable and dangerous situation still requiring sustained international attention and action.  We implore the international community to rise to the challenge and act to protect civilians and uphold human rights in Palestine and everywhere else in the world where innocent civilians are suffering in conflicts and to restore credibility to IHL and strengthen it for the benefit of the international community as a whole.

Thank you.

Statement by Ms. Reem Julia Mansour, Esq., Legal Adviser, before the Sixth Committee, Agenda item 84: The rule of law at the national and international levels, 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 7 October 2016. 

Distinguished delegates,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Over the last few years, the State of Palestine has extremely developed on the legal front, taking major strides through its accession to around 50 international legal instruments. Palestine’s decision to accede to these important international treaties and conventions is rooted in our understanding of the value and significance of the rule of law at the national and international levels. Ensuring equal access to justice for all is essential for translating the principles of the rule of law into effective mechanisms to provide protection, redress and accountability for serious crimes and human rights violations. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. Dr.Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of the State of Palestine, before the UN Summit to Address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, United Nations General Assembly, 19 September 2016, New York

Excellency Mr. Peter Thompson, President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly,

Excellency Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th Session of the General Assembly,

Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Excellencies Heads of State and Government, Ministers, Ambassadors

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored and humbled to join you today in this important Summit as the representative of the Palestinian people, a people whose majority population is comprised of refugees, constituting nearly a quarter of the world’s refugee population, over 40% of the globe’s long-term refugees, and the most protracted refugee crisis in contemporary history. [Read more…]

Excerpts from a letter to the international community from Rafat Badran, the father of a young Palestinian boy, Mahmoud Badran, who was brutally murdered by the Israeli occupying forces on 21 June 2016:

Mahmoud Badran1Last Friday, my wife Amal and I lived our greatest nightmare when we buried our precious son Mahmoud. He was 15 years old.

A few days earlier, he was enjoying an evening of relative normalcy, an occurrence all too rare in the life of a Palestinian child. It was the Holy Month of Ramadan, and after spending time celebrating with our family, Mahmoud, along with his friends and cousins, ventured out to a local village pool. After swimming for several hours, the group piled into the car to return home, smiling and fatigued, relishing some relief from the pervasive and cruel conditions of Israeli military occupation. And then suddenly, Israeli soldiers riddled the car Mahmoud was riding in with bullets, hitting several of the children. Four of them are still recovering from their wounds. Mahmoud was killed. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour before the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question, New York, 12 July 2016:

Mr. President,

At the outset, we congratulate Japan on its skilled leadership as President of the Security Council and express appreciation for the convening of this important open debate. I also thank the United Nations Special Coordinator, Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, for his valuable briefing to the Council.

Mr. President,

The Security Council is meeting against the backdrop of an extremely volatile and tense situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and ongoing deadlock in the efforts to create a viable political horizon to resolve for once and for all this deadly, destructive and tragic conflict. It is also meeting against the backdrop of ongoing regional and international initiatives aimed at salvaging the two-State solution and the prospects for peace and charting a way forward for their realization. Regrettably, however, for various reasons, none of those initiatives have come to fruition and the political will to act responsibly and boldly – in line with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, in the interest of justice and human rights, and for the sake of peace and security – remains perilously absent.

The Arab States continue to stretch their hand in peace, supporting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence, while also striving to open a new era of peace, stability and security in our region. For over 14 years, the Arab Peace Initiative has offered a bold path forward and yet Israel, the occupying Power, remains intransigent, belittling this most significant initiative and failing to reciprocate time and time again and obstructing the revival of a political horizon on its basis. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, before the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question, New York, 18 April 2016:

Mr. President,

At the outset, I express the State of Palestine’s congratulations to China on its skilled leadership as the presidency of the Security Council this month and express appreciation for the convening of this important open debate. I also thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his briefing on the current situation and for his continuous efforts to address this longstanding issue on the UN agenda in the interest of peace and justice.

Mr. President,

Since our last debate in January, we have addressed the Security Council on a near weekly basis regarding the critical situation in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, as a result of Israel’s illegal and destructive policies and measures. In each communication to this august Council, we have tried to draw urgent attention to the grave breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights violations being systematically committed by the occupying Power, including its occupying forces and terrorist settlers. We have equally appealed for urgent action, in line with international law, to compel Israel to halt its crimes and violations, which are inflicting widespread suffering on the Palestinian civilian population, further inflaming tensions and destabilizing the situation, destroying the two-State solution and sabotaging the chances for a peaceful solution. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. Dr. Riad Malki, Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine, before the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question, New York, 26 January 2016 (Delivered by Ambassador Dr.Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations):

Mr. President,

I congratulate the friendly country of Uruguay on its election to the Security Council and thank Your Excellency, Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa, for convening this important debate under Uruguay’s presidency.

I thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his important briefing to the Council on the current situation.

Today, I also extend our congratulations to other new non-permanent members – Egypt, Japan, Senegal and Ukraine, wishing them success in fulfilling their responsibilities under the Charter. We renew our deep appreciation to Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania and Nigeria for their skilled service and principled positions on so many critical issues, including the question of Palestine, during their tenure. [Read more…]

Statement by Ambassador Riyad Mansour at the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict”, 19 January 2016, New York:

Mr. President,

We congratulate Uruguay on its membership to the Security Council and presidency this month and for convening this important debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

Mr. President,

We meet at a critical moment witnessing the immense suffering of millions of civilians in conflicts around the world, particularly in the Middle East, where civilians are bearing the highest toll of armed conflict in all forms, including foreign occupation. As noted in various reports, deliberate targeting and indiscriminate attacks on civilians characterize many of today’s conflicts, resulting in vast civilian casualties, displacement and suffering, and direct attacks on humanitarian personnel and facilities and access restrictions impair the ability to help and protect those in most need.  This toll has compelled the largest movement of refugees since World War II with grave humanitarian, social, economic, psychological and security consequences for the children, women and men whose fate it is to become a refugee, as well as consequences for the countries in conflict, receiving countries and the international community as a whole. [Read more…]

Statement by Ms. Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Ambassador, before the UNGA, Agenda Item 73 (b): “Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance: Assistance to the Palestinian people”, 10 December 2015

Mr. President,

I am honored to deliver the statement of the delegation of the State of Palestine on this important agenda item on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance, in specific with regard to assistance to the Palestinian people.

Today, I renew our appreciation to Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon and his team for the report on “Assistance to the Palestinian people” (document A/70/76-E/2015/57), assessing the humanitarian and developmental support received by the Palestinian people and Government and its effective impact over the past year.  It has been a year that again witnessed the deterioration of the situation on all fronts, humanitarian and socio-economic as well as political and security, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, compounding the hardships being endured by the Palestinian civilian population living under Israel’s occupation, giving rise to even greater need and making international humanitarian assistance all the more imperative. [Read more…]