Right of Reply – United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

Right of Reply by Ms. Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, before the 4th Committee debate on Item 51: UNRWA, 7 November 2013:

Mr. Chair,

I apologize for taking the floor once again.  However, I am compelled to reply to the assertion by the delegate of Israel that the right of return of the Palestine refugees is a “non-starter” – despite the fact that the Palestine refugee issue is an agreed final status issue to be negotiated between the parties – and the claim that it is “the obstacle to peace”.

I ask the Committee: How is respect for human rights and international law contrary to the requirements for peace? How does the obstruction of rights, the perpetuation of the exile, dispossession and misery of a people serve the cause of peace?  It does not.

The Israeli delegate called for “putting people before politics”.  We agree.  This would require, first and foremost, recognition by Israel of the humanity of the Palestine refugees, of the suffering and loss it has inflicted on them, and of their right to justice.  It requires an end to the denial of their rights based on narrow, cynical and unjustified political interests.

Furthermore, the callous remarks regarding the “number” of Palestine refugee, and who constitutes a Palestine refugee or not, are the height of hypocrisy by a State granting return to any Jewish person from anywhere in the world, yet denying Palestine refugees their right to return. [Read more…]