Archives for 27 May 2021

Statement of H.E. Minister Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, before the Security Council, 27 May 2021

English Translation

Mr. President,

Israel has failed. Failed in defeating Palestinian consciousness and in breaking apart our national belonging. For 73 years, Israel has developed a plan, adopted policies and imposed punishments and devoted tremendous resources to forciblychange the historic, geographic and demographic reality in our homeland, believing that eventually a Palestinian generation will come about and acknowledge defeat and surrender to it. But after over 70 years since the Nakba, the Israeli scheme falls apart at the hands of a new Palestinian generation more rooted in the land than ever and more committed to life, able to forge unity and believing in the inevitability of victory. We have, generation after generation, remained dedicated to Palestine, the color of skin resembling its soil, as there is no alternative to justice and freedom, and occupation cannot last forever regardless of its military might or its colonial appetite.

Israel has failed to distort the consciousness of peoples around the world, unable to hide its colonial and racist nature behind its aggressive attacks and its rabid readiness to hurl libelous accusations against all those who might dare criticize its occupation and call for its end and against all those who stand in solidarity with Palestine and its just cause. There is a new generation worldwide that stands unafraid of Israel and its threats.

How can Israel hide any further the Apartheid it imposes while its features appear everywhere from the river to the sea?

How can it justify calling for a right of return for Jews that would span over 5000 years while denying the right of return of Palestinians to their land and homes after 73 years?

How can it justify the forcible transfer in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, under alleged property claims for Jews while denying the property rights of Palestinians all over historical Palestine?

How can it justify demolishing our homes and razing our fields and stealing our water and resources while claiming its “right” to build illegal settlements on our land and military checkpoints and a wall on our path?

How can it justify vandalizing and inciting against our Christian and Muslim holy sites while claiming that its colonization is a “divine right”?

How does it call for the release of the bodies of killed Israelis while burying hundreds of Palestinians in the cemeteries of numbers (where the name of the buried is replaced by a number to hide his identity) and keeps other bodies hostage of its freezers?

How can it justify that the occupying Power claims an absolute “right to self-defense” and it considers as criminal any action undertaken by any Palestinian to defend his home, his family and his land against the blockade, the aggression of Israel’s occupation forces and the terrorism of Israeli settlers?

How can it justify that its Courts consider every Israeli innocent regardless of his crimes and every Palestinian guilty regardless of his rights?

How can it justify demanding the compassion of the world for its children in the shelters, while being outraged that the world might condemn its kidnaping of our children from their homes and their schools, and their killing in their neighborhoods or playgrounds or in their sleep at home in the arms of their mothers and fathers?

How can it justify all this, and is there anybody left to believe its claims after all of this?

Mr. President,

Didn’t this Council receive the UN reports that warned of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, stating it was on the verge of collapse and cautioning that violence will resume for as long as this 14 years long illegal blockade continues?

Didn’t Palestinian youth rebel and demonstrate in the return marches for over a year demanding their rights and the lifting of the criminal Israeli blockade that was characterized by international experts as a violation of international law amounting to collective punishment against Palestinian civilians in Gaza?

Didn’t we come time after time warning of the consequences of Israeli policies in occupied Jerusalem and against our Christian and Muslim holy sites, especially its provocations at Al-Haram Al-Sharif, and of its policy of forcible displacement in the old city, Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan and all of Palestine?

Didn’t Israel come over and over again to this Council displaying the arrogance of the occupier and the oppressor, always ready to accuse any of you of anti-semitism, justifying its grave violations as if it was entitled to act as a State above the law, attacking those who dare to call for an end of its settlement policy and for respect of the character and status of Jerusalem and of the historic status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and for the lifting of the blockade over the Gaza Strip? It shows no remorse or shame in violating its legal obligations as an occupying Power.

The deterioration of the situation in the occupied State of Palestine, especially as we witnessed in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, is Israel’s making and responsibility and the inevitable result of its oppressive policies and colonial occupation.

We are here today to tell this august Council that ending the latest Israeli aggression against Gaza did not end the catastrophe, and it will not bring back the loved ones fallen martyr or the homes that were destroyed, it will not spare the orphans and the bereaved from the devastating losses they have endured.

We are here to tell you that the postponement by the Israeli Courts of decisions on forcible displacement of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan did not protect the families from the ongoing aggression by the settlers nor end the tragedy endured in occupied Jerusalem. This did not mean that the Israeli provocations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque have ceased or that measures to change the status of the city and its character have stopped. This has not put an end to Israel’s colonial appetite and desire to annex occupied Palestinian land, remove Palestinians from their land or besiege them in it.

We all stand at a crossroad and if Israel is allowed to choose the way ahead, it will choose the same path and the same policy. It will impose on us Apartheid and annexation, blockade and destruction, and will demand for itself security and stability, refusing to acknowledge the failure of its colonial and racist policies, that are the source of violence and the root cause of the conflict.

We, Palestinians, will not be subjugated. We will not surrender to this occupation. Israel should know that by now. It must confront this reality, that the Palestinian people in all its components will not be subjugated and will not relinquish its right to freedom, independence and self-determination wherever they are. We will only accept the path that leads to the freedom of our people, preserve their national and human dignity and guarantees all their rights as enshrined in international instruments.

This Council and the international community determined a vision for peace decades ago and adopted resolutions that defined the framework and terms of reference for such a solution, as well as the obligations of the parties and of third parties, including not to recognize or render aid or assistance to illegal actions and to distinguish between the occupied territory and the territory of the occupying Power, and to respect and ensure respect for international law. You have to implement these resolutions to achieve just and comprehensive peace, as foreseen in your resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016).

You have preserved the international consensus and protected it from all the attempts to legitimize occupation and colonization and of distorting the terms of reference, and now that the Trump administration is gone, and with it the illusions it was trying to promote, and with the return of the United States to the international consensus and the reactivation of the Quartet, it is no longer enough to restate what the law says, it must be enforced.

Please, don’t ask us to be patient, as every additional hour carries with it pain and suffering. Until when should we be patient, until the next massacre? Until the child grows in the occupation cells? Until the family is displaced for the third or fourth time? Until the settlement expands and closes of the veins of life in Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley? Until an entire generation grows knowing nothing but siege and deprivation?

Mr. President,

The battle for existence in Palestine, and at its heart Jerusalem, is taking place on the ground, house by house, and in the alleys of the Old City, and in our Aqsa and Holy Sepulchre, and on every hilltop and neighborhood and village and refugee camp. Peace can not be achieved in the land of peace and the City of peace without the recognition of Palestinian sovereignty and respect of the Hashemite custodianship.

Your responsibility is not only to adopt resolutions here, but to change the reality there, to protect the Palestinians there, to ensure freedom prevails there, to achieve peace there.

The reconstruction of the besieged Gaza Strip must be a top priority right now, starting with providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the thousands internally displaced, especially in the context of the pandemic. But we all know that what is required is addressing the root causes of this situation in a manner consistent with the unity of our people, land and destiny and lifting the blockade and ensuring freedom of movement of people and goods to revive economic life and to allow the provision of fuel, medical equipment, medicine and construction material as well as the normal and sustainable functioning of the power plant so as to end the humanitarian tragedy the Palestinian people in Gaza have endured for the last 15 years, and to unleash the true potential of its youth so they can express their talent and creativity.

Mr. President,

The last few weeks demonstrated that Israel’s claim that the question of Palestine no longer inhabits the hearts and minds of peoples in the Arab and Muslim world, or peoples worldwide, and that it has become a marginal issue with no relevance or influence, is a false and invalid claim.

The question of Palestine can not be overlooked or bypassed, given its regional and international significance. We commend all regional and international efforts to put an end to the Israeli aggression on Gaza and to launch a credible political process that places Palestine at the top of the list of priorities. We stress however that the success of such a political process is contingent on ending the ongoing aggression against our people, our land and our holy sites, and on the ability of this Council to implement its resolutions and on the international community’s rejection of double standards and its ability to uphold the rules it has adopted and enshrined in the UN Charter, international law and relevant resolutions.

Mr. President,

We, the Palestinian people, are, despite all the killing and destruction, a living nation, thriving by its history, its traditions, its culture, its poets, its dreams, its creativity, its bravery, its diversity, its love, its anger, its tolerance, its patriotism and its humanity. We resemble our land and belong to it, and will never abandon it, whether we live in it or it lives in us, one rebellious generation after the other, impossible to uproot. Here in Palestine we have a past, a present and a future. Regardless who agrees and who objects.

I thank you, Mr. President.