President Abbas at UNGA: Why is Israel not punished for violating international law?Sep 29, 2022
Who is protecting Israel from being held accountable? Why these double standards when it comes to Israel?
NEW YORK, Friday, September 23, 2022 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said today that the State of Palestine has submitted an official request to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to implement General Assembly Resolution No. 181, which formed the basis for the two-state solution in 1947, and Resolution No. 194 on the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.
In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly’s 77th session in New York, the President said, “We ask you, in the event of Israel’s refusal to comply with and failure to implement these two resolutions, to impose sanctions on it and suspend its membership in the international organisation.”
“The United Nations, with its various bodies, has issued hundreds of resolutions related to Palestine, and none of them was implemented. This includes 754 resolutions of the General Assembly, 97 resolutions of the Security Council, and 96 resolutions of the Human Rights Council,” he stressed.
The President added, “We do not accept that we remain the only party that adheres to the agreements we signed with Israel in 1993, agreements that no longer exist on the ground due to Israel’s continued violation of them.”
“Despite our demand for Israel to end its occupation and to stop its aggressive measures and policies, as well as to stop all unilateral actions that were stipulated in the Oslo Accord, it has continued to perpetuate this occupation and these measures and policies, and it has left us no option but to reconsider our entire relationship with it.”
“Thus, it has become our right, and even our obligation, to look for other means to obtain our rights and achieve peace based on justice, including implementing the decisions taken by our Palestinian leadership bodies, foremost of which is the Palestinian Central Council.”
He pointed out that “If attempts continue to obstruct our endeavours to obtain full membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations, protect the Palestinian people, their rights and state, and adopt practical steps to end the occupation and achieve peace, it becomes imperative for us to go to the General Assembly again for a referendum on the legal measures and political steps that must be adopted to reach that end.”
The President called on Britain, America and Israel “to recognise their responsibility for this major crime committed against our people, apologise and make reparation for the damage, and provide compensation to the Palestinian people as set forth by international law.”
President Abbas also called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations “to work hard to develop an international plan to end the occupation of the land of the State of Palestine, in order to achieve peace, security and stability in the region based on the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative.”
He added, “Yesterday, I listened to what US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and other world leaders said about the position in favour of the two-state solution, and this is a positive matter. The real test of the seriousness and credibility of this position is for the Israeli government to sit down at the negotiating table immediately, to implement the two-state solution on the basis of the relevant international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, and to stop all unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution.
Following is the full text of President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech:
In the name of Allah the Merciful
His Excellency Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, President of the United Nations General Assembly,
Your Excellency Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Ladies and gentlemen, heads and members of delegations,
Peace, mercy and blessings of God,
I speak to you on behalf of more than fourteen million Palestinian people, whose parents and grandparents lived through the tragedy of the “Nakba” seventy-four years ago, and they are still living the effects of this “Nakba”, which is a disgrace to humanity, especially those who conspired, planned and carried out this heinous crime.
Moreover, more than five million Palestinians have been suffering under the Israeli military occupation for fifty-four years.
Today, on behalf of the Palestinian people, to whom I am proud to belong, I tell you that our confidence in achieving a peace based on justice and international law is waning, due to the Israeli occupation policies. Do you want to kill what remains of hope in our souls?
It has become clear, ladies and gentlemen, that Israel, which disavows the resolutions of international legitimacy, has decided not to be our partner in the peace process. Israel is the one that destroyed the Oslo Accords it signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation. It is the one, with its current policy, has premeditated and determined to destroy the two-state solution, which proves with conclusive evidence that they do not believe in peace, but in the policy of imposing a fait accompli by brute force and aggression, and therefore there is no longer an Israeli partner with whom to talk. It thus ends the contractual relationship with us and makes the relationship between the State of Palestine and Israel a relationship between an occupying state and an occupied people, and nothing else. We will not deal with Israel except on this basis, and we demand the international community to deal with it on this basis as well. This is Israel’s choice, not ours.
Israel is carrying out a frantic campaign to confiscate our lands and spread its colonial settlements and plunder our resources, as if this land was empty and had no owners, just as it did in 1948. It is also unleashing the hand of the army and terrorist settlers who are killing our Palestinian people in broad daylight, stealing their lands and water, burning and demolishing their homes, and forcing them to pay the price for the demolition, or force them to demolish it with their own hands and uproot their trees, all with official protection.
Moreover, the Israeli government allowed the formation of racist Jewish terrorist organisations that practice terrorism against our people and provided them with protection as they attack the Palestinians and call for their expulsion from their homes. At the top of these terrorist organisations are the Hilltop Youth, the price tag groups, Lahava, and the Temple Trustees, and these terrorist organisations are led by members of the Israeli Knesset, and, in this context, we call on the international community to put these terrorist organisations on the lists of global terrorism.
Israel has left us nothing of the land to establish our independent state in light of its frenzied settlement attack, so where will our people live in freedom and dignity? Where will we establish our independent state to live in peace with our neighbours? The settlers now constitute about 751,000, which constitutes 25% of the total population in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israel kills our people without accountability, as it did with the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, who was killed by an Israeli sniper. Shireen has a dual Palestinian-American citizenship. I challenge the US to prosecute those who killed her. The religious holy sites, Christian and Islamic, especially in Jerusalem, our eternal capital and the jewel of the crown. Here, we would like to emphasise our adherence to the Hashemite custodianship of these holy sites.
Israel is imposing forged educational curricula in our schools in occupied Jerusalem, in violation of international law, and disrupts the presidential and legislative elections in Palestine, by preventing Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem from participating in them, as took place in three previous elections (1996, 2005, 2006), and enacts racist laws that it perpetuates a system of racial discrimination, an Apartheid against our people in front of the international community, and evades accountability and punishment, so why not hold Israel accountable for violating international law? Who is protecting Israel from being held accountable? Why these double standards when it comes to Israel?
Israel has not refrained from the repeated violation of our land and its recent closure of the headquarters of six Palestinian human rights organisations operating in the Palestinian territory, in accordance with Palestinian and international law, after it had accused them in the past of being terrorist organisations, while the whole world rejected and condemned this accusation, after confirming it was baseless.
Ladies and gentlemen
Since its inception, Israel has committed brutal crimes against our people, when it destroyed 529 Palestinian villages, expelled their residents from them during and after the 1948 war, and expelled 950,000 Palestinian, more than half of the Palestinian people at the time, from their homes, according to the records of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). UNRWA) and committed more than fifty massacres since 1948 to this day, which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of children, women, the elderly and innocent people, and everyone remembers the massacre of children in the war on Gaza last year, which killed 67 children.
I put before you lists of these destroyed villages and massacres, and I call upon Israel from your podium to acknowledge its responsibility for the destruction of these villages and the massacres and the displacement of Palestinian citizens, and to apologize to the Palestinian people, and to bear the legal, political, moral and material responsibility, and we will demand the International Criminal Court to begin investigating these crimes immediately.
Does the Israeli people want to be and remain a coloniser of another people forever? What are the moral and human values that justify silence on this injustice and the harm that their government inflicts on the Palestinian people?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We do not accept that we remain the only party that adheres to the agreements we signed with Israel in 1993, agreements that no longer exist on the ground, due to Israel’s continued violation of them. Despite our demand for it to end its occupation and to stop its aggressive measures and policies, as well as to stop all unilateral actions that were stipulated in the Oslo Accords, and which President Biden mentioned to me personally, but they continued to perpetuate this occupation and these measures and policies, leaving us with no other choice but to reconsider the entire relationship with Israel.
Thus, it has become our right, and even our obligation, to search for other means to obtain our rights and achieve peace based on justice, including implementing the decisions taken by our Palestinian leadership bodies, especially the Palestinian Central Council.
We take these decisions in order to preserve our national presence on our land, and in order to preserve our historical rights in our homeland, under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the sole legitimate representative of our Palestinian people, under whose banner the Palestinian people gather everywhere in the world. Home, in refugee camps and in the diaspora.
Honourable Audience, the United Nations, with its various bodies, has issued hundreds of resolutions related to Palestine and not a single one of them has been implemented (754 resolutions of the General Assembly, 97 resolutions of the Security Council, 96 resolutions of the Human Rights Council).
Therefore, I present today to this UN organisation, the title of international legitimacy in this world, with a formal request to implement General Assembly resolution 181, which formed the basis for the two-state solution in 1947, as well as resolution 194 calling for the right of return of Palestine refugees. Perhaps I need to remind you that Israel’s commitment to implement these two resolutions was a condition for the acceptance of its membership in your esteemed international organisation. We ask you, in the event of Israel’s refusal to comply and the failure to implement these two resolutions, to impose sanctions on it and suspend its membership in the international organisation. (We have submitted our request to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in this regard).
The State of Palestine will also initiate procedures for joining other international organisations, particularly the Intellectual Property Organisation, the World Health Organisation, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The Security Council has adopted clear resolutions whose implementation will achieve a just and comprehensive peace, the latest of which is resolution 2334. The role of the Security Council is not limited to adopting resolutions only, but it must take practical steps to implement them, and it is not acceptable that Security Council resolutions apply to some countries only (double standards), and if the Security Council fails to carry out its tasks, there is a clear role for the United Nations General Assembly to which we will resort.
If attempts continue to obstruct our endeavours to obtain full membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations, protect the Palestinian people, their rights and their state, and adopt practical steps to end the occupation and achieve peace, it becomes imperative for us to go to the General Assembly again, seeking a determination on the legal and political steps that must be adopted, to reach to that end. At this point, we hope, and we are all confident, that the General Assembly will fully assume its responsibilities.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am confident that you will understand why we are taking these steps now. During all the past years, we have left no door but knocked on it in order to persuade Israel to return to the negotiating table on the basis of international legitimacy resolutions and signed agreements, but it refused and refuses to do so.
Ladies and Gentlemen, With appreciation for what the international community has done, or tried to do in terms of political and material support and backing for our people and their just cause, it has, unfortunately, been unable to end the occupation, deter the heinous and continuous Israeli aggression against our people, provide international protection for it, and bring it to its legitimate rights to freedom and independence, like the rest of the peoples of the world. The occupying power continues to behave as a state above the law.
It is surprising that countries like the United States of America claim to be the protectors of international law and human rights, provide unlimited support to Israel, protect it from accountability and help it to move forward with its aggressive policies, and in contempt for the international community as a whole, and Israel could not have done this without cover or support from these countries.
Some of these countries were basically partners in issuing the resolutions that caused the Palestinian people’s Nakba (catastrophe), the ominous Balfour Declaration and the Mandate Instrument, and they continued to prejudice the rights of the Palestinian people when they refused to compel Israel to end its occupation and stop its aggression, and to respect the relevant United Nations resolutions. Therefore, they bear the responsibility with Israel for the plight of the Palestinian people. Accordingly, we call on Britain, America and Israel to acknowledge their responsibility for this great crime committed against our people, apologise and make reparations, and provide compensation to the Palestinian people as recognised by international law.
It saddens us, ladies and gentlemen, that the United States of America and a number of European countries that advocate adhering to the two-State solution and recognise Israel have not yet recognised the State of Palestine and threaten to use the veto against our legitimate pursuit of full membership in the international organisation. Palestine, the observer State for ten years, has proven its worth for full membership, after it worked seriously and responsibly with the rest of the world in relevant international committees and bodies, and successfully and efficiently chaired the Group of 77 and China.
What prevents them from recognising the State of Palestine and accepting its full membership in the United Nations? Therefore, we renew our request for this membership now, and why are double standards being exercised against us?
On the other hand, I call on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to actively work to develop an international plan to end the occupation of the land of the State of Palestine, in order to achieve peace, security and stability in the region based on the United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I listened in the last few days what US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and other world leaders said in support of the two-State solution, and this is positive. The real test of the seriousness and credibility of this position is for the Israeli government to sit at the negotiating table immediately to implement the two-State solution on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative and the cessation of all unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution.
The State of Palestine yearns for peace, so let us make this peace in order to live in security, stability and prosperity, for the sake of our future generations and all the peoples of the region.
At the end of my speech, I want to say to our people and to the whole world, that I am proud that I have spent several decades of my life struggling with my brothers from the leaders of the Palestinian people, those who perished and those who are waiting, in order to preserve the rights of our heroic and brave people, who struck the most wonderful models of heroism despite all the conspiracies and pressures exerted on us and exerted on our people, we have maintained our independent national decision and remained loyal to our national principles, and we renew our refusal to receive any instructions or orders from any party.
All glory to the righteous martyrs of the Palestinian people who enlightened the path of freedom and independence with their pure blood. They will remain symbols that the Palestinian generations will remember with gratitude and reverence, generation after generation, and we remain accountable to them.
As for our brave prisoners, the living conscience of our people, who sacrifice their freedom for the sake of the freedom of their people, these people cannot be described in words. They are living martyrs, they are heroes and firm leaders, and we have an obligation to secure their freedom, and we will not abandon them. We will not leave their sons and daughters and their families, and we tell them and our detained children and the heroic prisoner Nasser Abu Hmaid and his companions that dawn is coming, and it is time for their chains to be broken. Greetings from me and our entire people to all our heroic martyrs and families. I salute from this podium Nasser’s mother, the mother of prisoners and martyrs, and it is unfortunate that the occupation authorities did not allow her to see her captive, heroic son for one minute as he is struggling with death due to medical negligence.
In conclusion, I say to you, ladies and gentlemen, who represent the international community and international legitimacy, that the occupation will inevitably end, now or after a while. So come now and uphold your obligations and implement your resolutions to achieve just and comprehensive peace instead of seeing it achieved through more victims and bloodshed.
Oh God, bear witness…
Author M N
First published Sept 23 2022 English WAFA