Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem

Statement by Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, in his capacity as Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, at the Resumed Session of the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. New York, 17 November 2006

Madam President:

The Non-Aligned Movement considers the holding of the Resumed Session of the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly completely justified and very opportune. The grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory warrants the prioritized attention of all delegations.

As it is known, on last Saturday, November 11, a permanent member of the Security Council vetoed a balanced draft resolution presented by the distinguished delegation of Qatar on behalf of the Arab Group, on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Therefore, the text could not be adopted, despite having received the vote in favor of the majority of the Security Council members, including all the NAM countries that are currently members of that organ.

In view of the Security Council's standstill as a result of the abuse of veto and its incapacity to exercise its responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security, amidst the increasing aggravation of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Non-Aligned Movement considered not only a legitimate right, but also a duty to convene formally on last Wednesday, November 15, this General Assembly meeting.

In requesting this meeting, the NAM has acted in consistency with its position that in cases in which the Security Council has not fulfilled its major responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security, the General Assembly should adopt the corresponding measures, in accordance with the Charter, in order to settle the question.

By holding this important meeting, the General Assembly exercises the role and authority pertaining to it with regard to the issues relative to the maintenance of international peace and security, as set out in articles 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 35 of the UN Charter.

The Non-Aligned Movement is hopeful that as a result of this meeting, the General Assembly adopts, without delay, recommendations on concrete collective measures, in the context of resolution 377 A (V), in order to put a halt to the actions by Israel and address the Palestinian people's distress.

Madam President:

In the last few weeks, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued to escalate its military aggression against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

As a result of the actions by the Israeli forces in Beit Hanoun, on Wednesday, November 8, at least 19 Palestinians lost their lives while they where sleeping in their homes, eight children and seven women among them. Moreover, 55 people were injured.

This incident occurred after a whole week of Israeli military operations in the north of Gaza.

The events in Beit Hanoun are unfortunately just another proof of what the Palestinian people have been suffering for too many years, as a result of the illegal occupation of their territory by Israel, the occupying Power.

According to the World Health Organization, 82 Palestinians lost their lives during the operations that took place in Gaza, only from 1 to 8 November. The death toll was 21 children, 12 women and 49 men. Furthermore, 260 Palestinian were injured. Since late June, more than 450 Palestinians have died in the Gaza Strip.

Madam President:

The Non-Aligned Movement expresses once again its grave concern at the continued deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, during the recent period, particularly as a result of the excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by Israel, the occupying Power, which has caused extensive loss of Palestinian civilian lives and injuries.

The Movement condemns the military assaults being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Gaza Strip, which have caused loss of life and extensive destruction of Palestinian property and vital infrastructure.

The Movement condemns in particular the killing of many Palestinian civilians, including children and women, by Israel, the occupying Power, that took place in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006.

The Non-Aligned Movement expresses grave concern at the dire humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people and calls for the provision of emergency assistance to Palestine.

In light of the present situation, the Movement urges the General Assembly to act by taking the following measures:

1- Demand that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately ceases its aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and immediately withdraws its forces from within the Gaza Strip to positions prior to June 2006;

2- Call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the Israeli and Palestinian side;

3- Request the Secretary General to establish a fact-finding mission on the attack that took place in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006 and to report back to the General Assembly within thirty days;

4- Call upon Israel, the occupying Power, to scrupulously abide by its obligations and responsibilities under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

5- Emphasize the urgency of ensuring that medical and humanitarian organizations are granted unhindered access to the Palestinian civilian population at all times and of allowing the severely injured speedy exit outside the Occupied Palestinian Territory for needed treatment;

6- Call upon the international community, including the Quartet, to take immediate steps, to stabilize the situation and restart the peace process, including through the establishment of an international mechanism for the protection of the civilian populations;

7- Stress the importance of, and the need to achieve, a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all Security Council relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), the Madrid terms of reference, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the League of Arab States Summit in March 2002 in Beirut and the Road Map.

Madam President:

The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirms the permanent responsibility of the United Nations, including the General Assembly and the Security Council, with the question of Palestine, so long as it is not settled in all its aspects on the basis of International Law. This includes a just solution to the hard situation of the refugees, pursuant to resolution 194 of the General Assembly, of 11 December 1948.

The Non-Aligned Movement will continue to support the Palestinian people and its leadership to bring to an end the Israeli occupation, which started in 1967, in accordance with the rules and principles of International Law and the UN relevant resolutions.

We ratify our unswerving commitment to a just and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to the Palestinian people's right to exercise self-determination and sovereignty in its independent State of Palestine, taking as a basis the borders prior to 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

I would like to conclude, Madam President: by calling upon all Member States to support the draft resolution contained in document A/ES-10/L.19 presented for consideration at this meeting.

Thank you very much.

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