UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) yesterday held a general debate on the “Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories”.
United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri introduced a report prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) into alleged violations committed since mid-June.
Pansieri noted that while an open-ended ceasefire is now in place, the impact of recent events will continue to be felt for a long time to come.
A number of speakers expressed deep disappointment that some states had ceased their participation under item seven of the agenda on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, which was particularly disturbing in light of the latest Israeli behaviour.
Iran spoke on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement, Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Arab Group, Ethiopia on behalf of the African Group and many other countries also individually took part in the debate.
Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Switzerland Ibrahim Khraishi expressed disappointment at Israel’s decision not to participate.
“The occupation and numerous human rights violations by Israel for the last 47 years made Israel the world’s biggest violator of human rights.” He said: “The latest Israeli aggression has put the occupied Gaza Strip under siege, shelling and bombarding it by air, land and sea.”
“Its targeting of civilians, private property, infrastructure and United Nations buildings such as the UNRWA schools was tantamount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
“The aggression led to the murder of more than 2,000 and injury of more than 11,000 civilians, more than a third of whom were children. Half a million Palestinians have also been displaced.”
Khraishi welcomed the council’s appointment of the Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate what happened, adding that the international community should force accountability and end impunity, including by forcing Israel to cooperate with the International Criminal Court.
He continued: “Since 1967 Israel has detained some 800,000 Palestinians, 6,500 of whom continued to languish in prison, including 2,200 Palestinians detained by Israel in the last two months.”
“Israel is one of the worst offenders of arbitrary detention.”
Khraishi also raised the issue of the forcible expulsion of approximately 12,500 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
“Palestine condemns the plans to forcibly displace Palestinian Bedouins from the eastern part of Jerusalem and calls on the United Nations to put an end to Israel’s illegal settlement activities,” he said.
For practical steps towards deterring Israel, he said: “Palestine calls on all states to implement the UN’s advisory principles on trade and human rights.”
Thanking Switzerland for its contribution to preserving human rights, he said: “Palestine pays tribute to Switzerland’s efforts to convene a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on its application on the occupied Palestinian territories, in order to better protect civilians.”