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UN: Israeli occupation prolongs ‘immense pain’

Israeli soldiers guard Al-Aqsa mosque [file photo]
Israeli soldiers guard Al-Aqsa mosque [file photo]

The UN’s human rights chief on Tuesday called for an end to the Israeli occupation and warned that maintaining it would cause “prolongation of immense pain” for both Palestine and Israel.

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council’s 35th session in Geneva, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said the “weeping by loved ones for loved ones, the prayers, the curses, the hatreds and vengeance, the impossibility of a secure life for all — this can be ended”.

Hussein said the Palestinian people were now marking “a half-century of deep suffering under an occupation imposed by military force”.

The occupation had “denied the Palestinians many of their most fundamental freedoms, and has been often brutal in the way it has been realised; an occupation whose violations of international law have been systematic, and have been condemned time and again by virtually all States”.

The 1967 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Six-Day War, resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan, triggering the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has proven one of the most intractable in modern history, causing massive human suffering and economic deprivation.

A two-state solution, which has been the normative approach for decades toward an ever-elusive peace agreement, was recognised in 1947 under UN Resolution 181.

A year later, the state of Israel was established, but nearly seven decades on, Palestinians are still struggling for independence.

Israel has pursued an increasingly aggressive settlement regime despite broad international condemnation, eating away at Palestinian territory and torpedoing the chances of success for a two-state reality.

Hussein also spoke about other ongoing conflicts. He said UN teams had discovered the bodies of Iraqi civilians in the streets of western Mosul, where government forces are trying to oust the Daesh terror group.

He also called on the Myanmar government to “cooperate fully” with a fact-finding mission which has been tasked with probing human rights abuses committed against the Rohingya Muslim community in the south-east Asian country.

“Rapid assistance,” is also needed in troubled Venezuela, Hussein said. Amid claims from the country’s attorney-general that 60 people have been killed in ongoing protests, the UN figure called on the government there to accept his request to allow an international mission to work in the country.

US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki Haley, said: “The Council must address this issue. If Venezuela cannot, it should voluntarily step down from its seat on the Human Rights Council until it can get its own house in order.”

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  • Fasdunkle

    Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein – a Jordanian, curiously he forgot to mention that Israel captured the west bank from Jordan which had annexed it and ethnically cleansed all the Jews.

  • betz55

    When the Europeans start applying pressure on the israelis to actually accept living in peace next to Palestine let me know. Until then all of their numerous proxy organizations on the ground are just producing anti-Palestinian/Islamophobic propaganda and I will treat it accordingly as the trash and sewage that it is.

    The Israeli wants to be treated as normal decent human beings? Let them act like it first and end their barbarism against the Palestinians. Until then they deserve scorn, contempt, isolation and sanctions. Until then they aren’t entitled to even one iota of respect.

    No person in any setting or for any reason should be compelled to associate with a citizen of a country that is brutally oppressing and dispossessing a people whom it is belligerently and illegally occupying.

    The face of the Zionist entity will be worth watching –the face of an entitled bully surprised by the absence of obeisance.

    israel has painted themselves into a corner, surrounded by states that loathe them. Their hubris, arrogance and sense of entitlement based on the ridiculous credo of “chosen people”, has left them discredited, unmasked, de-legitimized, scorned, reduced to a worthless diplomatic dwarf, maniacally messianic fanatics, laughed at and alienated from the rest of the international community. That will be their legacy.